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Why Affiliate Marketing Is a Full-Funnel Marketing Channel

There’s a common misconception that affiliates only support isolated stages of the customer journey. In reality, affiliate marketing is a full-funnel marketing channel that can help you raise brand awareness, generate buzz, drive conversions, and nurture customer relationships after the sale.

Turning your affiliate strategy into a full-funnel marketing channel requires the right partners and a winning game plan. But first, you need to know how affiliates can fit into each stage of the funnel.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the impacts of affiliate marketing on the customer journey.


The impacts of affiliate marketing on each stage of the conversion funnel

Affiliate marketing partners can streamline each stage of the conversion funnel. Here’s how.


Awareness stage

Generating buzz about your products or services can be quite challenging. However, the right mix of affiliate partners (such as influencers, bloggers, and mass media partners) can help you expand your reach and tap into new audiences. These partnerships can create buzz around your products and services and elevate brand awareness across diverse demographics.

For instance, Noom, a global health & fitness company and Acceleration Partners client, sought to expand its reach in the UK marketing through a strategic mass media partnership.

AP orchestrated a partnership with The Independent, leveraging the publication’s vast online audience, which aligned well with Noom’s target demographic. The partnership extended across newsletters and social media promotions, directing native traffic to Noom’s offerings.

The results were a 267% increase in year-over-year sign-ups, 2,600+ UK enrollments, and a substantial 17,000 clicks generated throughout the year.


Interest and consideration stages

Affiliates can also support customers in the interest and consideration stages by providing them with detailed product/service information. Some types of affiliate partners that shine in these stages include content creators, influencers, and deal affiliates. They can provide in-depth product comparisons, reviews, and irresistible offers to further incentivize customers and pique their interest.

Non-traditional affiliates like CLO programs can optimize interest and push customers toward the conversion stage through unique offers. For example, AP client Raymour & Flanigan partnered with a CLO affiliate to increase new customer revenue and encourage existing customers to make more in-store purchases.

With the guidance of AP, Raymour & Flanigan achieved $1.6 million in new revenue and a 131% increase in customer revenue period after period. A staggering 60% of the revenue was from new customers, signifying that the strategy helps boost brand awareness and move leads into the conversion stage.


Conversion stage

Many affiliates can have a large impact on the conversion stage of the consumer journey – especially technology affiliates. They offer innovative solutions, like personalized tracking links, enhancing the conversion stage. Whether it’s mobile affiliates or sub-affiliate networks, these types of partners play a pivotal role in converting leads into customers, complementing the efforts of other affiliates.

Widening the conversion stage of the sales funnel is one of the biggest benefits of working with affiliates. However, if you want to maximize your partners’ ability to drive conversions, you need a way to measure incrementality.

Put another way, you want to determine how each partner’s actions contributed to the sale to ensure that everyone receives credit for their efforts.


Post-purchase and advocacy stages

Your affiliate partner has helped you make a sale and received their agreed-upon commission. Their role in that customer’s journey is officially over, right? Not so fast.

Think beyond just closing the sale—loyalty affiliates are your post-purchase allies. Their engaged user bases foster loyalty by offering rewards, continually keeping your brand top of mind.

For example, Reebok was looking to re-engage with customers and broaden their customer base post-pandemic. They turned to AP for an innovative solution. The answer? A strategic campaign with loyalty affiliate Cartera.

In a targeted 2-week collaboration, Cartera’s influence, especially with airlines, played a crucial role. The bonus point system for purchases over $100 resonated, converting into bonus miles for a major U.S. airline.

As a result, Reebok saw a 161% increase in revenue, 329% increase in clicks, and a 49% increase in average order value.


Fine-tune your funnel with AP

Can affiliate partners support every stage of the sales funnel? Absolutely — provided you have dedicated partners that understand your brand and its mission.

Consider brand-to-brand partnerships, coupon affiliates, and even registry affiliates to fine-tune your funnel. Each partner type brings a unique strength to different stages of the customer journey. To truly leverage affiliate marketing as a full-funnel strategy, you need a mix of partners. Whether it’s aligning with influencers, utilizing technology solutions, or tapping into the power of mass media, the key is strategic diversity.

Affiliate marketing’s full-funnel potential lies in embracing a spectrum of partners, and if you want to successfully amplify your brand’s story and drive conversions across the entire customer journey, you’ll need the guidance of a strong partnership marketing agency.

Acceleration Partners is the leading partnership marketing firm in the world, and we know what it takes to transform your strategy into a full-funnel marketing campaign.


Connect with us today to learn how partnership marketing can drive conversions for your brand!