Life happens. Things we long planned for sometimes go awry, leaving us scratching our heads, attempting to understand what happened in the first place. Sometimes these changes can be small — like an event canceled due to weather or a marketing campaign that has to be pushed back due to a delayed product launch — yet there are some cases where changes can be quite drastic, requiring a near overhaul of an affiliate marketing strategy to continue on the right track.
So far, there have been numerous world and national events that have thrown affiliate marketers — and every single human’s — plans in a new direction. American citizens already expected the year to be tense due to the economic recession that is making the country spinning, unable to find its center of balance.
For affiliate marketers, this can be a make-or-break moment: The instance where you have to adjust your affiliate marketing strategy on the fly. While anxiety-inducing, it can be done! In all honesty, you should already have a plan in place.
Let’s work together to consider how you can plan ahead to address uncertain issues and how you can incorporate them into your marketing strategies.
Developing Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy Ahead of Time
You need to plan ahead
Affiliate marketing requires planning, to begin with, but it also demands the creation of backup plans. While you’ll be asking yourself all of the usual questions when crafting your affiliate marketing strategy … like:
- Who is my audience?
- Who is my target audience from this group?
- What affiliates will help me reach this target audience?
- What are my competitors doing?
- What type of content and platforms will help me reach the people I need to?
… there are considerations that must be taken into account when rolling out your program. These considerations include questions related to the following:
- What events could sideline my affiliate marketing strategy?
- How will we react at the moment? Will we respond to the disruptor or act like it doesn’t exist?
- Do we have to participate in social justice if national issues arise? Do we want to become political at that moment?
With your affiliate marketing platform established and your strategy outlined, you’re prepared to begin marketing. But what in particular can shift your strategy in a moment’s notice, seemingly throwing away a year’s worth of work? Let’s consider some modern-day examples in order to think of relevant decision-making.
What Changes Can Throw Your Production Timeline Off
Disruptions are bound to come from a number of areas, but there are some specific examples we can look to that shed light on how these disruptions manifest and spread throughout businesses.
COVID-19 was initially played down, considered a near fluke of a disease that would come and go in due time, but, after more than 1,000,000 COVID-19 deaths in just the U.S., it is apparent that this disease is far more serious than was originally believed. Tens of millions of Americans are losing their jobs, eviction rates are climbing at incredible rates, people are scared of not being able to make ends meet and live paycheck from paycheck.
The trouble, from a business perspective, is that the nation’s economy has taken a severe hit, and it doesn’t look like it is going to rebound any time soon.
Because of all of this, some businesses have had to permanently close their doors, and the average citizen is spending less money out of fear that they might also lose work at some point. People are scared, and it does not appear as if things are going to improve quickly.
How You Can React to Sudden Changes
If your business has already reacted to the scenarios that played out these last 3 years, you have some experience with how your plans sometimes need to change on a dime. For affiliate marketers, that could have included changing your approach to promoting advertising across Instagram or changing your focus when approaching Twitter. In other cases, it might have made you reevaluate your company, asking whether you have hired a diverse set of affiliates who foster inclusive audiences.
The approaches can be varied, and it’s worth knowing what your options are before any mitigating factors arise. Here are several reactions you should consider when pre-planning your future affiliate marketing strategies:
Don’t shut down operations
When things go awry, your first response might be to seize up — you’ll be saying, “This wasn’t part of the plan! What do we do now?” The truth is that you shouldn’t outright stop in the face of sudden change. Take a breather to reevaluate and realign your methods and goals, but do not stop your affiliate marketing strategy.
Challenging times are instances when people are bound to flock to social media, both to discuss the matter with others and to look for potential answers. As a business, you can benefit these people by using your platform to support both of these causes.
If you’re interested in talking about what’s happening, utilize your affiliate network to do so, sharing messaging through your own social media accounts and through the content you hand off to affiliates. And if you want to remain apolitical, you’re free to do so, but remain mindful of the fact that some people might question why you are not talking about pressing issues at the moment.
Remain focused on your goals
Sudden changes can throw you for a loop, but they shouldn’t throw your entire marketing strategy off. If you’ve had goals established and planned for the better part of the year, don’t immediately scrap them; rather, take the time to reevaluate how you can meet these goals. Maybe it will require you to meet with internal shareholders and affiliates to understand how these goals can be met on a different timeline, or maybe you’ll have to reconsider what your top priorities are for the time being.
Whatever the change is, you’ll need to take the time to consider how you can make internal updates to keep yourself moving toward these planned goals. This can include increasing your presence across social media platforms, using your affiliate network to help others in times of need, or experimenting with your approach. While you don’t want to extend yourself too far, this might be a good time to test new methods to see how they help in the completion of long-standing goals.
Look into your niche
With things going awry, you should take the time to do your research. What are other companies within your niche doing at this time? Are they speaking about the crisis and the ongoing decay of society? Are they engaging with their customers throughout social media? Are they taking the time to update their language and content or have they slowed down, committing to silence during these strange times?
You don’t have to do whatever they’re doing. However, you can take note of their approach, using such examples to inform your own marketing decisions. If none of your competitors are talking about the pandemic and protests, it might be time for you to take a stand. Why? Because it will set you apart from the pack, allowing you to lead by example — not because you want to appear like a good business but because it is the moral thing to do.
You can even take some of their ideas into consideration, too, reflecting on how they relate to past business decisions of your own. If they’re doing something that you like, consider evaluating how such a decision can fit into your business’s affiliate marketing strategy. When approached carefully, its addition might help you reach your audience more effectively, even in such a strange reality.
Don’t underestimate the power of authenticity
You can’t trade in your authenticity once things go awry. Brand image and voice matter, as they allow you to communicate with your audience while maintaining a truthfulness that otherwise couldn’t be gauged. To maintain the respect and trust of your audience, you’ll need to remain authentic. You want your audience to know that you stand up for the values you display on your brand’s website and show them you’re the authentic person you claim to be.
Find the positive
The changes we’ve discussed, are just a few of the things going on in the world and, for some people, they are quite tiring. Rather than portraying the current events in dramatized ways like mass media organizations are doing, try to focus on the positive. This doesn’t mean forgoing talking about real issues; rather, it means focusing on the aspects of these affected communities that often go overlooked.
Shed a light on the bright parts of the world that are often kept out of view. Show your audience that there is a path forward for all of us, no matter what is going on in the present.
Listen, Think, React
There’s no one way to craft a successful affiliate program for Instagram, but you can implement certain affiliate marketing strategies to increase the effectiveness of your company’s engagement. Consider learning more about affiliate marketing if you’re looking to improve your business even throughout this economic shutdown and ongoing protests.
The best thing you can do is to use your platform to improve the lives of others. If wondering how the Refersion platform can help you do that, consider taking a closer look at how the affiliate network works and how it can be a tool to keep you afloat during difficult times.