What Do Lead Generation And Affiliate Marketing Have In Common?

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The era of digital marketing is at its peak.  With more businesses pivoting to get their presence online established and positioned to their liking, more promotional channels and methods are being explored.

With business opportunities becoming more accessible because of the internet, more people spend a lot of their time online.  As new players start getting into online business and internet marketing, it may be of help to provide some helpful information in their journey towards earning online.

Before launching into discussing what lead generation and affiliate marketing have in common, here are some definitions for your reference:

Lead 

A lead is a potential customer interested enough to give their contact information and some personal details. 

Lead Generation

Lead generation is making a customer like a brand just enough to willingly part with their contact information and personal data in exchange for content that is deemed valuable in resolving a buyer’s unmet needs.  Content that excites, educates, or inspires comes in the form of webinars, blogs, infographics, case studies, and even one-on-one coaching. Lead generation is basically creating ways, so your potential market engages with your brand.

Key players in this process are the brands and their customers. These potential buyers come from various channels. Running search engine ads, as taught by programs like Modern Millionaires to business owners, vlogging on YouTube, and giving valuable content like infographics, case studies, or white papers.

Affiliate Marketing

On the other hand, affiliate marketing—a tactic popularized by Amazon in the ’90s, is a strategy where business owners monetize referrals made by customers who sign up in their referral program. These brand affiliates are usually people who are either loyal customers or followers who would like to add a passive income stream through internet marketing.

Affiliate marketers are third-party promoters made up of ordinary people like moms, dads, or employees who join training programs, like what Jeff Lerner offers, where they learn more about augmenting their income through affiliate marketing programs. 

Now that we got these definitions and some examples out of the way, it’s time to dive in; what do lead generation and affiliate marketing have in common?

Third-Party Promotion

A common factor of affiliate marketing and lead generation is promotion. Both use their respective distribution channels to increase awareness of the service or product they are promoting and fall under the performance marketing segment of digital marketing. 

Performance marketing is when businesses pay their partner-advertiser only when a particular action is completed.  For affiliate marketing, payments are given only when goods are sold. Lead generation specialists get paid only when clicks, subscriptions to email lists, or getting qualified leads are met.

Cost-Effectivity

As mentioned above, third-party partner advertisers and promoters only get paid once a transaction is done, and this is why lead generation and affiliate marketing are cost-effective.

Compared to traditional marketing, where there is a high risk of bloating or overspending a company’s budget, digital marketing—particularly these two methods—is focused on getting their return of investment (ROI).  Driving ROI-focused campaigns is essential, particularly for small businesses and startups. 

Another reason affiliate marketing and lead generation are economical is that it is easy for marketing managers or business owners to pivot or allocate resources to other promotion spaces when a campaign is underperforming. Instead of bleeding the budget, the ease of switching gears or completely stopping a movement is easy to decide on since data is readily available for monitoring and tracking.

Penetrate Untapped Territories

One of the wonders of creating a lead generation or affiliate marketing campaign is the capacity to tap unchartered territories. With more and more creators and marketers using more than one promotion channel, new markets are slowly coming into view. 

These days, marketing a product or brand means using an omnichannel approach for better reach and positioning.  Like it or not, the boom of social media and other content-sharing sites like blogs, vlogs, reels, and podcasts created new possibilities for reaching potential buyers who consume content from all of these platforms. 

It doesn’t matter if a company is categorized as B2B or B2C; these brands get to reap the benefits from their third-party promoters every time these influencers appear online. Who would’ve thought you could advertise insurances on mobile apps? Now that is ingenious.

Create More Web traffic

Lead generation and affiliate marketing are used for advertising and promotions, which leads us to this final common factor. The campaigns you set for a company or business are meant to direct people to a website where transactions can be done. 

A company’s website serves as its office and real estate online. With the pandemic causing businesses to change strategies, brands are now putting in a lot of investment to get more eyeballs and clicks on their sites.  Funneling more people means getting these buyers to start their customer journey through the website.  

In Summary

For affiliate marketers, lead generation is just another way of reaching out to their potential buyers. The same goes for lead marketers. They see affiliate marketing as just another channel they can tap to launch their marketing efforts.

Fact is, it’s basically comparing tomatoes to apples. Affiliate marketing is a method of promotion, while lead generation is a process. Overlapping features and functions are expected as they both fall under the performative digital marketing segment. Since their functions usually overlap, many tend to confuse the two.

To sum up, these two are similar in terms of function: creating or tapping more advertising avenues at the most economical rate possible. Affiliate marketing and lead generation depend on a third-party’s efforts in getting a potential buyer to do a specific action needed to start their customer’s journey down the merchant’s sales funnel. 

Both are cost-effective since promoters and advertising partners get paid only when an action, such as a click, video subscription, sale, or a quality lead is acquired. Affiliate marketing and lead generation are launched to get more people to go down a business’ sales funnel which usually starts at their company website.  

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Benjamin Powell

Founder & CEO at DSA Global
Benjamin S. Powell is the Founder and CEO of DSA Global, a Thailand based digital marketing agency and Startup incubator. With a raft of successful startups and exits under his belt he consults to all levels of the tech industry throughout the Asia-Pac region.