The Versa Blog

5 Dos and Don’ts When it Comes to Performance Based Marketing

August 1, 2016

Performance based marketing seems to be a happy middle ground for brands and influencers when it comes to paying for word of mouth recommendations. Brands pay based on a certain action and influencers get a unique link and are prompted to share across their multiple channels.
Also known as affiliate marketing, performance based marketing is a phenomenal strategy when brands are conscious about who their partners are and that they’re not being spammy about getting brand mentions.
Whether you are auditing a company or wanting to bring this type of strategy in house, make sure that when it comes to your performance based marketing strategies that you are following these very crucial guidelines for success.

Do This

Stick to a niche: It’s easy for brands to want to scale their marketing efforts and overlook the fact that they need to work with the experts in their vertical. People come to their content and social channels for a specific reason and to talk about certain topics. So, it’s never a good idea to span outside of your niche no matter how universal you think your brand should be.
Let an expert do it to avoid issues with Google and the FTC: Complying with CAN-SPAM laws and keeping Google happy is a huge deal when it comes to performance based marketing. From your emails to the mentions you get from influencers, your brand is always held legally responsible so this is one area where it is actually a great idea to have an expert on affiliate marketing run this whether it’s an in-house hire or an agency partnership.
Muster up some creativity: Creativity starts with a good outreach email and plan for earned media. Ask your marketing partners to share an actual story and not just a link to your brand. Give them a theme or project or task to allow them to create awesome content and help you achieve your goals.
Build actual relationships: Don’t look at this type of marketing as a “one and done” campaign type approach. Look at it as building strong and authentic relationships for your brand. Your partnerships should be ongoing and get stronger every month as your brand engages with and nurtures your influencers on an ongoing basis.
Refine and scale back and up every month: Always track and measure the content you earn and the performance of said content on a case by case basis. Meaning, it will be more helpful for you to refine who and how you work with these people by analyzing their individual efforts instead of looking at metrics for an entire campaign.

Don’t Do This

Give people a unique link and expect them to be on their own: As is the case with every area of life, partnerships take a lot of work in the beginning to build a solid foundation for a long term relationship. Don’t just send an email to content creators with a link and not follow up with them. Engage with them, follow up and ask them if they need anything else about your brand and give them tips on how they can make the most out of this relationship and ideas of how to effectively promote.
Be sneaky: A lack of authenticity in a word of mouth recommendation is worse than no recommendation at all. Consumers can read through the white spaces in a blog post and they know whether or not someone is recommending something because they are just paid or because they actually like the brand. While this relationship is a combination of both, posts should never come across as insincere. Also make sure to follow the laws when it comes to reaching out to partners and having them disclose the nature of your relationship.
Be overly promotional: Don’t look at influencer generated content as a salesy approach. Make sure that you’re strategically working with your partners to create a whole story from their point of view, not a sales pitch.
Let a company without a great reputation run this for you: Research an agency or new hire thoroughly to make sure they have great references and take authenticity and legalities of influencer relationships very seriously.
Take a hands off approach:  As I mentioned before, I think when it comes to performance based marketing, working with a great agency is a good idea. But don’t just hand it off to them because no one knows your brand better than you do. Communicate on a monthly basis to see how engaging and powerful the content pointing to your brand is.
We love a good chat, please weigh in with your questions or comments about this type of marketing!

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