Best Practices - Affiliate Marketing Plan: DTC Luxury Fashion Brand: Part One
Establishing a successful affiliate marketing plan for direct-to-consumer luxury brands requires a different approach to that of other brands. With authenticity, community and trust at the forefront of consumers thinking, luxury brands must approach affiliate marketing with careful consideration, focused and organized content distribution, and the willingness to nurture affiliate and brand relationships.
- Selecting the right affiliates to partner with is essential for a DTC luxury brand, whose brand image is a driving factor for many sales. Carefully evaluating affiliates' suitability based on the brand's market research, protects the brand image, maintains authenticity and is likely to be a more successful partnership for both affiliate and brand. Developing a clear and detailed framework when choosing affiliates will enable the brand to partner with the right affiliates, and make it clear and easy for affiliates to understand whether they are a good fit for the brand.
- Consumers of luxury products are seeking authenticity and community more than ever before, which means taking time to choose affiliates that will authentically represent the brand is important. If a consumer trusts that the affiliate is genuine in their promotion of the brand, they are more likely to invest in the brand and its products. Some of the most successful examples of affiliate marketing within the luxury DTC market have attracted affiliates organically through social media and word of mouth, an example of this is The Clear Cut.
- Leading affiliate marketing agency, Silverbean, has highlighted the importance of choosing the correct affiliates to represent a brand. The success of MONNIER Frères' affiliate marketing plan is in part due to the careful consideration of affiliates.
Focused and Organized
- Luxury items are often carefully considered purchases, so being organized when distributing content to affiliates and being focused on generating detailed content will enable the brand to make the most of sales opportunities.
- Delivering detailed content to the right affiliates ahead of time enables the brand to utilize opportunities fully and not miss out on potential sales. 15% of all digital advertising revenue is through affiliate marketing, so being unprepared and disorganized can have a significant impact on the business.
- The importance of a focused and organized approach to distributing content, with an awareness of consumer buying habits and seasonal trends, have been discussed in detail by multiple industry experts.
- Communicating openly and enthusiastically with affiliates will enable the brand to generate lasting and effective relationships with them. Nurturing these relationships by taking an interest in the affiliates' blog, content, or website, and providing them with useful content to use will show a willingness to understand them. This will help them to feel like they are a valued part of the brand's marketing efforts.
- Luxury DTC brands are increasingly relying on niche markets and consumer loyalty to generate high-value sales. Therefore, it is important to have excellent relationships with affiliates who operate within these niche markets, and who understand the brand's aims. They are able to inspire and encourage their audience to engage with the brand, which is essential as many luxury DTC brands are seeking new ways to build a cult following in a growing digital world.
- The importance of nurturing affiliate relationships has been highlighted as best practice by Refersion, a leading affiliate marketing adviser and e-commerce blog.
We began our research by understanding the different marketing needs of DTC luxury brands compared with those of traditional brands and DTC brands offering non-luxury products. It was clear from this research that authenticity, community, and trust were key factors driving online luxury sales. To understand best practices we reviewed industry blogs, marketing consultancy and agency websites, and consumer trends. We then reviewed this advice on affiliate marketing strategies for DTC brands and applied this in the context of luxury brands. While specific guidance on best practice within DTC luxury brands was not vast, we were able to triangulate any missing information using more generalized expert advice on affiliate marketing strategies and our research on the specific needs of DTC luxury brands.