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5 ways to steer your affiliate program in a struggling economy

We’re all struggling right now, which doesn’t fare well for brands. If all their consumers are struggling, and you’re not providing an absolutely necessary product or service, you’re likely to be dropped. Nothing proves that more than the rhetoric that millennials could easily afford a house if they stopped watching Netflix. Maybe we’re not about to save for a deposit, but it’s an extra meal, or a few, a month.

So, how do you, as a brand, steer this weathered storm? How do you establish yourself as necessary? We’ve got a few ideas to help make this impending recession easier for you as a brand.

Explore Blue Ocean Thinking

The Blue Ocean Strategy is a marketing strategy meant to help struggling businesses by simultaneously bringing down costs and opening up new market spaces. It is described as “about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant” on its website.

The theory separates the red and blue oceans: the red is markets that are open already with defined and accepted boundaries, and the blue oceans are unknown markets with little competition. In order to enter into a blue ocean, you would have to be lucky enough o stumble across an entirely new market, or carve out your own as an offshoot of the market you’re in. Think, nylons long enough for drag queens to wear, which is an example of an existing product that was adapted for a new market.

Predict competitor movement and seize new opportunities for niche upsells

It’s true that you don’t have to be niche to be successful. You don’t need that Dragon’s Den item that no one has thought of, but it does help as a small business to have either a product or a market that isn’t filled with competitors.

One way to be a niche business is to predict what your customer wants. This doesn’t mean looking into a crystal ball. You’re here for social media marketing advice: talk on social media. Look at what your customers are asking for. They might already be telling you in their feedback, in their comments, in their reviews, etc. This dress is too short for my long legs, this energy drink only comes in three flavours, this game would be better if you could play as the demon, etc.

If you’re not getting enough feedback, you can prompt with polls and questions on your socials or even in forums. Look at what Reddit is saying about your product, but even better, your market or industry. Maybe there is a gap there to be exploited.

Identify emerging trends or partners or content curators and secure positioning

By extension, you can secure your place as “necessary” by keeping an eye on emerging trends in your market. Again, you can look at what your social media audiences are doing, but also look wider. Look at what your competitors’ audiences are doing. What are they buying more of, what are they asking for, is there any social or global reason for this trend, etc.?

Identify gaps in brand perception and find partnerships that help you fix them

Your brand perception is made up of a sum of the consumer’s feelings and thoughts about a product or service, and, as mentioned, people are going to tell you, whether you want to hear them or not. But you do want to hear them because this can be hugely beneficial to you. You can spot areas to improve and work with partners, like affiliate partners, to improve this perception in order to improve your brand and stop struggling. If consumers think you aren’t environmentally friendly, for example, show them through content that you are, with the help of affiliate marketing and branding.

Consider exploring Brand to Brand Partnerships

Take a look at our blog on curated content for the social media side of this, but you can use other businesses in a mutually beneficial marketing deal. You can share the audience and promote each other. But there will also be an ability to use the information or services of the partner you’re working with to deliver a better product or service to your audience.

If you’re interested in gathering some more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog, or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for advice that comes from industry peers at the top of their careers, take a look at the content from our Elevate Summit. Over 14 hours of content are available featuring advice from talks, panels, and workshops for you to gain all the best advice.

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