Affiliate Insider spoke to Ben Jeffries, CEO and founder of Influencer.com a leading influencer marketing companies in the UK and the keynote speaker at this year’s AffiliateFEST to understand why he’s agreed to share his insights at this year’s exclusive Bootcamp event.

AI: Ben, thanks for joining us today, and congratulations on your recent naming in the Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Tell us a bit about your business and background and what lead you to be here today. 

I am so honoured to have been named in Great Britain’s Most Exciting Young Entrepreneurs to Watch, as part of the NatWest Business Great British Entrepreneur Awards. It was truly an honour to be named alongside some of the country’s most intelligent, inventive and socially aware under 30s. It’s a fantastic feeling to be recognised for all the hard work and long nights; as one of the most inspiring, and innovative businesses of 2018. I really wouldn’t be where I am without the amazing team working with me at Influencer. This time last year there were just 2 of us. A year later we’re 17 and only going from strength to strength. As a small entrepreneur I can truly identify with affiliate business owners who are doing the same hard work to build their affiliate sites and brands.

AI: Why are you participating at Affiliate Insider’s AffiliateFEST 2018  – and what do you hope to get out of attending this exclusive affiliate event?

I feel that events like AffiliateFEST offer businesses the best opportunity to connect with people in the affiliate marketing industry. There are many similarities between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing and potential for a really strong relationship, which I’m keen to explore to the fullest. I’m looking forward to speaking to the best brains in affiliate marketing and iGaming and seeing where there is room for more collaboration!

AI: Tell us a bit about your business experience and background and how you landed up as the CEO of Influencer?

As a 22 year old entrepreneur, my business experience (outside of Influencer) may be limited however I have learned influencer marketing as it’s currently developing. I started Influencer just when “influencer marketing” was emerging. Now it’s a reputable digital medium being adopted in many businesses both mainstream and in iGaming, to engage new audiences and convert brand recognition. I have learnt a lot in my short time in this industry and continue to do so daily by being fully emerged in it’s day to day development. 

I started my first business when I was 15, a clothing brand called Breeze. Breeze gave me the inspiration I needed to drop out of Bath University and my work placement at Shell and start Influencer. I have always been entrepreneurial – as a teenager, I realised I could bulk buy phone cases from the internet and resell them with a slight markup – and I am passionate and knowledgeable about the influencer marketing industry and believe it will continue to disrupt and add value to all online businesses.

AI: Can you share with our readers a brief synopsis of what affiliates will learn from your workshop or panel session this year?

My keynote session will explore the similarities between influencer and affiliate marketing, and the areas in which there is potential for collaboration. I want to help those in the affiliate industry to understand the benefits of using influencer marketing over, and as well as, traditional forms of marketing, and show them the value this relationship will bring to their sites. I will also be speaking about what makes a strong influencer marketing campaign and how brands and businesses can use influencer marketing to increase their ROI and reach their target audience.

AI: What have you found are the biggest challenges that small entrepreneurs or solopreneurs like iGaming affiliates face in terms of understanding how to drive traffic in online channels and grow their business to keep up with future trends?

The biggest issue small entrepreneurs or solopreneurs face is simply not fully understanding the rules around ads and marketing materials within the affiliate space. If a misleading advert is found by the Gambling Commission (and they will find it!), the operator will be fined. This sheds a negative light, which in turn, falls back on the iGaming Affiliate who put out the advert. The risk to now take on smaller affiliates becomes much greater for brands and therefore the chance of getting accepted onto a programme has become much more slim, with some brands such as SkyBet shutting their ‘Affliate Hub’ down.

AI: What do you think the future of affiliate marketing looks like and what can the delegates attending the event expect to find answers to – what trends are you currently seeing?

There is currently a fear about Influencer marketing within the affiliate space, though I feel the future is progressing with mass synergy. Micro influencers, those with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, should be seen as distribution channels to drive conversions. There is nothing more powerful than a word of mouth recommendation and influencers provide a more authentic push towards an affiliate link. This is especially true within Instagram Stories where the URL is disguised by a swipe up button. Using various different micro influencers you are able to build a conversation about a product or service, making users more inclined to click the link and find out what ‘everyone’s talking about’.

AI: How is your business currently expanding and innovating to keep abreast of  the latest digital and regulatory trends

There have been some huge changes in the digital space in recent months – within Influencer Marketing; changes to the Instagram API being the main one. We are lucky to have a strong relationship with Instagram.  We hold regular talks with them to ensure we can provide our clients with the most transparent and measurable data on our creators. We are in the process of developments to our platform, which will integrate Instagram’s graph API and bring clients multiple further benefits such as story analytics, post impressions and more. It is innovations like these that I hope will keep us at the front of the Influencer marketing industry. As Facebook say: “If we don’t create the thing that kills Facebook, someone else will.”

If you haven’t yet registered for your FREE Affiliate Ticket to attend this year’s AffiliateFEST – do it now, you won’t want to miss out on this session as it may just help you find new ways to build an audience and convert to brands.