How to Implement Affiliate Marketing on LinkedIn
If you have a decent knowledge of digital marketing, whether it’s SEO or SMM, but don’t want to start a brand, how do you capitalize on your skills? One way would be to find a job in the field or work with clients as an entrepreneur. Another is to become an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require creating a brand or a trademark, nor does it require you to handle manufacturing or logistics. All an affiliate marketer does is recommend a product in any form, and receive a commission from the seller.
B2C markets have multiple ways of reaching clients, but what about B2B markets? One of the most effective ways to reach customers doing affiliate marketing on LinkedIn.
What is LinkedIn affiliate marketing?
LinkedIn affiliate marketing is a primarily B2B-focused performance-based marketing that uses LinkedIn as a primary marketing platform. Thanks to LinkedIn’s versatility, affiliate marketing can take many forms from blogging to personal sales.
Affiliate marketing on LinkedIn isn’t immensely popular as most users try to sell their own products, not affiliate ones. That’s more of an untapped opportunity than an obstacle, though. LinkedIn has an interested audience and plenty of ways to attract users to affiliate links — a perfect combination for a partner.
Pros and cons of affiliate marketing through LinkedIn
The main advantage of affiliate marketing through LinkedIn is an audience comprised of decision-makers, but it has plenty of disadvantages as well. You can get acquainted with them in the list below.
One of the largest and most important advantages of affiliate marketing on LinkedIn and the one that makes it so lucrative is its audience. LinkedIn is not a social network for sharing vacation photos, it’s for sharing job successes, and networking with peers. The LinkedIn audience has 65 million decision makers — CEOs, CMOs, and people in other roles that allow them to make decisions on whether to work with you or not.
This means salespeople don’t have to work their way through the organization to find a person willing to take a look at their offer. They can talk to them directly.
But will having access to a large audience of people like this help your marketing efforts? It very well can as 45% of marketers report LinkedIn was crucial in lead generation for them. Not only is LinkedIn used by decision-makers, but they’re also interested in networking on the platform.
This means on average, there are more warm leads on the platform. LinkedIn users are interested in finding business opportunities on social media, not just liking friends’ photos.
While selling B2C products on LinkedIn may not be the best idea, the platform is great for B2B advertising and affiliate marketing. If you have an affiliate agreement with a SaaS company that makes life easier for digital products, LinkedIn is about the best place to find clients for it.
Another advantage that this social media platform brings to its users is the multiple ways affiliate marketers can promote their products. Not only can you start a blog on the platform, but you can also sell directly to interested people or leverage LinkedIn to get organic traffic from Google searches.
LinkedIn is not without its drawbacks. The first one is being pretty much restricted to B2B products and services only. That’s not too much of a drawback, just something that would prevent you from working with this social media platform if you have a specific affiliate product to promote. If you’re set on promoting on LinkedIn, you can simply find a good affiliate offer to work with.
Another problem that may make marketing on LinkedIn hard for an affiliate is the high cost of in-platform ads. If you want to boost the viewership of your posts, that could cost you upwards of $6 per 1000 impressions. That’s higher than other social networks, but having more people willing to find business opportunities compensates for the high price.
The last, and perhaps, the most prominent drawback of using LinkedIn for affiliate marketing, or for any type of marketing for that matter, is relatively low viewership. Unlike Instagram or Facebook which receive plenty of screentime from its users, LinkedIn is a professional network so users don’t scroll it casually.
You’ll have to deal with the fact that an average LinkedIn user spends 8 minutes per day on the platform and only 40% of users log in daily.
How to use LinkedIn for affiliate marketing
One of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn for marketing is that it can be used in different ways. Let’s take a look at three strategies that will produce the best results in affiliate marketing through LinkedIn.
Social media is about conversations, and talking business to people can be a great start to affiliate marketing on the platform. You can start conversations with people who are either directly interested or may be interested in the affiliate product you’re promoting. That can be done by either talking to them directly if they’re in your network or by InMail at $0.80 per message.
This allows you to get a more personal relationship with the leads, but also requires a lot more time to make a sale. With InMail, this effectively turns into email marketing and can be automated just like regular email marketing. However, the high price per message means you need to have a very good payment plan on the affiliate marketing offer for it to be profitable.
Create a blog
Getting a decent following on LinkedIn may be troublesome, but it pays. There are multiple successful blogs on the platform, most of them focusing on helping other businesses succeed and sharing experiences.
Some blogs like this serve a corporate PR function. This person is a CEO at Shell, and probably won’t be receiving any leads from the 50,000-strong blog he leads. But it’s good for corporate updates and building a good, moral picture of the company.
Other blogs are focused on getting exposure either to your company or to yourself to build a personal brand. This is the type of blog an affiliate marketer would lead.
It may seem that having a blog takes much less work than writing full-length articles on the platform because the text you end up with is much shorter. But that’s not the case — blogging takes a lot of effort too, if not for actually writing the post then for research and analytics.
To grow the number of followers and increase viewership to get a chance of affiliate products catching up, you need to do the following.
- Understand your core audience and what they’re looking for
- Use LinkedIn’s Content Suggest tool to explore topics you can cover
- Provide content that brings value based on stats, experience, and insights
- Make use of hashtags
- Participate in discussions in the industry in other blogs and groups
- Consider running Matched Audiences ads to attract people already interested in the topic
- Analyze each post’s reach and change in followers to see what works best
LinkedIn Pulse allows articles to appear in search. With the website regarded as a highly authoritative one by the search engines, you can easily get your content in the top 10. Here’s an example of an article like that in the SERP.
That’s not an official LinkedIn blog — articles from it appear under the ‘business’ category. Articles that have ‘pulse’ in the URL are written by regular LinkedIn users. Here’s how the footer of such posts looks — the platform offers the ability to check out the account of the author or follow them if the visitor is logged in.
The number of followers doesn’t correlate with how successful the post will be on SERP, just the text of the post itself.
If you want to try affiliate marketing on LinkedIn Pulse, approach it just as you would marketing through your own website. Focus on topics that are tangential to your affiliate product. Keyword difficulty won’t be too much of a problem since LinkedIn is better than any website you would have created in terms of SEO.
Once you’ve chosen several topics that can be covered, do your keyword research and use the findings to create stellar content. With a bit of off-site SEO work, your new article will be fast to rank high in SERP, granting you a stable influx of viewers. From then on, you can focus on perfecting the CTA of the affiliate link to increase conversions.
LinkedIn affiliate marketing examples
As is the case with any type of marketing online, it’s not possible to get accurate statistics when it comes to conversion and traffic. However, we can take a look at good examples of LinkedIn affiliate marketing — those that appear on the first pages of SERP or have good engagement on the platform.
Here’s an example of affiliate link placement within the LinkedIn blog. The article focuses on prospecting and is posted on the platform’s official blog. It’s on the shorter side, but thanks to being published on the official blog, it may get traffic not only from SERP but from the platform as well.
The affiliate link is placed by the author in the conclusion section of the article and leads to a website affiliate with the author.
Another example is a LinkedIn pulse, a platform for user-generated content. The article is a list of 20+ email marketing tools. It contains an affiliate link to Mailchimp and paints the platform in a good light, especially considering the fact it’s presented as free.
How to choose a program for affiliate marketing on LinkedIn?
Now that you know LinkedIn is a good fit for you, let’s take a look at what programs you can choose for it. Here’s how to choose an affiliate program to run in your LinkedIn account.
Find a B2B business with an affiliate program
Plenty of affiliate marketing programs involve B2C products. That’s not happening over at LinkedIn. You need a B2B business that provides services to people that prefer LinkedIn — that would mostly be digital companies.
You can find an affiliate program either by checking specialist resources or simply having a look at Google. Most affiliate programs are interested in getting exposure so they will work their way into articles that rank high on SERP. You can also check several large companies that you know or have worked with in the past, and the odds are they have an affiliate program.
Find a couple of businesses that seem like a good fit in terms of the line of business they’re in and give them a deeper look.
Find good payment terms
You’re mostly looking at the type of payment the affiliate program is offering and the cookie life. Some programs pay a fixed price for each qualified lead or 1000 views, some offer revenue share.
For instance, Coupler.io affiliate program offers revenue sharing. Affiliate partners get 50% off the first purchase and 20% off renewals. That means you can make money without having to do anything if the client stays with the company. On average, that would be $150-$500 per lead’s lifetime.
But B2B clients don’t make decisions on the spot. That’s why you should see how cookies work with the company you choose. In general, a lead gets assigned a cookie that works for 30 days since their first visit through the affiliate link. This means if they purchase a Coupler.io subscription within 30 days of seeing the website through the affiliate link, you get your commission.
Check their reviews
The last important thing is to check the reviews of the company you’re working with. Make sure it’s an established organization that has been around for a while and has good reviews. Otherwise, you could be taking part in a huge scam and paying for it with your own reputation.
Is LinkedIn good for affiliate marketing?
LinkedIn is somewhat of an untapped opportunity in terms of affiliate marketing. It’s not widely used, even though the platform can be used in multiple ways to generate revenue.
Find a decent affiliate offer that solves B2B problems for clients who spend time on LinkedIn. Experiment with the form of the content you publish, and you may find that it becomes a gold mine for you.Back to Blog