Building your salon’s affiliate strategy beyond voucher codes

In the beauty sector, offering voucher codes is a popular way of boosting sales. However, if you want to fully develop your affiliate marketing campaign, you’ll need to look at strategies that move beyond them. Here, Virginia Rizzi, head of affiliate marketing at Glass Digital, explains how you can do this.

Over the last few months, things have been difficult for the hair and beauty sector, as the COVID-19 lockdown forced businesses in the UK to shut their doors. Now, with restrictions easing, many salons will be looking to hit the ground running and maximise their sales to make up for that lost revenue.

One effective way to boost sales is via affiliate marketing, which involves working with publishers to drive traffic to your website in exchange for commission when there is a conversion. However, in the beauty sector, affiliate marketing tends to depend heavily on using voucher codes to attract customers. While coupons and deals certainly have an important role to play in your strategy, they need to be carefully managed to ensure they don’t eat into your profit margins.

As a salon owner, it’s important to know that there are other strategies beyond voucher codes that are really worth leveraging to make the most of your affiliate campaign. Below, I will share some advice to help you build a strategy that goes beyond coupons.

Find well-matched influencers in your niche

While you may already be working with a number of websites and blogs as part of your affiliate campaign, it’s important that you have a core of well-matched influencers that are very relevant to your brand and match your ethos. When they’re set up as affiliates and begin to recommend your brand, you will be more likely to see your conversion rate increase.

Why will this happen? Well, while influencers won’t drive the same level of traffic as an established website, the people that do click through will be much closer to your target audience, provided you’ve chosen to work with someone matching your brand. This essentially means you’re panning for gold in a much smaller river, but it’s one filled with larger nuggets, rather than flakes. They should also enjoy a more authentic relationship with their followers, so when they recommend you, those that click through are more likely to trust their opinion.

The trickiest part of this approach is finding influencers that closely match your brand. Though it’s still important to check out the numbers behind their reach, engagement, audience demographic and follower growth, you will also want to pay attention to their non-quantifiable qualities. Do they align with your brand values? Is there tone of voice a good fit? Have they got a healthy interaction with their followers? These are all questions you’ll need to ask to find a good match.

Leverage the power of reviews

In my experience, I’ve found that a positive review of your services can go a very long way. By providing a product or service to a client or influencer so that they can give their opinion, you’re not only securing a route for conversions, you’re also gaining valuable word of mouth coverage for your brand. Provided the review was positive, people who follow the influencer and those who come across the review organically will be more likely to take note and click through.

Of course, affiliate reviews are a more complicated than simply exchanging goods or services for an opinion. Any back link to your site will contain a personalised tracking code that records those that click it, so any booking made as a result of their referral will be recorded. You’ll then pay commission to the influencer, usually as a cut of your takings or as a discount on your services.

The big advantage of this approach is that you have full control over how and when you pay out, so you can adjust these parameters to ensure your campaign provides value for money and your profit margins are protected. This may be helpful in the current circumstances, where many beauty brands are having to carefully manage their finances to remain healthy.

However, before you go ahead and start organising reviews, remember that you should always strive for honesty. It’s only natural to want positive reviews, but it’s vital that you are hands-off when it comes to an influencer publishing their opinion. Readers will only judge a review trustworthy if they feel it’s balanced and unbiased. It’s also vital that there is a high level of transparency over whether an influencer has received a free product or service to stay within advertising laws.

You should also look to feature customer reviews and make them highly visible on your site, as potential clients will be more likely to convert if they can see you offer an outstanding product or service. It may be worth signing up to an independent review site where people can leave their honest opinions, and whose rating you can proudly display.

Affiliate marketing can be a real asset to your salon, but you’ll need to look beyond those discount codes to really get the most out of your campaign. Follow my advice and you’ll be well on the way to boosting your affiliate conversions.