Affiliate marketing is a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow in scale. Research shows that affiliate partners account for almost a fifth of all e-commerce orders today — and revenue is expected to keep growing 10% annually.
This success comes from consumers’ trust in affiliate partners, offering brands:
- Exposure to broader audiences backed by social proof
- Improved search engine optimization (SEO) rankings
- Cost-effective, incentive-based promotion
But partners’ ability to generate new leads depends on the support they receive. The most effective affiliate marketing strategy ensures that these promoters have the right creative inventory to represent — and sell — your brand.
What Is a Creative Inventory?
Your affiliate program’s creative inventory is a set of marketing materials that promote your e-commerce store. Your affiliate partners can then add these creative items to their own websites, newsletters, or social media accounts, endorsing your products and services.
Building and managing this inventory doesn’t just make it easier for affiliates to bring in profits on your behalf. These creative marketing materials also help to:
- Maintain brand and message consistency
- Ensure all partners are promoting the right offers and products
- Optimize brand placement on affiliate sites
- Attract high-value partners by showing your commitment to their success
After all, as commission-based promoters, affiliate partners want your products and services to thrive. But they’ll devote their energy to brands that invest in this success with resources that boost click-through-rates, attract buyers’ interest, and land conversions.
These creative affiliate marketing tips make your program management easier as well. A standardized set of creatives keeps your whole team working in sync, with results improving over time. By following analytics for individual creatives, you can keep optimizing your inventory based on what works — and what fails — to attract your target market.
Banners are image-based advertisements that your affiliates place to direct their audience to your website. Those with a simple design and single call to action (CTA) ensure the banner’s intent is clear, better attracting the audience’s attention.
To design a banner that converts:
- Use high-quality graphics and easy-to-read fonts.
- Avoid grammar errors, excessive animation, and poor contrast.
- Optimize your content for mobile devices.
- Ensure the file loads quickly.
- Align the banner’s message to general promotions that won’t lose relevance as your program scales up.
Affiliate sites come in all designs and layouts — so your inventory needs to accommodate partners’ needs. Keeping your inventory stocked with compatible banner options encourages better placement on affiliate sites while facilitating easier program recruitment.
The most popular banner sizes for affiliate programs include:
- 88-by-31-pixel button
- 468 by 60 pixels
- 125 by 125 pixels
- 120 by 600 pixels
But as you gain more interest from affiliates, your inventory should evolve alongside this growth. Creating custom banner sizes and even color schemes for high-value partners supports their success, helps them prioritize your products, and encourages new top promoters to join your team.
An evergreen banner inventory helps creative items enjoy a long life span. You’ll need to update these banners in cases like rebranding, new URL links, or revised promotional terms. But in general, this stock serves as the foundation for your affiliate marketing team.
All-purpose inventories make it challenging to promote short-term offers through affiliates, however. A dedicated set of dynamic banners meets this need, helping to harness affiliate traffic anytime you run a special deal or sale.
Dynamic banners come with the same set of best practices as their static counterparts. But their functionality gives you more control over what your partners promote — and when. Anytime you need to make a change to a banner’s content — like a new image, landing page, or CTA — it will update across your entire base automatically.
As visual calls to action, banners are effective in catching a potential customer’s eye. But your audience visits an affiliate’s site for the content, not ads.
Text links are CTAs embedded right into this content — and research shows they drive as many as twice the conversions as affiliate banners alone.
You should provide your affiliates with specific, categorized text links they can easily drop into relevant content. But keep in mind that your affiliates are often niche experts — and you can use this to your advantage.
Deep linking means that affiliates can generate custom tracking links to any landing page on your site. Allowing affiliates this option leverages their knowledge to promote products they think will best resonate with their audience, boosting those sales.
Don’t limit your affiliate marketing strategy to website content. Including social media creatives in your program inventory opens up exposure to even broader markets. Since social posts are easily shareable, their potential to scale is limitless.
The fast-paced nature of social media also makes it easier to promote specific products, short-term offers, and new launches. You first need to know where your target audience is most active — whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other channels.
Next, create banners and text in line with each platform’s best practices, including:
- Size requirements
- Voice and tone
- Imagery that performs best
- Hashtags, keywords, and character limitations
A versatile creative inventory helps you reach new customers wherever your affiliates engage their audience. This exposure alone doesn’t guarantee a lead will make a purchase, however.
The landing pages that your creative items link to need to keep potential buyers in the sales funnel, encouraging conversion. Optimize these landing pages with user-oriented features like:
- Automated shopping cart reminders
- Live chat to field customer questions
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Customer testimonials and reviews to build social proof
- Mobile compatibility so your pages look great — and can process sales — on any device
When affiliate links direct potential buyers to pages grounded in a great user experience, you’re not just inspiring better sales. Your partners also gain confidence in your program’s ability to generate profits — and they’ll prioritize your products’ promotion as a result.
Direct email is a powerful way to engage and manage your affiliate partners. With features like automated drip sequences, you can seamlessly onboard new partners as they learn more about your business, products, and incentives.
But it’s also an excellent tool to enhance your creative inventory’s performance. Send your affiliates a regular newsletter that helps them improve their success in your program, with:
- Data that shows which banners, text links, and landing pages net the most conversions
- Top-performing keyword lists for different products
- Advanced notice of upcoming promotions, offers, and sales
- Referral links to encourage program growth
Designing a great creative inventory drives better results. You might consider a graphic design subscription service. By empowering your partners with strategic resources, you facilitate their success — and yours — in the process. Check out our full affiliate program setup guide for more affiliate marketing tips to design a program that works the way you want it to.
At LeadDyno, we get your program off the ground in no time with quick integration to more than 25 e-commerce platforms. As soon as you get started, you can create marketing campaigns, engage and pay affiliates, customize branding, and analyze your efforts all from one easy-to-use portal.