Recruiting strong partners is a key element of building a successful partner program. Determining the best types of partners for your brand will depend on your business vertical, your product or service offerings, and your marketing goals.
Every program will vary, and evaluating your goals will be the best starting point to getting the right mix of partners. Remember that different types of partners can bring value in different ways—great partners are great for more reasons than just what category they fit into.
In this guide, we'll talk about the different types of partners and how they can benefit your brand. As you go through the guide, keep your goals in mind. Do you want to drive sales? Raise brand awareness? Increase free trial signups? Use these goals to evaluate which partner segments have the potential to become strong partners for your brand.
Traditional affiliates predominantly utilize cashback, loyalty, and coupon promotional methods. This is a great place to start if you're new to partnerships, since most traditional affiliate partners understand exactly how partnerships work, are well-versed in driving traffic and sales, and don't take much time to get up and running.
Popular types of Traditional Affiliates:
Where customers receive a percentage or fixed amount of cashback from the total amount of their purchases.
Where customers earn rewards or points for their purchases or from platform memberships.
Where customers are offered public or exclusive promotions and coupons.
You are a retail brand that sells children's clothing and you're having a back-to-school sale. You partner with a coupon site to promote a seasonal 30% off coupon. The coupon is shown on the partner's main page so that browsing customers see the promotion. Customers can select the coupon to simultaneously copy the coupon code and be redirected to your children's clothing page. This makes check-out easy for the customer and increases sales during your promotion.
Social media influencers can help you reach new audiences and increase public engagement. These partners are able to affect the purchasing decisions of others due to their relationship with their audience. They use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube to promote products and services to their audiences.
Influencers can be largely beneficial for growing brand awareness, educating customers, and improving brand trust amongst their loyal audiences.
You run a fitness app and want to drive new installs of your free app to increase revenue from in-app upsells. You reach out to an influencer whose posts focus on fitness, and who has a large follower base. The influencer agrees to post an Instagram story featuring a short video of them using your app during a workout. The influencer's followers are intrigued by the story and want to learn more about your app and brand, increasing your brand awareness which ultimately leads to increased traffic and new unique installs.
Mobile partners allow your brand to connect with consumers anytime, anywhere. These partners may promote via SMS texts, mobile apps, or voice search. A benefit of working with mobile partners is that they can serve highly targeted promotions to their user base.
Recruiting these partners can help raise brand awareness and drive traffic straight into your brand's app, which improves the customer experience and can ultimately lead to increased installs and conversions.
You are a small business that specializes in organic pet food. You want a fun, interesting way to promote your pet food and garner interest in your app, which offers a monthly subscription to product bundles. You partner with a mobile gaming app, who shows your advertisements between each level of their virtual-pet game. Players of the game will see your ad, and can click through to install your app and look over your subscription bundles.
These mutually beneficial partnerships leverage co-branding between similar or complementary industries in order to increase sales, customer engagement, and mindshare for all brands involved. Essentially, you would be partnering with other brands whose products or audiences complement your own.
These partnerships require strategy, and although they can take some legwork to get off the ground, they can provide you with significant opportunities for revenue growth and co-branded loyalty.
You are a brand that offers commercial accounting services. You partner with another brand that sells tax-preparation software. The tax-prep brand promotes your financial services to its customers, and you promote their software to your customers. Your mutual teams come up with co-branded marketing strategies to build trust between the loyal customers that already rely on the offerings of each brand.
Charities and nonprofit organizations make great partners. Many have an extensive donor base that you can tap into, unlocking new customers who are not yet familiar with your brand. In these partnerships, the customer sees a percentage or dollar amount of their purchases going directly to the causes that they care about.
Partnering with charities is a great way to give back to the community while supporting a positive brand image and increasing your customer reach.
You are a retail brand that sells a variety of consumer goods. You want to foster a positive public perception of your brand, so you partner with a national charity to feed the hungry. Whenever a customer buys certain products on your site, a percentage of their purchase will go directly to the charity partner to support their network of food banks. The charity partner also promotes your partnership on their own website and social media, thereby introducing new customers to your brand and spreading the word about your charitable contributions.
These partners create authentic, native, and integrated content such as gift lists, how-to guides, product reviews, and comparison shopping guides. There is a growing demand for partners that produce original content regularly across all verticals. Popular partners like bloggers, vloggers and podcasts fall into this category.
Content partners are great at driving interest and creating new consumer demand for your products or services. They fit well with brands looking to widen their consumer reach across different niches.
You sell internet security software and want to get the word out about your new product. You partner with a popular tech review site that writes an authentic review after testing the software for themselves. They add you to an article where they rate various security software products. Since they loved your software and gave it a high rating, you see an uptick in new unique visitors on your site after the article goes live.
Display partners serve your company's ads on their own website, or on a network of contracted websites. These partners are great for driving traffic. Customers see your banners or other visually-focused ads while browsing online and can click through to get to your website or product pages.
Display partners are great for familiarizing your intended audience with your brand. They're also beneficial for retargeting website visitors, and supporting brand visibility.
You sell beauty products and your website has the functionality for visitors to save favorite products that can be easily added to a cart later. You know that anyone who has saved favorites already has an interest in your products, but they might need an extra nudge to make a purchase. You partner with a display network who targets your ads to any visitor that saves favorites on your site. Those consumers will now see your product ads while browsing other online sites that participate in the display network. Customers will feel more familiar with your brand and will be more likely to click through the ad to go back to your site and make a purchase.
Media House partners offer a variety of publishing outlets where they promote products or services. These outlets could include news sites, online magazines, or content networks amongst others. A Media House's partners usually align into a specific content niche.
For example, a Media House could specialize in the Home & Garden niche, and their publishing outlets could include online DIY magazines, gardening forums, or interior decorating sites.
These partners are perfect for expanding your customer-base by getting your brand in front of loyal readers, as well as for building brand trust, which leads to increased sales and conversions.
Your brand sells small kitchen appliances. You are a newer company and you're looking to build trust in your brand, so that customers don't go with the competition solely due to being unfamiliar with your brand name. You partner with a large Media House that specializes in home and food. They place links to your appliances throughout the recipes that are hosted on their food sites, and they also mention your toaster as a staff pick in an article about registry gifts on a popular wedding magazine. Consumers begin to see your brand as being trusted by professionals in the space, and will be more likely to choose you over the competition.
Sub-affiliate networks offer a tiered approach to affiliate partnerships. Partners can sign up to be a part of the network (i.e. “sub-affiliates”), and the network provides them with access to multiple brands' promotions. The sub-affiliate network joins a partner program as a single entity, representative of all the sub-affiliates that are housed within their network.
Commissions collected by the network are passed down to respective sub-affiliates for their revenue share of promotions. This enables partners to take part in affiliate partnerships without having to join a program themselves.
Sub-affiliate networks could have hundreds, or even thousands, of affiliates housed within their network, enabling brands to share their offers with large numbers of partners without forming direct relationships with each of them. This can be beneficial for brands who are looking to grow their program at scale with relative ease. In addition, these networks can drive significant traffic, sales, and revenue.
You're launching a new product line of keto-friendly snacks and need to start promoting your line to as many people as possible. You partner with a sub-affiliate network with hundreds of health-based sub-affiliates. The network sends out an email to all of their relevant sub-affiliates to announce your new line. Soon after, you see traffic coming in from various websites that all work as sub-affiliates of the larger network. Instead of dealing with multiple partners yourself, you only deal with the network, which allows you to scale quickly and with less effort than if you were to build a similar network of partners from scratch.
To view different types of partners within Impact, navigate to the Discover page where you can find new partners and invite them to join your program by proposing a contract.
At the top of the Discover page, next to the Home tab, you'll see a few quick links to partner types such as Influencers or Mobile App.
Select the More tab to reveal more of the partner types discussed above.
Please note that some partner types listed on the dropdown have been rolled into their principal types mentioned throughout this article.
For instructions on how to find new partners in Discover, as well as how to propose a contract to a partner, see our help article Discover New Partners.