A Supercharged Solution for the Modern Brand: Affiliate Marketing (what Noah Tucker calls the "secret sauce")
What’s a crucial part of any marketing strategy?
Social Snowball takes the traditional components of affiliate marketing and transforms them into supercharged solutions designed for any modern ecommerce brand.
To learn more about how Social Snowball is redefining affiliate marketing, the Tydo team sat down with Noah Tucker to chat about best practices, community-building tactics, and the future of affiliate.
The Secret Sauce: Affiliate Programs
So, where did the idea for Social Snowball come from?
Noah’s experience building Shopify sites, running ads, and working with influencers led him to Social Snowball. As a freelancer, Tucker’s secret sauce was creating affiliate programs for brands—something he always kept in his back pocket that attracted impressive results.
“Customers want to join a community,” he explains. “They want to have a discount code with their name in it, and they want to share it with friends.”
Tucker also recognized the emotional aspect of affiliate programs too.
There’s a sense of exclusivity to a personal affiliate or discount code. In addition to the personalized layer, the sheer act of launching an affiliate program boosts revenue for brands.
He saw a need for a customer-focused affiliate program, especially because of two frustrations with existing tools:
- The discrepancy in quality between brand websites and affiliate sign-up forms
- The lack of automation for the affiliate program process
With the help of a small team, Tucker created the first iteration of Social Snowball to address these issues.
After 15 months of fine-tuning their product, Social Snowball was added to the Shopify App Store.
“Affiliate tools were lacking in multiple ways. Every Shopify merchant was struggling, and there was a need for something better. That’s why I started Social Snowball.”
Affiliate Marketing Meets Community
Tucker shares the benefits of affiliate as it relates to the larger brand picture.
He says, “It's a way to get more customers involved and engaged in a brand’s community. You’re rewarding them with cash, and people love referring their friends to brands they love.”
Plus, affiliate programs are a new customer acquisition tool. Since paid media costs are rising, brands are branching out and looking for new, reliable ways to scale.
“Social Snowball enables marketing to come from your fans and the people who are already part of your brand. In many ways, your customers become a scalable, new customer acquisition source,” notes Tucker.
Affiliate programs also help brands create community too.
Inherently, affiliates generate content, which drives attention and sales. Brands are sourcing that content from social platforms as well as community-building apps.
“Merchants are getting creative. They’re creating Discord, Slack, or Facebook groups for their affiliate programs. Other merchants are running competitions and giveaways,” he says, “How far they take the community building part is really up to the merchant, but there are tons of opportunities.”
“By simply having an affiliate program, you're helping your brand build community and encouraging customers to contribute to it.”
Soaring or Falling Flat? How Ecommerce Brands Maximize or Miss Out On Affiliate Value
Social Snowball doesn’t encourage brands to build exclusive affiliate programs and then add customers. Rather, they empower brands to include all customers in their affiliate program from the very start.
“We encourage merchants to treat their affiliate program similar to how they treat other retention marketing channels,” says Tucker.
Social Snowball is integrated with platforms such as Postscript and Klaviyo, so brands can use the tools already at their disposal and where their customers already exist. Leveraging these tools, brands can send personalized messages to customers.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes Tucker sees as brands launch affiliate programs?
Brands don’t offer a significant enough discount to make a referral code worthwhile.
For example, “A customer might grab a referral code for 10% off, only to realize that they get the same discount—or even more—if they sign up for the brand’s emails,” says Tucker.
Without a strong discount, customers have no incentive to use affiliate codes, and then, the results are less than stellar.
“There’s a real opportunity to acquire new customers through an affiliate program.”
Affiliate Program Best Practices
To run a successful affiliate marketing program, Tucker recommends focusing on the following:
- Reminders: Push customers to share their referral codes for cashback
- Educational content: Send messages to customers helping them understand the benefits of affiliate
- Inspirational content: Highlight wins and share tips from current affiliates to motivate customers to share referral codes
What else should brands consider? Data.
For Tucker and the Social Snowball team, user experience is key—for all parties involved. Instead of focusing on a single payout system (typically troublesome for both brands and customers), Social Snowball offers a seamless system that includes bank transfers, various payment platforms, and even gift cards.
Social Snowball offers around 700 different options for payouts, says Tucker. Once a merchant is ready, they can send payouts in bulk with only a couple of clicks.
Tucker also notes that Social Snowball doesn’t measure success by ROI. Instead, he prefers to look at metrics such as gross merchandise value (GMV). His goal: increase the percentage of a brand’s GMV comprised of affiliate marketing.
“Of course, we want an ROI,” Tucker explains, “but we also want to maximize the percentage of their GMV that is affiliate.”
Currently, the average percentage of GMV through customer-focused referral programs is less than one percent. But, Social Snowball sees numbers between three and eight percent amongst brands using the service.
So, what does the future of affiliate programs look like to Tucker? The future is recognizing that everyone is an affiliate.
“Affiliate is an attribution model you can rely on. I see a world where everyone is an affiliate, and it’s a frictionless experience all around, especially if you’re using Social Snowball.”
Report Cards is a customized glimpse into your business, delivered to your inbox for free.
Report Cards consolidates all your key metrics across platforms for an at-a-glance pulse of your business.
Discover metrics for every team member so they can stay updated with the right data on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It's free because we believe everyone should have access to the basics.
Portfolio is a hub for analytics across multiple Shopify stores. The perfect tool for agencies.
See an aggregate view of all your data for all your stores in one place.
Make real time assessments on marketing initiatives across every storefront you manage.
Analyze the performance of one store versus another in seconds.