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How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Animation Businesses

ben marvazi 2020

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There are many ways for small animation businesses to market their services. 

Various different marketing strategies are implemented and developed to increase profit. These strategies include email, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), and social media, as there are many benefits to each of them. 

Another strategy that can help you avoid upfront costs and minimize risk while increasing sales is affiliate marketing. If you want to start your own animation studio, you may have limited internal staff, which means there isn’t a marketing team dedicated to promoting your business yet. 

By running an affiliate program, you allow an external individual to promote your animated videos or animation services on your behalf. Affiliate marketing aims at generating revenue by promoting third-party animated videos and animation services.

What is Affiliate Marketing for Animation Businesses? 

animation of a spongebob character pulling down a graph to illustrate that affiliate marketing is explainable

GIF by Spongebob Squarepants via GIPHY

Affiliate marketing is the process whereby an individual earns a commission by promoting someone else’s products or services. Studies have shown 80% of advertisers or more have affiliate programs.

Three parties are involved in the affiliate marketing process; the merchant, the affiliate, and the customer.

The merchant is the party that owns the product or service. This can be anything from animation books, animated logo designs, art supplies, animation tools or software, etc.

The affiliate is the middleman that influences potential animation clients to purchase the product or service and earns commissions for successful sales. The promoter of your animation business will have an opportunity to earn passive income with minimal risk involved.

The customer is the party who buys the animation product or service from the affiliate. When a customer purchases through an affiliate link, the affiliate marketer earns a commission. As a small animation business, you would offer a financial incentive to those who promote and sell for you. 

According to Kasia Perzynska, more than 15,000 advertisers rely on affiliate marketing for part of their revenue today. Although businesses of all sizes can use affiliate marketing as part of their promotional strategy, it is particularly helpful for small businesses that are just starting out.

5 Ways Affiliate Marketing Can Help Your Animation Business

Now that we’ve covered what affiliate marketing is and how it can be used as part of your marketing strategy, let’s take a look at the additional benefits for your animation business.

1) Expand Reach and Brand Awareness:
a man signing "expand" as the first benefit of affiliate marketing is to expand your brand

GIF by Sign with Robert via GIPHY

Every animation business’s online goal is to be easily recognized by potential clients. Affiliate marketing allows you to broaden your marketing campaign’s reach and connect to a larger audience to purchase your animated videos or animation services. 

As affiliates drive traffic to your website, they increase brand awareness and reach a broader targeted audience. Because affiliates earn a share of your revenue, they are interested in your brand’s success and help build trust with potential customers.

2) Increase Social Proof
a graph showing an increase in social proofing meaning more credibility

GIF by Linksi101 via GIPHY

According to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers today will read reviews before making a purchase. This proves that reviews are an important part of the consumer’s decision-making process and that they value the opinions of fellow consumers. 

When an animation business builds trust with its audience, its affiliate product or service reviews provide credible social proof to potential animation customers.

3) Save Money
a woman telling you to save money as an affiliate program can help you with that

GIF by Ramsey Solutions via GIPHY

Limited start-up costs are needed to start an affiliate program. It is far more cost-effective when compared to the costs of advertising and other marketing initiatives. 

Despite the fact the commission structure for affiliates is up to you, most affiliates are only paid when they generate a sale. Because the affiliate model is performance-based, you can avoid wasting money on profitless ad campaigns for your animation start-up.

Once your affiliate program is set up and running, it requires minimal time and resources to maintain, and you as an animator will be able to focus on your core animation business while your affiliates concentrate on generating revenue.

4) Offers a Higher Return On Investment (ROI)
a woman describing exclaiming "higher" as affiliate marketing offers higher ROIs

GIF by ABC Network via GIPHY

One of the main reasons animation start-ups should utilize affiliates to promote and sell products and services is its high ROI. The affiliate model is structured for profitability. Most businesses usually pay commissions for sales but not necessarily impressions or clicks.

5) Boost Conversion Rates
patrick getting a boost from spongebob similar to the boost in conversion rates from affiliate marketing

GIF by Spongebob Squarepants via GIPHY

Tracking your animation business’ online performance allows you to make improvements in the future. You can easily collect data through affiliate marketing tracking, which provides insights into where your potential animation clients come from and why they are buying.

This data can help you improve conversions by changing your animation website and identifying high-performing affiliates. Conversions happen when a visitor on your animation website accomplishes your desired goals, such as making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter.

How To Set Up An Affiliate Marketing for Your Animation Business 

I can tell you're interested in setting up an affiliate program for your animation studio as you've read this far. There are a few steps to consider before reaching out to affiliates to promote your products and services.

1) Establish Your Brand Identity
a man saying "this is who we are" - establishing his brand

GIF by Mayans M.C via GIPHY

Before launching your program, you need to have a strong brand identity for your animation business to properly promote your animation services. 

Experienced affiliate marketers will only work with a company that’s product or services have a good reputation. This also helps affiliates reflect your animation brand in their social media or blog posts.

2) Determine Your Animation Goals
a woman asking "well, what is your goal" for you to determine your goals for your affiliate program

GIF by Yellowstone via GIPHY

With any marketing initiative, the most important step is to determine what your goals are. These include:

  • The type of animation clients you want to reach through your program
  • The types of affiliates that will promote and sell your animation services or other products you endorse.

Next, you should set up measurable goals to determine how successful your program is. These include:

  • How much revenue do your affiliates bring in per month, quarter or year
  • For conversion rates, determine how often you want people to make a purchase through affiliate links
  • You can set goals for impressions, clicks, and leads you’d like affiliates to bring in within a given timeframe/period.
3) Analyze Your Competition
2 men look at the camera as they "survey the competition"

GIF by Baywatch Movie via GIPHY

Before setting up your own affiliate program, it would be helpful for you to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your animation competitors. Your first step is to look for affiliate programs within the animation industry. 

You can do so by a simple Google search or using relevant keywords on social media. Example: “(competitor name) affiliates/affiliate program/affiliate marketing”.

The results will also reveal influential users. You can view their profiles to see whether they’re affiliates for your competitors.

4) Decide On An Animation Commission Structure
a girl thinking as she decides the commission structure for her affiliates

GIF by Tkay Maidza via GIPHY

Use your competitive analysis to determine how you will pay your animation affiliates. Before you decide on what percentage of the cost of the product/service you will pay your affiliates, there are a few things to consider:

Although you want to remain competitive to attract affiliates, you have to consider your business’s needs. These include your customer acquisition costs, retention rate, and customer lifetime value. 

You can then decide whether you’ll pay your affiliates a set amount for each sale or a percentage of each sale they make. You will also need to choose between different compensation methods

This can be store credit or a commission paid in cash. Usually, the latter is more appealing to affiliates.

5) Recruit Affiliates
a woman pointing at the camera and pulling you in - so that you can recruit affiliates


Your affiliate can be an animation influencer or a blogger. What matters is that their platform contains quality content within your niche. 

Pay attention to whether they have an engaged following and if their online presence aligns with your brand.

You can list your affiliate program on affiliate forums and directories, but it won’t be as effective as seeking them out on social media where you can build a relationship first.

  • Your Animation Website

Before actively seeking out affiliates on other sites, remember that visitors on your page already have an interest in what you have to offer. 

These visitors could be potential affiliate marketers, so make sure that your animation website has a link to your affiliate program. You can insert a sign-up to your program in your footer. 

  • Animation Social Media

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s dive into how using social media as a tool is better than using directories. As stated above, establishing a relationship first is important. 

People respond better to genuine connections rather than a sales-y approach. Below are some social media networks to consider:

When looking for affiliates on Facebook, you should join groups where your target affiliates are active. These groups would be product or affiliate-centric. 

By searching the hashtag #animation, you can scroll through the results to find people who do sketches or motion pictures. Make sure that the people who grab your attention have an engaged audience who would use the product or service they recommend.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter’s search bar allows you to search keywords and keyword phrases. This allows you to narrow down the audience. 

For example, searching for "affiliate animation” or “affiliate animators” would show more specific results than just “animation”.

Once you’ve narrowed down potential affiliates you’d like to work with, consider inviting these animation influencers to review your products or services. Allow them to test your endorsed products or animation services for free before introducing them to your affiliate program. Thereafter, you can ask them to post detailed reviews on their page. 

This may seem like a time-consuming process, but building a connection first will pay off in the long run. Allowing them to test your endorsed products or animation services first ensures trust between you and the potential animation affiliate.

For bloggers, you can get them to write comparison articles featuring your business. For example, your animated logos vs. other options. This would showcase your service in a way that helps potential clients get an insight into both options. 

Once you’ve recruited your animation affiliates, encourage them to strengthen their knowledge through an affiliate marketing course. This will pay dividends for you, the merchant, and the affiliate.

It would also be beneficial to provide promotional resources, such as creative assets and banners to use on their page. This will allow you to have more control over your brand messaging.

To ensure a good relationship with your affiliates, incentives are a great way to acknowledge their hard work. This can include offering bonuses, higher commissions to top-performing affiliates, and discounts.

6. Sign A Contract
two men shake hands as they agree on signing a contract

GIF by The Office via GIPHY

Once everything is in place to run the program, make sure the terms of your affiliate program are clear before seeking out affiliates. Important facts about your program that need to be clear are:

  • Payment options
  • Payment methods used
  • Minimum Payout 
  • Commission structure
  • Product Reputation
  • Cookie duration
  • How conversions are tracked

Sign a contract so each party is aware of what to expect and that there is no miscommunication in the future. You can make it a one-year contract with the option to renew.

Why You Need Affiliate Marketing For Animation Businesses

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

As an animation start-up with limited staff, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your animation services without breaking the bank. Affiliate marketing involves three parties: the owner, the affiliate, and the customer. 

The affiliate is the middleman that influences potential animation clients to buy your endorsed products or animation services. Every time a sale is made through an affiliate link, they earn a commission. 

5 Ways Affiliate Marketing Can Help Your Animation Business includes: 

1) Expand Reach and Brand Awareness: Affiliate marketing broadens your marketing campaign’s reach and allows you to connect with a larger audience. 

2) Increase Social Proof: Consumers value reviews, making them an intricate part of their decision-making process. When an animation business builds trust with its audience, the affiliate product or service reviews provide credible social proof to potential clients. 

3) Save Money: Limited animation start-up costs are needed to start an affiliate program. You can avoid wasting money on profitless campaigns since affiliates are only paid when they make a sale. 

4) Offers a Higher ROI: The affiliate model is structured for profitability.  

5) Boost Conversion Rates: Affiliate marketing tracking gives you valuable insight into your potential client’s activity. This data can help you improve your online performance and identify top-performing affiliates. 

Before reaching out to affiliates, use the following steps to set up your affiliate program

1) Establish Your Brand Identity: Experienced affiliates will only want to work with an animation business with a good reputation. This will also help affiliates to accurately reflect your brand in their posts. 

2) Determine Your Animation Goals: Determine your target audience and the type of affiliates you want to promote what you have to offer. You should also set up measurable goals to determine the success of your program. 

3) Analyze Your Competition: Look for affiliate programs within the animation niche and pay attention to your competitors' strengths and weaknesses.  

4) Decide On An Animation Commission Structure: Consider your business’s needs first. Thereafter, you can decide how you will pay your affiliates. 

5) Recruit Affiliates: This can be anyone with a platform that contains quality content and an engaged following. Social media is the best place to seek out affiliate marketers. 

Once you’ve narrowed down potential affiliates, it’s important to build an authentic relationship with them first. It is also important for you to provide them with resources, and maintain a good relationship through incentives. 

6) Sign A Contract: Make sure the terms of your affiliate program are clear so that there is no miscommunication in the future.  

For more tips on how to grow your freelance animation business, set up an affiliate marketing program, or become an animation studio owner, be sure to sign up for our free masterclass and download a copy of our free marketing handbook.

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