Affinity Marketing for the Small Business

by John Burke

2 min read

An affinity marketing program can help a business expand its customer base by partnering with another business in a customer referral program. Although some businesses rely on affinity marketing management firms to establish and manage these programs, many small businesses develop their own.

Affinity Marketing in Action

The American Association for Retired Persons established an affinity marketing relationship with Home Depot, featuring promotions in the AARP newsletter about bargains available to the association’s members at Home Depot. The program provided AARP members with an incentive to renew their memberships, and Home Depot won some new customers through AARP. While big businesses have the budgets to experiment with affinity marketing campaigns, small business owners can benefit from these programs with careful planning. Understanding your customer demographics and familiarity with the other small businesses in your area might be all you need for finding a campaign partner without incurring the expense of an affinity marketing program manager.

How to Build Customer Relationships With Affinity Marketing

Selecting an appropriate campaign partner can help brand your business with its targeted customers while avoiding a prolonged, expensive advertising campaign. These new customers can enjoy a perceived advantage of having group buying power and a sense of entitlement to an advantageous relationship with your business. Offering exclusive arrangements (beyond the promotional discounts) to customers from the program can help strengthen the bond they have with your company.

Using Your Small Business Blog in the Program

Your business’s blog and social media accounts can be effective tools for promoting your affinity marketing program. Offering downloadable coupons for use at your partner’s establishment can initiate the flow of customers between the two businesses, incentivizing your partner to reciprocate. If your partner provides its customers with coupons for your business, you can photograph the paper coupons with your smartphone or scan them for uploading to the QuickBooks Document Centre. Then, attach the coupons to transaction entries in your QuickBooks Online accounting software by simply hitting the paperclip button.

How to Build Customer Relationships With Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is an affinity marketing strategy involving a for-profit business with a nonprofit company or charity. While promoting your company’s products or services, you help raise money for the nonprofit. The 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study found that 83% of survey participants wanted to see support for causes provided by the retailers they used. Of those surveyed, 85% expressed a more positive impression for those products or brands which supported a cause they considered important. Consider these tips for developing a successful cause marketing campaign:

  • Give the program an easy-to-remember, inspiring name.
  • Use an effective visual image to explain the cause.
  • Emphasize the need for action to advance the cause.

Cause marketing is an effective way to reach your affinity marketing campaign’s goals because your partner’s participation in the campaign provides an implicit endorsement of your company’s products or services. When that endorsement comes from a charity or nonprofit, it can carry more weight with consumers. The time and expense you dedicate to an affinity marketing program could bring your business a significantly expanded customer base.

References & Resources

Related Articles

Online Content Strategies to Generate and Nurture Leads for Realtors

The internet has long since replaced the telephone book and other offline…

Read more

Do You Know How Much to Invest in Your Marketing?

You hear a lot about the magic number for a marketing budget…

Read more

4 Small Business Holiday Marketing Ideas

Outshine your competitors by developing a unique holiday marketing campaign. A brief…

Read more