Customer journey and affiliate marketing - what to look out for

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How can you ensure that your company provides the best possible experience for all customers? How do you reduce drop off points and clearly communicate your message at all points? And what role does Affiliate marketing in the marketing mix to tap into new target groups and ultimately turn them into loyal customers?

In this guidebook we are dedicated to the Customer trip from the first click to closing the sale and show you what to look out for when interacting with affiliates and how to create a lean sales funnel that really engages users.

PowerPoint Template: Effective Marketing Thanks to Customer Journey Map - Download

What role does the customer journey play in affiliate marketing?

Working with affiliates sounds immediately appealing to many marketing teams. After all, it allows companies to create a already existing range as leverage and present your product to a broad mass. Add to this the organic effect of carefully selected affiliates, and in the best case credible brand ambassadors will stand in front of the camera or write about you in their blog articles.

However, this also places special demands on marketing, because this approach can only really work well with a detailed knowledge of the target group. Do you manage to create one or more Personas you have already created an important foundation. And yet, you should not underestimate the commitment that affiliate marketing requires.

Work with appropriate affiliates that appeal to your target audience.
Work with appropriate affiliates that appeal to your target audience (

Because, by definition, your campaign does not necessarily feed on interest in your product or on the curiosity that your advertising has generated, but comes from third parties - and that has very clear implications for the Customer Journey. The indirect approach to your product often ensures that we see it with a much more indirect customer journey have to do and something more effort needed But this has two advantages for you: With the right awareness and intensive analysis you can select the affiliates that really fit. Many competitors are not willing to invest in this work and simply give up when quick results fail to materialize. This means more room for your business to flourish in cooperation with affiliates.

Affiliate marketing can drastically shorten the customer journey.
Affiliate marketing can drastically shorten the customer journey (Image:

The sales funnel in affiliate marketing - an overview of the four stages


In the first step, potential customers must have a Awareness for your company or brand. Affiliate marketing is ideally suited for this, because if you and your affiliates already share a target group, you will address exactly the right users with your message.

If you want to create more awareness about your company, the quality of the content is the most important thing.


In the second phase, users are already familiar with your company and enter into closer contact. This can be done via Social media This can take place via your website or via links in blogs. In this phase, future customers gather more information about your products and services and get more details that might have been missed in the affiliate campaigns.


For many customers, the purchase takes place at this point in the customer journey. Often they find an offer on the website or they receive a discount code from affiliates which they use for checkout. It is not uncommon for customers to even actively search for coupon codes with the well-known affiliates.

Discount codes from affiliates are helpful for purchase completion along the customer journey
Discount codes and coupons are attractive to customers and are becoming increasingly important.


In some cases, the shopping cart was abandoned before the transaction, sometimes the website was closed, or else no further transactions followed after an initial purchase. Now it's time for targeted retargeting. You can often lure customers back with coupon codes or promotions on new products. In this step you need a detailed analysis the Pain Points and Incentivesto make your retargeting as efficient as possible.

How to analyze and understand affiliate marketing correctly

The important thing about the sales funnel in the context of affiliate marketing is that you can change the concept from a linear customer experience Give up. To think that the four stages of the sales funnel refer to a relationship of your company, a single customer and an affiliate would be a fallacy.

Instead, your affiliate concept should be set up so that you use the right affiliates at each stage. For example, the needs of awareness and exploration are best served by affiliates who can provide you with high-quality content: Influencers, vloggers, or writers on subject-related blogs. This step is not necessarily about discount codes, but about Brand Awareness and arousing curiosity.

Brand awareness is just one of the benefits of affiliate marketing.
Brand awareness is just one of the benefits of affiliate marketing. (Image:

If some affiliates provide faster conversions than others, these collaborations are not necessarily better, they often take place only at the end of the customer journey. This often makes it difficult to monetize affiliates, and you should by no means take discount code usage as the only metric of a successful affiliate. Content creators who build awareness of your brand at an early stage with excellent content with high reach are by no means less valuable to your marketing than discount coupons at the end of the sales funnel.

Accordingly, affiliates are also often divided into three categories:

  • Introducer - First contact
  • Influencer - Extended contact
  • Closer - Last contact before conversion

For the exploration phase, you should rely specifically on social media, typically users use videos and posts here to learn more about products and brands and get authentic reviews. When future customers are actually close to making a purchase, often the only thing that matters is the best price. This means that you should build presence here with discount or coupon sites, especially with comparatively older target groups. For younger users, well-indexed video descriptions and social media posts or regular collaborations with podcasts are more relevant.

To draw better conclusions from your data, you should track your affiliate campaigns across all channels and, most importantly, focus on consistent messaging.

PowerPoint Template: Effective Marketing Thanks to Customer Journey Map - Download

Understand the customer journey in detail to attract better affiliates

Companies still rely on the "last cookie wins" strategy to compensate affiliates. However, this is not only based on the misunderstanding of a completely weakened customer journey, but also on a linear model from brand contact to conversion.
However, it should be clear that a customer journey rarely takes place in this way in reality, given the abundance of the web and the possibilities offered by online marketing and retargeting.

If you understand that diversified affiliate marketing can pick up and engage your customers at every step of the customer journey, your brand will benefit. In addition, you can find the right affiliates for each step of the sales funnel and are not only interesting for closers. This makes your affiliate marketing more informative and sustainable and doesn't put conversions before brand awareness.


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