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Affiliate Marketing

What It Looks Like to Cross-Sell Financial Products Through Affiliate Marketing

Caoimhe Ryan

Caoimhe Ryan

Affiliate Relationship Manager
  • Last Updated: March 7, 2024

In This Article

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Cross-selling and upselling are age-old strategies for encouraging existing customers to spend more money with a brand. While they are most commonly used in a retail setting, banks and other financial institutions have proven that they are useful techniques for promoting and selling financial products to their existing members. But what happens when we add affiliate marketing to the mix? 

Are you a financial brand looking to extend your cross-selling capabilities through an affiliate program? We can help. Reach out to our team of experts.

Most commonly, marketers at financial institutions use affiliate marketing to increase brand recognition across reputable publications, build partnerships with influencers and micro-influencers targeting the right audiences, and ultimately reduce the cost of customer acquisition. Another important area of opportunity is cross-selling. 

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at what cross-selling is, what it means to introduce this strategy into your affiliate marketing program, and the benefits of executing this strategy.

Cross-Selling vs. Upselling. What’s the Difference?

Let’s start with some definitions. 

Cross-selling is the process of identifying and promoting products that are complementary to the product a customer has already purchased. It guides the customer to a logical next purchase. For example, if someone has just bought a pair of rain boots, the retailer might attempt to cross-sell a raincoat or an umbrella to that person. 

In the financial services industry, cross-selling looks quite similar. If a small business owner opens a chequing account, a bank could cross-sell a business credit card, as it’s likely that the business owner will need one. 

Upselling, meanwhile, is the process of promoting a more premium product than the one the customer has selected. This can happen pre-, post-, or during the sale, with the goal of increasing the average order value. For example, if a customer has selected a credit card they’re interested in, a brand could upsell them to a more premium card by showing a feature comparison chart. 

Where these strategies are similar is that they both focus on providing additional value to customers. They rely on the fact that repeat business is easier and cheaper to secure than first-time customers, while also providing more value to customers and increasing retention. So, where does affiliate marketing fit into this approach?

Cross-Selling as Part of Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy

One of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing is that it increases a brand’s reach. Regardless of the format or the campaign, promoting a brand via an affiliate or publication partner allows you to reach a whole new audience with built in trust. The trickle down effect leads to a lower cost of acquisition, improved target marketing, and a more diversified approach to marketing your brand. 

The same is true when you add cross-selling into the mix. 

To cross-sell with an affiliate, you have to partner with a brand that has products that have a logical tie-in to your own. For instance, real estate agents typically work with clients who need mortgages to buy a property, so a real estate brokerage could be a good affiliate partner for cross-selling. The same is true for tech companies that provide financial software to small businesses, online publications on personal finance, or car dealerships. 

Through these affiliate partnerships, financial brands can cross-sell their products whenever someone hires a real estate agent, shops for financial software, subscribes to a monthly personal finance newsletter, or buys a car. Timed appropriately, it’s likely that these customers — who already trust your affiliate’s brand — will be open to signing up for the right financial product. 

This is a targeted approach that ties into your affiliate’s customer journey and ultimately reduces the cost of customer acquisition. 

Benefits of Cross-Selling Financial Products to Affiliate Customers

There are a number of reasons why cross-selling financial products to an affiliate’s customers is a good idea. 

The first benefit of cross-selling to your affiliate’s customers is that you can extend the reach of your cross-selling activities. You’re not just limited to your existing customers, so you can leverage the same principles with a broader customer audience. 

Your affiliates have a ready-made customer segment that is primed to be interested in your product. The timing for the promotion is as ideal as it can be, and that means it won’t feel forced. Plus, the customer has shown that they already trust the affiliate brand. By cross-selling with them, you get to capitalize on this trust, increasing the chance of conversion. 

With this built in trust and high chance of conversion — and the fact that affiliate marketing is already a low-cost channel — the ROI can be significant. 

Best Practices for Cross-Selling with Affiliates

If cross-selling with affiliate partners feels like the right strategy for your brand, here are some guidelines to consider. 

Be intentional in your partner selection. The success of cross-selling with affiliate partners really comes down to choosing the right partners. There needs to be true alignment. If your products don’t really complement each other, then it’s unlikely that the target customer will convert. 

Make cross-selling one piece of the affiliate puzzle. We recommend supporting your cross-selling promotions with additional affiliate marketing efforts (e.g. social media collaborations or email campaigns). This way, you can also reach the people in the affiliate’s audience who have not yet made a purchase or those who are past customers.

Consider providing exclusive discounts to your affiliate’s customers. In a thoughtfully executed cross-sell process, your product offering will already make sense to your affiliate’s customers. However, you can generate more goodwill and positive brand sentiment by providing exclusive discounts or perks as part of your cross-sell. 

Choose the right affiliate platform. Partnering with the right affiliate program provider can make a huge difference in how well you can execute your cross-selling strategy. At Fintel Connect, for instance, our affiliate network includes thousands of vetted brands and publishers open to working with financial institutions. Beyond the network itself, our clients get access to experts in the field who can help build a reliable and effective cross-selling strategy. 

Taking Your Cross-Selling to the Next Level

Affiliate marketing is all about extending your brand’s reach in a targeted way. Introducing cross-selling into your affiliate strategy will allow you to be more intentional in promoting your products and services, leveraging an audience that is primed to convert on your offering. As you embark on this strategy, be sure to select the right affiliate partners. This will increase your chance of success and reduce your overall cost of customer acquisition.

At Fintel Connect, our team of experts has supported various financial brands in executing successful cross-selling campaigns with affiliates. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you do the same.

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