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Affiliate Marketing for Financial Services: A Guide for Brands

  • Last Updated: April 3, 2024

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If you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing in the financial services industry, you may be looking for a guide to help you understand how to make the channel work for reaching your customer acquisition goals.

In particular, as a marketer for a financial services company, you may:

  • Know how valuable the affiliate marketing channel is, but you don’t know where to start in financial services.
  • Have a few direct affiliate partners, but are spending too much time managing them, making it frustrating to grow the channel.  
  • You want to know which affiliates would be the best fit for your fintech or bank and want to understand the best way to approach this.
  • You’ve tapped out your other growth marketing channels and want to invest in the affiliate channel to acquire customers.

At Fintel Connect, we’re a platform, network and agency all in one, and we specialize in helping financial services brands and affiliates connect and collaborate via affiliate marketing. In this guide, we’ll break down the challenges of affiliate marketing in the financial services sector, and how to get started with the channel as a brand. 

In this article, we’ll be covering: 

If you’re a financial brand looking to scale your affiliate marketing channel, Fintel Connect can help. Reach out to us to get the conversation started

Are you an influencer, content creator, or publisher who’s looking to work with brands in the financial services space? Read our guide on how to become an affiliate in financial services. 

Key Takeaways

  • Affiliate marketing is a valuable channel for net new acquisition for your fintech, financial institution or credit union. It can be just as valuable for building credibility and brand awareness.
  • Having a diverse set of partnerships in place is important to reaching new audiences and creating trustworthy, impactful campaigns.
  • Use a tool to help reduce the overload of manually monitoring your affiliate program’s content compliance.
  • An all-in-one affiliate marketing platform, agency, and compliance tool like Fintel Connect can help do the heavy lifting, allowing you to concentrate on optimizing campaigns and meeting your acquisition goals. 

3 challenges of affiliate marketing for financial services

1. Convincing affiliates your product is worth promoting in a competitive market

Affiliate marketing in financial services is highly competitive. Affiliates have often spent years building their audience and establishing a loyal following who trusts their financial insights. This means they care highly about recommending quality products that align with their audience. 

So, before engaging affiliates as a financial brand, you’ll want to have the following criteria in place to ensure engaging, conversion-worthy campaigns for both you and your affiliates:

  • Product-market fit. Ensure you have a viable product with clear value propositions that is already bringing in customers. 
  • Clear messaging. Being able to explain how your financial product’s value proposition is unique and can help solve customers’ needs, which makes it easy for affiliates to accurately convey the inherent value and why audiences should consider your product. 
  • Quality conversion rate. Are you in line with marketplace averages? A digital experience that functions properly for customer onboarding will help increase conversion rates, which ultimately will lead to a more cost-effective customer acquisition for you and increased revenue opportunities for your affiliates.
  • Ideal audience identification. You want to be sure you know your best customer. Only an ideal audience will bring in enough revenue to justify an investment in affiliate marketing. 
  • Budget. Make sure you can allocate resources into finding additional affiliates, paying affiliates’ CPAs, and working with a partner management platform to track the reporting.

2. Finding and partnering with a diverse base of affiliates is crucial to both growth and brand awareness

Affiliate marketing is not like paid marketing, where you can cap the budget and then switch the channel off once you’ve spent your funds. Like organic search, affiliate marketing is an always-on tactic because it takes time to really ramp up. And you get the best results the longer the affiliate program has been running as your partners’ content, campaigns and traffic gains more traction and reaches more of your target audience.

That’s why it’s important to be strategic about the types of partners you want to work with. The right partners are those that can reach your high-value target customers and deliver the volumes you need for cost-effective growth. Diversifying the types of affiliates you work with can help meet your business needs. For example, if you’re a bank trying to grow your savings accounts, you can consider:

  • Comparison and Review sites. Reach high-intent audiences actively looking for specific financial products.
  • Coupons and Deals affiliates. Ideal testing grounds for offering discounts on products like debit and credit cards. 
  • Rewards affiliates. Cashback and rewards partners can offer a surprisingly large loyal and savvy customer base who knows what they want. 
  • Personal finance bloggers and influencers. Expand your reach and educate your ideal customers on your brand and products through trustworthy experts.

Read more about How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing as a bank

Done right, affiliate marketing can also help with establishing brand credibility and awareness as well as customer acquisition, so it’s worth looking into working with affiliates and creating campaigns that will help with both objectives. 

For example, you can partner with financial services influencers who specialize in educating very niche audiences on personal finance topics, like what’s the best investment platform for millennials and how to get a personal loan if you’re renovating your kitchen. These creators can increase your visibility across their social media channels and via word-of-mouth referrals at scale, helping you build up brand awareness while promoting your products and services to an engaged following. 

3. Monitoring your affiliate’s content for compliance can quickly overwhelm internal teams

Once you start building your affiliate channel, you’ll need to monitor campaign compliance. Manually checking the content of all your financial services affiliates and sub affiliates can become time and resources intensive, leaving the door open to human error and oversight.

A compliance infringement can harm your brand reputation and customer loyalty as well as increase regulatory scrutiny and the risk of fines. It’s also difficult to gauge the impact a non-compliant campaign can have or even build an audit trail if you’re tracking marketing content manually. 

If you’re a financial institution, you’ll want a platform that automates your compliance monitoring as the number of affiliate partnerships grows. This will help with creating audit trails, keeping track of compliant language, feeling confident in your marketing compliance processes, and freeing up time and resources so your teams can focus on helping the channel grow.

Read more: Marketing Compliance for Financial Services: How to Get It Right

How to get started with affiliate marketing as a financial brand

1. Find and manage affiliates yourself

The best way to get started with this channel is to start by finding and managing affiliates yourself. For example, if you’re a credit union with a small budget or a fintech company that needs to prove their unit economics for your next funding round, you can experiment with different types of affiliates, as well as get an idea of what CPAs you’d need to be paying to succeed. 

However, once you’re ready to scale and want to work with more than a handful of affiliates as well as more well-known ones, you may want to start working with an affiliate marketing agency or platform. 

2. Work with an affiliate marketing platform and agency

Working with a platform and agency that specializes in financial affiliate marketing will allow you to engage with larger affiliates (some of which may want reporting on a daily basis), manage larger scale campaigns, and pay more cost-effective CPAs.

If you’re looking to work with an affiliate marketing agency or platform, consider asking the following questions to get an idea if they would be a good fit: 

  • Can they provide the full back-end technology to make it scale as you grow?
  • Does their publisher network include the right partners for you?
  • Do they have the expertise to develop a successful marketing strategy for you? 
  • Are they relationship-first? 
  • Do they have a carefully vetted process for accepting affiliates?

When working with a separate platform and agency, know that you probably need to pay two separate fees and manage two separate contracts. As a financial services company, you also want to make sure the provider understands the importance of compliance and has processes in place for you to manage compliance risk.

Read more: Impact.com Alternatives for Brands (We Compare 6!)

As experts in financial services, Fintel Connect can help you tick all the boxes because you’ll get access to a specialized  affiliate network, partner management software, team of affiliate marketing experts, and compliance monitoring all at once. 

Fintel Connect: affiliate marketing designed for financial services

At Fintel, we operate as an affiliate marketing solution specifically built for the financial industry. Some of our highlights include:

  • Over 5,000 targeted, high-quality affiliates on our platform
  • We work with over 85 financial brands across the US and Canada
  • We have over 20 years of performance marketing experience
  • We offer specialized campaign tracking and reporting 
  • We have a built-in compliance tool

We’re a combined platform, network, compliance tool and agency aimed at helping North American financial services companies grow with affiliate marketing. Here are a few reasons it may make sense to work with us:

You’ll be working with an affiliate marketing solution specific to financial services

We set up Fintel Connect because we know financial services is a unique industry that merit its specific affiliate marketing technology and solutions. 

Everything that is part of Fintel Connect focuses on financial services. You’ll have a platform with language that is specific to the industry and account managers who understand the unique complexities of financial services.

With our insights, you’ll know the general cost per acquisition (CPA) for specific types of publishers and receive our advice on which types of publications can help meet your goals. 

Read more: Advertise on Sites Like NerdWallet as a Fintech or Bank: How to Get Started

Our compliance tool, Fintel Check, is also built specifically for financial services companies, allowing you to automate your affiliate content monitoring. Just set up the parameters and Fintel Check will automatically scan campaigns to see if a partner is following your guidelines. 

Fintel's affiliate marketing for financial services includes compliance rule settings in our tool, Fintel Check

You’ll only need to work with one partner to scale your affiliate marketing efforts

Managing and scaling the affiliate marketing channel can get complex quickly. There is content to sign off, contracts to manage, payouts to administer, and regular reporting and tracking to perform. Working with separate agencies, platforms and compliance tools can make it even more complicated to scale that channel.

With Fintel, you’ll have it all in one place. Since we’re a platform, network, compliance engine and agency in one, we’ll help you with:

  • Setting the strategy and finding the right affiliates
  • Managing the reporting and tracking via our platform
  • Monitoring compliance language with Fintel Check

You’ll only have to deal with one contract and one team, who also understand financial services inside out and can make sure you’re getting the most out of the affiliate channel. 

You’ll get to work with vetted affiliate partners who understand financial services

One of the challenges with many other affiliate platforms is they aren’t specific to financial services. This means they may not have as strict compliance standards and they also won’t vet their affiliates as thoroughly.

At Fintel, you’ll find a network of carefully vetted affiliates. Those we accept are compliant and a good fit for banks, fintechs, credit unions, and other financial companies. You’ll have access to over 5,000 affiliates that are high quality, familiar with working in the financial space, and understand their audiences to ensure they can optimize results for your brand.

We also have strong relationships with the partners on our network, and are constantly growing the mix and breadth of these partnerships through our dedicated publisher team. While we can help you get in front of publishers like NerdWallet or Bankrate, we can also direct you to a wide range of partners you may not even know about. 

Affiliate marketing for financial services - finding and inviting publishers

You’ll be able to monitor the content your publishers create

Monitoring your affiliate campaigns for compliance is quite time and labour intensive, but it’s a must if you’re in a highly regulated space like financial services. This process can be time-intensive and involve manually checking each URL, taking screenshots for auditing purposes, and regularly checking pages to ensure the content stays compliant.

This is a key reason we developed Fintel Check, a compliance tool built directly into our affiliate management platform.  The tool makes it easy for you to automate your monitoring processes by setting rules that will be applied to scanned pages and report on affiliate content accuracy. The tool automatically scans the pages of your affiliate campaigns and also takes screenshots, so you can have:

  • Automated monitoring. Apply similar rules across all your affiliates for one-click tracking. 
  • Immediate visibility. With a glance, you can see which partners are using compliant language and which aren’t.
  • An audit trail ready. Set custom times for how often you want scans to take place and screenshots captured so you can be prepared for regulator audits.

This makes it a lot easier to manage compliance risk, get your compliance team onboard with affiliate marketing, and ensure your partners are adhering to the rules.

Managing compliance risk with Fintel's affiliate marketing for financial services

Read more: Top PerformLine Competitors For Financial Services Marketing Compliance

Who is Fintel Connect good for?

Working with Fintel Connect is a great option if you’ve already experimented with affiliate marketing and are ready to grow the channel. It works especially well if you’re looking for a strategic partner that can help you navigate the channel successfully. 

Reach out to us if you have questions about how to set up and grow the affiliate marketing channel as a financial brand.

How Fintel helped Neo Financial grow by 511% in approved customers with 30 new affiliates

Neo Financial is a Canadian fintech company that offers a digital-first alternative to traditional banking. The Neo Card is their best-known product, an instant-reward credit card with no annual fee. 

Neo reached a point where they needed a specialist affiliate platform and agency to expand brand credibility and scale customer acquisition efficiently. They chose Fintel Connect to help them grow their reach and scale their affiliate marketing efforts. 

Neo specifically wanted help to:

  • Access an affiliate network with high-quality partners to choose from.
  • Onboard, activate and improve partnerships that complement their brand.
  • Work with a team of industry experts that could allow them to make the most of the affiliate marketing channel. 

When we started working together, Neo was able to start collaborating with a diverse list of affiliates and quickly grow their affiliate marketing. 

After just one month, Neo added 30 new affiliates to its program. Neo’s achievements, after two years of working with Fintel, include:

  • An affiliate program that continues to be Neo’s top-performing channels for both quality and volume
  • 511% growth in approved customers across its various products
  • Recognition as “Overall Best” in several leading Tier 1 publishers

Our experience in financial services allowed us to find the best-fit affiliates for Neo and put together a strategy that increased their net new customer acquisition while building their brand credibility

Read the full case study here: Scaling customer acquisition by 511% through affiliate marketing

Start your affiliate marketing for financial services with Fintel

As a financial brand, affiliate marketing can be the most cost-effective channel for customer acquisition. But to get it right, you need to have the technology and expertise in place to help you set the strategy, build the relationships, and scale the channel.

At Fintel Connect, we’ve worked hard to ensure both brands and affiliates win by collaborating with us and making the most of this channel.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you as a brand.

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