Why You Should Become an Affiliate in Financial Services
Why Affiliate Marketing?
If you‘ve already had past success in monetizing your blog, you might wonder if it‘s even worth pursuing affiliate marketing. We get it – adding a new revenue stream can seem like a daunting task, so why not just stick with what works? The simple answer is that affiliate marketing is the simplest, fastest, and safest way to grow revenues – especially for blogs that already have a loyal audience. Here are four unmatchable advantages affiliate marketing has over other income streams:
Affiliate marketing is a great way to rapidly diversify your blog‘s revenue from a product, payor, and business model standpoint. Product diversification is made possible by the wide range of financial products you have access to as a financial services affiliate. While credit cards and loans may be the most obvious categories, financial affiliate programs are available for many other products, from budgeting software to personal finance courses to insurance policies and more. Instead of being limited to products you can develop on your own, affiliate marketing allows you to greatly expand your product mix.
You can also achieve payor diversification by promoting products from multiple partners. Most other forms of advertising make publishers dependent on one or two major ad networks, such as Google Adsense or Media.net. This type of payor concentration is risky for publishers, as a single policy or algorithm change can significantly reduce your cash flow. In contrast, affiliate networks give you access to an array of merchants across multiple verticals, allowing you to diversify your payor base and lower your concentration risk.
Finally, affiliate marketing‘s unique monetization structure enables business model diversification. Most brands pay affiliates on a commission-per-action (CPA) model, instead of the typical cost-per-click (CPC) model of other major ad networks, or a cost-per-impression (CPM) model of many direct advertisers. Affiliate marketing‘s distinct advantage: you don‘t need a lot of traffic to make money; you just need relevant, highly-targeted traffic – a much more realistic target for most independent publishers.
Not only is it a viable way to monetize your blog, but it‘s often much more profitable too. For example, according to Blog Tyrant, the average Adsense CPC starts from $0.15 and varies based on your website’s size and reputation. Assuming a small-to-medium blog can earn an average CPC of $0.25, they would generate $25 for every 100 ad clicks. But if that blog publishes specialized content for a narrow niche, it would be quite realistic to maintain a 2% post-click conversion rate. Assuming a $100 CPA – which is not uncommon in financial services – this blog would generate $200 for the same number of clicks. The result: this blog can potentially earn 800% the revenue from affiliate marketing as it could from paid ads.
Access to Proven Brands and Offers
Building a successful brand from scratch is one of the toughest challenges in marketing. This is especially true in financial services, an industry fundamentally built on consumer trust. As the 2007 financial crisis demonstrated, it often takes decades of hard work (and a large balance sheet) for a bank to build a reputation for financial stability and integrity, and just a single misstep to lose it.
Fortunately, affiliate marketing allows publishers to skip that step and, instead, leverage the instant name-recognition of leading brands. Instead of trying to convince customers to take a chance on a new product you just launched, imagine promoting a suite of products from a household name like Scotiabank or Tangerine. Your promotion gains immediate credibility with customers, as they can safely assume a certain level of quality and reliability from the brand name alone. All you have to do is explain clearly why those products can benefit them.
Gain instant credibility by leveraging the brand equity of widely-recognized financial services brands like Scotiabank and Tangerine.
Of course, the flip side to that is that as an affiliate, your responsibility is to uphold the bond of implicit trust. Instead of promoting products with the highest CPA, be critical in selecting only products that truly add value for your audience. Providing a carefully curated selection of products for your audience is the best way to earn their confidence over the long term.
Name recognition is not the only thing established brands bring to the table: they also have proven affiliate offers that have been optimized for conversion. Everything from the offer messaging to landing pages to post-click user flow have been extensively tested and iterated on over time, and would take a small fortune to replicate yourself.
As an affiliate, the marketing campaigns are taken care of. All you’ll have to focus on is driving qualified traffic to generate revenue.
Low Startup Cost, High Scalability
Among digital revenue models, affiliate marketing is unique in how little cash it takes to start and grow your business. In fact, many major affiliate sites were initially bootstrapped on a shoestring budget of a few hundred dollars.
Startup costs are low because there are few moving parts. Since you’re promoting another brand’s products, you don’t have to invest time and resources into market research, product development or brand-building.
More importantly, you also don’t have to worry about inventory or logistics. In a traditional model, physical products need to be manufactured, shipped and stored in a warehouse. Digital products need to be deployed and maintained on robust server infrastructure.
These are all upfront costs that have to be paid before the product brings in a single cent of revenue. However, with an affiliate marketing model, these costs are borne by merchants and greatly reduce the affiliate’s financial risk.
For similar reasons, affiliate revenue streams can also be scaled rapidly. Once your channel has steady traffic with healthy profit margins, there’s no reason it can’t be scaled from little traffic to well over five figures a day in a very short time.
If you were promoting your own products, you would have to open more merchant accounts, carefully balance merchant loads, build out your customer service infrastructure, scale up manufacturing and logistics, and allow for shipping lead times. Any one of these factors could become a bottleneck to growth, and it’s extremely difficult to juggle all of them – especially if you also have other revenue streams to manage.
By contrast, with affiliate marketing, you only have to focus on traffic and cash flow management. This greatly simplifies things, allowing you to grow revenues faster without adding more employees or overhead.
Why Financial Products?
It’s clear that affiliate marketing is an attractive business model, but what type of affiliate products should you promote? Many publishers will start by promoting products in their own niche. This can be a great starter strategy, as you know the space well and the offers are likely relevant to your audience. But to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, it’s wise to diversify into other types of financial products. Financial products are uniquely attractive in this regard, as they are can complement virtually any niche. Three key attributes set financial products apart from other affiliate niches:
Diverse Product Lines
In the financial space, there are products that suit every audience or demographic. For example, from a life stage perspective, you can promote:
- Student loans for college students
- Starter bank accounts for teenagers and current college students
- Personal budgeting software for new graduates in their first job
- High-end credit cards for mid-career professionals and executives
- Annuities for elders and retirees
Because personal financial products are built for personal needs, there is likely to be an affiliate offer that fits for your existing audience. In contrast, other affiliate niches may be narrower in opportunity. For instance, high-end consumer products may only be appealing to a subset of affluent customers within a specific household income bracket, and health products might only be relevant to people with a particular physiological condition.
The wide variety of financial products also makes it easy to diversify your revenues. Other affiliate niches tend to do poorly across the board during a recession, especially discretionary products like travel, luxury products and personal hobbies. However, financial products are unique in its ability to accommodate bullish and bearish markets: some products perform well in a healthy economy (e.g. credit cards), while others will do better in a downturn (e.g. credit repair).
When you diversify your affiliate portfolio through financial services, you can build a recession-proof business that will continue to thrive in any economic environment.
Evergreen Product Availability
As any experienced publisher knows, it takes many years to build a website with substantial traffic, and even longer to cultivate a product portfolio that converts profitably and sustainably. As such, it’s critical to have a reliable line-up of evergreen products that you can stand behind as an affiliate for the long term.
Luckily, once you’ve identified your evergreen products, your advantages can compound over time. As your traffic and trustworthiness simultaneously grow, your revenues will increase exponentially. But to get to that point, your products need to be a long runway.
Financial products serve this role perfectly: money management is a basic necessity, and in turn, financial products are in constant demand. Unlike other consumer products built on trends or impulsive consumer behavior, financial services are purchased as utilites. After all, nobody signs up for a credit card because they like the card’s colors, or because all their friends are getting it. They do so because the credit card offers a real economic benefit like a lower interest rate, more airline miles or better purchase protection.
Newly launched products may experience the majority of sales out of the gate, but wane as the initial novelty wears and the major marketing push ends. Money management, however, is a basic necessity, which drives a consistent demand for financial products.
And unlike information products, financial product sales don’t naturally degrade. Newly launched online courses, ebooks and membership sites often gain its largest sales shortly after release. But it’s rare for the sales performance to continue its upwards trajectory after the initial novelty wears off and the marketing campaign ends. And even when an information product does beat the odds, it eventually becomes a victim of its own success, as the information becomes less valuable as more people learn and co-opt it. In contrast, financial products are tools, and good tools continue to be useful no matter how many people have them.
Lucrative Income Opportunities
The financial industry offers some of the highest CPAs in affiliate marketing. While many consumer niches have average CPAs of $25-35, it’s not uncommon for financial services to feature CPAs of $100-200.
Why are these CPAs so generous? Simple: the attractive economics of financial products.
Why Financial Services Pay Out More in CPAs than Other Niches
First, most of them are essentially digital products with low distribution costs. Since no physical manufacturing or distribution channels are required, their profit margins are higher, which means brands can afford to pay a lot more to affiliates while still making money.
Second, many financial products are not just one-off payments, but generate recurring revenue over time. As such, the customer lifetime value (LTV) created is relatively high as the customer continues to pay fees over a period of months or years. Think a $2,000 mattress sounds expensive? That’s nothing compared to the interest on a 30-year mortgage.
Third, customer loyalty is strong. The terms of financial products can be complex, and switching providers can mean terminating agreements and paying penalties. Once a customer signs on with a financial provider, they’re very unlikely to switch to another one quickly. The stickiness of the relationship also gives the financial provider opportunities to cross-sell other products to the customer, thereby growing their LTV even further. For this reason, it’s worth paying high CPAs even for lower cost financial products like chequing accounts, as they can develop into highly profitable customer relationships in the long run.
The best part is that this principle also applies to affiliates themselves. In other words, apart from higher commissions per sale, financial affiliates also have the opportunity to make more sales per customer.
Affiliates marketing financial services products can sell multiple high-CPA products to the same customer, in a way that adds genuine value to their lives.
Most affiliate niches are constrained by customer budgets. For example, if you run a golf site and a visitor has $1,000 in mind for a new set of clubs, it’s unrealistic that your content can persuade them to spend $10,000. As such, affiliates usually must choose between selling customers a high volume of small-ticket items with low CPAs, or promote fewer big-ticket items with high CPAs.
Since financial products are necessary across all aspects of modern life, they face less single-budgetary limitations. Financial products also realize most of their LTV over a longer period and have low upfront costs for the customer, but affiliates are still paid their commission at the point of sale. In this way, financial affiliates get the best of both worlds, as they can sell multiple high-CPA products to the same customer, in a way that adds genuine value to their lives.
Combine Financial Products With Other Affiliate Niches
You don’t have to be a full-blown financial publisher to promote financial affiliate products. In fact, one of the most appealing parts of financial products is how they synergize with other affiliate niches.
For most people, finance is just a means to an end. And more often than not, that end involves buying (or being able to buy) other products and services, now or in the future. So if you already promote or advertise other products on your blog, chances are good that adding financial products to your portfolio can allow you to own more of the customer journey.
Need some ideas? Here’s a specific list of financial affiliate programs to promote in non-financial niches
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Any seasoned business traveller, digital nomad or frequent flyer can attest to the value of a good travel-focused credit card. Not only can the right card help you maximize your air miles earnings, it can also give you access to exclusive perks that significantly upgrade the travel experience, like airport lounge access and hotel upgrades.
Scotiabank is one of North America’s premier financial institutions, serving 19 million customers in over 55 countries around the world. That international background is on full display in the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card, their premier travel card. Perks include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Best price guarantees on airfare
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- Avis Preferred Plus reduced car rental rates
Niche: Real Estate
Properly Home Valuation, Homewise Mortgage
Whether you promote real estate courses, software or buyer leads, there are a variety of financial products that can add value to your audience.
Homewise automates the end-to-end mortgage process, including pre-approval, approval, refinancing or switching. The entire process takes five minutes, and the platform automatically negotiates with over 30 banks and lenders to match customers with the best custom mortgages for their unique needs. The customer is then matched with a personal Homewise Advisor to guide them every step of the way. Anyone looking to buy a house, from first-time home buyers to seasoned real estate investors, can benefit from Homewise’s transparent and streamlined digital service.
Properly offers Canada’s most accurate and up-to-date home valuation report – for free. The report is based on Properly’s ProperPrice algorithm, which has been tested on over 125,000+ sold homes and used by thousands of homeowners. In fact, Properly has so much confidence in their valuations that customers can sell their houses directly to the company, saving the hassle of having to list in on their own or through a broker.
Niche: Auto Accessories
Car Loans Canada Pre-Approved Auto Loan
This might seem unintuitive at first, since most people in the market for auto accessories already have a car. But as with everything in finance, there’s a lot of money in the long game. Car enthusiasts that spend a lot of time and money searching for auto accessories and maintenance products are also likely to hunt for the best deals when upgrading to a new ride.
When that time comes, Car Loans Canada can save them a lot of hassle. The app allows buyers to get pre-approved for an auto loan before setting foot in a dealership, saving them time, headaches and potential embarrassment. The app also sends the application to the nearest approval center based on the customer’s location. Loans range between $12,000 – $55,000 with interest rates between 4.49% – 29.95%.
Niche: Medical & Healthcare
Policy Advisor Disability, Critical Illness & Life Insurance
For those that regularly read medical and healthcare-related content, chances are that they’re either health-conscious or experiencing a specific medical condition. Either way, they may have higher awareness of practices to extend one’s health and lifespan, as such, may be receptive to information about life insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the market for insurance can be very confusing to most consumers and expert guidance is sometimes limited.
PolicyAdvisor.com aims to make the insurance purchase process transparent and human. Their proprietary platform sources products from over 20 Canadian insurance companies, which allows them to find the best match and lowest rates for each customer within minutes. Customers can also speak to a commission-free advisor who can provide them with impartial advice on their best options.
When you become an affiliate for financial products, you’re able to:
- Diversify your revenue
- Leverage the power of proven brands
- Scale upwards at a low startup cost
- Establish an evergreen revenue stream that’s impervious to economic downturn
- Access the highest CPA rates in the marketplace.
There are many other ways to combine financial products with your specific affiliate niche. To learn more about how you can get started in the lucrative world of evergreen financial products, contact us today.