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Why Affiliate Marketing and AI Businesses Are a Match

Rewardful Team

For marketers working on AI tools, the last two years have been as exciting as challenging. 

While AI tools are evolving rapidly and seemingly popping out of the ground at any given moment, you may have been scrambling for ways to get your precious tool noticed.

The market of AI tools is unique in the sense that it's booming, but that doesn’t seem to guarantee easy marketing wins. The good news is that AI is becoming more accessible to the public. But there's also skepticism, and in some cases, even some pretty strong resistance and regulations. Even the most creative marketing campaigns can't take that away.

Alright, then, what does work? 

Sometimes, the most straightforward methods, though they might lack the glamor of AI, are the most effective. So, if you've been stretching your marketing budget to its limits with little to show for it, it might be time to lean into a more classic approach: affiliate marketing. 

This time-tested strategy could be the missing piece in your marketing puzzle. It offers a cost-effective way to boost your reach and credibility without breaking the bank. 

In this article, we'll look at why affiliate marketing and AI businesses are a great match, and give you some advice on how to get it set up for your business.

Why Affiliate Marketing for AI Businesses Works

We could just tell you why affiliate marketing works well in most cases, but AI businesses aren't like the rest. That doesn't mean AI affiliate marketing won't work – it totally does, just for different reasons.

High Curiosity and Trial Rate

The AI sector is a hotbed of innovation. It draws in a crowd that's eager to explore and experiment with every new technology that comes along. This booming curiosity presents a big opportunity for smart AI businesses. 

Partnering up with affiliates who are influencers and thought leaders in the tech space means you can leverage their platforms to introduce your products. These affiliates can convert their audience’s curiosity into trial sign-ups. 

Simply said, you're using their credibility to endorse your AI tools, which are often met with a healthy dose of suspicion. On top of that, you increase your product's visibility because people love talking about AI. Finding the top voices could mean thousands see your product being promoted, without it looking like an ad.

Differentiation in a Crowded Market

The AI landscape is crowded and noisy. New tools emerge, others leave. Regardless, everyone is screaming for attention. In such a competitive environment, standing out is more important and also more difficult than ever. 

Affiliates can help highlight the unique features of your AI tool, focusing on what sets it apart from the competition. They can help you effectively communicate your product's unique selling propositions (USPs), being trusted voices with which your target audience has something in common. 

Education and Trust Building

Understanding AI technologies is a step too far for many users. Some just accept how it works. Others are eager to know more about what they're working with before they sign up.

Affiliates can play a leading role in demystifying your product. By educating them properly, they can then break down complex functionalities into digestible, relatable benefits for their audience – whose language they speak. 

This educational approach is another essential element for building trust, but also helps people make the most of your product.

Cost-Effective Scaling

Traditional advertising is often expensive. Especially for startups and smaller businesses venturing into AI. Affiliate marketing shifts the financial risk from speculation on advertising spending to performance-based payouts. 

Aka, you only pay for actual results, like successful referrals or conversions. A model like this allows for more controlled scaling of your marketing efforts and makes it possible to expand reach without draining your marketing budget.

Community and Feedback Loop

One of the less tangible but still vital benefits of affiliate marketing is the community it builds around your brand. The right affiliates tend to foster a close-knit follower base that can become an enthusiastic ecosystem around your AI tool. 

Online communities like that are a source of rich, actionable feedback. You'll get insights straight from the source (no expensive market research tools needed!) to guide future product developments and improvements. 

Bonus: a strong community usually helps retain users, as they feel like they are part of an evolving and supportive ecosystem.

Early Adoption and Innovation Driver

Successful affiliates are often trendsetters. They're the go-to person for their audience to find out about the latest developments and innovations. 

By leveraging affiliates who are early adopters themselves, your AI tool can get to the forefront of tech trends. This exposure drives early adoption and cements your brand’s reputation as an innovator in the AI space. 

And if you do it right, early adopters can turn into long-term users and advocates, and further propel your product through word-of-mouth and social proof.

OpusClip's Journey to a Six-Figure Affiliate Revenue

See it before you believe it? We get that, so let's look at OpusClip, an AI star in the content creation industry. With their AI, users can easily transform long-form videos into engaging social media clips. 

OpusClip recognized the significant role of influencers in their industry, so they set up an affiliate marketing strategy to expand their reach and build trust among potential users. They chose Rewardful's affiliate marketing software for its simplicity, quick setup, and robust integration with Stripe. Here's what we can learn from their journey. 

Impressive Growth Through an Integrated Approach

Since launching their affiliate program, OpusClip has seen a remarkable increase in revenue: over $100K in sales. The affiliate channel is more than just a revenue stream. It truly is a growing part of their business, which shows there is potential for even greater expansion.

The Next Step: Specializing in Affiliate Strategies

OpusClip is planning to further empower their top affiliates with personalized landing pages linked directly through Rewardful’s tracking features. This strategy will undoubtedly benefit their affiliates' promotional efforts and at the same time provide OpusClip with precise performance tracking.

Advice on Affiliate Management for AI Businesses 

Parker Miller, Head of Growth at OpusClip advises startups to ensure they have the necessary resources to support a thriving affiliate program. Those resources need to exist before the program can be successful – it doesn't work the other way around. He also emphasizes the importance of a smooth and quick setup process in choosing an affiliate marketing tool, which is where Rewardful came in handy. Read the entire case study and conversation with Parker here.

Best Practices for Setting Up an Affiliate Program for AI Businesses

  1. Choose the Right Affiliates

For AI tools, the effectiveness of your affiliate program heavily depends on the credibility and expertise of the affiliates themselves. Aim to partner the right type of affiliates who are more than just enthusiastic about AI – they ideally possess a deep (correct) understanding of its applications and benefits. 

Look for affiliates who regularly engage with tech communities, contribute to tech blogs, or have a track record of reviewing or promoting tech products.

  1. Provide Training and Support

AI tools often come with a steep learning curve, so thorough training for affiliates is really a non-negotiable. Give them detailed product training that includes use cases, potential challenges, and problem-solving tips. Encourage a lot of questions and really take them along in the process of new product developments. 

This will empower your affiliates to accurately and clearly explain the complexities as well as the benefits of your tool to get their audience excited to try it.

Related: Tips to Help Affiliates Improve Their Conversions

  1. Set up Innovate Commission Structures

Pricing models for AI tools can vary quite a bit. Ideally, your affiliate program works with that, not against it. Instead of sticking to traditional flat-rate commissions, try implementing tiered or value-based commission structures. As an example, higher commissions could be offered for enterprise-level sales or long-term subscriptions, which would incentivize affiliates to target more lucrative or strategic customer segments. But also having smaller commissions for getting people to sign up for a trial, works best with the nature of AI businesses. 

  1. Always Maintain Transparency 

As you will know, the AI industry is particularly sensitive to ethical considerations, especially regarding data privacy and the implications of AI technology. Do everything you can to guarantee that your affiliate program upholds the highest possible standards of transparency and ethics. 

This means clearly communicating your company’s values and expectations to your affiliates and being open about any changes and challenges. Set up guidelines that prohibit misleading claims and always verify that all promotional content is accurate and respectful of privacy and ethical standards. This commitment doesn't just protect your users; it also builds long-term trust in your brand.

Grow Your AI business with Affiliate Marketing

Mixing old-school affiliate marketing with cutting-edge AI tools is a smart move. Affiliate marketing lightens your load by spreading the word through trusted influencers and industry experts. These experts break down the complex tech into understandable bits, making it easier for everyone to understand what your AI tool does and why it’s worth a try. 

Want to give affiliate marketing a go? See how easy it is to get Rewardful set up and sign up for our free trial. Here's everything you need to know about Rewardful pricing, the features, and what each package involves. 

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