As I’ve mentioned before, I prefer to have multiple revenue streams so that there’s always some amount of money coming in. One of my favorites is Affinity & Affiliate Programs because I can promote many of them as a benefit of membership or naturally when writing content.
But first, let’s clear your first question up:
Affinity vs. Affiliate Marketing
I tend to use these terms (and promote them) interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same.
The biggest difference is that Affiliate Programs are purely transactional. You are promoting these to make money. My favorite example is Ultimate Bundles, where I make a 40% commision on sales occurring through my referral link.
Affinity Programs are more like strategic partnerships. ConstantContact is a great example of this. You might not make a commission off sales, but it is still a mutually beneficial partnership.
Here’s a list of some chamber affinity programs I’ve seen around, but you can also check ACCE’s website, or look at the sponsor list of your state conferences.
Please note you should always take the time to vet potential affiliates yourself. This is not an exhaustive list.
Potential Affinity Partnerships
Even if you don’t earn a set percentage or fee from referrals, strategic partnerships still play an important role in being a connector & leader for your businesses. You may even receive exclusive access to certain tools that can help you add value to your members.
- American Express Shop Small Movement – Chambers across the country are getting involved in the Shop Small Movement to keep local small businesses going strong in our communities.
- Constant Contact Chamber Program – Provider of Email Marketing, Online Survey, and Event Marketing tools for chambers.
- EnergySage, Inc., and Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy help local chambers of commerce and their member businesses take advantage of cost savings from installing solar energy.
- Get Your Business Online – Google’s GYBO service is dedicated to growing small businesses by making it fast, easy, and free to get online.
- Infintech – Offers credit card/payment processing services.
For changes or additions, simply comment below.
Affiliate Programs for Non-Dues Revenue
- Amazon – Amazon’s affiliate program offers a 1% commission, which is much lower than most online affiliate programs, but it’s also Amazon so there’s more product opportunities and brand trust. If you go to join, I recommend waiting until you have a specific campaign in mind, as you are required to make a certain number of sales within your first few months of joining, otherwise they will remove you from the program.
- Chamber 401k Plans – Offering an Association Retirement Plan can help recruit new members, strengthen relationships with existing members and increase engagement with employees of member businesses.
- Constant Contact Affiliate Program – if you’re not a chamber then consider ContantContact’s (or your current email marketing provider’s) affiliate (or referral) program.
- Credit Card processing fees – work with a local member to set up a referral program, or check out Swypit.
- Insurance – workers comp, liability/indemnity, life, business, etc. You can check with your local businesses or consider these:
- Purchasing Alliance Solutions – offers free to affordable healthcare benefits for your members.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield has a program for chambers/partners for in most states. Check with your state association or neighbor chambers as contacts & details vary by state.
- Insperity – Full-services HR solutions and services including payroll, recruiting, screening and insurance.
- LegalShield: monthly legal service subscription for individuals & businesses. (via New Castle County Chamber)
- Magic Links – This is better is your making specific product reccomendations (like I do here), as this company lets you monetize links product pages of popular places like Target, Barnes & Noble, etc.
- Member Benefit (previously Affinity Management Group?) – has a variety of partners from communications to workers’ compensation.
- Office Depot / National Chamber Program– Provides a network of over 1,500 chambers of commerce working together to deliver greater member value through innovative products and services.
- RevGenApps – software that helps your members grow their online presence.
- ShareASale.com – another service that lets you find multiple affiliate opportunities from places like CorpNet (file DBA, LLC, etc), Gusto, and Freshbooks.
- Smart Guy: basically an online directory that attracts potential customers through SEO articles. While international, they limit listings to one business per industry in each city.
- Travel Programs – ACCE recommends Citslinc for destinations to China & Aventura World (formerly known as Central Holidays) for all other destinations.
- Ultimate Bundles – they collect digital products in specific niches and then bundle & offer them at a steep discount for a short time.
Recommended: How to Find a Great Affinity Program Partner
Other Affiliates to Look Out For
- Your current softwares. For example, I use SmarterQueue for social media scheduling and by referring new customers I get money off my bill.
- Local universities or continuing education
- Your Members
- See if a B2B member will offer the chamber a set portion or percentage of sales made from a chamber run campaign.
- Dateless B2B member discounts – These can link to a hot deal listing, but if you have member that promote a B2B deal or discount that never expires, help promote it on your list of business discounts/resources or wherever you share your list of affinity partners.