Affiliate marketing is an effective and low-cost strategy that can help you increase your conversions. However, starting an affiliate program can seem like a massive time commitment. Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be complicated.
In this post, we’ll explain what affiliate marketing is and how it can benefit businesses and e-commerce sites. We’ll then provide tips for setting up your first affiliate program. Let’s get started!
An Introduction to Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process by which brands pay publishers (affiliates) a commission for promoting their products and services. Affiliates share special referral links or discount codes to their blogs, social media pages, YouTube channels, and other platforms. Then, publishers earn a commission when users complete a specific action, typically a purchase, through an affiliate link.
For example, many successful YouTubers are affiliates for the brands they love. They discuss a brand’s products in their videos and share the affiliate link in the description box:
Affiliate marketing can be an effective way to drive traffic and sales. This is because influencers tend to connect with users on a deeper level than most brands do. Audiences often find influencer-based marketing messages more trustworthy. Therefore, this type of marketing can help you build credibility and reach new audiences.
Moreover, you will only pay for successful conversions. This makes affiliate marketing a low-cost strategy with minimal risks.
How Affiliate Marketing Can Benefit Your Business
Affiliates can help you gain more leads and increase brand awareness by promoting your products to a large audience. Moreover, affiliate links can help boost traffic to your website and social media platforms.
Affiliate marketing is also an effective way to promote and sell your products. For instance, if you’re launching a new e-commerce product, your affiliates can share the news on their Facebook and Instagram pages:
Instagrammers typically create a dedicated post or story that showcases the product, with a caption that encourages their audiences to check it out. Since Instagram doesn’t allow links in captions, affiliates will normally put the link in their bios and tell readers that they can find it there.
How to Start Your Affiliate Marketing Program (3 Steps)
Starting a new affiliate program can seem like a time-consuming task. However, you can successfully create an affiliate marketing strategy with proper research, meticulous planning, and help from automation tools.
Step 1: Identify the Parameters of Your Program
Your first step is to research your competitors’ programs. This will enable you to see how their programs are structured and give you an idea of how to present yours. After looking at the tactics used by brands in your industry, you can identify the key aspects of your program and structure it accordingly.
Next, you will want to create a document or webpage that contains detailed information about your program. This should clearly state the rules, who is eligible to join, and how to apply:
Additionally, you can explain what products and services are included in your program and discuss the commission. Cash is the most common form of payment in affiliate marketing, but you can also offer store credit or other perks.
You will also need to choose which compensation model will help you achieve your goals. There are three main methods you can use:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Brands pay a publisher every time a user clicks on their affiliate link.
- Pay-Per-Sale (PPS): Affiliates earn a commission when a customer clicks on an affiliate link and completes an online purchase.
- Pay-Per-Lead (PPL): This is a common method used by service-based brands, in which publishers are paid for referring customers through an affiliate link.
Furthermore, you’ll need to determine whether you will pay affiliates a percentage of the sale or a flat-rate commission. Pay-per-sale conversions are typically percentage rates. However, pay-per-click and pay-per-lead commissions are often offered at a flat rate.
Step 2: Automate Your Program with a Plugin
Once you’ve created your rules and conditions, you can set up your affiliate program on your WordPress site. There are several plugins that can help you automate the process.
For instance, Easy Affiliate enables you to create a self-hosted affiliated program in minutes:
Using this plugin, you can easily create custom referral links and manage your affiliates from a user-friendly dashboard. Moreover, its built-in application process enables you to accept and reject applications.
You can also use the plugin’s affiliate management tools to monitor commissions and issue payments via PayPal. Additionally, you can view key metrics and reports directly from your Easy Affiliate dashboard. This will help you track your performance and identify the top-performing affiliates in your program.
Step 3: Find Affiliates
Finally, you’ll want to find quality affiliates who can help you market your products to the right audience. To do this, you can research influencers in your industry and reach out to those who align closely with your brand.
Additionally, you can promote your program on different channels, including your social media pages. You can also send a newsletter to your subscribers. In both instances, you’ll want to show your audience how the program works and who is eligible to join. You can also link to a landing page that contains further information about the program.
Alternatively, you can join affiliate networks to find influencers and bloggers. For example, CJ Affiliate is an online channel that helps brands build relationships with publishers:
CJ Affiliate connects you with various publishers, and you can select who you want to represent your brand as an affiliate. This global platform offers cutting-edge technology to help you drive conversions and scale your program.
Starting an affiliate marketing program can be challenging. However, once you identify the parameters of your program, you can use a plugin like Easy Affiliate to automate the process. Then, you can reach out to industry influencers and join an affiliate network like CJ Affiliate to find the right publishers.
Do you have any questions about affiliate marketing? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pexels.
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