Affiliate Marketing Tips | 2020-03-04

How to Create an Affiliate Program: A Step-by-Step Affiliate Marketing Guide

Edgar Chekhovich

Written by
Edgar Chekhovich

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Affiliate marketing can significantly help you grow your small business, but that doesn’t mean it will fit everyone. The biggest drawback of affiliate marketing is that you have to pick the right platform and find trusted affiliates. These tasks require time and a certain amount of risks. But, if you have a firm hand on your brand and niche, affiliate marketing can do incredible stuff and reach new customers with a nicely-run affiliate program.

Anyway, to create a high-quality affiliate program, you need to stand out from the ocean of other affiliate marketing programs out there. You need to learn from success cases and follow essential steps to make a great-working affiliate program. We can help you understand how to start an own affiliate program to become recognized by the best affiliate marketers.

5 Key Steps to Start an Own Affiliate Program

  1. Select a Platform
  2. Choose Payments Terms
  3. Create Program Policy & Rules
  4. Provide Marketing Collateral
  5. Set-up Tracking & Reports

1. Select an Affiliate Platform

Before launching your first affiliate program, you’ll need to decide what works best for you: whether you want to manage everything by yourself or be more hands-off. 

Affiliate networks can give you access to many quality affiliates right away. Still, affiliate software provides you freedom, full control, and potentially more affiliate sales.

The best way to choose the appropriate affiliate network or the right affiliate platform is through analyzing various case studies. When you are deciding on an affiliate software solution, pay attention to the following characteristics first: 

  • interface;
  • tools;
  • reports & tracking;
  • creatives management;
  • support;
  • trial version.

2. Affiliate Payouts Terms

In our recent article, we’ve explained how affiliate marketing makes a shift to performance marketing. In general, this marketing strategy reflected in payment methods for affiliate partners. More and more brands and e-commerce businesses are willing to pay only for results, and refuse to pay upfront. So, let’s explore the most effective payment methods for your affiliate program.

Pay-per-sale method rewards affiliates for each completed transaction. Every cash reward is equal to the percentage of the sold affiliate product value. You choose what percentage of the product price to payout your affiliates.

Sometimes, not only sales but also subscriptions to a free trial or email newsletters can bring you value. Further conversion of such leads into affiliate sales is already a more straightforward matter. In this case, it’s quite suitable for you to implement a pay-per-lead payment method.

Another way you may approach choosing a payout model is a combination of various payment methods. Instead of choosing one thing, you can set up a combined reward system that will involve several different payment methods and affiliate commission tiers. For example, after you get an affiliate click from Google Ad, your partner will receive a small reward for this, pay-per-click. Next, if the landing page visitor will purchase from you, the affiliate will receive a percentage from this sale.

3. Affiliate Program Policy & Rules

An affiliate program policy is a binding agreement between you and your new affiliates. Properly drafted, this documentation controls the rules, responsibilities, and dispute resolution mechanisms that both parties must follow. The affiliate program policy serves to restrict shady promotion methods, marketing channels, and payment issues, and can help to recruit affiliates.

If you decide to draft your affiliate program policy and rules by yourself, we recommend to address the following subjects:

  • When you payout affiliates and how;
  • What promotional methods or marketing channels are restricted;
  • What physical products or affiliate product categories (discounted, low priced, etc.) excluded from your program;
  • Other cases when affiliate action will be banned.

4. Affiliate Marketing Collateral

It’s essential to offer your new affiliates quality marketing collateral. By doing so, you’re making it easier for them to promote your affiliate product. For example, you found out that banner ad with your product outperform text links in conversion rate. Consequently, such information or product reviews in your collateral material would help your affiliates attract new customers and perform better.

Even before applying to your affiliate program, typically, affiliates are looking for collateral or creative materials. They want to see what they will have to work with. So, it’s crucial to offer them as much useful and incisive data as possible.

5. Affiliate Tracking & Reports

Another vital part of running an affiliate program is to keep tracking and optimizing performance. You should consider tracking & reports at the stage of choosing an affiliate platform. It gives you the ability to evaluate affiliate program performance, predict future results, and adjust them for higher profits.

For example, traffic sources analytics is one of the essentials in any digital marketing niche. Knowing what’s your best traffic source, PPC, SEO, social media, influencers, bloggers, or email lists, could grow your affiliate sales and number of affiliates.

You can read more about affiliate management and rich analytics for data-driven decision-making in the article Top Four Features of Affiliate Marketing Platform.

Bonus Step. Affiliate Program Launch

So, you’ve chosen the affiliate platform, payout method, prepared high-quality affiliate marketing policy & collateral, and set up tracking tools. Even after all of these steps, still, you can do more and adjust your affiliate program for a smooth launch.

In order to successfully start an affiliate program, you can do at least these two extra steps: 

  • produce great announcements
  • prepare recruitment email

Best Software Solution for Setting-up Online Advertising Campaigns

The creation of a fully functional affiliate marketing project requires a lot of time, knowledge, and money. In the video below, we explain in all detail how a ready-made affiliate platform makes the whole process much easier with its automation tools, CPAPI, ad fraud control, etc.

As you can see, Affise, as an all-in-one platform for advertisers, online marketing agencies, and affiliate networks, allows you to manage, track, analyze, and optimize online advertising campaigns in real-time. Try Affise today! Submit for a free trial and check out the platform’s functionality by yourself!

Originally published