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How to Get Started Affiliate Program Step by Step

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

You want more traffic. You want more leads. You want more sales. Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-efficient ways that you should consider. If you are a very beginner to affiliate, please check out our previous blog “Everything You Need to Know about Affiliate Marketing For Your Business”. Starting and initiating something new that you have not done before is always hard. In this blog, we will discuss how to get started on your own affiliate program for your business from scratch.

Here are some steps we would like to share with you to get started on affiliate marketing.

  1. How to increase your product AOV

  2. How to decide the commission fees

  3. How to recruit your affiliates

  4. How to manage your affiliate program

  5. Top 15 affiliate management saas software

  6. Top 10 affiliate networks

1. How to Increase Your Product AOV

Your first step is to decide which products you want to promote for your affiliate program, however, it is smart enough to focus on higher average value products (AOV).

AOV is the average amount that your customers spend to buy your products. It is an important benchmark for understanding customers’ behaviors.

To have a better understanding of AOV, we all can look at this example. If the company has a product that is worth $1000 split between 100 orders, the AOV value is $10. After knowing your AOV, the company should focus on making customers spend more than the AOV amount. To reach the profit margin, the business should thrive to make your customers spend more.

Benefits of increasing your AOV include

  • Increasing AOV will, in turn, increase your profit margin within a short period of time

  • Doing promotion to increase AOV will also increase your customers lifetime value

Ways to increase your AOV

1. Create an order minimum for ‘free shipping’ and other gifts

Offering a free delivery threshold is the simplest way to improve the average purchase value.

For example, all orders over $75 qualify for free shipping.

Add 30% to your average order value once you've computed it. If your average order value is $100, for example, the 30% increase brings it to $130. Set your free shipping barrier to this new value — for example, free delivery on all orders over $130. As a free shipping threshold, Aaron Zakowski discovered that a 30% rise in your average order value worked best.

When clients check out and their order does not meet the free shipping barrier, you can send them a notification. You'll be able to help raise the Average Order Value by receiving this notification.

2. Give Product Discounts

While it may seem contradictory, offering discounts can assist in lowering your average purchase value. When offering discounts, however, make sure to include a minimum spend requirement. For example, if you purchase $75 or more, you will receive a $10 discount.

Some brands provide volume discounts as well. When specific order value brackets result in a specific discount, this is the case. For example, if you spend $75, you'll get a $10 discount, $15 off if you spend $100, and $25 off if you spend $150 or more.

3. Upsell or Cross-sell the products

For the items, you sell, come up with similar product recommendations to catch customers’ attention. For example, when we check out on Amazon, they recommend similar or complementary products before the customers’ checkout. You can recommend the same for your similar products. This will help you to increase your profits.

3. Testimonials

Testimonials play a vital role in displaying your website. Customers tend to look at the reviews before they purchase products from your website. It is one way to let your new customers know what your existing customers think of your products or services. When implementing testimonials on the website, you have to make sure to add your customers’ products reviews. To do that, you have to encourage your customers to submit feedback. This can be done through emails, messaging, and other ways.

4. Set up a customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are another way to increase your AOV value. If you sell consumable products such as cosmetics and food which customers need to rebuy, set up your consumer loyalty program according to their preferences.

For example,

When you buy products from Sephora, they give you points and when you go there again to buy your products, they will give you cash back for your accumulated points.

2. How to Decide Commission Fees

This is the first real step in determining your commission rate for starting an affiliate program.

There are two routes which are percentage commission and flat-rate commission. The difference between them is percentage commission is the percentage for each affiliate sale and flat-rate commission is the dollar amount set for each sale.

When determining your price, percentage commission is used for most affiliate programs. The average affiliate program fee is between 5-30%. However, if you sell a few specific products for fixed amount commissions, a set price is used.

The commission rate might be different based on platform and product category. Here is an example of commission rate throughout different product categories for ecommerce platform according to HeyCarson

Here is an example like Survey Sparrow so that you know how to calculate your affiliate commission

After figuring out your commission price, you have to analyze your competitor’s price so that you can set up an attractive price. The business should periodically check and change commission prices to keep affiliates engaged and motivated.

3. How to Recruit your Affiliates

After choosing your AOV products and setting up your commission fees, it is time for you to recruit your affiliates for your program. The most time-consuming and labor-intensive aspect of running an affiliate program is recruiting. First, you need to decide which market segments you want to target and list up the potential affiliates. You can then personalize your pitch and contact them. Here are our suggestions on how to recruit affiliates.

1. Turn your Customers into affiliate

There are many ways to recruit your affiliates. One of the most efficient and straightforward ways is to look at your potential customers and recruit from them. The customers are already familiar with your product so they have the most potential to join your affiliate program if they are satisfied with your products. Like users, they can give genuine product feedback of your products which will help to increase your sales. It's also called referral programs.

2. Reaching out to Influencers

This is another way to promote your product and at the same time recruit your affiliates. Influencers are the opinion leaders and their opinions within the community are respected and being followed by many people. You need to find out who the influencers are according to your products and how you can reach them. The more influential they are, based on their traffic or number of followers, the harder they are to reach. This is why you need to personalize your message as much as possible when you reach out to them.

They can be social media influencers, bloggers, or paid searched-focused microsites.

3. Analyze your competitors

The application of this strategy is contingent on your market position. It's critical to know how your competitors are doing it if you are an underdog battling against bigger players. Even if you're the market leader, you might gain from rival knowledge. There's always the possibility that you have overlooked a sector or an outreach technique.

The most straightforward method is to identify your main competitors and investigate their backlinks. You'll be able to see who their affiliates are and how they're advertising them this way. You can contact those same affiliates after the backlink analysis is completed. To get their attention, make a compelling case for why your affiliate program is superior.

4. Your affiliate landing page should be optimized

The organic traffic to your affiliate page can be improved by optimizing your landing page. You should conduct a keyword analysis to determine the most popular keywords in your niche. A CTA button for potential affiliates to join your affiliate program should be included here as well.

5. Boost traffic with paid advertisements

Paid ads are an effective strategy to increase traffic to your affiliate landing page. With paid ads, you get more instant results and it requires less effort. You might also consider paid ads on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Tailor your ad campaigns for each segment and keyword group separately.

6. Regular Follow-up

Follow-ups provide an opportunity to keep your affiliates up to date on the most recent updates. Some affiliates on the B2B side also appreciate scheduled calls. While these calls can be time-consuming, it makes your affiliates appear more like business partners. You can offer these calls to your top affiliates.

7. Get Listed on Affiliate Directories

The right directories can offer you additional exposure and bring in new affiliates. Not all affiliate program directories are worth your time and money. Try to think of your affiliates as business partners who become an extension of your brand. They could also ask for a backlink instead of a fee for getting listed.

4. How to Manage your Affiliate Program

In order to run a successful affiliate program, you need to ensure proper affiliate management, campaign tracking, reporting, payouts, and even fraud detection, etc. so that your affiliates stay motivated and stay on the right track. There are three possible ways to run or manage your affiliate program.

  1. Join the Affiliate Networks

  2. Use Affiliate Management Software

  3. Develop an in-house solution from scratch

1. Join the Affiliate Network

An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between affiliates (publishers) and advertisers (brand, product owner). As an advertiser, you can sign up for a particular affiliate network. The affiliate network will be responsible for all settings and functionality vital for proper management. Joining an affiliate network makes it much easier to find your profile affiliates to promote your products.

There are plenty of affiliate networks and please check out our recommended “Top 10 affiliate network” in the next section.

How to Choose Right Affiliate networks

  1. Choose a Network that targets your niche

  2. Check their payment plans are aligned with your commission plan

  3. Research well to be able to select reputation network

  4. Having Fraud Prevention Policy is a must

How much does the affiliate network charge you

They charge you several ways. It can be a one-time setup fee, Commission from your sales, First-time Deposit, or other fees. Some networks charge a One-time setup fee and some don't. The fees can range from 500 to 2,000 USD. Commission from your sales is the additional fees based on affiliate sales success percentage. Your commission fees to affiliates may range from 5% to 30% as we mentioned in the above section. You need to pay some additional percentage whenever a successful payment has happened. Some networks asked you to make a First Time Deposit. It is widely used as a guarantee that advertisers are determined to work on the platform and promote their affiliate program. Other fees might be charged in case your program doesn’t yet bring profit.

2. Use Affiliate Management SaaS Software

Advertisers need to choose an affiliate management platform, in a similar way as they do an affiliate network. Joining an affiliate network means relying on somebody totally. After kickoff your programs have already been recognized by many affiliates, it is probably a better idea to start to ship to launch your own program. So you will be the owner of the program and access all data on ad campaigns.

Starting your own program does not mean that you have to do everything from scratch including technology. You can use affiliate management software SaaS.

There are plenty of affiliate management SaaS software and please check out in the next section our recommended “Top 15 Affiliate Management SaaS Software”.

How to Choose Right Affiliate Management Software

  1. The analytics feature is compulsory

  2. Able to Customize which is good for your company long term brands

  3. 24/7 Technical Support is a must because ad campaign does not work just 8 hours a day

  4. Integrations with 3rd party services such as fraud prevention, billing services, CRM, eCommerce platforms, BI tools, etc.

  5. Flexible API term is better for integrations other software that is not yet “plugged” into the platform

How much does affiliate Management Software will cost you?

In the next following session “Top 15 Affiliate Management Saas Software”, you can see the price range, free trial, and rates, etc for more details. The price can range from 40$ to a couple of thousand dollars. Please do research really well such as by seeing ratings, comparison websites to understand better to be able to choose the one that matches with your conditions.

3. Develop an In-house Solution From Scratch

The third option is that you can build everything in-house from scratch including technology. But it is not for everybody. It requires a lot of dedication, knowledge, technology, and a dedicated team. It might take a certain amount of money. Brands Like Amazon and eBay, are building their own affiliate platform in-house.

5. Top 15 Affiliate Management Saas Software

This is optional for businesses. Nonetheless, having an app will help you to manage your affiliate program by providing you with the necessary tools and monitoring the progress.

We have listed the most common apps after browsing through various websites. Here are the apps as follows:

We will share details in the upcoming blog "Top 15 Affiliate Management Saas Software" detail about their features, pros and cons comparisons for each software.

6. Top 10 Affiliate Networks

We also listed the top 10 affiliate networks so that the businesses can reference or join them to recruit affiliates.

We will share details in the upcoming blog "Top 10 Affiliate Networks" detail about their features, pros and cons comparisons for each software.


7. Conclusion

Last but not least, one of the most important reasons behind the successful affiliate program is who is running and managing that program. If you do decide to hire someone to manage your affiliate program in-house, make sure they are professional. Hire someone who has experience in building, protecting, and optimizing affiliate programs in your niche market. Without effective administration, an affiliate program might cannibalize your own marketing efforts, hurting your brand image.

Partnering with an affiliate marketing company is another option. Mobilizing an experienced team of professionals on your affiliate program allows for many advantages including rapid scale, leveraging existing agency partnerships, and lower affiliate channel costs.

We itself helps you to understand what kind of partnership program and how to launch and recruit your target affiliate based on your requirement and conditions. In order to understand what you need and have more partnership opportunities, please apply here.


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