Starting an affiliate marketing program
Starting an Affiliate/Partner Program
Even though I was 100% on my own on this case study business journey, I wanted some helping hands. Especially with the marketing.
Having a good partner program in place can literally multiply a business’ marketing efforts. It’s simple to set up and based on my experience with affiliates I came up with the 4 C’s of a partner program:
The amount of money a partner can make per sale had to be competitive. At the same time, I had to make sure that I can actually afford a competitive cut of my margins. That’s why I added the 20% affiliate commission top of my product prices when I was doing the calculations.
Communication is the key to success. Without proper communications with my partners, it would have been an agreement instead of a real partnership. It didn’t have to be daily communication but I had to give them the feeling that they could ask me anything at any time.
I couldn’t expect my partners to create content for me. Partners are mostly marketers and not necessarily content creators. That’s why I had to create a package full of content they could use for the purpose of marketing. Including brand assets, images and designs in different sizes and shapes for all big social media platforms and/or email headers.
Pay day is always the most important day and so I didn’t want to be late when paying my affiliates. Even worse: I never wanted to pay the wrong amount of money.
Due to ease, I choose to pay my partners via PayPal.
I created these rules for myself quite some time ago and all I needed to do was to follow them.
The starting point for setting up my partner program was to get an affiliate app for Shopify. I choose to go with Affiliatly. With just a few clicks I could access my Affiliatly dashboard and start to set the partner program.
I would set up every new partner/affiliate like this:
I kept the rest as it was by default.
Setting the partner program technically up was just the first part. I obviously needed partners to make this whole thing work.
Finding the right people to work with is actually very hard and can become a real headache. There are tons of people online who love the idea of promoting some products and get money in return. Unfortunately, not too many people actually know how to promote a product that will end up in a sale.
Even though there are hundreds of “affiliate marketing” groups on Facebook where I could have posted my offer, I decided to only offer an affiliate position to people who are at least somewhat familiar with my business.
I wanted to source affiliates from:
- The leads I would collect from the giveaway
- The followers/fans of my social media accounts
- The leads I would collect from the pre-sale landing page
- The leads I would collect from my website (pop-up)
- My customers
- Referrals from my customers
As I was on the 30-day free “Starter” trial of Affiliatly, I was able to add 50 affiliates.
The process of getting people on-board had to wait for a moment. Capturing leads had to be priority number one. In other words: It was time to start with some real marketing.
Before I jumped into marketing I created a “partner program” page on my website so visitors could apply for the program. I simply used the “page.contact” template for pages in Shopify and wrote some lines above the contact field.
I also added this page to the footer of my website.
Whenever someone would fill out this “Partner Program” form I would reply with an email and send them the link to the sign-up page. I didn’t want to automate this as communication is, like I mentioned, a very important part to me and an autoresponder wouldn’t help me.
The whole set up process of this partner program didn’t cost too much time. Doing this properly is essential to find success.Note: Always remember that your affiliates are actual human beings. They have different emotions and want to get treated well. If you try to automate tons of processes and barely interact with them they may feel discouraged and won’t give their best. As you want them to perform very well for you, you must also treat them very well. That’s all. Be nice and you’ll win.