Affiliate Marketing for Beginners—How To Start and Succeed

Affiliate marketing for beginners

Affiliate marketing is a popular strategy where businesses reward affiliates—individuals or other businesses—for driving traffic or sales to their website.

These affiliates do this by promoting products or services on behalf of the merchant, earning a commission for any sales or leads they can generate.

Affiliates help businesses attract new customers, expand their reach, and increase conversions by leveraging their audience on social media. It’s a type of partnership that can become incredibly beneficial for ecommerce stores as it offers a quick and cost-effective way to grow.

What are the different types of affiliates?

Types of affiliates

There’s a wide variety of affiliates you can work with, including social media influencers, email marketers, coupon websites and even small blogs.

Each type offers its own unique strengths and strategies for reaching potential customers, giving you the opportunity to choose affiliates that best fit the target audience for your business.

Setting up your affiliate program

To set up your own affiliate program, first decide on what products you want your affiliates to promote for you and what commissions you want to give. This could be a flat rate per sale or a percentage of the revenue they generated.

Consider prioritizing popular items with higher price points as it allows you to set more attractive commission rates that benefit both you and the affiliate.

It’s also worth noting what kind of affiliate marketing you want to reward, whether it’s for traffic to your ecommerce store or for each individual sale made through a UTM tracking link.

Marketing for your program

Market your program

The next step is to market your affiliate program—the easiest method here is to leverage your Shopify store’s resources and create a dedicated webpage for your program where potential partners can find all the information and sign up if interested.

You should also engage with your audience through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and X. Try to share content related to your affiliate program regularly and use the relevant hashtags to extend your reach.


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Last but not least, please don’t forget about traditional methods like email marketing! This is still a great way to promote anything new because subscribers to your email list are already interested in your products, making them excellent candidates for potential affiliates.

Finding and connecting with affiliates

Finding affiliates

You shouldn’t limit your affiliate marketing to just existing customers.

Expanding your reach through social media platforms by partnering with influencers and especially YouTube creators can help you find new audiences who might feel passionately about your brand but aren’t familiar with it yet.

By engaging with these types of things and creating a compelling affiliate program, you can engage with new communities, bringing followers and sometimes even more affiliates from the original influencer’s network.

This approach requires a bit more effort because you’ll have to reach out to influencers and wow them a little, but the rewards in terms of increased visibility and sales can be worth the time.

Some Facebook groups even cater to specific niches, making it easier to find promotion opportunities from people who are already well-versed in your field. The affiliates you connect with here have a genuine interest in and understanding of your product or service, leading to a more authentic collaboration.

Try an affiliate marketing app

Manage your affiliate

Managing and tracking your affiliate program can be quite a hassle—especially when you’re just starting out—but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Affiliate program apps are third-party software designed to help you manage your affiliates, create UTM tracking links, and organize your program so you can monitor its success with ease.

These apps take the hassle out of affiliate management, freeing up your time to focus on what you do best: growing your business.

Shopify's app store has a variety of affiliate program apps with a wide range of robust features to help you oversee your affiliates and track their performance.

For example, you can create custom referral links for each affiliate, set up commission rates and rules, and monitor the success of your program through detailed analytics.

One such app is Refersion, which also comes with a super handy built-in payment processing system that allows you to pay your affiliates within the app.

Tips for maintaining a successful affiliate program

Maintaining your affiliate program

In the realm of affiliate marketing, staying on top of performance is crucial for long-term success. This typically involves weekly monitoring of key metrics so you can identify what’s working well and what you could improve.

For instance, finding out who your best performing affiliates are will help you prioritize promotional efforts, while understanding which products are under-performing can guide changes in what you offer or even complete removals from your program.

You can also focus on tracking which platform (blogs, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) brings in the most sales, helping you focus your marketing strategies on worthwhile targets and maximize ROI (return on investment).

To keep your affiliates engaged and motivated, consider implementing a few new strategies now and then.

Offering a more competitive commission during special events like BFCM can be an effective way to encourage higher sales volume from your affiliates.

You might also introduce incentives, such as bonuses or rewards for exceeding certain performance benchmarks.

Another idea could involve providing discount codes that affiliates can offer their followers, increasing the appeal of their promotions and potentially boosting your overall conversion rates. Want a quick tip? Make those discounts time-limited!

Remember, affiliate marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. Careful tracking and regular adjustments are necessary to maintain performance and keep both you and your affiliates on target.

Want to try being an affiliate instead?

Are you creating quality content in the ecommerce niche?

If your skills are better suited to helping entrepreneurs find the best solution, Sufio offers a program where you can start earning by becoming an affiliate for our Shopify invoicing app.

Pick your favorite commission option: Sufio pays either 20% of the monthly fee for each new customer you refer for as long as they use Sufio, or 200% of the monthly price as a one-time payment.

With the ability to earn up to $310 per year for each user you refer, beautiful marketing materials, and standout features like automated invoicing, now is the time to start.