Thinking of getting started with affiliate marketing?
You need all the help you can get to harness this marketing strategy and increase your profit.
As an influencer and marketer, you already know what it is and how it works.
But getting started? Oh, that’s where things can get a bit much.
“How do I begin?”, “What do I need to put in place?” are just a few of the questions you’ve probably asked yourself in the past.
Well, we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed as you begin this journey.
That’s why we created an 11-point checklist to help you get started with affiliate marketing.
So without further ado, let’s jump right in.
1. Research Your Competitors
You know how architects conduct site reconnaissance to get the lie of the land before designing the plan?
That’s what this first step is like.
You want to do a deep-dive into how competing brands are running their affiliate marketing campaigns so you can learn how to start yours.
And trust us, with over 80% of brands using affiliate marketing, there’s plenty to learn from competitors who’ve been in the game a while.
The trick is to investigate what’s made them successful so you can tweak it and have an edge.
So, what should you keep an eye out for during your investigation? Here are some ideas:
- Commission rates: Considering commissions are at the very foundation of affiliate marketing, you need to monitor your competitor’s rates. This way you’ll ensure your commissions are fair if not better.
- Recruitment: How do your competitors recruit affiliates for their campaigns? Are they using social media influencers? Would you?
- Promotions: Next, you wanna watch out for the kind of deals they offer. Is there a special promotion they run or a loyalty program?
- Means of communication: You should also look at the ways they communicate so you can improve yours.
After doing this groundwork, the next thing you wanna do is outline your goals for the campaign.
2. Set Your Objectives & KPIs
You see, the research you’ve just done has one basic purpose — showing you what’s possible with this type of marketing campaign.
But you have to build on it by clearly stating your objectives.
Why is this important?
So you know what to work toward and how to go about it. Sure, you wanna make sales so your profits can go through the roof.
But you need to put a number on it. This would help guide how you run the campaign.
The objectives we’re talking about could be:
- Raising brand awareness.
- Customer acquisition.
- Boosting revenue.
- Generating leads.
- Product promotion.
After setting the objectives, you also need to streamline them into actionable and measurable goals. You know, like how many affiliates would help meet your objectives or the core message of the campaign.
Now, as you set goals and objectives, it’s important that you also set key performance indicators (KPI) to help you track your progress.
These metrics are how you measure the success of the campaign.
So for each affiliate you work with, you can measure:
- Number of sales generated.
- Total revenue they generate.
- Conversion rate.
- Engagement rate.
- Click-through rate.
And so on!
You now have a clear direction in which the campaign should go. But you need to be certain you can afford it.
How do you do that?
3. Plan Out Your Budget Plan and Compensation Model
Here, you wanna talk about costs.
You’ll spend a lot of money when running a campaign so it’ll be in your best interest to plan for every bit of it.
This is how you know if affiliate marketing will give you the kind of return on Investment you want.
So what should be in your budget?
Cost of an affiliate platform
You need to decide how you wanna run your program — through an affiliate network or a SaaS platform.
An affiliate network can help you recruit affiliates with ease. They usually have an initial set-up fee that costs between $500 and $2,000.
Plus the cost of commissions ranges between 2% and 35% depending on your product type.
A SaaS platform, on the other hand, gives you more control over the affiliate program and its performance. You’ll get integration with third-party apps, fraud prevention tools, and more.
And all of that for a monthly subscription of $100 and above.
Another thing that’s gonna take money from your pocket is the ad creatives for your campaign. That includes everything from videos to landing pages, banners, graphics, you name it.
If you have in-house design professionals, then you may not need to worry about this.
But if not, you might need to hire freelancers to produce creatives for you. Sometimes, you may even have to collaborate with influencers to create UGC videos so the campaign has an authentic and relatable feel.
How much you pay affiliates is an important part of your budget. As we stated earlier, a good place to start is by identifying what your competitors are doing.
At the same time, you do need to figure out what amount you’re willing to pay and which compensation model would be appropriate.
Do you want to pay them per-sale (PPS), per-click(PPC), or per-lead (PPL)?
At this point, the basics are out of the way and it’s time to begin the actual work.
We recommend you start by building a landing page.
4. Design Your Landing Page
Creating a landing page is an important requirement for your affiliate marketing program. It’s the brand home for the campaign where potential affiliates can find all the details they need.
A typical landing page should include:
- The requirements for the kind of affiliates you need.
- Your expectations about the campaign.
- Your offerings.
- The product or service being promoted.
- Features and benefits of the product.
- Attention-grabbing headlines and visuals.
- Call to action (CTA).
A case in point is Shopify’s affiliate landing page:
Now why do you need a landing page?
For starters, this is where you convince affiliates to work with you. In other words, it’ll help you generate leads and increase your conversion rates.
According to reports, it’s got the highest conversion rate of 23% despite being the least popular type of signup form.
Simply put, designing a landing page will set you on the right path in your affiliate marketing journey.
After doing that, you need to ensure you get the word out about what you’re building.
And that takes us to the next step…
5. Market Your Affiliate Program
Now that you’ve got a digital home people can refer to, your next step is to promote your program.
That’s right, affiliates need to hear about your offer if they’re going to help you generate leads and increase sales.
Here are some ideas on how you can spread the word:
✅Include it in your website: Most of the best affiliates spend time looking for new programs they can jump on. If you include it on your website, the better their chances of finding it.
More specifically, you can add it to the top and bottom menus of your site, as a pop-up, or mention it in one of your top-performing blog posts.
✅Through email marketing: If you have an email list, you can mention it in your newsletter. You might wanna make the copy persuasive and personalized so it doesn’t look spammy.
✅Mention it on social media: Nowadays, everyone is on social media including the affiliates you wanna reach. So, what better place to promote your program than there? We recommend using a video ad and adding the link to your affiliate site.
✅List the program in affiliate directories: Some of the best affiliate programs do this and it’s because top affiliates visit these directories to find new opportunities. It’s a good way to promote your program and let the top guys know about it.
Another way you can promote your campaign is to leverage search engine optimization (SEO) appropriately. You know, by using industry keywords in your titles and copy.
People are actively searching for affiliate programs to join. Interest in affiliate marketing skyrocketed by over 264% between 2020 and 2022. So by using SEO strategically, you’ll be making it easy for your target audience to find your program.
6. Find Affiliates
Word about your program is out there already. Next is to find affiliates who can join your digital army.
Now there are two ways to do this. You can either use an affiliate agency or search through a database like Insense.
Here’s how to do that:
First, visit Insense’s Marketplace.
Then, using filters such as category, platform, age, location, or gender, you’ll find creators who meet your requirements.
Select the creators you’d like to work with, send them a brief of the program, and you can begin your campaign.
After you’ve found affiliates, you need to provide them with every resource they’ll need going forward.
And that includes a contract.
7. Map Out an Affiliate Agreement
What happens when you find the right affiliates willing to promote your product or service?
Do they just go straight to work after you’ve both agreed on commission rates?
Well, not really.
The next thing is to create an affiliate contract — an agreement clearly mapping out the terms and conditions of this partnership.
This agreement describes how affiliates will work with you. It ensures every party holds on to their end of the bargain. You know, to prevent fraudulent behavior and all.
So, how do you create an affiliate agreement?
Here’s everything you need to include:
- Responsibilities of your business and the affiliate.
- Definition of terms.
- Grounds on which this contract will be void or terminated.
- Circumstances under which recurring commissions can be earned or lost.
- Promotion and advertisements that affiliates can use.
- Indemnity clause protecting both parties from actions either of you take.
- Requirement for payment and forfeiture.
- Disclaimers and limitation of liabilities.
- How and when payments will be made.
- Who owns any intellectual properties.
- Restrictions regarding affiliates' use of promotional materials.
- State or federal laws governing the partnership.
- Definition of any confidential information.
Affiliates need to sign the agreement before you proceed. Once they do, you need to have all the promotional materials ready for them to get started.
And that takes us to the next step.
8. Provide Affiliates with Promotional Materials
You wanna ensure your affiliates have everything needed for this digital marketing strategy.
And that includes providing materials required for creating promotional content.
It’s like your brand style guide, so affiliates know the appropriate way to craft any content they produce.
Now they can either create the content they’ll use from scratch or use yours.
As such, you need to provide them with brand materials like:
- Short videos
Essentially if there’s anything they’re gonna need for their affiliate marketing business, you need to provide it for them.
Got new or imminent updates to your products?
Affiliates should be the first to know about them. This way they’re able to create appropriate content for the campaign.
These materials are just one of the main things needed for an effective affiliate marketing strategy. The second is affiliate links and promo codes.
Let’s talk about that.
9. Push out Links and Promo Codes
Affiliates can generate leads and potential sales for you when the campaign starts.
But for them to do this job well, they need links and promo codes that can help make affiliate sales through their content.
Referring potential leads back to you to close the sale would be bad affiliate management on your part. People just want to click, get what they want, and move on.
That’s why providing trackable links is important.
They provide a direct path for customers to access the product you’re marketing. These links would also help you track the performance of your campaign and calculate the affiliate commissions for each affiliate.
The promo codes, on the other hand, are a good incentive for potential customers. It’s gonna encourage them to take action ASAP to get a discount or participate in a special offer.
Just like this video from TikTok content creator, Redzki Red.
She had a promo code that gave prospects 55% off their purchase. See what we mean?
Now, before you create affiliate links and distribute them, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- Ensure the links are concise and include your domain name.
- Encourage new affiliates to display their affiliation.
- ‘Nofollow’ your affiliate links. In other words, tag the link so Google knows it’s a paid link and doesn’t penalize your site.
With these out of the way, the next step of your campaign is to track performance.
10. Measure Affiliate Performance
By now, your marketing campaign is good to go with affiliates bringing in those sales you’ve been dreaming of.
You should relax after all your hard work, right?
In fact, this is where you should tighten your seat belt and keep track of how they’re doing.
This is how you’ll know if the number of leads and sales you’ve been seeing is a sign of progress.
So, how do you measure their performance?
Remember those KPIs we spoke about earlier? That’s what you need to track.
You’ll be tracking leads, clicks, orders, conversions, commissions, sales, active affiliates, and more, weekly or monthly.
With the data obtained, you can calculate your return on investment (ROI) to know if you can scale up.
And if that’s an option, here’s what you should do:
11. Continue Finding Affiliates to Promote your Links
You’ll need more hands on deck if you’re going to scale your affiliate marketing program.
That means intensifying your recruitment endeavors.
Aside from the options we mentioned previously, one of the best ways to find affiliates is to look inward.
By that, we mean recruiting your existing customers. They’re already familiar with your brand and products so they have firsthand experience no one else has.
So, who better than them?
The good thing about recruiting your customers is that it might not cost much, especially if you use the referral approach many brands use.
You just let them know that if they bring in paying customers or subscribers, they get a commission or discount.
And that brings us to the end of our ultimate affiliate marketing checklist.
Now Over to You
If you’ve ever wondered how on earth you run an affiliate marketing campaign, we hope this checklist has helped you figure that out.
Wasn’t so difficult after all, right? 😉
As you now know, there’s no affiliate marketing without affiliates.
So if you need help finding the right affiliates for your program, we got you covered.
Don’t hesitate to book a demo with Insense and let’s show you how.