How to Start Affiliate Marketing

If you are interested in promoting a product or service online, affiliate marketing probably comes to mind. There are 2 sides to affiliate marketing – the affiliate doing the “marketing” as well as the business behind the product.

From a digital marketing perspective, we are going to look at how to start an affiliate program where you’ll work with affiliates.

Examine Your Offering

Before you start, it is important to make sure your product/service is attractive to affiliates. It should be of good quality. After all, serious affiliates would not want to ruin their reputation by providing subpar recommendations.

Next, take note of your conversion rates. If they are high, this demonstrates that you have a product worth promoting and can go a long way when it comes to negotiating remuneration models and commissions. (More on this in a second).

What Are Your Competitors Doing

It’s not a good idea to start affiliate marketing blindly, so take some time to understand your competition.

  • Know who your competition works with (their channels)
  • Look at the amount of commission and remuneration models they use with their affiliates

This is a helpful starting point to model your affiliate program as you begin.

Recruiting Your Affiliates

There are 2 main sources of affiliates – they are either found in Affiliate Networks or independently sourced.

They each have their pros and cons.

Affiliate Networks often have existing connections with many quality affiliates, which means you can scale quickly. They also take care of tracking and paying commissions which means less admin work for you. However, this comes at a price and you will need to pay extra to benefit from being part of an Affiliate Network.

The other option is to source affiliates on your own. This can be more difficult and time-consuming, but also offers you more control and direct interaction with your affiliates. It cuts out the middle man expense too.

Ultimately, the choice is yours! If you really are unsure of where to start, it may be worth investing in an Affiliate Network until you learn the ropes.

Choose Your Payment Model

Alright, you’ve decided who you want to partner with. There’s an agreement to be made before the sales and recommendations start though.

There are two main types of remuneration models: Pay-per-impression (PPI) and pay-per-action (PPA). Refer to our article on what affiliate marketing is for more details.

PPI operates on engagements like views or the number of times an ad has been displayed. This is definitely attractive to the affiliate, as it is easier to achieve. However, it’s not ideal if your goal is to create conversions.

PPA looks at actual actions taken whether they be events like clicks, sign-ups, or sales themselves. This is clearly more beneficial as it allows you to measure engaged interactions with your product and the affiliate.

Of course, more difficult goals do cost more, but be sure that your investments result in concrete results!

We hope this has given you a bit of a starting point so you can add affiliate marketing your mix of online efforts.