How To Start An Affiliate Program For Your Business

How To Start An Affiliate Program For Your Business
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As a business, the more clients you have, the more money you can potentially make. 

Regardless of your industry, you’re going to have competition. And if you’re not on top of your marketing game. You’re at a serious disadvantage.

But before you create your own affiliate program, you need to understand what affiliate marketing is.

Online retailers offer affiliate programs (commission based) to affiliate marketers to promote their product.

Most online retailers are using affiliate programs to generate traffic to their website. Ones without affiliate programs are being left behind.

In this article, I am going to show you how to start an affiliate program for your business.

Why Start An Affiliate Program?

By offering perks to other marketers and influencers, you can leverage their traffic to gain more customers for your business.

Are you currently running an eCommerce website (selling your own or other people’s products)?

The benefits of running an affiliate program goes beyond a boost in traffic, but also a boost in sales.

Running an affiliate program will generate leads and help build your brand. If done correctly, you wouldn’t have to rely on pay-per-click advertisements.

You can enjoy the traffic generated by your affiliate marketers who are promoting your product and brand.

An Affiliate Program Is NOT For Everyone

Just because there are huge benefits to running your affiliate program, it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

Running an eCommerce store typically requires more attention compared to an affiliate marketing website.

Unless you are committed to only running your eCommerce store, adding an affiliate program is going to be ANOTHER thing you need to focus on.

You need to focus on preventing fraudulent transactions and other problems that can arise from your affiliate program.

If you don’t think you can manage this, you should NOT consider running an affiliate program.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t in the future, so don’t force yourself and wait until you’re ready.

How To Create An Affiliate Program With WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for online business owners because of the security, simplicity, and the available plugins (This will benefit you greatly as you continue reading).

Step #1. Sell High Quality Product(s)

Having high quality products is the most important aspect that you want to consider before running an affiliate program.

This makes it easier for your affiliate marketers to promote since they will be comparing your products to your competition.

Most affiliate marketers with substantial traffic did it by working hard and promoting high quality products to their visitors.

They will usually NOT jeopardize their website, their credibility, and their brand, by promoting an inferior product.

Keep in mind, poor products are cheap, but the likelihood of your customers asking for refunds can make it a living nightmare for your online business.

Not only do you have to process refunds to your customers, but you will also have to manage the payments made to your affiliate marketers due to the refund.

In the end, you can potentially lose customers and affiliate marketers. This is why you should only sell products that you would recommend to family and friends.

Step #2. Choosing The Plugin Or Platform

The next step is choosing the right plugin or platform. You can choose either a plugin or a platform! Let me explain why:

If you don’t want to run a lot of plugins, you can run your affiliate program on a separate platform to manage, track, and optimize.

Keep in mind, you are still selling the products on your WordPress website.

If you decide to run both your product and affiliate program on WordPress, you can do so by choosing the right plugin.

There is no RIGHT or WRONG to either method, it’s entirely up to you.

Step #3. Finding Affiliate Marketers To Promote Your Product(s) and Brand

Regardless of which method you choose; plugin or platform. You will have reach out to people to promote your program. You can do that by sending emails, writing a blog, social media, guests posts, and much more.

There is ONE huge advantage to running your affiliate program on a separate platform.

Often times, they offer built-in networks for affiliate marketers. You can use this feature to invite affiliate marketers to promote your product(s) and brand.

Step #4. Track, Manage, and Optimize Your Affiliate Program

It doesn’t stop after successfully creating your affiliate program. It means nothing if you’re not effectively generating traffic from affiliate marketers.

Affiliate plugins and platforms will provide you with tools to help you manage, track, and optimize your affiliate program.

Expect to make mistakes, in the beginning, so focus on tracking, managing, and optimizing at the beginning with the tools that you are provided with.

Plugins for Affiliate Program on WordPress

The advantage of running your website on a WordPress platform is the available plugins that you can utilize.

The benefits of running your affiliate program on WordPress is that you have full control over your network and it’s much cheaper to start!

However, this means you will have to focus more on managing your affiliate program.

Plugin #1. AffiliateWP

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AffiliateWP is very easy to use WordPress plugin. It is probably the best plugin available with a ton of tools and features to help you manage, track, and optimize your affiliate program.

Key Features:

  • Set up is as easy as 1-2-3
  • Accurate Affiliate Marketer Tracking
  • Integrates fully with WordPress eCommerce websites
  • Real-time tracking with NO delays
  • Unlimited Affiliates
  • Unlimited Creatives (Text and Banners to help your affiliate marketers promote your products)
  • Affiliate Coupon Tracking
  • Easy affiliate management
  • Automatic affiliate creation (Automatic affiliate account creation for all users who register a new account on your site)
  • Manually approve affiliates
  • Affiliate dashboard
  • Lots of additional add-ons.

Price: $99 for one site | More Pricing Info

 Plugin #2. WordPress Affiliate Manager

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WordPress Affiliate Manager is a watered down version of AffiliateWP. However, it still cheaper to own and comes with a FREE version.

It can fully integrate with WooCommerce, WordPress eCommerce, and Simple Shopping Cart to allow almost any WordPress eCommerce store to be compatible with their provided tools.

Key Features:

  • Easy Installation (Upload, Activate, and Read Tutorials)
  • Affiliate Portals
  • Automated System
  • Real-time Tracking
  • Unlimited Affiliates
  • Flat rate or percentage based
  • Easy affiliate management
  • and much more

Price: Freemium or $39 for one site | More Price Info (Scroll Down)

Affiliate Platforms For Affiliate Programs

Affiliate platforms are managed outside of your WordPress website. The affiliate platform allows you to network with affiliate marketers to help you get started.

The biggest downside of this approach is the cost. It does come with much more benefits compared to plugins, but you will have to pay the price.

Keep in mind, affiliate platforms will help manage and maintain your affiliate program for you, so it just might be worth the extra money(:

Platform for Affiliate Program: ShareASale

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ShareASale was founded in 2000 by Brian Littleton, and is one of the biggest affiliate program platforms, so they have a large network of affiliates.

It is currently 2020 and they are still one of the biggest, so what does that mean to you?

Key Features:

  • Four Week Training Program for New Affiliate Program Owners
  • Real-time tracking on clicks and commissions
  • Allows you to sort your affiliates in groups
  • Webinars for continued training
  • Allows you to see the links that your customers clicked before making the purchase
  • Merchant API for reporting data
  • Easy sign up for affiliates
  • and much more!

Price: $650 to get started and $25 monthly (minimum) | More Plan and Pricing Info

My Final Thoughts

Creating your own affiliate program is not very difficult, but it is not easy to manage. I only recommend this if you are fully committed to your eCommerce website.

Otherwise, I would stick to affiliate marketing because it’s much easier to promote and manage.

There are other platforms similar to ShareASale, but I’ve had nothing but positive experience with ShareASale.

Are you currently a website owner using affiliate programs? or Do you consider adding an affiliate program to your website?

Share your thoughts and experience by leaving a comment below!

How To Start An Affiliate Program For Your Business
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2 thoughts on “How To Start An Affiliate Program For Your Business”

  1. This was a good read. I don’t have an online business, yet. But this is giving me some ideas for my future endeavors.

  2. Hello Jennifer,

    If you decide to pursue in the online business world, please let me know and I'll see what I can do to help you out.


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