Affiliate Marketing Guide For Ecommerce Startups

The affiliate marketing market was valued at $15 billion in 2022. It is expanding at a CAGR of 9.89%, possibly reaching $27 billion by 2027. The sheer revenue generated in this industry proves that businesses and brands can considerably benefit from the affiliate marketing program. 

Whether your e-commerce business is struggling at an early age or already has a viable presence in the market, try this strategy to boost your brand performance and sales. 

This article offers a complete guide for beginners to start their affiliate marketing program for their e-commerce startups. Let’s get started.

What Is An Affiliate Marketing Program?

Affiliate marketing is an associate program that works on a monetization model.

E-commerce stores can start their affiliate marketing program with an agreement between them and the affiliates, such as bloggers, small businesses, influencers, and other sites, for promoting their goods online. 

These affiliate partners share your products with their followers, i.e., you target audience, and get a commission when a purchase is made due to their efforts. Affiliate programs are often a fast and straightforward method for e-commerce businesses struggling with revenue.

Customers are getting your products from influencers and other trusted channels. Not only it saves time and effort, but it also increases customer satisfaction scores. That is why businesses use multiple affiliate programs and optimize their time and efforts.

Consider these affiliate networks an addition to your existing sales and marketing team. They will work independently to grow your customer base and eventually increase sales. 

What Are The Types Of E-commerce Affiliate Programs?

Affiliate programs are not as complicated as other marketing methods like PPC and SEO. However, experts classify affiliate marketing programs into several different types, and their use can significantly affect consumer behavior and brand image. 

Following are the three types:

Related affiliate marketing means promoting your products or services from affiliates who are familiar with and have expertise in your field. Related affiliates use blogs, social media, and podcasts to reach their target audience. 

The biggest benefit of having an affiliate with experience in your niche is that they can effectively promote your products or services because they better understand their audience. However, you can struggle to find such affiliates who have relative experience. 

Unattached Affiliate Marketing 

This is the opposite of related marketing. In this type of affiliate marketing, the affiliate has no authority in the related niche. It is the type in which the affiliate does not put much effort into it. Moreover, there is no deep connection with the audience.

This type of marketing also uses PPC to promote their links on banners and ads and then earn commission fees on it. 

Involved Affiliate Marketing 

Involved affiliate marketers first test and try the products themselves. It is the type of marketing that people should use because it has authenticity and trustworthiness. 

The disadvantage of his affiliate marketing is that you don’t always find suitable affiliate partners. You may have to do thorough research and reach out to these affiliates.

Where To Start With Affiliate Marketing Program?

E-commerce businesses that are in their startup phase struggle with keeping consistent revenue. They can use the affiliate program to reach their target audience even when they do not have a prominent social presence. 

The first thing which comes to mind is where I can find my target audience, whether it is on Facebook or if they are using YouTube. You can start your affiliate marketing journey and reach affiliates by following the below steps

Step#1 Attract Affiliates 

Once you have started an affiliate program for your e-commerce store, you now have to find affiliates that fit your product or service well. Your website is the first place to start attracting affiliates willing to work with you and bring. 

Create a page on your website where affiliates can apply for your program. Also promote it on your social media channels to attract more of them. Once you start getting applications, you can narrow the application process by using the following metrics

  1. Reach

The first thing to check is the affiliate’s reach via their email list, social media, and other channels. Their reach also depends on the industry and niche they are working in. If they have expertise in the same niche as yours, it is likely that they will have a better reach.

  1. Values

The second important metric is to check the business value you share. It is better that your values match the affiliate and do not contradict. 

A massive audience following audience may not be enough to create a brand image. The affiliates should be focused on providing quality content and catering to their audience’s needs. 

Step#2 Analyze The Content 

SEO tools like AHREF and SEMRush help e-commerce businesses monitor and analyze the traffic from affiliates. These tools’ insights will help you track performance and content quality. Better insights mean increasing your sales and revenue.

Step#3 Conduct Performance Check 

After you have shortlisted the affiliate list and approved the content, you must conduct regular reviews and check the ongoing campaign to stay aligned with your goals and expectations. 

Use the following metrics to measure the performance of the campaign:

  1. If you have multiple affiliates working, identify the ones that are generating the highest traffic 
  2. Track the conversion rate 
  3. Calculate the revenue and monthly payouts 
  4. Identify the most-selling products
  5. Get insights on customer behavior and their buying trend 

These insights are crucial for your e-commerce store’s success and help you identify the affiliates providing value for your business. In addition, you should also give the affiliates necessary resources like product details, benefits, and others. It will ensure a seamless process for you and your associates. 

Step#4 Create A Commission Structure 

After you have determined the process for your affiliate e-commerce program, you should create an effective commission structure for your affiliate partners. 

The goal should be to incentivize affiliates, which does not affect the business’s profitability. You can use the following metrics and factors to set the commission structure 

  1. What Should Be The Commission?

You can set cash, store credits, or gifts for your affiliate partners. Of course, cash will be the most desirable option for them. However, you may be able to give credits or gifts, but it may not be the best option in the long run. 

Some companies even provide a one-off recurring rate to their affiliates. This means paying them once for referring a new user, or you can offer recurring commissions to affiliates as long as the referred customer uses the service.

  1. What Rate Should You Give?

You can take two approaches, one is using a “flat rate,” and the other is “percentage commission.” Flat rate commission means giving a certain amount for referring a new user and then giving additional commission if the referred customer buys subscriptions, products, or services. 

Some businesses give a certain percentage of the order value to the affiliates. This process is called the “percentage commission.” Whatever the commission method you use, you should keep a portion of it in the costing of products to manage the sales revenue and profits. 

Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategies For Ecommerce Stores 

Affiliate marketing can skyrocket a business’s sales with the right strategy. Following are the proven tactics that you can use for your e-commerce store

Use Email Campaigns 

Cold emails are an efficient way to build robust relationships with affiliates and clients. The subscriber from affiliate marketing will be interested in your brand or business. The data can help you to increase your conversion, engagements, and target audience. 

You can recruit valuable affiliates with cold email outreach by using the following steps

  1. Use email database tools to find bloggers, influencers, and other relevant resources. With the right keywords, you can get hundreds and thousands of valuable leads
  2. Apart from using database tools, you can use cold email outreach tools too. Manually sending emails and follow-ups is time-consuming,  so using tools is necessary. You can set up the campaign in a few minutes, add personalization to it, and import the leads
  3. Respond to every single person, tell them the details, affiliate program success stories, and give them a product or commission percentage offer
  4. Once you both have reached an agreement, send the affiliates a tracking code and add them to your campaign 
  5. Keep track of the cold email insights and make improvements in your approach if you can have better results and high-quality affiliate leads

Use Bloggers And Influencers 

Bloggers have extensive experience and expertise when it comes to ranking in search results. That’s how they keep their blogs afloat. You can leverage their SEO skills to increase traffic and conversions for you.

 An effective way to do this is by sending them samples of your products, which they can review and write about on their blogs. The review is a compelling way to promote your products or services and direct traffic to your site. The blogger’s SEO ranking can bring significant sales to your store. 

Influencers can deliver a reasonable conversion rate of 3% or more. They can have a good impact on their target audience. You can benefit from the people’s trust in the influencers, and you will see a dramatic increase in your sales. 

It is best to have influencers with an interest and audience that aligns with your niche. For example, if you have beauty products work with influences who talk and post about beauty hacks and tips. 

Use Coupons Site

Coupon sites may not be the best option for some e-commerce sites, but they can drive a good amount of traffic. A coupon site can act as a good affiliate partner when your e-commerce store is in the startup phase. Moreover, you can boost the sales of products and services that are not performing well. 

Selling at discounts may seem like a loss to some, but it is an opportunity to promote your services or products to the target audience. You are also increasing your brand awareness with coupons and discounts.

Use Comparison Shopping Sites 

Comparison sites list prices and products and allow people to compare different products on these metrics. These sites can generate a good amount of traffic to your site. However, there is a drawback to this method. Not every brand can work with this affiliate marketing method because they may have to pay more. 

Affiliate Marketing Benefit For Ecommerce Stores

E-commerce affiliate marketing needs input, time, and investment. However, it can bring fruitful results and prove a good starting point for e-commerce startups. You can have the following advantages 

Increase Your Audience Base 

Brands need a reasonable amount of time and effort to expand their audience. Their ads and marketing campaigns can only reach a limited audience. Affiliate partnerships will allow you to have access to their comprehensive networks. 

Many influencers have a good amount of following on their social networks. You can access all those followers and potential customers without investing massively in marketing. Same works with bloggers, they are ranked on the SERPs, and you can benefit from their organic traffic. 

Get Social Proof 

Social proof and customer reviews have significant importance in this digital age. There are several reasons why social proof can be an effective marketing strategy. The bandwagon effect is a social psychology notion that states people are likely to act like others around them. This is the most fundamental driving force behind the social proof.

Good Return On Investment 

Affiliate programs offer good ROI. Since they can also work in commission-based models, there can be fewer needs for investments. Moreover, you are paying for the traffic, leads, and purchases the affiliate brings to your business. 

In Conclusion

Affiliate marketing can bring a good amount of revenue, traffic, and brand recognition for e-commerce startups. You can use the above strategies, metrics, and solutions to start an affiliate marketing program for your e-commerce store. Not only will it provide consistent revenue, but it will also create awareness for your brand in the market. Moreover, it will give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

You can find many more guides and marketing strategies for various platforms on Webretailer. Visit the website to browse valuable research papers and blogs for your business. 

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