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How to start a successful Affiliate marketing on Shopify

How to start a successful Affiliate marketing on Shopify

With the surge in eCommerce, there has been a notable increase in online customers. eCommerce entrepreneurs recognize that their businesses always have room for improvement and expansion. Affiliate marketing is a viable avenue for those seeking to elevate their business to the next level. 

As Shopify leads the eCommerce revolution, shop owners naturally seek fresh methods to broaden their revenue streams, leading them to explore Shopify affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing on Shopify may have some distinctive features due to its integration requirements with your business. Nevertheless, it is entirely feasible and can yield significant success.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when someone promotes another company's product, brand, or service. Usually, a famous person or a trusted website promotes a development using a unique link. When anyone clicks on that link and decides to buy the product, the person who promoted it gets a reward, often a part of the money from the sale.

How Affiliate Marketing WorkNguồn

In affiliate marketing, companies have people or groups who help them promote their stuff, and these affiliates get a share of the profits. Many businesses, like software companies and online stores, use this strategy. 

Affiliates can be anyone from influencers and regular customers to small marketing companies. They can promote the products through websites, blogs, social media, or email. Companies pay affiliates a fixed amount or a percentage of each sale they bring in. Sometimes, affiliates are paid to get people interested or download an app.

Both companies and affiliates benefit from affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliates get a fair share of the money from sales, clicks, or leads they generate and don't have to take much risk. 
  • Plus, they can grow their earnings quickly.
  • Companies usually team up with affiliate marketing software to run their programs smoothly. This software helps create special links or codes to track purchases, making sure affiliates get paid for every sale made through their link.

Why having an affiliate marketing program is essential for your Shopify store?

Affiliate marketing is a more natural way of telling others about stuff. Most affiliates share their special links in blog posts or on social media. However, they must tell people they might make money if someone buys through their link.

The cool thing is that affiliates usually only discuss products and services they like and use. They write reviews or put these special links in their social media and blog posts to earn money.

But here's the best part: Affiliate marketing costs little to start and is safe. You don't have to spend much extra money besides paying for the tools you need and any ads you might run to get the word out about your affiliate program.

If you're using Shopify for your online store, you can easily connect it to an affiliate marketing app or tool to create a smooth affiliate program for your loyal customers.

Before you begin Affiliate Marketing for your Shopify store, keep these in mind:

If you're new to setting up an affiliate referral program for your Shopify store or want to learn more, these tips will be a helpful guide for you. Keep reading!

Start an E-commerce on Shopify

You can read more: How to start an eCommerce business with Shopify

Check if Affiliate Marketing is a Good Fit:

Before diving into affiliate marketing, ensure it fits your business well. It's usually great for small businesses on platforms like Shopify. Spending money and getting more potential customers with little extra work is easy. But be careful about how much you pay in commissions compared to what you earn. 

If you're spending more than you're making, you may have chosen the wrong affiliates or need more time to be ready for affiliate marketing. Choose wisely, or wait for the right time!

Ensure Your Affiliate Program is Diverse:

Affiliate marketing can allow you to reach a more comprehensive customer, but only if you do it right. How can you check? Think about diversity and the reach of your affiliates! Try to bring in as many people as possible to talk about your business, but also consider the quality of those influencers.

Remember that high-quality affiliates like famous bloggers with many followers can attract more potential customers. So, it's about more than just the number of marketers. You can even turn your most active customers into ambassadors who share feedback on social media. Just remember to reward them for their help.

Choose the Right Rewards for Your Affiliates:

When planning your affiliate marketing strategy on Shopify, think about how you'll reward your affiliates. Most of the time, affiliates promote your brand to benefit themselves. In 2021, 48% of affiliates preferred a flat rate (a set amount for each sale or conversion), while others liked a percentage of sales. But when deciding on rewards, think outside the box. To attract affiliates, find something that interests them beyond just money. 

You could offer them discounts on your services, free product samples, or other fantastic perks to set yourself apart. Get creative!

Carefully Select Affiliates That Match Your Store

Think about relevance when choosing affiliates. No matter how big the potential affiliate community is, consider how closely their interests align with yours. Imagine you sell vitamins and supplements online. Who would be a better fit, a YouTuber into sports or a blogger who reviews local street food? Picking affiliates who share similar values will likely bring you more qualified leads. 

People are likelier to trust and try your products if they receive recommendations from trusted influencers or followers. So, choose the right affiliates from the start of your affiliate marketing program.

Determine the Size of Your Affiliate Program

Lastly, when preparing to add affiliate marketing to Shopify, consider how many affiliates you want to work with to achieve your goals. The more companions you have, the more time, effort, and money you'll invest. If it's your first time, start small. Also, remember that the choice of Shopify affiliate marketing apps can affect the size of your program. Some apps may limit your number of affiliates, which can be good when you're just starting. Over time, you'll learn to set your priorities wisely through practice.

Affiliate Program on shopify

How to start a successful Affiliate marketing on Shopify 

1. Pick High-Value Products to Promote

First, decide which products you want to include in your affiliate program. You can consist of everything, but focusing on the expensive ones is wiser. This way, you can make more money from each sale, and your affiliates will be more interested.

Think about it this way: Getting a 10% commission on an $80 product is better than getting the same commission on a $5 product. It would help if you also gave your affiliates tips on promoting these products better. For example:

  • Tell them to let people know about free shipping for orders over $50 because almost everyone loves free shipping.
  • Offer discounts to new customers. When they buy something for the first time, give them an extra discount. Then, you can remind them to shop again through emails or Facebook ads.
  • Give discounts for buying more. For example, if someone spends $50, they save 20%; if they spend $100, they keep 25%.

By giving affiliates good products and tips, they can sell more, which means more sales for your business. If your plan isn't working, you can always change the products in your affiliate program or tweak how you promote them.

2. Decide How to Pay Your Affiliates

After you've picked your products, you need to figure out how you'll pay your affiliates. Delivering them with cash is the most appealing option. Some online stores can get away with giving free products or store credit, but money is usually better.

Next, you have to decide how much to pay them. There are two ways to do it:

  • Please pay them a percentage of each sale they bring in.
  • Please pay them a fixed amount for each sale they make.

According to ReferralRock, most affiliate programs use percentage commissions, averaging between 5% and 30%.

Shopify experts at HeyCarson say that affiliate commissions can vary by category, ranging from 10% to 40% of the sales.

For comparison, Amazon's commission rates are usually between 1% and 20%, depending on the products you're promoting.

Choose a rate based on your type of business, and you can always change it later if it doesn't work well for you. You can even offer different rates for different types of commissions.

3. Pick an Affiliate Management App

Creating an affiliate program for your Shopify store is simple, thanks to Shopify's partners and app developers. All you have to do is choose an affiliate app and install it.

Once you've done that, the app will guide you through the setup process to create an affiliate program that suits your online business.

You can choose the best app for you, but here are a few affiliate marketing apps in the Shopify App Store. Instructions for installing the app are on your website's official documentation.

Explore UpPromote's effective influencer marketing and referral program. Earn trust from both influencers and brands with real testimonials. Worldwide users appreciate the easy setup, offering flexible commissions, automated coupons, and affiliate links.

An example of Affiliate App

Key features:

  • Customize affiliate links, forms, and the affiliate portal.
  • Design rewards and discounts to encourage repeat purchases.
  • Effortlessly track referral orders through affiliate links, coupons, and connected emails.
  • Keep affiliates motivated with bonuses, gifts, store credit, and MLM options.
  • Streamline your affiliate program with automated PayPal payments and auto-tier commissions.

4. Find Your Affiliates

Once you've set up your affiliate program, it's time to recruit the right people to join it. Some affiliate programs are exclusive and only accept top-notch applicants. For affiliates in those programs, getting accepted is a significant achievement.

However, not all brands have that level of exclusivity. Here are some ways to attract affiliates to promote your digital or physical products:

Social Media: Spread the word about your affiliate program on your social media channels. Please share it on platforms like Instagram and tell your followers about the benefits of becoming an affiliate.

Email Marketing: Utilize your email list to connect with potential affiliates. Emails have a significant impact on getting affiliates engaged. Tell your subscribers about the program and encourage them to apply. You can also send personalized emails to affiliates you want to partner with.

Your Website: People who visit your website already know your brand and make great potential affiliates. Promote your affiliate program on your website by placing a link in a visible but not intrusive location, like your website's footer. Create a catchy landing page that highlights the benefits of joining your program. Make sure your website has high-quality content to show that you're a trustworthy company to work with. 

Affiliate Networks: Join affiliate networks like ShareASale or Rasuren Marketing. These networks connect you with millions of established affiliates who can join your program. They are great for small businesses and entrepreneurs and often offer resources to help you become an affiliate marketing expert.

5. Supervise Your Affiliates

After you've brought in your affiliates, you must keep an eye on them and how well your program is performing. Regular communication is vital to building a solid affiliate program, and most affiliate marketers prefer to communicate via email.

Helpful Tip: You can make it easier to find influencers to promote your products with the Shopify Collabs app. This app allows you to partner with creators, promote your products, reach new customers, increase your sales, and track how your affiliate campaigns are doing—all from the Shopify admin.

Shopify Collabs app

Ensure that your affiliates understand the program's rules and get to know your brand. Providing them with various content like tutorials, webinars, graphics, pre-written social media posts, and a list of approved (or even required) hashtags will help keep all your affiliates on the same page.

To achieve long-term success, it's crucial to understand how effective your affiliate program is. Identifying your top-performing affiliate marketers can be very beneficial. Try to figure out why they are so successful. Were they already loyal customers before becoming affiliates? If so, consider contacting your most frequent shoppers and inviting them to join the program.

Some important metrics to pay attention to include:

  • Total affiliate sales
  • Sales per affiliate
  • Average order size (especially when compared to sales not attributed to affiliate marketing)
  • Total payouts
  • Payout-to-sales ratios
  • Gross margin
  • Total number of affiliates
  • Number of new affiliates
  • Number of affiliates who have left the program

The affiliate management apps mentioned earlier have excellent tools to help you manage your affiliates. They offer features like custom registration pages, onboarding, affiliate tracking, and analytics, making finding and overseeing your mates easy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Starting an Affiliate Marketing Program on Shopify

The affiliate marketing industry was worth about $8.2 billion in 2022, meaning many businesses like using it to market their products. For people who want to make money online, it's a way to do that without spending much or any money upfront. But before you start, think about the good and not-so-good things about affiliate marketing.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

Easy to Do: All you must do is digital marketing. You don't need to worry about making the product, supporting customers, or delivering it. That stuff is someone else's job.

Low Risk: It doesn't cost anything to join an affiliate program. Once you have an audience, you can start making money by promoting products or services without spending more. You can even make money while doing other things, which is fantastic.

Can Grow Big: If you do it well, you can make much money without hiring extra help. You can earn more money by introducing new products while your previous work continues to generate revenue.

But stay calm. Good affiliate marketing is all about trust. It's best to promote things you use or like. Even if a product seems interesting, becoming a great affiliate marketer takes hard work.

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Takes Time: You will get rich slowly with affiliate marketing. It takes time to build an audience and get people to trust you. You'll need to try different ways to connect with your audience, like blogging, social media, etc.

Paid by Commission: You won't get a regular paycheck. Affiliate marketing pays based on what people do when they click your links. If they do what the company wants, you get paid.

No Control: When you're an affiliate, you must follow the company's rules for promoting their stuff. You have to say and show things the way they want. Other affiliates must do the same, so you must be creative to stand out.

Promoting your Affiliate Marketing Program

The final step to achieving success in affiliate marketing is to promote your program to recruit affiliates and generate sales. You should employ four key tactics once you launch your affiliate marketing program.

Add a Link in Your Website Footer: This is a straightforward approach. Place a link to your affiliate marketing program in the footer of your website. This makes it easily accessible and linked internally on your site. Visitors specifically looking for your affiliate program will likely check the footer first.

Ensure the font size is readable and that your affiliate program link is easy to find. Remember, the goal is to attract more affiliates and brand ambassadors who will help you make money.

Create an Email Marketing Funnel: Attract existing customers and invite them to become affiliates. These customers have already purchased and hopefully have a favorable opinion of your products. This is an excellent place to start recruiting affiliates.

Begin by sending out an email announcing your new affiliate program. Some people may apply immediately, but this is just the beginning of building a pool of potential affiliates. You can also include a button in your initial email, allowing recipients to express their interest in learning more. If they click the button, they'll be added to a dedicated email list that provides information about the affiliate program.

Utilize Social Media: Another effective strategy for promoting your newly launched affiliate program is to share it on your social media platforms. Announce the program's launch, similar to what Airtable did in the example above. However, don't stop there. Continue periodically posting about your affiliate program on social media to ensure it reaches a broader audience.

Join Affiliate Networks: Lastly, consider joining affiliate networks that can help promote your program on your behalf. Well-known networks like ShareASale and Rakuten Advertising allow you to create a profile that provides information about your affiliate program. This way, potential affiliates can search for and discover your schedule more easily.


Having a diverse marketing strategy is always a smart move. Adding Shopify affiliate marketing to your campaign is a relatively simple way to strengthen it. Shopify already has plenty of affiliate marketing tools on its App Store, making it much easier to set up your program.

Achieving outstanding results in affiliate marketing necessitates investing time, effort, and dedication. It's a competitive field, so standing out from competitors can be challenging. However, the potential benefits and rewards make it a worthwhile endeavor.

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