Affiliate Marketing for Dummies: How to Market an Affiliate Program


Are you looking for a way to earn extra income for your business without having to do a lot of extra work? If so, affiliate marketing might be the perfect answer for you!

In fact, a recent survey found that 65 percent of merchants who use affiliate marketing credit it for 5 to 20 percent of their annual revenue. Imagine what you could do with that extra money!

Pick up any Affiliate Marketing for Dummies guide and you’ll quickly learn that promoting your program is one of the most important requirements for success.

Not sure exactly how to do this? You’re in the right place! Start with these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving affiliate marketing program.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

If you already know the answer to this question, feel free to move on to the next section. For those of you who don’t, here’s a quick primer.

In simple terms: affiliate marketing is an agreement between a retailer and an individual or company in which the retailer pays a commission for sales that are generated from referrals. 

Affiliate programs are an easy way for business owners to increase their revenue and are a way for marketers to earn passive income –- it’s a win-win!

Tips for Marketing Your Affiliate Program

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve already started learning affiliate marketing and you’ve taken care of the basic steps for getting started. This includes designing your program, deciding on your payout percentages, and finding the right technology to track your sales. Now, you’re ready for the fun part – finding great affiliates to market your program.

1. Ensure Your Offer is Attractive

Before you start promoting your new affiliate marketing program, you’ll want to make sure your payout offer is competitive. There are a ton of affiliate marketing opportunities out there. If you want to attract a decent team, now is not the time to be stingy.

Unless your product is very expensive, you’ll want to avoid payouts in the 5 to 10% range. Instead, try to make sure you’re closer to 25 to 30%.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re honest and upfront about everything. Give your potential affiliate marketers all the information they need, including:

  • The payout percentage, including any tiers
  • How long cookies remain active (this typically ranges from a few days to a month or longer)
  • How and when they’ll be paid
  • Any other restrictions or important details

As you start talking with potential affiliates, you might also want to create an FAQ page where new prospects can go to learn even more about the program.

2. Make Your Program Visible

You’ll also need to make sure that people are aware that your program exists. Start by putting a link to the program on your website. If you really want to grow, consider using banner ads and pop-ups. You may also want to create separate landing pages.

Make sure your affiliate page is visually appealing and does a good job of explaining all the details. It also needs to have a mechanism for gathering contact information for anyone who may be interested in joining.

3. Seek Out Influencers in Your Niche

Make a list of the influencers in your niche and start reaching out to them directly. Offer them a free sample or trial of your product or service and ask if they’re willing to write a blog post about it.

After they’ve had a chance to get to experience it for themselves, then pitch the affiliate opportunity. While not every person you contact will jump on board, you only need a few to give your program the boost it needs. If you’re dealing with a particularly influential individual or website, consider making them a personalized offer with additional incentives.

4. Attend Affiliate Events

There are many affiliate events, like Affiliate Summit, where marketers from all over the world congregate to learn more about the growing affiliate marketplace and new opportunities. Participating in one (or more!) of these events can lead to a huge influx of new affiliates.

5. Submit Your Program to Directories

Online directories are another source that affiliates use to find new opportunities. Do some research online and create a list of the sites you want to join. Then reach out to each one and learn more about their policies, including whether you’ll need to go through a vetting process, how much you’ll have to pay, and how long your listing will stay live.

In general, it’s great to make sure you’re listed on all of the most popular directories. If you need to choose, use the information you’ve gathered to narrow down your list. Start with the ones that are most likely to be frequented by the types of affiliates you’re looking for and add more when you can.

6. Start an Email Campaign

Hopefully, you’ve already started gathering email addresses through your website, landing pages, and social media platforms. If not, start doing so right away!

Use your email list to send out information about your new affiliate program. Make sure you include a short explanation of the program and a link to the detailed affiliate page. It’s a great idea to mention that you also welcome open communication and invite recipients to reach out to you directly with any questions. A good email header and content from Quick Lines can make your email campaign effective and successful.

Finally, remember to never (ever!) spam people while trying to find new affiliates. Not only does this create potential legal problems, but it’s also not a good look for you or your brand.

7. Recruit Your Most Loyal Customers

Your best affiliates are the people who already use and love your product. Make sure you reach out to your most loyal customers and present them with this exciting opportunity. While a bulk email is a great idea, consider reaching out to your top customers directly and offering them additional incentives.

Beyond Affiliate Marketing for Dummies: The Next Steps

Once you have a firm grasp on the basics, you’ll need more information than an Affiliate Marketing for Dummies guide can give you. Keep browsing our blog posts for everything you need to know as you continue on your journey from absolute beginner to total pro!

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