How to Start Affiliate Marketing

We mentioned affiliate marketing in our article about how to build passive income. When you start affiliate marketing, you get to handpick the products or services you want to include in your strategies. Plus, you expand your current network by tapping into theirs, and you get paid from the results of your campaigns.

On the other side, as a brand, you can subscribe your products or services to affiliate marketing platforms for influencers to promote them. The benefits of having an external influencer to market your brand do not end there. It is a far-reaching, cost-effective, and organic way to approach marketing and it is never too late to start.

If you are not already making use of this powerful marketing strategy, here is how to start affiliate marketing.


Affiliate marketing involves an influencer promoting a brand’s products or services through their marketing channels. Then, from each sale generated, the influencer receives a percentage commission. These commissions are different in each network or brand.

You may have seen custom discount codes while scrolling through Instagram, watching a YouTube video, or reading a blog. These are affiliate marketing codes that creators use. But, it doesn’t end there. The best affiliate marketing programs also generate tracking links that allow the creator to track link clicks, conversions, and volume. Therefore, it is an effort that is completely measurable by the creator, the affiliate network, and the brand.


First, with affiliate marketing, your brand can reach more potential clients at a faster pace. This is because you are not partnering with just one influencer or running ads on your channels. Your brand will be represented and endorsed by hundreds or thousands of influencers. So, the brand is no longer constrained to the size of your community.

Another clear benefit of placing your product or service in an affiliate network is that the promotion will be more organic. Think about it, if you run an ad or publish something in your company’s network, it is obvious you are trying to sell this product. Now, having an influencer endorse your product online will have a higher response because they are giving a realistic outcome of using your product or service. In fact, 90% of customer behaviors are influenced by user-generated content.


As a creator, the immediate benefit would be the commissions earned through link clicks and sales.

Each content creator is looking to develop relationships with their viewers online. Having products or services to back up their efforts is always a huge trust builder. For instance, if the influencer is an athlete and partners with brands that provide the best, latest gear, the influencer can increase the value proposition. Plus, he/she can seamlessly integrate these products into their daily content creation efforts for their audience to see.

Overall, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation for both the brand and the influencer(s)!

  1. Partnering With An Affiliate Program

We suggest finding a good affiliate network since the benefit far outweighs the cost of this route.

An affiliate network has all the resources for your affiliate program to succeed. They bring the best brands together, giving you access to successful affiliates. They will also guide you to the best social media platform for your specific niche or campaign. Once partnered with affiliates, the network also generates data, like tracking links and other analytics, and helps with payment processing. These companies have solved the challenges of affiliate marketing, making it easier for you to drive the process and check in on results. Using the best affiliate marketing programs will help you build the foundation for identifying the best type of influencer or affiliate to work with, measuring success metrics, and setting up the most relevant and attractive campaigns in your niche.

Here are some of the the best affiliate marketing programs we recommend:

2. Determine The Reward Structure

First, you need to calculate what the basic commission will be for each successful sale. This means you will have to know your profit margin per product or service. You also need to have campaign goals detailed, to know how you will measure successes and failures. This will align with your normal marketing and sales goals. Knowing what you expect from your affiliates will help you drive the process in the long run.

Use these measures to create a reward structure. It could be a simple commission-based strategy, but you could explore incremental structures that will motivate affiliates to excel.

Consider offering a tiered approach, which could include bonuses or other incentives. By showing that you are fair in your approach to reward their effort, influencers will be willing to put in the extra work needed to succeed. Offering a well thought out reward structure will help you build successful relationships that will contribute to a prosperous affiliate program.

3. Building a Killer Campaign

Here are some factors to consider in building a unique social media affiliate campaign that is ahead of the game:

  • Consider the basis for any campaign: your audience and why they are on social media. Align campaigns with their ideals and pain points in a way that makes sense to your brand as well.

  • Think of a social cause your brand can align itself with and how relevant it is to your audience. An example is tiny home designers tapping into eco-sustainability and minimalist movements to drive campaigns.

  • Encourage user-generated content to minimize content creation costs, while still having a content strategy to contribute and prevent the influencer from having to do the most work and become demotivated. Here is where your brand guide comes into play. For instance, a jewelry company encouraging affiliates to post selfies with brand aligning, yet still authentic (perhaps brand suggested) situations and captions. Beware of copy and paste PR disasters here!

  • Choose individuals, other companies, or a mix. For example, a food blogger using your product with great results, and/or kitchen designers featuring the same product for aesthetic appeal.

Include PR values and keep lines of communication open between all partners to refine and build a great campaign.

4. Be an Active Participant

It is not enough to get the metrics and analytics from your affiliate program, you have to be an active part of this process from the start. Once you have measurable data, start making sense of it, putting processes in place to identify successes and failures as soon as possible.

Find your best performers, and then find the contributing factors to their success. This will help you refine your process, keeping only those that contribute to your overall goals. It will further help you define your vetting process, allowing you to identify prospective affiliates. Keep an eye, not only on total clicks per affiliate, but the number of successful sales and the total value each influencer brings. Also, stay aware of influencers that drive a high amount of clicks that never convert to sales. This could mean that they are over-representing your brand, causing customers to bounce back once they discover the product or service was not what they expected.

Setting up an affiliate marketing program, although effort-intensive, is not a complicated process. By following the guidelines as set out in this article, you will be able to build a really great strategy that works for your brand.