How to Start an Affiliate Program on Shopify (guide)

If you’ve been selling on Shopify for a few years now, you may be wondering how you can grow your business. Sure, you have your best-selling products and a niche audience that you target. Yet, stagnancy is never desirable in business. It would be best if you found a way to spruce things up and start growing again. A great way to do so is through affiliate marketing. 

Shopify allows you to start your own affiliate program for your store. That means you can start hiring affiliates to promote your products. Your affiliates have all the incentives in the world to promote you, as that’s how they get paid. If you do it right, it ends up being a win-win situation for both parties. They get a commission, and you earn new business and start growing again. 

If you want to know how to start an affiliate program on Shopify, you’re in the right place. We’ll be going over all the steps you need to get a successful affiliate program up and running. 

Along the way, we’ll define some key terms and provide some best practices. Read on if you want to learn how to start using affiliate marketing for your Shopify store. 

What is Affiliate Marketing?

There’s still some confusion about what affiliate marketing is and why it works. Is it a multi-level marketing program? Is it legit? 

Here’s a clear cut definition:

  • An affiliate program is where you hire affiliates to promote your products. If they attract a new customer or secure a sale, they get paid a commission. You reap the rewards of their labor in the form of new customers, sales, and business growth. 

It’s not multi-level marketing, and it’s 100% legit if you do it right. 

In fact, lots of savvy marketers earn their entire income through affiliate marketing. 

It’s a solid strategy to expand your Shopify store beyond your current exposure. If you hire a group of dedicated affiliates, they’ll promote your products all over the place. Your affiliates will work hard to promote your products, as it’s the only way they receive payment. That’s why it’s a beneficial model to use for your Shopify store. Still, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do affiliate marketing. 

Is Affiliate Marketing a Good Fit for My Store?

There are a few factors you should consider before starting an affiliate program. For one, you need to have a clear idea of where your business’s profit margins are at for the year. In other words, you need to have a solid grasp of your overall income. That way, you’ll know if you can afford to pay an affiliate or not. 

You should also consider:

  • Staff coverage to maintain your program
  • How much you will pay in commission
  • How many affiliates that you want to hire 

It’s not very complicated to set up an affiliate program, but you will need someone to maintain it. If you don’t currently have the staff to manage it, you may need to hire someone. 

If you evaluate that you can efficiently run a program while paying affiliates, then it’ll be a great fit. The first step in learning how to start an affiliate program on Shopify is if you can afford it or not. 

Learning from Competitors

Suppose you have some fierce competition on Shopify, head over to their page to take a look. See if they currently have an affiliate program up and running. If they don’t, then you’ll gain an edge over your competition. If they do, then it allows you to strategize how to make yours different. 

In business, it’s always wise to keep up with what the competition is doing. That will save you from being left behind in the dust. 

You can also pay attention to any mistakes that they make. Let’s say that they start an affiliate program but pay commissions that are too high. As a result, they end up losing money and have to put an end to their program. That will allow you to correct their course of action and not charge so much. Keeping your eyes open will do a lot to help you find a strategy that works. 

Benefits of Affiliate Programs 

Affiliate programs benefit both the affiliate and the parent company. Up to 16% of e-commerce sales in the US are a result of affiliate marketing. That’s why so many Shopify owners are turning to affiliate programs to see future growth. 

If you find the right affiliates, you can reach an audience you might not have before. 

Because of this, you can start offering new services and products. Affiliate marketing may be the key to expanding your Shopify store to a new niche. 

Other benefits of affiliate programs include:

  • Increased exposure
  • Building your brand awareness
  • Low-risk model
  • A cost-effective marketing strategy
  • Eliminating the need of hiring an internal marketing department 

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should learn how to start an affiliate program on Shopify. 

Shopify Affiliate Program Guidelines

Okay, so before we get into using Shopify to set up a program, let’s go over some guidelines. It’s crucial to be as specific as possible with your affiliate marketing strategy. Before you get started, you should think about the following questions:

  • What type of affiliates do I want to use? Do you need bloggers, social media influencers, or microsites? It’s important to know what type of media your target audience regularly consumes. For example, you should go after social media influencers for a younger crowd. For older audiences, focus on bloggers and news websites. 
  • What expectations do you have for affiliates? It’s important to know what you want out of your affiliates. Do you want them to have a quota for how many times they have to post about your product a month? Do they need to use specific keywords or hashtags? How often do you plan on paying them out? These are vital questions to ask yourself before starting an affiliate program. Once you have all your ducks in a row, then you can start hiring affiliates.
  • What products will your affiliates promote for you? It’s also critical to know which types of products you want your affiliates to promote. Do you want to advertise your best-sellers, or do you want to highlight some of your lesser-known goods? Is there a significant new release coming out that you need to promote? Answering these questions beforehand will help you prepare for starting your program. 

Creating an Affiliate Program with Shopify Apps

Okay, so now let’s learn how to start an affiliate program with Shopify. Assuming that you already have an online store, all you need to do is download an affiliate app. 

Affiliate marketing apps will add the ability to start a program on your Shopify store. 

But which app should you download? Well, there are quite a few out there. Out of all the choices, we feel that LeadDyno is the strongest, so we’ll be focusing on it. 

Using LeadDyno for Affiliate Marketing

No other app makes starting an affiliate store easier than LeadDyno. In 2020, the app was able to process over $200 million in sales. It has outstanding customer service and support, and it’s effortless to customize. You can set up an affiliate program attached to your Shopify store in just a few clicks. Other benefits of LeadDyno include:

  • An easy onboarding process for affiliates
  • Tools to track affiliate performance
  • Easily create incentives, groups, commission tiers, and more 
  • 30-day risk-free trial
  • Bulk pay your affiliates using services such as PayPal 

These are but a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy from downloading LeadDyno. To us, it’s the key to learning how to start an affiliate program on Shopify. 

LeadDyno allows you to customize every aspect of your program. You’ll be able to come up with special prizes and tiers as well. That way, you can encourage the best performance out of your affiliates. Incentives, bonuses, and high commissions are how to attract the best affiliates. To check out the Shopify Lead Dyno app visit this link.

After all, for an affiliate to want to work for you, they’ll have to get something back in return. If you want to make the list of the best affiliate programs to use, you should try to make it desirable. 

Finding the Right Affiliates for Your Shopify Store 

All right, so now you have a full-fledged affiliate program ready to go. Yet, you’re still not done. To get started, you’ll need to find some stellar affiliates to work for you. What’s the best way to do this? Let’s find out. 

Social Media Affiliates

Probably the most common platform people look for affiliates is through social media. That’s because social media platforms have millions of users you can reach. Not only that, but social media influencers are among the most desirable affiliates. 

That’s because they have a large following that they can influence. As long as you find an influencer that’s active in your niche, you’ll benefit from having them as an affiliate. 

To get started finding affiliates on social media, use your accounts to advertise your program. 

Make your posts as appealing as possible. Let your potential affiliates know all the perks they will get from working with you. Advertise your commission rate, incentives, and any special prizes. Lastly, make your application as simple as possible. The last thing that you want is a complicated application process. To secure the most affiliates, make your application form straightforward and short. 

Your Shopify Store or Website

Another source you can use to find affiliates is your store or website. After all, your store already sees a lot of traffic, so why not advertise there? 

Once again, make your affiliate program sound as attractive as possible. Link your guidelines and the application on the header and footer of your website. That way, it’s the first and last thing that your users will see. 

The Shopify blog is another excellent place to show off your new program. It’s essential to advertise your program on all areas of your website, blog, and online store. 

Email Campaigns and SMS 

With a strong message and a clear call to action, you can use email and SMS campaigns. You can use Shopify’s email marketing tool, or you can send emails to existing customers. The same goes for an SMS campaign. If you have the numbers for your existing customers, then you can engage with them through text. 

Of course, show all of the most attractive components of your affiliate program. That will spark the most interest in what you do. 

In your CTA at the end, be sure to include the application for your affiliate program. That will guide your potential affiliates to where they need to go to get started. 

To see our guide on how to find affiliates for your business follow this link.

Running Your Shopify Affiliate Program 

Now that you have a functioning program and affiliates, you need to know how to maintain it. With LeadDyno, you can track the performance of your affiliates in real-time. 

It’s critical to keep an eye on the performance of your affiliates at all times. That will ensure that your program is running at peak performance. 

It would be best if you created a welcome bundle for your new affiliates. If you don’t give them what they need, they won’t know how to promote your products. You should include clear instructions of what you expect from them in the bundle. Include all the graphics, hashtags, keywords, and copy they will need. 

For tracking data, keep an eye on:

  • Pay-out-to-sales ratio
  • Affiliates that leave
  • The overall number of affiliates
  • Gross margin
  • Sales per each affiliate
  • The size of each sale

As long as you keep an eye on these factors, you should successfully maintain your program. 

How to Start an Affiliate Program on Shopify ( quick video )

Final Thoughts 

So there’s how to start an affiliate program on Shopify. You should now know how to set up a program, download LeadDyno, find affiliates, and get things running. We hope that you can use this guide to find great success with your affiliate program.

For more great content to help you develop your Shopify strategies, check out the rest of the merchant posts on the site. If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.

Davon Wilson

I'm a certified Shopify expert, you can usually find me on my computer coding, or thinking about business ideas. I'm an avid Ravens fan and an overall nice guy.

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