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The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing on Shopify

Last Modified: February 24, 2023

With the growth of digital commerce, e-commerce businesses have begun turning towards digital marketing strategies like affiliate programs in order to maximize their outreach and introduce more customers to their product. Affiliate marketing is a great way for business owners to increase their website traffic and generate higher revenue. Shopify being the most popular platform for selling products online, it also offers additional capabilities for setting up an affiliate program as well. Setting up an effective affiliate program on Shopify will take time and effort; however, successfully implemented it can be a powerful tool in growing a business. But where do you start when you are looking to build an affiliate program on Shopify?

In this article, we’ll explore the various benefits of affiliate marketing on Shopify, how to set up an affiliate program for maximum success, and advanced strategies for leveraging affiliate programs in 2023. With the right approach and knowledge base, your business can reach new heights through affiliate marketing!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has become a go-to tool for modern businesses to increase their market reach and acquire customers. By leveraging the existing audience of affiliates, brands can quickly expand the number of potential customers they can reach.

In affiliate marketing, brands (affiliate merchants) incentivize influencers (affiliate marketers) to promote their products by offering them a percentage of each sale generated by the link they provide. With affiliate marketing, affiliate merchants pay a percentage of the sale price to affiliate marketers who promote their products using a unique link to the brand’s website. When users purchase products through the link, the affiliate earns a commission as a reward. This link is what helps brands keep track of the traffic sent to their website and what allows affiliate marketers to get rewarded for the sale. Through the power of cookies, brands can still track the sale even if it is made at a later time.This makes affiliate marketing an attractive proposition for affiliate marketers as they only need to promote products and do not have to worry about developing, stocking, or shipping their own products.

Shopify being the leading e-commerce platform, powering over 500.000 businesses all across 175 countries, it makes absolute sense that affiliate marketing is a major component of its success. With Shopify’s easy-to-use functionality, excellent customer support, and vast array of useful features, it is a platform that many affiliates have found success on. 

Why Do You Need an Affiliate Marketing Program for Your Shopify Store?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to promote your Shopify store, as it relies on what is known as social proof. Consumers tend to invest more in products and services if they can see that others are already happily using them, which is what makes affiliate marketing so powerful.

With affiliate marketing, you’ll find that the message about your store is being spread in an organic way as affiliates share their custom links on their blogs or on social media channels. It’s important to mention that affiliates ought to include a disclaimer that commission might be included from any sales that result from their link-sharing. Nonetheless, affiliates are usually careful to promote only products and services that they genuinely love and use themselves, which makes their recommendations all the more credible.

Another great thing is that you won’t have to invest much money upfront, beyond the cost of the affiliate marketing platform and any paid marketing you might run for your affiliate program promotion, since affiliate marketing is pretty much low-cost and low-risk. 

So if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your online store while minimizing associated costs and risks, then setting up an affiliate marketing program is definitely worth considering.

Benefits of Shopify Affiliate Marketing

The benefits of Shopify affiliate marketing are many; from increased website traffic and brand recognition, to higher revenue and more customers. With affiliate marketing on Shopify, business owners have access to a range of affiliate networks that can help them reach new audiences, as well as gain greater exposure for their products or services. Affiliate marketing also offers numerous incentives and rewards to sweeten the deal for affiliate partners. By offering affiliate commissions based on successful referrals, merchants can encourage more people to become affiliate partners and promote their products or services. 

Advanced strategies for affiliate marketing on Shopify include strategies to maximize affiliate partnerships, such as leveraging existing customer relationships. 

In order to get the most from affiliate marketing on Shopify, business owners must understand how to set up an affiliate program for maximum success.    

Creating a unique affiliate program that stands out from competitors is essential in order to attract more affiliate partners. Business owners must offer attractive incentives, such as high commission rates or exclusive affiliate agreements outlining affiliate terms and conditions, so that everything will be clear for all parties included. 

Listed below are the key benefits of using this type of marketing platform: 

  • Low-cost: You can join an affiliate program without requiring an advertising team or expensive ad spaces. 
  • Multi-channel marketing: Social media channels, blogs, email campaigns, affiliates can pretty much use every channel to promote. 
  • New audience: By partnering with affiliates, you can reach a much wider audience than by relying solely on organic traffic. 
  • Targeted traffic: Since you pick your affiliates, you can be sure that the traffic to your page would be from people who are genuinely  interested in what you are selling.
  • Measurable: With the help of affiliate marketing tools, tracking sales and paying commissions will be a piece of cake. 
  • Extra income: When done correctly, affiliate marketing can provide a reliable source of passive income. 

With these benefits in mind, it’s clear that Shopify affiliate marketing can be a great opportunity for businesses to increase their reach and revenue. If you’re looking to get started with Shopify affiliate marketing, make sure to research the available options, build relationships with established affiliates, create compelling content, and track your results. Doing so will help you to create a successful affiliate marketing strategy. 

Essentials of Shopify Affiliate Program 

The Shopify Affiliate Program is free to join, and you can earn commissions on referrals by promoting Shopify through your unique affiliate link. Your application will be reviewed and approved by the Shopify team, and this usually happens within 15 business days. Once you’ve been approved, you will be emailed an affiliate link to start promoting Shopify. 

With the Shopify tracking cookies, you can earn commissions when the visitor signs up for a 14-day free trial within 30 days. Once they become a paying client, you will receive one-time commission on their first purchase. 

Shopify Affiliate Marketing Approaches

Now that we know that using affiliate marketing on Shopify is an effective way for Shopify brands to monetize their stores, let’s take a closer look at the two primary Shopify affiliate marketing approaches available to store owners:

  1. By creating Shopify Affiliate Programs

Shopify’s platform allows store owners to develop and integrate affiliate programs into their stores. Shopify’s powerful APIs are optimized for quickly setting up commissions, tracking links, commission structures and more. To create an effective Shopify affiliate program, store owners should research the best strategies for creating and running profitable campaigns.

  1. By selling Affiliate Items on Shopify

Store owners can also sell affiliate items directly from their Shopify stores. Shopify offers a wide selection of affiliate products, including digital downloads and physical goods. Shopify’s dashboard allows store owners to easily manage their affiliate transactions and track the performance of each product. To maximize the success of Shopify affiliate products, store owners should research the best strategies for promoting and selling their products. 

By taking advantage of one or both of these approaches, Shopify store owners can maximize the potential of their stores while generating additional profits. 

With Shopify’s powerful platform, store owners can quickly and easily create successful affiliate programs and sell profitably. By understanding Shopify’s Affiliate Marketing Avenues, store owners can get a head start on their affiliate marketing campaigns and generate more profits for their Shopify stores. So let’s dive deep into each option.

1. Creating an Affiliate Marketing Program for Your Shopify Store

Once you have decided to pursue affiliate marketing, it is important that you outline a plan that will achieve your desired objectives. Setting up an affiliate program requires some research and thought in order to produce the best results. 

To begin, consider who your ideal customers are and what type of affiliates will be the best to represent your brand. Determine how you’ll reward your affiliates and decide which channels you’ll use to communicate with them. Make sure to have a set of guidelines in place for all affiliate partners, so that everyone is aware of their expectations and roles.

Finally, make sure to set realistic short-term and long-term goals. Establishing a timeline for your program will help you keep track of progress and make adjustments as needed.

By following these steps, you should be able to create an effective affiliate marketing program that generates results for your Shopify store.

STEP 1: Choose the right products

The first and most important step when it comes to shopify affiliate marketing is determining which products to promote. This is a critical decision because the products you decide to include in your program can have a major impact on how successful the venture is. It’s best to focus on items that have a high Average Order Value (AOV) to help maximize your sales and affiliate marketing revenue. Additionally, it’s wise to adjust the included products in your program based on how well they perform. This can help ensure that you continue to benefit from increased sales and profits with time.

STEP 2: Set commission rates

To establish the commission rates for a successful referral and sale of products, businesses have various incentives to offer customers. While some opt for vouchers or free stuff, the most sought after incentive is usually monetary compensation. When it comes to a cash-based commission, merchants have two ways they go about it: fixed-rate or percentage. Fixed-rate is a set dollar amount for each sale, for example, $3 per sale. Percentage is the portion of the product’s price from a successful sale, usually ranging from 5% to 20%. It’s important to remember to keep the commission rates reasonable and competitive when establishing.  This will not only incentivize potential affiliates but also ensure customers continue to refer and buy your products for a fair reward. This can be done by researching other brands in the market and comparing their rewards systems. Offering competitive compensation packages as part of your affiliate program can help attract high-quality affiliates that drive more conversions for your business.

Step 3: Select the Appropriate Affiliate Marketing App

When it comes to setting up an affiliate program, there are numerous tools and applications available that can help you save valuable time and resources. Shopify affiliate marketing apps, in particular, have been designed with Shopify businesses in mind, offering a wide range of features that cater to their specific needs.

By assessing the features of each app and comparing them to the demands of your store, you can easily determine which one is best suited for your shop. One of the more popular affiliate marketing apps on Shopify is, you guessed it right – Refersion.

Refersion is a powerful tool for managing and tracking your affiliate program, as well as your affiliate partners. Refersion Shopify APIs are an ideal choice for quickly generating and tracking unique discount codes from any source. With the help of our app, you can easily manage multiple affiliates and benefit from their sales.

Step 4: Find affiliates to partner with

This one might be one of the most time-consuming tasks, but done properly, sets you up for success. Taking your time to discover and connect with the right affiliates is key to achieving the sought after social proof. Reach out directly to your loyal customers, or influencers that you believe would take interest in your product. Also, another good way to reach potential brand advocates is to market your affiliate program.

When looking for potential affiliates, there are several factors to consider. You should look at their online presence and determine if they have expertise in the field you’re targeting, how many followers they have on social media platforms, the engagement rates of their followers, and their ability to drive meaningful website traffic. Additionally, you want to ensure they’re a good fit for your brand image.

When selecting affiliates, make sure to review their terms and conditions as well. If an affiliate is not willing to abide by rules and regulations set forth in order for them to be part of your program, it might be best to pass them up. The same goes for any affiliates who have shoddy reputations or unethical practices.

Once you’ve identified potential affiliate partners and reviewed their terms and conditions, send out invitation emails with a formal agreement outlining the details of your affiliate program. This agreement should include commission rates, payment terms, and any other relevant information. Additionally, ensure that all affiliates have read the agreement and accept its terms before they begin promoting your product or brand.

After you’ve established a good affiliate partner base, it’s important to monitor their performance. Keep track of how much traffic each referral sends your way and the number of sales that each affiliate generates. This will help you determine what works and what doesn’t, which in turn can help you refine your strategy to ensure maximum success.

2. Selling Affiliate Items on Your Shopify Store

Using affiliate programs to resell goods for a commission-based profit can be an incredibly profitable strategy for Shopify business owners that have a large customer base and could benefit from increased product variety. To get started, here is a detailed guide on how to make the most of affiliate marketing on Shopify.

Step 1: Join an Affiliate Program

Before you start promoting your affiliate products, it’s important to find a program that matches your business strategy and allows you to seamlessly merge products with affiliate items. You might want to look into Amazon Associates since it’s the top affiliate network for Shopify business owners, offering up to 10% commission on sales made through your website.

Step 2: Display the Affiliate Links

After you are approved for an affiliate program, it’s time to drive traffic there. Here, you need to handle the affiliate links – which are essentially customized URLs to track sales on your website. To make the most of affiliate marketing, you need to ensure that these links are placed on all the relevant product pages.

Step 3: Optimize and Promote

To increase conversions and reach a wider market, you need to optimize your store for faster loading times, create great product descriptions and employ proper SEO practices. Additionally, make sure that graphics are optimized to ensure smooth loading.

By following these three simple steps, you can effectively leverage affiliate marketing on Shopify and maximize profits with minimal effort.

Promoting your Affiliate Marketing Program

Ok, so now you’ve set up your affiliate marketing on Shopify, and the next thing to do is to find the right ways to promote it. 

Promoting your affiliate marketing program can be the key to unlocking success in 2023. There are a variety of tactics you should use once you launch this new program in order to find and recruit affiliates and start making sales, so let’s take a look at some of them:

Adding a link to your affiliate marketing program in your website footer

This is an easy way to get started. Website footers are traditional spaces to link such programs, so interested parties will look there first. Make sure the font size isn’t too small and the program isn’t hard to find, as you want to increase your affiliates and brand ambassadors in order to generate more money for yourself.  

Utilize your Email marketing funnel

Creating a successful affiliate marketing program requires more than just creating a product and hoping someone buys it. To really make the most of your program, you need to create an effective email marketing funnel and reach out to your existing customer base.

By sending out an email announcing your new affiliate program, you can begin to nurture potential affiliates.

This tactic is also useful for reaching out to your existing customers. Those that have already made a purchase from you are likely to be familiar with the product and could potentially become an affiliate. By offering them the chance to join your program, you increase the chances of success for both parties.

By combining email marketing strategies with outreach to your current customer base, you can ensure that your affiliate marketing program makes the most of its potential. With the right approach, you can make a meaningful impact on your income and reach more people than ever before.

Harness the power of Social media and affiliate networks

Promoting your affiliate marketing program is essential to the success of any business. Social media is one of the most effective ways to reach a wide audience and promote your affiliate program. Posting regularly on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,TikTok, and LinkedIn can be an effective way to get the word out about your new affiliate program. Read here to find out the most adequate platform for your business.

Additionally, joining affiliate networks like ShareASale and Rakuten Advertising can help you spread awareness of your program even further. Affiliate networks allow interested affiliates to discover your profile with all the relevant information about your program. Setting up a profile on these sites is a great way to expand the reach of your affiliate marketing efforts.

Final Thoughts 

In summary,  affiliate marketing on Shopify is a powerful tool for businesses who want to diversify their marketing efforts, increase their sales, and reward customers for sharing their products with others. Shopify is a great platform for this type of venture, and its streamlined setup guide simplifies the process for merchants. By integrating Refersion as affiliate marketing software into your Store, you open up entirely new opportunities for customer engagement and financial gain. With Refersion, you’ll be able harness the power of affiliate marketing without taking on too much overhead.

Now you’ve got a better understanding of how to make the most from affiliate marketing on Shopify, take what you’ve learned here and see just how far it will take your business. Invest the time to set up these integrated tools, learn about the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, engage with an action plan – and watch it pay off.

So go ahead and read this guide again until all the pieces fall into place – and then start leveraging the power of affiliate marketing on Shopify!

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Written by

Werner Geyser
Werner Geyser