Skip to main content
Affiliate Program

How to Build an Effective Affiliate Program from Scratch

To create a successful affiliate program that consistently delivers strong results, follow these steps to ensure a solid foundation for your program’s growth and success:

1) Choose the right affiliate network:
Selecting the appropriate network is crucial for your program’s success. Look for a network that not only automates tracking, commissions, and reporting but also provides access to a wide range of top-tier affiliates in your industry. Confirm that the network you choose can connect you with the affiliates you need to drive incremental sales.

2) Structure your program effectively:
Before launching your program, establish program terms, commission structures, and attribution rules. Ensure you have the necessary infrastructure in place to support your goals from the beginning. While you can make adjustments later, it’s best to start with a well-designed program structure.

3) Recruit high-quality affiliates:
Building relationships with reputable and influential affiliates is key to your program’s success. The affiliate channel thrives on strong connections, so prioritize building relationships with the best affiliates in your industry. Consider partnering with affiliate agencies that have established relationships with top affiliates to help facilitate recruitment.

4) Optimize your affiliates:
Merely having a large number of affiliates in your program doesn’t guarantee results. Continuously optimize your affiliates, especially the top performers, to maximize the program’s performance and return on advertising spend (ROAS). Work individually with each affiliate to understand their needs and ensure they generate maximum exposure and drive valuable traffic and sales. This may require significant time and effort, but the results will be worthwhile.

5) Understand your key performance indicators (KPIs):
To evaluate the success of your program, it’s essential to track and analyze key metrics. Utilize attribution systems provided by your network to determine if your program is driving incremental sales and attracting new customers. Additionally, leverage tag management systems to differentiate between new and returning customers brought in by affiliates.

6) Dedicate time and resources to your program:
Scaling an affiliate program requires a significant investment of time and effort. Understand that this channel doesn’t yield immediate results. With dedicated time, experience, and patience, you should start seeing sales within the first 30-60 days. However, substantial growth typically occurs after 90-120 days, as you recruit and optimize affiliates who can make a significant impact. Commitment and diligence are key to achieving long-term success.

7) Reinvest your affiliate profits wisely:
Consider reinvesting a portion of your affiliate profits back into your program to further its growth. Explore opportunities for media buys and paid placements, such as homepage spots, top-category placements, email inclusions, influencer partnerships, and editorial exposure. These additional exposure opportunities come at a cost but can significantly boost your affiliate sales. Evaluate the forecasted return on advertising spend (ROAS) for such placements and make informed decisions on strategic investments.

This roadmap provides a solid foundation for your affiliate program’s success. Keep in mind that there is much more to learn along the way, but following these guidelines will set you up for consistent sales. If you want further guidance or are interested in a partnership, feel free to reach out to us at We aim to help e-commerce brands achieve their affiliate and influencer marketing goals.

Leave a Reply