How to Start an Affiliate Program: A Step-by-Step Affiliate Marketing Guide

Affiliate marketing can help you grow your small business, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to fit everyone. The biggest problem with affiliate marketing is that you need to choose the right platform and find trusted affiliates for it. These tasks require time and risk. But if you have a firm hand on your brand and affiliate marketing niche, affiliate marketing can do some amazing things and reach out to new customers with a well-run affiliate program.

How to Start an Affiliate Program: A Step-by-Step Affiliate Marketing Guide

Anyway, in order to create a high-quality affiliate program, you have to stand out from the ocean of other affiliate marketing programs. You need to learn from success stories and follow the necessary steps to make a great-working affiliate program. In this post we can help you understand how to start your own affiliate program to be recognized by the best affiliate marketers.

5 Key Steps to Start your own Affiliate Program

  • Choose a forum
  • Choose the payment terms.
  • Create Policy & Rules for the Program
  • Provide Collateral Marketing
  • Set-up Monitoring & Reporting
  • Step Bonus

1. Select an Affiliate Platform

Before you start your first affiliate program, you will need to decide what works best for you: whether you want to manage everything on your own or whether you want to be more hands-off.

Affiliate networks can immediately give you access to a number of quality affiliates. Still, affiliate software gives you freedom, full control, and potentially more affiliate sales.

I think the best way to choose the appropriate affiliate network or the right affiliate platform is by analyzing various case studies. When deciding on an affiliate software solution, first pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Interface to interface;
  • Tools, tools;
  • Protection of fraud;
  • Reporting & Tracking;
  • Management of Creatives;
  • Support, support;
  • Trial version and pricing.

2. Payouts Affiliate Terms

In our recent article, we explained how affiliate marketing is shifting to performance marketing. In general, this marketing strategy has been reflected in the payment methods for affiliate partners. More and more brands and e-commerce companies are willing to pay only for results and refuse to pay in advance. So let’s explore the most efficient payment methods for your affiliate program.

Pay-per-sale method rewards affiliates for every completed transaction. Every reward is equal to the percentage of the value of the sold affiliate product. You choose what percentage of the price of the product you pay to your affiliates.

Sometimes, not only sales but also free trial subscriptions or email newsletters can give you value. The further conversion of such leads to affiliate sales is already a more straightforward matter. In this case, it is quite appropriate for you to use the pay-per-lead payment method.

Another way you can approach choosing a payout model is through a combination of different payment methods. Instead of choosing 1 option, you can set up a combined reward system that involves several different payment methods and a third party affiliate commission. For example, after you get an affiliate click from the Google Ad, your partner will receive a small pay-per-click reward. Next, if the landing page user purchases from you, the affiliate will receive a portion of this transaction.

3. Policy & Rules of the Affiliate Program

A policy for an affiliate program is a binding agreement between you and your new affiliates. Properly drawn up, this documentation controls the rules, obligations, and dispute resolution procedures that all parties must obey. The affiliate program policy limits shady advertising strategies, marketing platforms, and payment problems and can help recruit affiliates.

If you plan to develop your affiliate program policies and rules on your own, we suggest that you discuss the following topics:

  • When you pay out your affiliates and how;
  • What promotional methods or marketing channels are limited;
  • What physical goods or types of affiliated products (discounted, low cost, etc. are exempt from your program;
  • Other cases where affiliate activity is forbidden.

4. Affiliate Collateral Marketing

It is important to deliver quality marketing collateral to your new affiliates. By doing so, you make it easier for them to market your affiliate product. For example, you find that the banner ad with your product outperforms text links’ conversion rate. As a result, such details or product feedback in your collateral material will help your affiliates attract new customers and perform better.

And before applying to the affiliate network, affiliates are usually searching for collateral or creative materials. They want to know what they’re going to have to do. It is, therefore, important to provide them with as much valuable and incisive data as possible.

5. Affiliate Monitoring & Reporting


Another critical aspect of the management of the affiliate program is to keep track of and maximize results. You should start monitoring & reporting at the stage of selecting an affiliate site. It allows you to assess the affiliate program’s success, forecasts future outcomes, and adapt to higher income.

For example, the analytics of traffic sources is one of the keys to every digital marketing niche. Knowing what’s your best source of traffic, PPC, SEO, social media, influencers, blogs, or email lists, could increase your affiliate sales and number of affiliates.

You can learn more about affiliate management and rich data-driven decision-making analysis in the article Top Four Features of Affiliate Marketing Platform.

Bonus Move, man. Start of the Affiliate Program

So you’ve selected an affiliate site, a payment system, prepared high-quality affiliate marketing & collateral policies, and set up monitoring tools. Even after all these steps, you can still do more and change your affiliate program for a smooth start.

To successfully launch an affiliate program, you should do at least these two additional steps:

Produce some fantastic announcements

Prepare Email Recruitment

Affiliate marketing can do great things with a well-managed affiliate program.

Best Software Solution for Online Advertisement Campaign Settings

Creating a fully functioning affiliate marketing project takes a lot of time, experience, and resources. In the video below, we illustrate how a ready-made affiliate platform makes the whole process much simpler with its automation software, CPAPI, ad fraud control, etc.

As you can see, Scaleo, as an all-in-one platform for advertisers, online marketing companies, and affiliate networks, helps you to monitor, track, evaluate, and optimize online advertising campaigns in real-time.