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Affiliate Marketing 101 for Shopify Stores

A guest article by LeadDyno team. LeadDyno is easy affiliate marketing software - both for you and your affiliates.

Buying traffic to your store is expensive – and getting pricier all the time. After all, there’s a reason Google and Facebook report record earnings quarter after quarter!

This makes affiliate marketing increasingly attractive. What’s not to like about free traffic, where your customers, partners, and industry influencers send you clicks and you only pay them if their efforts result in actual sales. Sounds great, right?

If someone doesn’t sell anything, you pay him or her nothing. It’s a simple as that.

So why doesn’t every Shopify store have an active affiliate program? Typically, two reasons:

  1. Store owners aren’t sure how to setup the affiliate tracking and links.
  1. And they’re not sure how to go about finding affiliates.

Both of these problems are now easily solvable with apps located conveniently in Shopify’s App Store.

First, Install an Affiliate Tracking App

Type “affiliate” into the search box in the upper-right of the App Store, and you’ll get six app results:

The top four results are apps that will install affiliate tracking on your store and website. I would of course love for you to consider my company’s LeadDyno app! But the choice is yours, and the beauty of Shopify’s robust API is that you have high-quality options here.

Next, Find Affiliates to Join Your Program

Now that you can start dishing out affiliate links, who should you give them to? Let’s start with your existing email list of friends and followers.

Your affiliate tracking software should provide you with an affiliate sign up page (here’s ours as an example). This is an “opt-in” page where potential affiliates can sign up to join your new program.

Have a Mailchimp email list? Perfect – send everyone a note letting them know about your new affiliate program, with a link to sign up.

Invite Your New Customers as They Buy, Too

Your ideal prospect is probably someone who was referred by a current customer of yours. And new customers, bless their enthusiastic hearts, are especially good referrers.

An “autoresponder” email can be an effective recruitment technique. I recommend scheduling one that is sent to people as soon as they buy from you. Thank them again for their purchase and tell them about your affiliate program.

The key here is that this email is automated, so you don’t have to remember to send it out. You set it up once, and it just happens. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy either – just a few sentences letting them know they can earn some easy passive income by referring the product they just purchased.

And let’s not limit the fun to your current sphere of influence. You can also consider affiliate networks for exposure to professional affiliate marketers and influencers who are actively promoting products online in your category and niche.

Join an Affiliate Network

Affiliate networks are designed to connect merchants (you) with affiliate marketers. There are free options, and there are expensive options such as well-established networks CJ Affiliate and ShareASale.

Since there’s no guarantee an affiliate network will work for your product, you may want to join a prospective network as an affiliate to see what it’s all about. Affiliate memberships are generally free because networks make their money charging merchants.

An easy, and free, option for Shopify merchants is the E-Commerce Affiliate Network app. You can setup your own listing in one of twenty product categories, where affiliates can learn about and join your program. Please note this app doesn’t include affiliate tracking, so you’ll need to also install one of the apps we discussed earlier.

Some affiliate networks will also let you reach out to their affiliates and influencers directly. This is a good way to accelerate your recruitment.

Then Keep Your Affiliates Engaged

On a monthly basis, I’ve had success devoting an hour or two to a couple of activities. First, I send out a monthly newsletter to my affiliates (you can typically do this within your affiliate app). In the email, I let them know about anything new that’s cooking – and encourage everyone to log into their affiliate dashboard so that he or she can share the news.

If you think about the shares you see on Facebook and Twitter, they often have a “newsy” component to them. So I like to give our affiliates the inside scoop on what’s new, and update our social sharing content at the same time so that they have something unique to share (and our commission-based public relations team hits the social media streets on our behalf!)

I also like to time our affiliate newsletter with our commission payouts. Letting everyone know there is money going out to them is a great way to get everyone’s attention.

Most affiliate programs only pay on a quarterly basis. By paying monthly, you’ll have a big advantage over other programs they participate in. Plus, it’s a great regular touch point – nothing says you care like sending actual money!

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