WooCommerce: How to Start an Affiliate Program in 4 Steps

There are many different ways to reach potential new customers and grow your business. However, most of these methods cost money regardless of whether you achieve the desired results.

That’s where affiliate marketing comes in. It is a popular marketing model where you recruit third parties to drive people to your WooCommerce store and purchase your products. 

With the right motivation and incentives, these external marketers can be just as indispensable as an in-house marketing team. Even better, you’ll only pay for successful conversions

If you have a WooCommerce store, it’s easy to create your own affiliate program. Once your program is up and running, you can start signing up affiliate partners. These people will then do all of the hard work for you!

Every time a customer makes a purchase after following an affiliate link, the marketer will get a cut of the profits, and you get to keep the rest. It’s a win-win situation for you and your affiliate partner. Maybe that’s why affiliate spending is forecast to reach $8.2 billion by 2022!

In this post, we’ll discuss why using affiliate programs is one of the most effective ways to grow your business. We’ll then show how to create an affiliate program for your WooCommerce store in four easy steps. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Affiliate Programs (And How They Can Benefit Your WooCommerce Store)

An affiliate program is a marketing model where you recruit third parties to promote your products. You’ll provide your partners with links containing unique tracking codes. The third parties will then promote these links to their audiences. Finally, you’ll be able to identify all of the sales that originate from the different URLs. 

Affiliate marketing can potentially earn you additional sales by introducing your store to an entirely new audience. In fact, affiliate programs generate between 15 and 30 percent of all sales for advertisers. That’s an advantage well worth pursuing. 

Acquiring new customers is a challenging task, but it’s essential for growing your business. According to AM Navigator, 38 percent of marketers believe that affiliate marketing is one of their top ways of acquiring new customers. Assuming that you provide a good experience to your users, you could potentially transform your affiliate’s audience into your own loyal customers.

Even better, with affiliate marketing, you only pay for successful sales. This setup is in stark contrast to other marketing methods, such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. In these programs, you’re charged every time someone clicks on your advert. Regardless of whether the action results in a sale, you’ll pay for every single click. 

Since your affiliate partners only earn money for successful sales, they’ll be highly motivated to promote your products and spread the word about your business. In other words, they’ll do a lot of your marketing for you. Furthermore, they don’t require any upfront payment for work that doesn’t translate into actual sales.

WooCommerce: How to Start an Affiliate Program In 4 Steps

Affiliates can build your brand awareness, generate sales, and create lots of buzz around your WooCommerce store. These are all compelling reasons to create your own affiliate program, so let’s get started!

Step 1: Choose the Right Affiliate Plugin

Choosing affiliate management software is one of the most important decisions you can make. The best WordPress affiliate plugin will help your program succeed. However, if you make the wrong decision, you may struggle to achieve that potential 30 percent boost in sales.

To start, we recommend opting for an affiliate plugin that makes the setup process a breeze. The sooner you can get your program up and running, the quicker your partners can start promoting your products and securing those all-important sales. 

For this reason, it’s wise to opt for a plugin that has a built-in setup wizard:

Since you’re creating an affiliate program for your WooCommerce store, we also recommend choosing a plugin that integrates seamlessly with this ecommerce platform. This integration will typically make use of more WooCommerce data, which can often improve your affiliate program. 

Let’s look at an example. The Solid Affiliate plugin monitors every refund that happens in WooCommerce and then acts accordingly. This automation can save you a considerable amount of time and frustrating administrative work. Solid Affiliate also supports recurring referrals via its WooCommerce Subscriptions integration. 

2. Set Up Your Commission Levels

After activating your plugin, it’s time to plan your commission structure. This process isn’t always straightforward, as finding the perfect affiliate commission rate is often a tricky balancing act. 

If your commission rate is too low, you’ll struggle to recruit affiliates. Even if you secure a few signups, these partners won’t be highly motivated to promote your products. However, if your commission level is too high, you may struggle to turn a profit.

You can offer your commissions as either percentages or flat rates. With percentage-based payouts, affiliates will receive different amounts depending on item prices. This strategy can be great for encouraging your partners to promote big-ticket products. 

In contrast, a fixed-rate commission is a set amount credited to the affiliate, regardless of the product’s value. These commissions are more appropriate for stores that only sell a small number of items or products with similar price points: 

When determining your commission levels, it may help to consider your average Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). To be sustainable, your affiliate commission rate should be significantly less than your average CLV.

Step 3: Configure Your Payment Options

Once you’ve set up your commission levels, the next step is configuring your payment options. Various payment gateways are available. 

However, with 403 million active registered accounts, it’s worth considering PayPal. Choosing this popular payment method can appeal to the millions of potential partners who already use PayPal.

Depending on your chosen affiliate plugin, you may even be able to automate your PayPal payments. 

For example, you can connect the Solid Affiliate plugin to a PayPal Business account. Then, it’ll bulk pay your affiliates automatically, with zero additional fees:

If you run a successful WooCommerce store, chances are that your products are top quality. However, as the old saying goes: you cannot please 100 percent of people, 100 percent of the time. 

Therefore, it’s wise to consider how you’ll handle any potential refunds. We recommend configuring your affiliate plugin to only pay commissions after the refund period has expired. 

Step 4: Promote Your Program

Your affiliate program is now ready to go – you just need to let people know about it! There are a few promotional strategies you can use. 

To start, it’s a good idea to create a dedicated affiliate program page. This base will provide potential partners with everything they need to know about your program. We recommend treating this as a landing page that’s designed to encourage visitors to convert:  

Depending on the nature of your affiliate program, you may give visitors the option to enroll directly from this page. Alternatively, you might prompt them to submit applications. You can then review their submissions and decide whether they’re good fits for your program: 

Then, you can focus on driving traffic to this page. You may use various strategies such as posting the page’s link to social media, performing content marketing, or running advertisements. 

Furthermore, you can take advantage of your existing mailing list. You might want to create email marketing campaigns that promote your affiliate program. 

Conclusion 

Finding new customers is essential for growing your WooCommerce business. However, unsuccessful campaigns can damage your bottom line. By creating an affiliate program, you can ensure you’re only paying for successful conversions. 

Let’s quickly recap how to start your affiliate program in four easy steps: 

  1. Choose the right affiliate plugin.
  2. Set up your commission levels
  3. Configure your payment options.
  4. Promote your program.

Do you have any questions about creating a successful affiliate program? Let us know in the comments section below!

Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza.

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