How to Become an Affiliate Merchant

Are you looking for a new way of marketing your product or service that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?

Well, then it may be time to open yourself up to the possibilities offered by affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an online marketing strategy whereby businesses, or affiliate marketing merchants, team up with online creators and influencers to promote their products and services. It may not sound like the fanciest or most complicated marketing strategy, but with all of the skepticism surrounding brands promoting their own products these days, it has certainly emerged as an effective one.

Affiliate marketing tends to be especially popular among online businesses and e-commerce retailers, but really anyone in any industry can become an affiliate merchant. Find out how below!

Step 1: Find an Affiliate Marketing Platform

An affiliate marketing platform is a third-party that helps connect affiliate merchants with the right affiliate publishers or influencers for their brand. Not only do these affiliate networks typically provide merchants with a long list of these publishers to choose from, but they also offer other benefits, such as payment processing, tracking, and reporting tools.

There are a lot of affiliate marketing platforms out there, so try and choose the one that you think will work best for your business. Some good places to start may be Amazon Associates, Shopify Affiliate Program, and the YouTube Affiliate Program.

Step 2: Choose the Right Affiliates

You will likely have a lot of publishers to choose from if you’re using an affiliate marketing platform, but it’s worth taking the time to find the right one for your brand. You’re basically paying for access to someone’s audience, so make sure there’s a good chance that their followers will be interested in your product or service.

It’s also a good idea to gauge any potential affiliate’s experience with online marketing techniques. Take a look at their social media pages to check out some of their previous work with affiliates.

Step 3: Determine Affiliate Commission Rates

The commission rates and payment structures for affiliates can vary depending on the publisher, but most typically follow one of the following:

  • Pay Per Click – based on how many times users click on the affiliate link
  • Pay Per Sale – based on the sales made via the affiliate link
  • Pay Per Lead – based on how many leads the affiliate link produced

You’ll also need to decide on payment distribution, which can get confusing if you’re dealing with multiple affiliates. Try using affiliate marketing software with built-in commission tracking to keep everything organized.

Step 4: Make an Affiliate Terms of Service

It can be hard to trust someone else with promoting your product or service, as they may not be familiar with your company’s message or what makes it unique. In order to avoid this, create a clear terms of service agreement that gives your affiliates specific guidelines for marketing your brand.

A terms of service agreement also has another important benefit: it can protect you from unsuccessful partnerships. If your affiliate ever violates any of the terms, you can simply refer back to the originally agreed-upon guidelines.