How to Set Up Your Influencer Affiliate Program

How to Set Up Your Influencer Affiliate Program

Enelin Toneva

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Assuming that you already know the power of influencer affiliate marketing programs and how they can grow your business, here’s a step by step guide to building one successfully.

At Vivian Agency, we specialize in creating the structure and strategy of affiliate and referral programs for companies worldwide. Considering the various industries we work in, we can identify the common challenges that businesses face in this area and give you solutions to overcome them.

Additionally, we created a checklist you can use while building your affiliate program!

Step-By-Step Guide for Building an Influencer Affiliate Program

When creating the strategy for your affiliate program, discuss these key components with your team first:

Alignment of goals and expectations

Before you start building, it’s important to establish your goals, expectations, budgets, and timelines. Revisit your company’s long-term objectives and next year’s roadmap to determine how the affiliate program fits into your broader marketing strategy.

What are you hoping to achieve through the program? Are you aiming for increased brand awareness or simply more sales? Are you trying to enter and test new markets? This brainstorming session will help you plan a more targeted and effective affiliate strategy.

The next discussion points for your team should be:

  • Budget and resources: It’s important to set a budget your team can work with and to communicate the additional workload this will bring to your team members. The budget should consider incentives for affiliates, marketing materials, software tools for program management, and any other resources that might be required.
  • Timeline and expectations: Set realistic goals with your team for the outcome of the affiliate program and the time it will take to achieve it. Take into account the time needed for research, partner outreach, content creation, and software setup. Clear timelines will help you track progress throughout the project.
  • Monitoring and optimizing the program: Building the program is not the end – it needs continuous optimization, testing, and improvements. Your team needs to be ready to keep track of incoming data and optimize the program based on those learnings.

If you are still unsure about the differences between affiliate, influencer, referral programs, and partnerships – check out our explanation article before you start. After outlining the strategy and goals for your particular company, here are the steps you need to take to build a successful affiliate or influencer program.

Step 1: Research – Identifying Your Keywords and Ideal Content Creators

Understanding your audience’s search behaviors

Start by placing yourself in your clients’ shoes. What keywords are they using when searching for products or information related to what your company offers? Identifying these keywords is crucial to your content strategy and partnership with social media influencers and creators.

Content creation strategy

Knowing the right keywords allows you to tailor your content effectively. This enables potential clients to find you at the exact moment they are searching for something like your product. This alignment between what your audience searches for and the content you produce is essential for visibility and engagement, especially on social media platforms.

Finding the ideal influencer type

With your keywords in hand, you can now seek out content creators who are already producing great quality content in your niche. These creators are valuable potential partners for your affiliate program. Their existing reach and authority in the relevant domain can significantly enhance your brand’s message. Affiliate marketers also bring their experience with product promotion to the table – they already know how to showcase a product to their audience in an authentic way.

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness

Thorough research at this initial stage can save considerable time and resources. By precisely targeting your efforts towards the right keywords and content creators, you maximize the potential impact of your affiliate program.

Step 2 Analyze - Choosing the Right Affiliate Partners

Step 2: Analyze – Choosing the Right Affiliate Partners

Once you’ve defined your goals, overall strategy, timeline, and the type of influencer content you want to find, this step will help you officially start building your program. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing your influencers and affiliates:

  • Which social media channels do you want to appear on?
    The longevity and impact of content are key factors when choosing affiliate partners. Bloggers and YouTubers are often the best choices for long-term collaboration. Their content stays relevant for a long time, continually supporting your SEO efforts. On the other hand, content on platforms like Instagram tends to have a shorter lifespan, with posts and stories disappearing quickly.
  • Size and influence
    Determining the ideal size of the affiliate partner is crucial. You need to find a sweet spot between the follower count and influence. Partners with a certain range of followers are large enough to have a significant impact but not so large that they are unapproachable or demand extremely high payment rates. On the other hand, smaller creators won’t produce as great results but are likely to be happy with affiliate commission as the only form of compensation.
  • Engagement over size
    A high engagement rate indicates that the audience is actively interested in the content, making the influencer more effective at promoting your product. It’s important to prioritize engagement over follower count, as a smaller but more engaged audience can often produce better results. Micro-influencers are another good example; their following is often small but extremely devoted and interested.
  • Long-term value
    Focus on partners who can create content with long-term value. Blog posts and YouTube videos, for example, can generate affiliate sales for years after being published through the affiliate link included in the text.
  • Alignment with your brand
    Make sure that the potential affiliate’s content, audience, and values align with your brand. This makes the partnership more authentic. It will resonate better with both your existing and potential customers.

By carefully analyzing potential partners based on these criteria, you are one big step closer to making sure your influencer affiliate program works exactly as you want. Choosing the right affiliates and influencers is the most important step to reaching your target audience online.

Step 3: Setup – Establishing an Effective System and Reward Structure

After you select your ideal influencers and affiliates, you need to decide how to incentivize them and make them want to join your program. Here’s how you can structure the affiliate commission and rewards:

  • Affiliate commission
    A crucial decision when setting up your affiliate program is determining how to compensate your affiliates. While some may be content with receiving free products and coupon codes, other affiliates might expect a commission or even substantial sponsorship fees for their efforts. The recommended approach is to offer both your product and a sales commission. This not only allows affiliates to genuinely try and test your product but also motivates them to keep promoting it for longer.
  • Choosing the right affiliate software
    There are several affiliate program SaaS solutions available that are reasonably priced and easy to set up and use. These systems streamline the process for affiliates to sign up and participate in your program. Some of the preferred software options include FirstPromoter, LeadDyno, and AffiliateWP. Look for software that offers tracking and reporting capabilities, easy affiliate management, and seamless integration with your website and payment systems. These tools provide essential features for tracking, managing, and rewarding affiliate partners effectively.
  • Establishing a clear process
    It’s important to have a clear and streamlined process for both the affiliates and your team. This involves researching and analyzing potential partners, reaching out and negotiating the partnership terms, and then integrating them into your chosen affiliate management system.

These steps ensure smooth operation and effective collaboration between your company and your affiliate partners. Research what other companies are offering to their affiliates and influencers to make sure your offering is competitive.

As an example, here are a few unique and great quality affiliate commission incentives from other companies:

Elementor's Affiliate Program
  • HubSpot: Offers a 30% recurring commission for up to 1 year for each sale. Affiliates also have the opportunity to become Super Affiliates or Elite Affiliates, with the latter receiving custom commissions. HubSpot gives affiliates access to over 400 promotional assets and offers a welcome bonus of up to $80 USD to new affiliates.
  • Elementor: Provides a 50% commission per sale with a broad range of pricing packages, from $49 to $999 per year. This WordPress website builder boasts a vibrant community of 100k members and offers cloud hosting features. Some of their notable affiliates earn over $10,000 a month through their trackable links.
  • Moosend: Offers a 30% to 40% lifetime recurring commission on every plan purchased by contacts referred by the affiliate. With a 90-day cookie life, the program allows ample time for potential customers to make a purchase, increasing the chance of earning commissions. Affiliates also have access to pre-made materials and resources in their affiliate dashboard​.
  • Spocket: A dropshipping supplier, Spocket offers an impressive affiliate program where you can earn up to $450 for each customer referred. Moreover, you continue to collect commission off your referral’s Spocket account as long as they remain a customer. Spocket provides affiliates with the necessary tools and resources to effectively promote their business, making it an attractive option for websites with visitors interested in entrepreneurship or e-commerce.
  • BH Cosmetics: Their affiliate program offers an 8% commission rate on purchases made within 60 days of the user’s visit. BH Cosmetics has an average order value of $38 and an on-site conversion rate of 6.46%. Affiliates receive exclusive access to coupons and banners for promotion on websites, blogs, or in emails. Additionally, BH Cosmetics provides monthly affiliate newsletters and runs monthly incentives and contests to motivate affiliates.

Step 4: Get Ready for the Launch

Review the research and analysis you have conducted so far. If you have everything set up and the strategy agreed with your team, you’re ready to activate the affiliate program.

  • Design your landing page
    The landing page is crucial to attract and inform potential affiliates. It should clearly communicate the benefits of joining your program, the commission structure, and how to sign up. Include compelling visuals, clear calls-to-action (CTAs), and a user-friendly form for signing up. The page should be optimized for SEO, with relevant keywords to attract potential affiliates.

    Here are a few great examples for you to check out!
  • Outreach and negotiation
    Reach out to your potential affiliates and negotiate the terms of the collaboration. This includes discussing the commission structure, expectations for content creation, and any specific requirements or guidelines they should follow.
  • Affiliate onboarding
    This involves sending them the signup link and ensuring they have all the necessary information and tools to start promoting your products or services. Ideally, they should be able to find all of the materials and generate an affiliate link through your chosen affiliate management software. Giving your affiliates access to a dashboard showing the sales coming in through their affiliate link will make it even easier for them to see which promotions are performing best. If you provide them with the right tools, they will be able to sell more through their affiliate marketing strategies.
  • Marketing materials and brand guidelines
    Share comprehensive marketing materials with your affiliates. This can include logos, banners, product images, and promotional copy. Establish clear brand guidelines that dictate how your brand should be represented. This usually involves the tone of voice, visual aesthetics, and do’s and don’ts in your promotional content. Make these resources easily accessible, possibly through a dedicated portal or shared drive.

All of these steps will be optimized to perfection over time. While working with affiliates and influencers, you’ll learn how to make your affiliate program work best for them. You should continually optimize and improve the onboarding experience of the program, as well.

Step 5: Program Management and Affiliate Payment

The work doesn’t stop when you onboard your first affiliates. Apart from managing influencer payments for each campaign, your affiliates must receive regular monthly payouts of their affiliate commissions.

  • Commission management
    Make sure that your affiliate partners are paid correctly and on time. Utilize the affiliate management systems mentioned above, which have automatic payment features and integrations with payment methods like PayPal. This allows for efficient and easy payment processing.
  • Maintaining communication
    Regularly update your affiliate partners about new features, products, and overall company developments. Keeping them informed and involved in company progress increases their motivation and commitment to the program.
  • Ongoing support with marketing materials
    Continuously provide fresh marketing materials and innovative campaign ideas to support your affiliates. This helps them create effective content and mention your brand in their social media posts regularly. It’s also an easy way for your company to make sure your affiliate marketing campaigns are aligned with your brand.

Remember, affiliates are your business partners. Treat them as such, and you’ll see a significant impact on your business growth. Influencer affiliate programs, when set up and managed properly, can be an organic and effective way to boost your company’s online presence and sales.

If you’d rather outsource the creation and maintenance of your affiliate program, let us know and we’ll do it for you! Book a call to chat about it.