What is Affiliate Marketing and how to make it work for you

Affiliate marketing is a way for brands to earn extra income by having bloggers, influencers and customers promote their products and offers. Simply put, it’s a commission-based form of marketing where a brand pays their affiliates for every sale they generate for them.

Big brands open up commission programs with affiliate sites because it helps them gain widespread exposure and increase sales and revenues at minimal costs.

How affiliate marketing works:

  1. You set up an affiliate program on your website or via a third party platform
  2. Bloggers, influencers and customers feature your ads on their websites or blogs (they can even use links only for social media for example)
  3. Each ad features their unique affiliate link or code
  4. Once their reader clicks on that ad and goes to your site to purchase something, the sale gets recorded in that affiliate’s account in your program
  5. At the end of the month you pay out affiliate commissions

While commission rates are generally low, affiliate marketing can be a great way for bloggers to earn a passive income, and for brands to reach a new audience. It doesn’t require much of your time after the affiliate has signed up for your affiliate program because all their tracking codes and links are created automatically.

Not sure what to pay your affiliates?

Affiliate rates vary from 5-10%, with brands like ASOS paying out 7%. The Iconic offer 15% commission for affiliates (wowza).

Different programs have varying models but one thing holds true for all of them: reaching a new audience through affiliates definitely works to your advantage.

Here are a few important things to remember when you’re getting started in affiliate marketing:

Choose affiliates carefully

Each affiliate needs to match your brand and what you stand for. Their readership or audience needs to match yours, so do your research. Make sure you set up your affiliate system to approve all affiliate applications manually. You need to have full control over who is repping your brand.

Who to invite to your affiliate program

If you’re a fashion brand some natural fitting options are:

  • fashion bloggers
  • personal stylists
  • social influencers
  • top customers (chances are they refer new customers to you anyway but at least by rewarding them they get something out of it)
  • brand partners – non-competing brands in your industry, for example if you’re a swimwear brand then you could have an affiliate who is a beach towel brand

How to invite people to your affiliate program

A short and sweet email is best. Email them something along the lines of:

Dear XXX,

Here at BRAND NAME we have been following your blog for many years now and we love the way you make fashion feel fun and attainable. We feel you speak to the same audience we do so we’d like to invite you to our Affiliate program. We offer 10% commission on affiliate sales and we feel you would be a perfect fit for us. 

Attached is  a little info pack about us and our program, please contact me personally if you have any questions.

Best,

NAME

Choose the best program for your niche

Study all the terms and conditions of a particular program before you sign up. Compare different programs. There are some that provide your with training and measurement tools to help you succeed as an affiliate.

Here are just some options:

Read your affiliate reports religiously

With analytics, you can determine which affiliates are working for you and which ones aren’t. Affiliate programs have reports available for you. Use them to your advantage.

I recommend you read your reports on a monthly basis to identify your key earners and build stronger relationships with them. If you have a handful of well performing affiliates, invite them to VIP events, collaborate with them in a special collection or increase their commission.

Ever tried affiliate marketing? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.

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