UpPromote - Affiliate Marketing Software

The Complete Affiliate Marketing Checklist for Success in 2024

Let’s face it: there’s so much to do when starting with affiliate marketing. Building a landing page, recruiting affiliates, deciding commission types – it’s enough to drive you insane. But fear not! This affiliate marketing checklist ...

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affiliate marketing checklist

Let’s face it: there’s so much to do when starting with affiliate marketing. Building a landing page, recruiting affiliates, deciding commission types – it’s enough to drive you insane.

But fear not! This affiliate marketing checklist will be your savior. From navigating niche selection to measuring affiliate performance, we’ll equip you with invaluable tactics to conquer the world of promotion. So, keep this checklist handy whether you’re new to affiliate marketing or preparing another campaign for your business.

Now, let’s jump right in!

Affiliate Marketing Checklist: What You Need to Do To Get It Started

We’ve grouped crucial tactics into stages to help you quickly navigate and follow. They include pre-launching, affiliate recruitment, affiliate management, tracking and payment process, and optimization.

Let’s explore them one by one!


Define your niche

Before launching any affiliate program, it’s essential to define what your business is about.

You need to dive deep into yourself. What are you passionate about or excellent for?

You can also research potential niches by evaluating industry trends, popular searches, and competitor programs. It helps you understand audience interests. Sometimes, you can spot hidden likely segments or products that your program could address. Use tools like Google Trends or keyword research to assist your exploration.

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Note: Due to the competitive and saturated market, going abroad is risky. The clue is to consider defining a niche within a niche. For instance, instead of “skincare,” tap into “vegan skincare for elders.”

Research your audience

Knowing your audience is crucial to establishing an effective campaign.

“Who are you talking to?” Men or women, teenagers or adults? Dive deeper into their needs, interests, and hobbies. They were identifying where they hang out and their favorite types of content is also a must. It could be compelling blogs on websites, visual posts on social media platforms, or forums with dynamic conversations. This understanding helps you target your affiliate program and materials effectively.

Select product(s) to promote

Think about some products or services you can offer. Are they focused on a specific problem or catering to particular potential customers? Is there enough demand to generate successful affiliate marketing campaigns?

Ensure your products meet the following criteria:

– Aligning with the niche or market segment you are targeting. This enhances the coherence of your affiliate marketing strategy, making it more appealing.

– Being high-quality and likely to stand out.

– Having conversion potential.

Research competitors

Now, let’s see how your competitors are performing out there. Research shows that over 81% of brands join affiliate marketing. There will be a lot to learn and apply to your  situation. Research established affiliate programs within your niche. Here are some crucial aspects to consider:

– Examine the products your competitors are promoting. Identify any opportunities for differentiation in your product offerings.

– Analyze their commission structures. You can set competitive and attractive commission rates to attract quality affiliates.

– Which promotional tactics do they use? Identify their promotional content formats, advertising channels, communication style, etc.

– How do they recruit relevant affiliates?

– Use supportive tools (i.e., Ahrefs and Semrush) and industry reports to understand their website traffic, conversions, and overall performance. This reveals strengths to learn and areas for improvement.

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Define your goals and KPIs

You must know what you want to achieve before jumping right into the campaign. Having clear and well-defined goals in mind provides a framework for your success. They could be:

– Increase brand awareness

– Boosting affiliate sales

– Generating leads

– Driving specific website actions

Important note: Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). This provides a focus for tracking progress, leading to positive results.

And one of the good ways to make your goal “smart” is setting the right KPIs. Choose those that align with your objectives. Common ones are conversion rates, click-through rates, visitor engagement, and revenue generated.

Tip: Don’t overload your campaign with too many KPIs. Head to those that tell your program’s performance and allow manageable, efficient monitoring.

Decide budget plan and type of compensation.

After identifying your goals and KPIs, it’s time to spend money to make these wishes come true. Choosing the right approach is crucial for smooth program management and an optimal return on investment.

Determine the budget you will allocate to your affiliate marketing program. It’s usually about affiliate commissions and the cost of joining an affiliate network or SaaS platform. Besides, there are expenses for promotional materials, tracking tools, ad campaigns (if any), etc.

Regarding commissions, we recommend researching competitors to understand typical types in your sector. The most common types include:

– Pay-per-sale (PPS): Pay affiliates for each sale generated through their referral.

– Pay-per-lead (PPL): Compensation is based on generating leads, such as email sign-ups or form submissions.

– Pay-per-click (PPC): Pay affiliates based on the clicks they drive to your website.

– Hybrid models: When you combine multiple types for a versatile approach.

Here’s an example of the PPS commission model by Art of Tea.

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Note: When choosing a payout, be realistic about your budget. Offer a rate that is attractive to affiliates without breaking the band.

Choose the right affiliate marketing tools.

The selection of appropriate tools plays a significant role in the efficiency of your affiliate program. Which kinds of tools should you consider?

– Tracking tools: ConvertKit and Tapfiliate can help you monitor clicks, conversions, and performance across different channels and affiliates.

– Analytics tools: Google Analytics is a must (but feel free to explore further). Use them to understand your website traffic, visitor behavior, campaign effectiveness, and more.

– Marketing automation tools: Names like Mailchimp or Klaviyo play their best roles in sending automated email lists and streamlining communication with your affiliates.

If you join an affiliate network, you’ll be provided tools for managing your affiliate performance.

Note: Consider your budget and prioritize essential tools. Free tools exist, but premium versions can offer you advanced features. Leverage the offers of free trials and demos to ensure compatibility before subscribing.

Affiliate recruitment

Create your landing page.

Now, let’s move to the recruitment stage. First, you need to create a landing page. It acts like a home that welcomes affiliate marketers. By making it clear and intriguing, you can guarantee a higher chance of successful recruitment.

What should you put into this page:

– A compelling headline that conveys the value of your program

– Shining benefits, including commissions, incentives, creative assets, dedicated support, free training, and more.

– A clear and prominent call-to-action (CTA), such as “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More.”

Besides these main sections, consider adding FAQs or testimonials from other affiliates to make your page more professional.

A prime example of a well-designed landing page is the Hubspot affiliate program:

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Promote your affiliate program

As you’ve created a landing page for your affiliate program, it’s time to let affiliates know about it. How?

There are many methods to promote your program. Let’s explore the most popular ones.

– Leverage SEO to gain organic traffic

– Send emails to your lists of existing customers and subscribers

– Engage with affiliates on social media channels

– List your program on popular affiliate directories

– Utilize paid advertising campaigns

– Joining industry events and conferences

Find potential affiliates

The next step is to find affiliates who can become valuable members of your affiliate team. Consider two primary approaches, as follows:

– Connecting with affiliate agencies. They can provide valuable information and guidance on structuring your program and attracting the right affiliates.

– Use a database. This method can help you review profiles and assess their compatibility with your brand.

Create affiliate terms & conditions.

Establishing clear and comprehensive terms and conditions is essential for building a solid working relationship between you and affiliates.

It establishes transparent trust and expectations for both parties, minimizing potential conflicts. It’s also a good safeguard against fraudulent behaviors and potential legal disputes for your program.

Bonus: Well-drafted terms and conditions are perfect for attracting dedicated affiliates who value partnership transparency.

To craft an explicit affiliate agreement, include crucial sections such as:

– Responsibilities of both parties

– Affiliate eligibility (i.e., age, geography, website quality)

– Prohibited activities

– Commission structure, cookie lifespan, tracking and reporting

– Promotional methods and restrictions

– Payout schedule and thresholds

– Data protection and privacy

– Intellectual property rights

– Compliance with regulations

– Definition of terms

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Affiliate management

Provide affiliates with marketing assets

As an advertiser, we always want our affiliate team to perform at their best. Providing them with high-quality promotional materials is a must to make this a reality. Besides, these assets act as your brand style guide, ensuring consistency in branding. They help maintain a cohesive brand image across various channels.

Think of giving them access to high-resolution images, banners, and engaging video content. Besides, compelling product descriptions and pre-written social media posts or templates would be helpful.


– It’s crucial to inform your affiliates about asset changes, such as seasonal launches or product updates.

– Ensure your materials are optimized for mobile platforms, contributing to a smooth mobile user experience.

Distribute affiliate links and coupon codes.

Affiliate links enable tracking user interactions and conversions, allowing advertisers to reward affiliates accordingly.

After joining your program, each affiliate is assigned a unique tracking link. This helps them track the performance of different campaigns, channels, or promotional strategies, providing valuable insights for optimization. Plus, it ensures that their marketing efforts are distinctively identifiable.

As an advertiser, provide clear instructions and training on how to use the tracking links. Include crucial information, such as proper placement and link format.

Regarding coupon codes, offer flexibility in code creation. Personalized codes or those related to specific promotions are preferable. Ensure that codes are easy to remember and type for the audience. Plus, include precise expiry dates (if applicable) to add urgency to promotions.

Note: Regularly update tracking links and coupon codes, especially during product launches or promotional events.

Tracking and payment process

Set up a tracking mechanism

You’ve done the hard work of planning your program and recruiting affiliates. It’s time to let your team do their job.

And you? Don’t rush to rest. There’s a lot more to do. Tracking is one of them.

You can build your tracking mechanism using website analytics or custom code. If you join affiliate networks (i.e., ShareASale, CJ Affiliate), assess their built-in tracking features. Or else, use third-party tracking software like Post Affiliate Pro or Thirsty Affiliates for advanced features and dedicated support.

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For instance, ShareASale allows its advertisers to set up standard and advanced tracking before building their program on the platform.

Tip: Integrate the tracking system with tools like email marketing or Google Analytics for more comprehensive tracking and analysis.

Measure affiliate performance

Thanks to the tracking system, you can accurately identify who drives conversions and attribute commissions. It also reveals which marketing channels, creatives, and strategies yield the best results. With this information, you can refine your campaign for better achievements.

So, which metrics should you track? Those KPIs that you’ve chosen in the pre-launching stage. Access reports of clicks, leads, conversions, sales, commissions, etc. These key metrics help you assess your program performance in real time.

Process payment for your mates on time

Timely and accurate payment is essential for building trust with your affiliates and ensuring the continued success of your affiliate program.

From the tracking system, you can identify commissions for your team. As you link tracking and payment solutions (e.g., PayPal, Payoneer), it helps automate payment calculations and triggers.

Remember to set up payment rules for when and how payments are generated. For instance, payments will be issued monthly once the affiliates’ commissions exceed the minimum payment threshold.


Create automation & shortcut.

Success in affiliate marketing is about more than just strategic planning and execution. It shares a focus on optimization.

One brilliant way to optimize your campaign is by using automation and shortcuts. They help you save time, reduce manual effort, and enhance overall effectiveness.

Consider implementing appropriate methods during your affiliate marketing stages. For instance, regarding recruitment, use pre-written welcome emails and resources to streamline initial engagement. In the tracking system, set up automated performance reports to send to affiliates regularly. Or, as stated in the previous payment process, automation can help with timely payouts.

Do custom development

While most affiliate programs can benefit from existing tools and platforms, custom development can take the performance to the next level.

Let’s review some cases in which developing unique functionalities may help:

– Develop custom tracking solutions that align with your affiliate program

– Create custom reporting features to provide in-depth insights into affiliate performance and the effectiveness of different promotional channels.

– Set up different commission structures to meet your specific goals. These rates vary based on product types, affiliate tiers, or customer segments.

– Develop specific marketing materials or interactive tools to strengthen your brand identity and enhance the user experience.

– Leverage advanced affiliate platform features, such as gamified incentives, personalized affiliate dashboards, or targeted campaign management systems.


As we wrap up our affiliate marketing checklist, it’s clear that success in this industry requires the best investment in time and effort. While you might need clarification about how to start and what to do next, we hope this list will walk you through the darkness.

As you tick all the boxes in the checklist, you can confidently enter the affiliate marketing landscape. So, grab these strategies and look forward to a successful launch!

Ellie Tran, a seasoned SEO content writer with three years of experience in the eCommerce world. Being a part of the UpPromote team, Ellie wants to assist Shopify merchants in achieving success through useful content & actionable insights. Ellie's commitment to learning never stops; she's always eager to gain more knowledge about SEO and content marketing to create valuable content for users. When she's not working on content, Ellie enjoys baking and exploring new places.