Checklist before launching a successful affiliate program

Checklist before launching a successful affiliate program

Creating an affiliate program is a fantastic way to spread the word about your business and attract new clients and it can significantly impact eCommerce. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for ways to ...

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Checklist before launching a successful affiliate program

Creating an affiliate program is a fantastic way to spread the word about your business and attract new clients and it can significantly impact eCommerce.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for ways to start your affiliate program.

You’re in the right place!

This guide to launching an affiliate program is a step-by-step approach to making affiliate marketing success. In this part, you’ll get to know the essential checklist of research and preparation for a successful affiliate program launch.

Before diving in, let’s start with a (somewhat lengthy) definition first:

What’s an affiliate program?

Affiliate programs are commission-based initiatives in which a company offers to pay affiliates in exchange for specific results.

This is usually a percentage of each sale made by consumers who clicked on one of the affiliate’s links or money received through ad clicks, impressions, and referral traffic.

Pay-per-sale is the most profitable and fairest commission type. When customers purchase through an affiliate link, the merchants get the sales and the affiliate will get a commission so that this article will focus on the pay-per-sale type only.

Why start an affiliate program?

For many businesses, an affiliate marketing program is a significant source of revenue. Affiliate marketing accounts for 5-20% of annual income for 65% of merchants polled so the first reason to launch an affiliate program is to increase your revenue.

The second reason is to enhance your brand awareness. Affiliates usually already have the following audience. This means you’ll be able to bring your products/service to new audiences who may never have heard of you before.

Paying for only successful conversions is the third advantage of affiliate marketing programs. Unlike advertising (pretty risky), affiliates are only paid when they have generated sales for you.

The last one is to expand the affiliate network. Your affiliates can assist in promoting your program and urge more people to join up for a membership. This method is also known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM).MLM or network marketing is a great way to rapidly grow your business by utilizing the numerous eCommerce affiliate programs available. It allows each affiliate to invite others into the network, allowing your business to reach more prospective consumers.

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

Are you in need of expanding your network? With UpPromote: Affiliate Marketing, applying this MLM strategy to manage your affiliate network is not a big deal anymore.

For effective feature utilization, see the detailed UpPromote affiliate marketing guide.

Now, let’s jump to the core part of the article, a guide for running a successful affiliate program.


Checklist for a successful affiliate program: Research and Prepare


  • Set up your goal

When launching a new affiliate marketing program, you must define your objectives. Setting a goal will aid you in determining the working process as well as the success/failure of your effort.

Determine your goals and objectives based on

Decide who you want to reach out to:

What types of customers do you want your program to bring in?

Who’re your potential affiliates? What types of affiliates will you be working with?

This will help you easily decide a reasonable budget for your affiliate program, such as the amount spent for affiliate payouts and the percentage spending for prizes, bonuses, and incentives for outstanding affiliates.

Measurable goals for your program to know the success of the program:

How much revenue are you expecting per affiliate?

How many impressions, clicks, and leads, purchases should affiliates generate throughout certain times?

Set a target for the average order value (AOV) affiliates generate.

  • Research your competitors’ program

If you want to grow your business, you need to know how you stack up against your rivals. Competitive analysis is a key component of your business strategy, so your affiliate marketing program will have a reference point thanks to competitor analysis.

Here’s how to conduct a competitive study for your affiliate program:

Find your competitors: find at least three competitors for better analysis

Examine the affiliate commission arrangements of each program

What activity (a sale, a lead, etc) triggers the payment of an affiliate commission?

What types of commissions do they offer their affiliates?

What types of payment do they offer affiliates?

What’s the commission rate like?

How do your competitors find affiliates

How do they recruit their affiliates (through the affiliate network, affiliate solution, etc)?

What is the application procedure like?

And other research (if possible) including

How do they communicate with their affiliates?
How long is the cookie day?

What supporting materials do they offer affiliates?

With those insights getting from your rivals, sketch out how your affiliate program will be like by running a SWOT analysis to see your brand’s strengths and weaknesses, also opportunities and threats compared to those competitors.


Define your program structure

The next stage in launching an affiliate program is defining how it will be structured.

This entails choosing how it will function and establishing certain specific parameters: Will it be a fixed price or a percentage? When will affiliates be compensated after the first referral?

Although it may appear complicated, your program’s structure can be split down into 3 main areas:


With the help of initial goal setting and competition research, you can decide your commission structure for your affiliate program.

There are different types of commissions. However, you should pay an affiliate if a sale is made through their affiliate link (pay-per-sale) if you don’t have much available budget.

First, select whether you’ll pay a flat fee or a percentage of each affiliate transaction. Next, figure out how much of a commission you’ll pay affiliates. Keep following your initial goal about how much budget you’ll spare on your affiliates. If possible, provide a competitive compared commission rate against your competitors to determine the most suitable commission rate.

Double Dip Affiliate Program
Double Dip Affiliate Program

Double Dip offers a flexible commission rate of up to 25% to attract affiliates. By doing so, they can decide which flat rate they will offer to their affiliates appropriately without overspending on their budget but still attract potential affiliates.


Cookies in an affiliate program determine the time length of valid relation between visitor and affiliate after a visitor clicks on an affiliate link.

Before starting your affiliate program, you must decide how long your cookies will be valid. The standard cookie time is 30 days. Anything less than that is likely to push some affiliates away.

For both merchants and affiliates, the optimal cookie lifetime is a commonly asked question.

If you’re the merchant, it doesn’t matter if the cookie expiration date is set to 30, 45, or 120 days. However, it matters to affiliate marketers. So you can consider using a longer cookie expiration date to encourage partnership and ensure mutual interest makes sense.

So, the longer the cookie, the more successful the affiliate program.

Terms and conditions

To keep the affiliate program nice and profitable for stakeholders, it’s critical to establish certain term rules for both affiliates and you.

Creating rules and restrictions might help you avoid misunderstandings and disputes with affiliates at first.

Here is a great sample of the terms and conditions for your affiliate program.

Prepare support for affiliates

For a successful affiliate program, you’ll need a support base for your affiliates. But be careful with scam affiliates.

  • Affiliate link

Each affiliate has an affiliate link. Affiliates typically promote their affiliate link on their website, social media, etc. When customers purchase through affiliate links, the system will automatically track the referral orders through that link.

Promoting affiliate links for each affiliate requires technical support. It’ll be possible if you have an in-house affiliate management team. However, if you don’t, we suggest you seek the help of affiliate solutions to generate affiliate links automatically.

Besides affiliate links, you can assign your affiliates coupon codes. This is much preferable by affiliate marketers since it will motivate customers to purchase since the discount will be applied automatically at the checkout.

  • Creative inventory for affiliates

Creatives are the marketing materials affiliates use to promote your brand, campaigns, or customer-facing offers.

Different affiliates will prefer different sorts of creatives, and most will utilize a combination of them. As a merchant, you want to give your affiliates a diverse range of creatives that will satisfy all of their requirements.

Common types of affiliate creatives you can offer your affiliates are banner ads, text links, videos, branded graphics, infographics, widgets, flash links, endorsements or testimonials, etc.

Creatives for affiliates
Creatives for affiliates
  • Supporting materials

Another method to help affiliates gain sales easier is to provide your affiliates with high-quality material. It not only aids your affiliates in their work but also strengthens your relationship with them.

You can provide them with training and courses. You may also show them some successful email or ad campaign examples to give them ideas. Your affiliates are more inclined to advertise your products or services if it is simple for them to do so.

Moreover, maintain your affiliates on the open line of contact. If they’re having difficulties, ensure they can reach you promptly.

Create converting affiliate landing page

An affiliate landing page is also a major factor for a successful affiliate program launch, in which to attract potential publishers and influencers suitable fit for your program.

To do it, your affiliate landing page should have:

Attractive headlines: Create headlines that highlight the many benefits of your program as well as the wants of your target audience. You can utilize A/B testing to determine which one is the most effective.

Include affiliate benefits: this determines the value of your commissions.

A clear call to action: It should be easy to spot. To lure your visitors to your CTA, employ design elements like buttons, colors, and white space.

Basic-focused page design: To convert more high-quality leads, it’s typically preferable to go with a simple and focused design.

Starting with a template might be beneficial if you’re not sure how to create your landing page. You can specify your affiliate landing page with field options in the UpPromote:

Customize affiliate landing page
Customize affiliate landing page


And your affiliate landing page will look like this:

Affiliate program landing page
Affiliate program landing page

Choose a suitable affiliate program solution

You’re almost ready to launch your affiliate program if you’ve completed all the previous steps. Only one question remains: what affiliate solution will you choose to help you cover all the tasks above?

UpPromote is an automated Shopify affiliate and influencer marketing solution enabling users to automate, and manage affiliate programs with ease.

UpPromote will help you handle setup procedures that you have to manage, including:

  • Setup and manage different programs with different commission structures, cookies
  • Provide affiliate links/ coupon codes to each affiliate for easier tracking
  • In-app chat, send bulk emails to communicate with partners
  • The creative gadget is where you share your brand’s media assets offering to affiliates ​to promote your products better

Many Shopify brands have successfully launched their affiliate programs with UpPromote’s companion.

Mysteek Naturals is an example; UpPromote has lent the brand a hand in setting up fastly and saved a lot of time before launching its successful affiliate program.

Wrapping things up

Now that you know the needed steps before launching a successful affiliate program. Set up goals and analyze your competitors first. Then, with an appealing commission, create a program that distinguishes your brand in the eyes of the affiliate.

Don’t forget to prepare support for affiliates to help the program be more efficient.

Choosing the right affiliate platform will simplify your tasks. If UpPromote hasn’t convinced you much, check out our comparison with other Shopify affiliate apps to find the best fit for you.

Joan, a creative mind and author behind UpPromote blog. Writing has always been my sanctuary, a place where I can explore my imagination and share my unique perspective on the world of eCommerce. Through my words, I strive to explain the complexities of the digital world and showcase its potential for innovation, growth, and limitless opportunities.