Running an affiliate program on your Shopify store is an easy and effective way to drive new customers to your shop, build your brand, and improve your sales. Offering incentives to partners whose followers fall into your target demographic puts you in front of potential clients and builds your brand credibility. If you are wondering how to set up an affiliate program on Shopify, read on to learn how you can do it and what to avoid. 

How to set up an affiliate program on Shopify

Before setting up your program, determine if it is right for you. Check out other online shops serving your niche to see who has an affiliate program and how long it has been running. If multiple competitors successfully use these programs for marketing, then jump on board and start your own. 

LeadDyno offers tools that make it easy to set up your affiliate program and integrate it with your Shopify store. Open the app and follow the tutorials, but be sure to avoid some common mistakes when setting up your affiliate program. 

1. Thinking you can set it and forget it

Much like your Shopify store, your affiliate program requires attention and nurturing. You cannot set up the program and expect partners to flood your inbox. Take some time to promote your program by using social media promotions and optimization. Once your program starts picking up, you can ask your affiliate partners to help you spread the word. Your affiliate program needs the same level of care and attention you put into your business. Dedicate time each week to manage it

2. Choosing the wrong commission structure

You do not want to give away all of your profits to affiliates; however, offering a commission rate that is too low will not attract the types of partners who can benefit you the most. Start by determining your affiliate commission rate. You can pay a flat rate or a percentage of each sale. Base your rate on what you sell. If you are selling a limited number of products, you might want to consider a fixed rate. 

Again, look to your competitors and see what they are offering. After doing some research, note average rates, and basic commission structures. Use this information to set your own. 

3. Not including enough affiliate creatives

Marketing your affiliate program takes time and effort. Rotating the same generic ads on every advertising medium will not drum up enough attention to your program. Instead, create targeted ads for affiliates that speak to your potential partners. 

Create a variety of campaigns and promotional offers. If you want to drive business to your store during the holidays, offer an extra incentive to your current affiliates with a referral bonus and push out a special set of ads. Vary your ads to target different affiliates, and that will improve your chances of success. 

4. Not reviewing affiliate applications

When it comes to affiliate partners, focus on quality over quantity. You might be tempted to approve everyone who applies, but it is better to be discerning. Choose quality partners who can drive potential clients to your site. Review each affiliate applicant thoroughly to make sure they will fit your brand and deliver clicks to your website. 

5. Not approving affiliate applications promptly

If you have ever applied for a job only to be kept on the hook for weeks, you understand how frustrating it is to play the waiting game. Taking too long to reply to applicants can make them lose interest in partnering. Without dedicated partners, your program will not be successful. Set aside time to review and respond to applications. 

6. Unclear affiliate program terms and conditions

Make sure your terms and conditions are detailed and clear. Using vague language that is not specific to your program can lead to misunderstandings, which can hurt your partnerships or your business. When you have set your goals for an affiliate program, start laying out your affiliate terms and conditions

Be clear in your payment terms, rates, actions that can discontinue affiliates from your program, and other items that can impact your partnership. 

7. Not responding to affiliates

When your affiliates are on board, make sure you are regularly communicating with them. If they have questions or concerns, respond quickly. If you are slow to respond to your affiliates or do not respond at all, you run the risk of damaging your credibility. Promptly respond to all communication from your affiliates. 

8. Choosing the wrong tracking software

The wrong tracking software can derail your affiliate program and ruin your credibility. Errors in tracking may cause inaccurate, or even missed, payments to your partners. Choose software from a reputable provider with a good customer service team. Mistakes can happen with any tracking program. Using high-quality software can help minimize errors or fix them quickly.

9. Failing to test your affiliate tracking before launching

Even if you have the best tracking program, make sure you test it before going live with your affiliates. Running tests lets you identify potential glitches in the software and become familiar with the program components. Once you have tested the tracking software, you can be confident that it will work, and your affiliates will be paid correctly.  

10. Not dedicating time to growing and managing your program 

Like your other marketing channels, an affiliate marketing program takes time and dedication. These programs can be highly successful in driving traffic to your website and improving your sales. But if you do not have the time to promote your program, track and respond to applicants, and manage your affiliates, it might not be the right marketing tool for you. Improve your chances of success by dedicating time every week to promote and manage your affiliate program. 

Get started

If you are still wondering how to set up an affiliate program on Shopify, LeadDyno has tools you can use to create and manage a program. Contact us today and get started on your path to a successful affiliate marketing program.