7 essential tips for starting a successful Affiliate Program

We believe that a good affiliate program can benefit your business. We also believe that you may want to take a look at our tips to make running one simple and effective.

Affiliate marketing is also called performance marketing for an incredibly good reason. It is an effective and powerful tool that generates between 5-25% of all e-commerce sales of global brands, with 80% of brands utilizing it. But what exactly is an affiliate marketing program, and how can you create one using Grow by Tradedoubler platform? What to look for before setting it up and how can you implement it for your company’s benefit? This article provides essential tips and recommendations for beginners looking to start a successful affiliate program.

What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program is a virtual place enabling the exchange of services, in which an Advertiser establishes a partnership with a Publisher.

  • The merchant, known as the Advertiser, determines the terms and conditions of cooperation and the commission they wish to grant for generating a transaction.
  • The Publisher is the owner of the website who promotes the merchandise of the Advertiser on its site or through its tools using materials provided by the Advertiser.

An affiliate program created on the Grow by Tradedoubler platform is therefore first and foremost a way to increase your online sales!

Tips to get you started

1. Information is the key to your success

The basis of a successful affiliate program is a sense of the win-win relationship between the Advertiser and Publisher. To establish, it is crucial to provide all the needed information in the program profile. Essential elements include:

  • A short program description is an introduction to your brand. It should be no longer than 300 characters.
  • Longer program description where you can include the benefits of promoting your program, terms and conditions of cooperation such as keyword policy and the types of publishers you would like to work with or not and information on whether you also carry out other digital marketing activities.
  • The commission you offer.

2. Take care of the visual aspect

Your website should be visually appealing, consistent, transparent, fast, and intuitive for the user. All of it helps you form a good impression on your prospective customers and impacts your online sales results.

Banner ads are also an especially important element. They are used primarily by Content and Display affiliates. They can also be used to build your brand profile pages on coupon and cashback sites. Here are some tips for creating effective banner ads:

  • Maintain visual consistency and aesthetics – banners should resemble the website it redirects to. Keep to the colours, the font, and the company logo. Also ensure proportions, space between paragraphs, and eye-catching graphics. In this type of advertising, the audience appreciates minimalism, which makes the ad readable and creates a positive visual impression.
  • CTA (Call to Action) – banner ads should contain a call to action. The recipient must be perfectly informed about what he or she should do after seeing the ad. Such slogans include e.g. ‘buy now’, ‘check out’, ‘see’, ‘book now’, etc.
  • Appropriate format – you can add countless banner ads on the Grow platform. However, we recommend focusing on the three most common formats: 750×200; 300×600; 300×250. 

3. Setting a competitive commission rate

Before setting up an affiliate program, you need to think about the financial side of the business. The offered commission rate for the Publishers should be attractive, but also profitable enough for you as an Advertiser to earn the deal. Remember also that the competition is not sleeping! Your offered rate should not deviate from those proposed by your business rivals. On the Grow platform, you can set a fixed rate per sale/lead generated or apply a percentage rate of between 4%-30% of the order value.

4. Do not forget the variety of the marketing creations

We recommend including at least one text link leading to the homepage of your website. They are a very versatile tool and can be used to highlight your best-selling products, direct users to your registration page, a specific product category page, seasonal landing pages or to your latest promotions.

It is also worth focusing on the discount codes tab on Grow platform and adding all publicly available coupons and promotions in the ad manager. This section should only contain active offers. Coupons and promotions can occur in the following forms: free products, free delivery, discount codes, lotteries, or general/seasonal promotions. If you can, always try to have at least one discount code and two or three permanent offers. There can be regular offers such as free shipping above a certain amount of order value.

If you want to work with CSS (Google Comparison Shopping Services) and price comparison partners, you will need to prepare a product feed. A CSS partner helps you advertise on Google Shopping Ads. They collect product listings from Advertisers and place product ads on their behalf. A product feed is a catalogue containing the description and features of the products available on the website. The file is usually in XML or CSV (Comma Separated Value). It allows a communication between your shop and the website that promotes the products. It is therefore important that the quality and quantity of data is high. This increases the chances of consumers finding your offer.

Below, you will find some tips towards further good practice for an active affiliate program on the Grow platform.

5. Make full use of the potential of reporting tools

Take advantage of statistics!


Among the most valuable information you can get on the Grow platform is information about:

  • Views
  • Clicks
  • Unique users 
  • Transactions
  • Number of sales
  • Amount of calculated commission

Tip! You can check the performance of your Publishers over a selected period of time. To get this information, select ‘group’, then ‘page’, and ‘search’. Top-performing affiliates are a group with whom you want to maintain an ongoing, strong relationship. Consider creating, for example, a dedicated discount code for Publishers in a discount/promotion category for them or award a special commission segment. Check out how to do this in a simple way here: How to set up a new commission segment?

 6. Build relationships

Communication is the key to building relationships in the affiliate channel. Advertisers are provided with access to a dashboard that allows them to keep in touch with Publishers and develop their partnerships. It is important that your affiliates have information about current campaigns, upcoming offers, or changes in the way you work together. This allows them to better manage their promotional activities and advertising material and consequently deliver traffic and conversions to your program. We recommend contacting Publishers at least once a month and no more than three times a week.

7. Keep your finger on the pulse

The time for accepting or rejecting a transaction is 30 days. However, our advice is to validate as often as possible. This shows publishers your program as solid and worthy of their advertising efforts, which encourages them to work more closely and permanently with you.

Validate pending publishers and accept or reject their applications. However, remember, for an established relationship to bring conversions to your website, it is best to enter partnerships with Publishers who fit your program, your business goals, and the expectations you have towards promoting your site through affiliate marketing.

Is an affiliate program right for my business?

 Affiliate programs are a way of cooperating on a long-term basis, giving you a steady flow of new customers and increasing your online sales., if used properly, will help you achieve higher sales results. Find out why the Grow platform makes it easy to get started.

Grow your business today! 

Anita Szymczak

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