5 Things you need to do right when launching your Affiliate Program

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Starting an Affiliate Program can be a challenging task

If you’re reading this article there is a good chance that you’re considering starting an affiliate program. And that’s great, as an affiliate program can be a great way to grow your business on a pay-per-performance basis.

If you don’t know how to start with affiliate marketing, you’re missing out on a great way to potentially skyrocket your revenue. Maybe you lack the time, experience, or resources. These are all problems that you can overcome. Affiliate marketing is perfect to generate leads and increase sales. To help you get started, we wrote this article about the 5 most important things you need to do right when launching your affiliate program. Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

1. Set up conditions for your affiliate marketing

Decide on a fee for your affiliates

Affiliate marketers are your bread and butter in affiliate marketing. They are the ones that are going to push your products or services. For a fee of course. Before you start reaching out to affiliates you need to know what that fee is going to be. They have an audience, and you need an audience. Incentivizing them is key. They could go out there and promote a lot of products, but you want them to promote yours.

It’s of vital importance to pick a good fee. 10% is the going rate in a lot of industries, which is a fine number. But some industries may work with higher margins for your affiliates, and even when you hit the industries average, you might not stand out enough. A higher percentage may attract more affiliates, but it cuts in your profits. Finding the right balance is tricky, and there isn’t a one size fits all solution. If you notice that you’re attracting little affiliates with the average fee, consider upping it until you attract enough affiliates, if your profit allows it.
Product Category Affiliate Commissions (% of Sale)
Arts & Crafts
Computer & Tech
Food & Drink
General Products
Once you have a nice amount of affiliates working for you, you’re going to notice something. Some affiliates score way, way better than others. These high scoring affiliates are extremely important for your affiliate program because they are responsible for a large percentage of your affiliate revenue. That means you need to incentivize them to keep working for you and don’t leave for a different, potentially better paying, affiliate partner. You can do this by making your commissions extra generous for high scoring affiliates. Set one, or multiple thresholds, with a bonus for each threshold. This can be a one time bonus or a permanent upgrade in their fee.


Cookies are used to track which affiliates referred to which customers. Cookies are vital in affiliate marketing because they allow for correct attribution. Before you start with your affiliate program, you need to decide how long your cookies are valid. The business standard is 30 days. This means that an affiliate will be credited as the source of a sale up to a month after the initial referral. In some businesses, it may make sense to shorten or lengthen this duration. It’s important that you think about this carefully and that you’re able to explain why you choose a certain duration.

Terms and Conditions

With affiliate marketing, you’re allowing an external entity to represent your brand. It’s very important to set some ground rules to ensure that the affiliate program stays positive and beneficial for all parties involved. Not just for you and not just for your affiliates. For example, you could be running a pay-per-click campaign in Google Adwords. If so, you don’t want your affiliates to start running their own pay-per-click campaign and potentially cannibalize your bids. Or you might want to tell your affiliates to refrain from using certain phrases or a certain tone of voice because it doesn’t fit with your brand. These terms and conditions don’t need to be extremely strict, as long as they are very clear, leaving no room for misunderstanding.

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2. Make sure your Landing Pages are Converting

If you already have a hard time converting the traffic on your landing pages, then it’s only going to get harder to convert the traffic you get from your affiliate partners. All the elements on your website determine how your visitors behave and whether they convert or not. If those elements, like your copy, images, and offers, aren’t good enough to make your visitors convert, why would visitors that come in from your affiliates convert? They won’t. The graph below gives a pretty clear understanding of a reasonable conversion per industry.
Another thing to bear in mind is that affiliates are influencers in marketing, good affiliates are good marketers and great affiliates are, you guessed it. Great marketers. They know the game. And they know a thing or two about conversion rates. They put a lot of effort into getting traffic to your website, if you can’t convert that traffic they won’t make money and they simply won’t work with you. Your website is the last part of the customer journey, so make sure it’s excellent.

3. Have a Customer Service that is up to the Task

How you handle your customers has a very big effect on how people view your business and the products you’re selling. A good affiliate will not only test your products but your customer service as well. If your customer care isn’t good enough for them and their audience, they most likely won’t work with you. One thing that is very important to affiliates is whether or not you honor your refund policy. Make sure you can prove that you do through customer testimonials.

Another thing is complaints and questions. Handle them fast and handle them well. Your handling of unsatisfied customers can inspire confidence in your affiliates and the traffic they send you. When done right, of course. You can also expect questions to come in regarding your affiliate program, so make sure your team can handle affiliate channel support. Hiring an affiliate manager takes care of a lot of these issues, but a separate manager for your affiliate business can be expensive.

Research shows that a bad customer service has a huge impact on buyers behaviour, as shown in the chart below.

4. Help your affiliates in any way you can

The more your affiliates sell the better, right? So you should always try to make their job as easy as possible. One way to do that is by creating high-quality content for your affiliates to use. Not only does it help your affiliates do their job, but it also improves your relationship with your affiliates.

Give them access to an image database with high-resolution images they can use in their ads or social posts. You might give them access to training and courses. Or you could show them some examples of successful emails or ad campaigns they can use for inspiration. The easier it is for your affiliates to promote your products or services, the more likely they are to do so.

The advantages of providing your publisher with high quality visual content

  • People remember 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. 
  • Visual content is 43% more effective in convincing an audience to make a certain decision.
  • Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
  • Adding a video or image to a social media post creates 65% more engagement.
  • Pages with videos attracted 2 to 3 times more monthly unique visitors. 

5. Pick the right platform to start your affiliate program

When you have all the above in order, you’re almost ready to launch your affiliate program. Only one question remains, what platform or you going to use to assist you in your affiliate marketing? Affiliate platforms allow you to control every part of your program. You can use it as a place to recruit your affiliates, track your performances, and manage your pay-outs. Using the right affiliate program allows you to run your affiliate program smoothly and orderly.

Target Circle

Target Circle’s Partner Marketing Software and Marketplace allow you to manage, automate, and scale your partnerships in one place. Our partner marketing platform gives your partners a personalized experience with fully branded dashboards, partner sign-up pages, and extensive account settings. Our API-based foundation allows for seamless integrations, custom functionalities, and versatile automation.

Furthermore, Target Circle helps you to maximize the ROI of every partner. Our Affiliate Marketing Software provides you with a smart audience builder and automation features that scale your offers automatically while hitting your profitability targets for every single partner.

The platform also helps you to connect to new partners every day. You can create a consolidated partnership hub for all your current and future affiliates, apps, customers, influencers, and media partners, plus you can boost your reach by connecting to tens of thousands of pre-integrated Marketplace partners.

Finally, Target Circle stimulates partner growth with deep conversion path insights. Every touchpoint we track brings you one data point closer to your target partner return. Therefore, we combine multiple tracking methods based on cookies, fingerprints, and postbacks to achieve the highest tracking accuracy. Curious to learn more about Target Circle’s Partner Marketing Software? Watch the video below.

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