A Complete Guide to Affiliate Management

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Want to sell more products? Fancy having an army of loyal affiliates doing the hard work of promoting what you’re selling?

Of course you do!

Creating an affiliate program for your products is a great way of leveraging the power of others to help sell more. When you recruit influencers and marketers to be your affiliates, they can promote your products in exchange for a commission on each sale they generate. It’s a win-win situation.

Naturally, when you bring other people into the mix there is a management aspect to making sure everything runs smoothly. In this article, we’ll show you how to manage your affiliates when you set up your products on a platform like ThriveCart.

💡With ThriveCart, you can easily set up checkouts for your digital product checkouts and even host online courses, with an in-built affiliate management system.

How to Start an Affiliate Program

Launching an affiliate program requires a bit of planning before you go out and recruit your affiliates. You’ll need to complete this quick to-do list before you launch:

1. Define Your Objectives and Goals

Before diving into the technicalities, establish clear objectives: what do you want to achieve with your affiliate program? Whether it’s increasing sales, expanding brand awareness, or entering new markets, having well-defined goals will shape your program’s structure, who you approach and more.

2. Get Familiar with Your Affiliate Program Platform

ThriveCart has all the features you need to launch a successful affiliate program. Dive into our feature documentation to learn more about selling products with ThriveCart, setting up affiliate management and rewarding your affiliates for sales.

3. Set Your Terms and Conditions

Clearly outline the terms and conditions of your affiliate program. Include details such as commission structures, payment schedules, and promotional guidelines. Transparent and comprehensive terms contribute to a positive relationship with affiliates. Need a template? We have a handy one right here.

4. Create Affiliate Resources

Empower your affiliates by providing effective marketing materials such as banners, product images, and persuasive copy that align with your brand. The easier you make it for affiliates to promote your products, the more successful you will be at attracting the right people for the job and making more sales.

How to Recruit Affiliates

After you’ve built your affiliate program, you need to start attracting your first affiliates to begin making sales. Once you’ve collected some success stories, you can use those to welcome even more on board.

Understand Your Target Audience

First of all, you need to understand your target affiliate audience: and while there may be some overlap, know that this doesn’t necessarily include your customer audience! Ideally, your affiliates have established audiences of their own and experience selling similar products. Knowing who is most likely to resonate with your products will guide your outreach strategies.

Leverage Existing Networks

Tap into your existing network and customer base. Reach out to satisfied customers, industry influencers, or business partners who may be interested in promoting your products. Send out an email to those you think would be a good fit and explain that you’re launching an affiliate program.

Use Affiliate Directories

Did you know that platforms like and Affilorama connect businesses with potential affiliates seeking partnerships? List your program on affiliate directories like these to increase visibility.

Sell Your Affiliate Program

Put as much effort into “selling” your program as much as your own products. Craft a persuasive pitch highlighting the benefits of joining your affiliate program, and emphasize your competitive commission rates, unique selling points of your products, and any exclusive promotions or incentives.

Reward for Referrals

Once you have a few affiliates on board, encourage them to refer others. A referral program can incentivize existing affiliates to bring in like-minded partners, expanding your network organically.

Setting Affiliate Commission Rates

Why does anyone get into affiliate marketing? To make money! That’s why setting your affiliate commission rates is such an essential part of launching an affiliate marketing program.

You don’t want your rates to be too little, or too much. Your rates are the number one incentive for joining your program, so follow these tips to discover typical affiliate commission rates and how you can set your own.

What are Typical Affiliate Commission Rates?

When you’re creating your affiliate program, you want to know what everyone else is doing, right?

Affiliate marketing is used across such a wide range of industries that it’s hard to point to benchmarks that apply to everyone. With this in mind, the average affiliate commission rate is said to be between 5-30%.

That’s a hugely broad range, so here’s how to narrow that down further:

Consider Your Competitors

Research industry standards to understand the typical affiliate commission rates within your niche. Being competitive with your rates will attract quality affiliates: if they can earn more with you than with a competitor product, that could turn their decision in your favor.

Think About Profit Margins

Assess your product margins to ensure that your commission rates are financially sustainable for your business. Find a balance that motivates affiliates while allowing for profitability: you don’t want to set affiliate commissions too low, but it’s a fine balance that may take a while to get right.

Explore Performance-Based Models

Consider implementing performance-based commission models, such as tiered structures or bonuses for top-performing affiliates. This encourages affiliates to strive for excellence and rewards consistent success. With ThriveCart, you can manually change each affiliate’s commission rate, allowing you to effortlessly reward the affiliates that sell more.

Be Open to Feedback

Affiliates are partners in your business, and flexibility can be key. Be open to negotiating commission rates with top-performing affiliates, fostering a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship.

Supporting Your Affiliates

Supporting your affiliates is an ongoing process that strengthens your partnership and contributes to the overall success of your affiliate program. Consider these strategies for providing effective support:

Offer Training and Resources

Provide comprehensive training materials and resources to help affiliates understand your products and marketing strategies better. This can include webinars, tutorials, and templates. Consider updating your affiliate resource library often.

Start a Club

Establish open lines of communication with your affiliates. Regularly check in, address queries promptly, and provide updates on new products, promotions, or changes to the program. A Facebook group or WhatsApp chat is a great idea, and makes affiliates feel like they’re in an exclusive club where they can get support from other affiliates, as well as from you.

Incentivize, Incentivize, Incentivize!

Reward high-performing affiliates with bonuses, increased commission rates, or exclusive promotions. Recognizing and appreciating their efforts encourages continued dedication to your program – and helps them spread the word!

Always Pay on Time

If you take anything away from this article, it should be this: the single most important thing you need to do when you start an affiliate program is pay what’s agreed on time, with no mistakes. Timely and accurate payments build trust with your affiliates, and a reliable payment system is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship and retaining motivated partners. ThriveCart lets you automate this process so you never run the risk of damaging your affiliate’s trust in you.

Encourage Feedback

Create a feedback loop by actively seeking input from your affiliates often. Understand their challenges, listen to their suggestions, and use their feedback to improve your program down the line, recruit more affiliates, and keep everyone happy.

Want to start an affiliate program?

All you need to do is sign up – or sign in – to ThriveCart, our digital checkout platform that lets you sell more, easier. Our in-built affiliate program features lets you recruit and manage affiliates, set commission rates, and customize their experience from start to finish.

Interested? Discover ThriveCart today.

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