A Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Affiliate Marketing Campaign


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A newly created project should overcome important issues to survive the first year of operation. The most important goal to achieve, especially in a highly competitive market environment, is finding product-market-fit. Affiliate marketing offers a variety of tools to achieve this goal. What’s more, it engages potential customers who can become a core audience — and some may even become brand ambassadors in the future.

Here are some bulletproof tactics on how to launch a new brand, service, or app using affiliate marketing channels.

Related: Use Affiliate Marketing to Build a Loyal Audience

Why affiliate marketing can be an effective strategy channel

An affiliate partnership is based on a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model. The advertising delivers results in the form of sales and target actions, which translates into direct profits. The advantages of affiliate marketing are worth mentioning:

  • The lack of reckless risk investments.
  • The advertising takes place only among the relevant target group.
  • Using the variety of different niches efficiently.

But the main thing is that the budget is spent under your control. The basic operating principle of affiliate marketing is that you get what you pay for.

According to Publift, 86% of viewers suffer from ad blindness, which means they just don’t see the ads. In order to be sure that the budget is not wasted on irrelevant clicks (cost per click) or views (cost per view), affiliate partners’ reward depends on the success of the advertising campaign.

With all these benefits of affiliate-based tactics, it’s time to roll out our very first affiliate marketing campaign step-by-step.

Related: An affiliate marketing program might be the perfect move

Step 1: Create an internal affiliate program or join a travel affiliate network

Building your affiliate program is not a cheap exercise. However, big brands like Expedia or Booking.com could do that. So finding a suitable travel affiliate marketing network would be a more realistic option. Their framework and experience combined with the right tools should also help you. Cooperation with external CPA platforms (e.g. Travelpayouts, CJ, AWIN, Partnerize or others) seems more manageable, especially for newcomers.

Step 2: Suggest a suitable affiliate offer

It must be based on an analysis of competitors and the companies’ ROI models. The proposal should include the commission rate, cookie lifetime, and payout policy.

The duration of the cookies is the length of time that a customer and a partner are connected. It starts when a customer clicks the link and can last from one session to a year. If it has expired, the affiliate will not receive any commission from a purchase.

Also, consider setting a payout policy: a variety of actions that count as a goal and get paid for. Pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-action (PPA), and pay-per-impression (PPI) models focus on different goals—the number of clicks, lead generation, and sales guarantee, respectively.

3. Get a list of top affiliates

A partner’s subscribers and followers should be your final target audience. For example, if you have a coupon service, your affiliates’ potential audience should be interested in travel deals, coupons, and discounts. Stay with the influencers with quality content. It’s okay if they’re local bloggers with fewer than 5,000 subscribers compared to the more well-known ones with 1 million or more subscribers.

Blogger subscriber numbers aren’t as important as audience quality – what matters most is how many sales an affiliate can generate. The low traffic affiliates can also become a great source for your actual sales among the loyal and active audience.

See also: 3 tips for getting started with affiliate marketing

4. Share your brand values ​​with partners

The affiliates will recommend your service to their audience, so they should be aware of your brand values. A simple solution is to create a promotional or landing page that you can share with potential partners. On this page you can indicate product characteristics, strengths, tips, etc. Go even further and create a media kit with a detailed description. However, keep in mind that not all partners are ready to go through a 30-page document. So make sure you create a summary that covers all the basics.

5. Analyze campaign effectiveness

Usually, when starting an affiliate campaign, it is enough to provide partners with affiliate links. By using them, an affiliate would provide and drive traffic to your website or app download link. Efficient collaboration can continue to encourage other ways of engaging with audiences in the future. These can be formats as effective as search forms, banners or APIs. As affiliate partners attract their audience, your job is to analyze the quality of incoming traffic.

The essential point of the first phase is to check the effectiveness of the affiliate campaign (in order to improve it for the future). Initial traffic flow and sales indicate further action to be taken. For example, you can try to reach partners with different audiences or use additional tools to reach a new audience yourself. You can also try to change the program terms or run additional promotions. Traffic analysis is an ongoing process of optimizing the affiliate program, identifying anomalies and possible violations on the part of the affiliate.

See also: How Affiliate Marketing Can Work for Entrepreneurs

Be patient

Affiliate marketing is not a one-shot game. So be prepared for different experiments with advertising formats and channels. Perhaps you would find out that social media advertising is a better way than travel blog traffic or vice versa.

This process requires flexibility, constant self-improvement, and thorough analysis of audience behavior. Don’t panic if the initial campaign results don’t meet your expectations. Starting an affiliate program is just the beginning of a long journey. In our humble experience, affiliate marketing is the most cost-effective marketing channel worth taking a chance on.



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