How Your Business Can Benefit From An Affiliate Marketing Program

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you sell things online and you don’t have an affiliate program, you’re leaving money on the table. Creating a band of brand evangelists to help get the word out about your products and services is an excellent way to make some extra money on the side as you’re busy working on other things.

An affiliate program is a performance-based marketing initiative where a company pays someone (an affiliate) a commission for successfully referring others to your business, either as a lead of a completed sale.


Why would someone with their own business to run want to promote someone else’s work?


1. Because it’s easy

As the content creator, you develop and manage the product and all that goes with it. All they have to do is sell it and collect their commissions.

2. Because they like getting paid

With a mere tip of a hat and some savvy promoting skills, a successful affiliate can earn a pretty good living off selling other people’s products and services. Some people, like Pat Flynn, have made millions through their passive income efforts.

3. Because they love the item

It’s a great feeling to be able to share a solution with those who need it. Affiliates share things they love that they genuinely think will benefit their friends, clients, and colleagues. An affiliate for other companies myself, I only recommend items I have used myself and have gotten value from. I don’t believe in selling out. No amount of commission is enough for me to jeopardize my reputation over. I urge all affiliates everywhere to follow my lead on that.



Why would you pay someone to sell your stuff?


1. To Make Money

It doesn’t matter how someone happened upon your products, the fact that they bought it does. Affiliates help get your items in front of a whole new set of potential buyers. The more they share, the more both of you can earn.

2. To Build Brand Recognition

Inspired affiliates aren’t shy about sharing the items they adore. If you’re lucky enough to have a few of them, they’ll share your links everywhere and you’ll expand your reach beyond what you could do on your own. And you won’t have to spend a dime on marketing.

3. To Gain Subscribers And Followers

By setting up an affiliate program, you’re paying others to draw attention to your business within their communities to help get your product in front of an audience you otherwise wouldn’t be in front of. That can lead to an increase in new audience members who are interested in what you have to say- even if they haven’t made a purchase, yet.

Sharing is caring. But it can also be hard.

As someone who poured countless hours of research, experience, and time into a digital product, then invested even more time (and money) to have it formatted and developed, it’s understandable that you may be hesitant about paying someone a portion of your profits just for recommending it.
Before you let yourself venture down that thought path, stop. Get out of that mindset. If thoughts of inequity or resentment threaten to creep in, remember:

You’re still getting paid.

When a sale is made, it doesn’t really matter where it came from. You’ve done what you set out to do; to provide a solution to a buyer in exchange for compensation.

You’re paying them for their influence.

There’s a decent chance you wouldn’t have made that sale in the first place without the help of your affiliate. Even if you could get in front of their audience, you likely wouldn’t have had the same influence they have in that sphere. And that’s worth something.

Your rewards are more than financial.

Not only have you gained a sale, you’ve gained exposure. The potential for growth is often silent, though quite remarkable. Don’t discount it. Plus, you’re building relationships with your affiliates, which could result in future collaborations.

You didn’t have to do anything additional to make the sale.

Aside from the initial creation of the product, you didn’t have to do a thing other than reap the rewards of new revenue. When your affiliate program is automated and working correctly, the work is done for you.

Strong affiliates can drive more sales than advertising can.

Affiliating is a more subtle form of advertising, and a more powerful one, too. Everyone knows that traditional advertising efforts are a paid-for promotion. Affiliate sales, on the other hand, are a recommendation as a result of a positive experience the affiliate had as a result of using your product or service. It’s a testament, and in that way, affiliates often carry a lot more weight than traditional advertising can.
So ante up, and do so with an appreciative smile.

Ready to start making money? Let’s get started.


1. Create your products

The best place to start is figuring out where your expertise lies. What would people be willing to pay you to learn about? Then, create paid products to help you capitalize on that. If you’re really stuck, think about what people compliment you on. What do they say you’re good at? What do you gush about when it comes to discussing business? Before you know it, you’ll have a topic.
If this is your first information product, you can begin by recycling some older material into something people might want to know more about.
Start small to begin with. It’s best not to waste months churning out a huge program if you don’t know precisely what your right people are after. Sell, hone, and grow.

2. Sign up with a company

You’ll need to sign up with an affiliate program to facilitate your sales. There are several factors to consider as you’re shopping around, one of the most important is how they handle VAT Tax.


If you sell digital goods, there’s something you need to know. In early 2015 the European Union instilled what’s known as a Vat Tax on any and all digital good sold (including ebooks). You only pay VAT Tax on items sold to customers residing in EU countries. The fees vary based on the buyer’s location. The change was made in an effort to seal tax loopholes for online giants such as Apple and Amazon. The implications for small businesses has been huge, and confusing to say the least. The good news is, a few affiliate program providers have come to the rescue.


When I first acquired The Mogul Mom, all digital goods were being sold via SendOwl, and I loved it. I paid a flat, affordable fee each month and managing the account (including signing people up for the affiliate program) was a breeze. The only reason I decided to switch was because as our reach expanded, we began selling more and more products to buyers in the EU. SendOwl still doesn’t offer much in the way of assistance with that pesky VAT Tax I mentioned earlier.


Relatively new to the scene, Payhip has everything I was looking for. Not only do they offer help with VAT tax, they actually take you completely out of the whole sticky equation and pay it for you. Yes, you read that right. Payhip handles all things VAT Tax related, and it’s free for you. Curious? Skeptical? I was, too. Here’s more on that.
Our affiliates get paid instantly upon making a sale. So does Payhip, and so do I. No 30-day holds and no accounting for me to do. They take care of everything. As soon as something sells and payment is made, my portion is deposited directly to Paypal, Payhip’s fee is deducted and auto-sent to them, and any affiliate fees are paid out on the spot. Simple. I love simple. (I NEED simple.) Here’s what our little shop on Payhip looks like. And, Payhip has no monthly fee. You only pay when you make a sale.


Gumroad is another provider that’s very similar to Payhip. They also handle VAT for their sellers and allow you to create affiliates. Their neat and tidy dashboard is a great way to keep everything organized right from the beginning.

3. Figure Out Your Commission Structure

When it comes to your commissions, there’s no steadfast rule on percentage or dollar amount paid. It all comes down to what you’re willing to part with in exchange for the sale, and what your affiliates are willing to work for.
For example: A $20 ebook at 15% commission only amounts to $3 per book sold to your affiliates. That’s not much of an incentive. A $20 ebook at 50%, on the other hand, is quite a different story. Not only does the affiliate earn a cool ten bucks per sale, there’s also an implied partnership. By offering them half of what you earn, you’re letting the affiliate know that their efforts are meaningful and appreciated.

Still stuck? Think like the affiliate.

What amount of money would inspire you to put a concerted effort into getting this item into the hands of your audience? Thirty to fifty percent is about the standard rate for affiliates these days, though some even pay upwards of 75%. Beyond percentages, my personal experience tells me that anything with a payout promise under $10 is not likely to generate a ton of interest from affiliates. In the end, your payout decision is yours. Experiment with it when you can to find your happy medium.

4. Don’t forget the Disclosure

The FTC has laid down the law, literally. All affiliates must disclose that and clearly state that have the potential to get paid for endorsing a product or service. Read all about it, here. Make sure your affiliates are fully aware of this.
Because being unaware of a law is no excuse for breaking it, I recommend taking the onus of responsibility and informing your affiliates that they need to provide a similar disclosure when recommending your products. Don’t assume they’ll automatically know. You can add a snippet about it right to your Affiliate page. Here’s ours as a reference.
As an affiliate myself, I stay compliant by using a hard-coded an affiliate disclaimer onto the top of each and every blog post shared here. See it up there? It reads:

In the spirit of full disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links. This helps cover the expense of running the site while keeping the content 100% free. Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!


5. Tips for Success

A few more pointers as you begin…
1. You’ll need a dedicated page where you can send people who are interested in joining your program. It should lay out all of your program parameters in no uncertain terms. Making it easy for people to sign up will encourage more people to join. For inspiration, take a peek at our page,  right here.

2. Place a link in your blog posts, your newsletters, your social media shout outs, and especially at the end of your digital programs. Something like, ‘If you loved this book, consider getting paid to recommend it.’ works like magic.
3. Create shareable badges, banners, and ads. The easier you make it for others to share, the more likely it is that they will. You can create really amazing graphics yourself (free and on the cheap) using Canva and PicMonkey. Not only do these ready-made advertising visuals help your affiliates promote your items, they also help you maintain control over the integrity of your brand by keeping things looking consistent across the board.
4. Incentivize. Host a contest and do a giveaway for the affiliate with most sales in a weekend, a month, or a quarter. Then, make the current standings available to all of your affiliates so people know where they are in relation to others. Everyone loves a little friendly competition.
5. Create a segmented email list just for your affiliates. This way you can send them tips, updates, incentives, and anything else you think they’ll need to keep your items at the tip of their promotional tongue.
Be Easy To Work With. Your dedicated Affiliates page should answer most of the questions potential and existing affiliates may have, but you should still make sure you’re available to address any issues or inquiries that may arise. Be friendly. Be fun to work with. Pay your people on time. Do what you promise, and then some. Make them want to tell people about you! More affiliates mean more sales. And more sales mean more affiliates. And so begins another profit cycle.

How To Set Up Your Affiliate Hub On WordPress

If you’ve got a WordPress website, check out Affiliate Royale. 
It’s a complete Affiliate Program in a plugin. Use it to start an Affiliate Program for your products to dramatically increase traffic, attention and sales. Once you launch your affiliate program with Affiliate Royale you’ll be able to easily track your affiliates to see how they’re doing. You’ll see how many clicks they’re driving, sales they’re making and how much to pay them at the end of each month.
Even better, your affiliates won’t have to go anywhere but your site to login to their Affiliate Dashboard, because it’s seamlessly integrated into your website.
With Affiliate Royale you’ll:

  • Launch your affiliate program in a matter of minutes
  • Monitor affiliates’ clicks, sales and payments
  • Maintain your brand with your own Banners and Links
  • Drive more traffic to your site from your affiliates
  • Increase revenue with more sales!

It’s a super simple way to get started creating your own affiliate program today.



Back to you. What questions do you have when it comes to affiliate marketing?



Melissa Bolton

Brand Therapist™ + Copywriter at Melissa Bolton
Melissa is a Brand Therapist®providing neurobranding and conversion copywriting services to solopreneurs and micro-business owners looking to truly connect with their right people. Leaning on proven psychology principles, she helps clients create a brand presence that's not only explicitly unique, but highly memorable. She offers 25 years of extensive sales and marketing experience through her proprietary brand therapy methodologies. You can learn more about her and how she can help you grown your own brand, right here:

Latest posts by Melissa Bolton (see all)




  1. Melissa Bolton

    Thanks, Carloyn! That’s great advice from Karen. I agree wholeheartedly.

  2. Carolyn

    This post was just what I needed today! I am the Affiliate manager for a new skincare line (Cheryl Lee MD) and getting people to look into becoming an Affiliate has been a challenge, but after reading this article, I feel like I have a few tools in my belt now!
    We have all we need to support the Affiliates as you have suggested and also the comment made by Dr. Karen. Any advice on how to get people to respond when I reach out to them?
    Thanks again! Great post. Melissa!


    • Dr. Karen

      I’ve been approached by many companies but ignored and marked their emails as spam when they didn’t bother to learn who I am. I only respond to those that fit my niche but also who respect who I am. (i.e., emails that says, “Dear Ma’am, or Dear” are NOT respectful. At least learn my name and email me personally with Dear Karen or Dear Dr. Lee or even Dr. Karen or anything that are personalized.”

      I also like brands that engage me on social media. So when I see their emails, I am intrigued and I’d click to read. Hope that helps Carolyn.

  3. Dr. Karen

    Great post Melissa!

    I agree that the affiliate commission needs to be at least 40-50% for anyone to care enough to promote your products. If I can add, providing all the graphics and assets really help in making it easy for your affiliates to advertise or promote in blog posts. It also makes your products uniform across the board. You don’t want affiliate making their own sub-par graphics for your products. I’d create at least 4 sizes of graphics: 300×200 or 250, Leaderboard, Large Square (people can resize if they want), Instagram and FB post size. Providing graphics makes it really easy for affiliates to share your products. Some companies I’m an affiliate with even provide copies for email newsletters and blog posts.

    • Melissa Bolton

      Thanks, Karen! I love your thoughts on including the badge sizes for the shareables I mentioned in the post. I fully agree that the badges need to be made by the affiliate manager (and only by the affiliate manager), otherwise they can dent the integrity of the brand. Plus, the more the SAME badge is seen, the more comfortable people get with it. What company do you use to sell your affiliate items?

      • Dr. Karen

        I hated using Shareables although I can see why companies use them to find affiliates and provide necessary info and assets. Most of my affiliates are directly from companies and they have pages set up on their sites for info for me to use and download. I have all of them bookmarked so I can go and check.

        • Melissa Bolton

          In my opinion, while they can be a pain to create, shareables are a necessary marketing component in the affiliate world and beyond. As a branding person, I love the idea of shareables because they allow you to maintain the integrity of your brand – keeping things consistent across the board both visually (in color and style) but verbally. My nightmare is seeing someone else’s rendition of my brand out there as they try to sell my products. It never turns out well. Also, if someone doesn’t know how to create shareables, they may decide not to share (or become an affiliate at all) because it might be viewed as ‘too much work’. Picmonkey and Canva make creating shareables so much easier. And once they’re done- they’re done! Ours are on our affiliate page, here. I am always open to seller ideas for shareables too – whatever helps move product, right?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest