For eCommerce businesses, generating sales is critical.

So, to find more customers and push sales, we use content marketing, paid ads, and other means to convince people to buy from us.

But there’s another important way to create more sales that eCommerce business owners shouldn’t neglect: affiliate marketing.

For marketing methods like content marketing, paid ads, and others, you create and manage the process yourself.

But with affiliate marketing, the main task of promoting your products and services is done by a third party.

When done well, this type of promotion can create significant sales with minimal effort. Let’s explore more about affiliate marketing and how small eCommerce companies can leverage it.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is where a business rewards its affiliates for the leads and sales they bring in.

Think of Amazon as an example. You can sign up for its Amazon Associates program and generate links that tie a product sale to your account.

Whenever someone buys something using your link, you get a percentage of the sale.

As a small business owner, you can create your own affiliate program just like Amazon and other businesses. Individuals who want to earn money can sign up for your affiliate program and earn money whenever they make a sale.

This method offers eCommerce business owners a powerful way to grow their online store with a smaller investment.

Why do eCommerce businesses need Affiliate Marketing?

There are bloggers and influencers who have a strong following with audiences that fit your target market.

Building a large and authentic following isn’t possible for many brands since social media users prefer interactions with a real person rather than a business.

Starting an affiliate marketing program helps you tap into the audiences built by bloggers, marketers, and influencers. This happens in an indirect way: when these marketers promote your products or link to your content, you’ll see an increase in sales.

And the affiliates who are promoting you also get a commission that is their reward for their efforts.

Through affiliate marketing, you get to tap into new audiences. Your affiliates act as your sales team. But they get rewarded based on performance alone. And it’s more profitable than influencer marketing because you pay for real results and not just content creation.

Types of affiliate marketing

To promote your business, you can use different types of affiliate marketing. The following are some of the most common and interesting affiliate types. Each one is unique and offers different types of benefits.

Video and Podcasters

Video and podcast content is widely consumed and popular. There are prolific content creators who get support for their work by taking on sponsors.

Consider working with these types of creators to bring your brand to the public eye and improve conversions.

Email Marketers

Bloggers, news publications, and niche verticals often build large email lists with audiences that belong to niche groups.

You can work with such email affiliates to send your content directly to their audience’s inboxes.

Cashback Affiliates

These types of affiliates don’t always bring value addition right away. If you want to promote your business and not make a profit right away, then this is a good option.

In this type of marketing, affiliate marketers promote your product and promise buyers a small amount of money that goes back to the buyer. This incentives more people to buy since they feel like they’re saving money.

Review Websites

There is no place more effective than a review website to bag consumers today. Nowadays, people don’t eat out until they’ve looked up restaurant reviews. The same goes with buying products, online courses, and everything else.

Consider working with review sites to partner up with. It’s a great way to build trust and get your business in front of more people.

Social Media Influencers

Influencers make most of their social media followings by promoting products and services for paid commissions.

Be wary that you’re establishing metrics that the influencer can meet. Many businesses make the mistake of sending free things to influencers, not realizing that while their content gets a lot of visibility, it doesn’t really lead to conversions.

But if you look for good influencers and develop a performance-based program, you stand to make great sales in a very short time.

Steps involved to set up your affiliate program

Here are the main things you need to get in place to start your own affiliate program.

Recruitment: This is one of the most difficult steps that you have to perform. You shouldn’t accept just anyone as an affiliate marketer. You have to promote your program on your website and social media and also create of requirements that people should meet.

Onboarding: After finding affiliate marketers, you need to bring them into your program. This includes giving them information, helping them set up accounts, teaching them about your products, and more.

Affiliate Tools: To make your affiliate marketing seamless, the best thing you can do is use a WordPress affiliate plugin. Such a tool will help you generate links for your affiliates, track sales, generate reports, and carry out other critical tasks.

Frequent communication: Affiliate marketing doesn’t work in a vacuum. Well past the onboarding stage you need to communicate with your affiliates. Inform them about upcoming sales, help them with product information, and otherwise support them in their work.

Reporting/Tracking: One of the issues that pop up with affiliate marketing is that your affiliates could carry out marketing practices that are not aligned with your brand values.

You need to continuously track the performance of your affiliates, where they’re marketing, and validate their sales reports.

While these steps seem time-consuming, they’re easy to implement with the right tools. And of course, you need to think about your goals in advance to help you build a solid affiliate program.


If you want to work smart, then find ways to get someone else to carry out some tasks. And when it comes to eCommerce businesses, a great way to boost your marketing through other people’s efforts is to use affiliate marketing.

When you leverage affiliate programs well, you can focus on improving your products and services and your overall business.

So, give affiliate marketing a try in a small way. You can always scale it up to grow your business faster.

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