Affiliate marketing is a way of leveraging your community of customers in order to drive growth, and it can be very effective. U.S. affiliate marketing spending is expected to rise to $6.8 billion this year, with 81% of brands utilizing affiliate marketing in some form.

Making the most of your budget for digital marketing, though, means that you need to target your marketing investment correctly. Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to affiliate marketing. In this guide, we’ll show you the fundamental elements of a successful affiliate marketing strategy, and how it can benefit your eCommerce business.

1. Find an Effective Partner

For most eCommerce companies, starting out with affiliate marketing will mean partnering with one of the many affiliate marketing programs that are already in existence. Among the most popular of these are Amazon, Avantlink, Clickbank, Impact Radius, Rakuten, and ShareASale.

All of these companies act as a broker between you and your affiliates and are also a great way for you to learn the basics of affiliate marketing before launching your own, bespoke program. Using a partner can also have other benefits because it will simplify some of the more technical aspects of running an affiliate marketing program – not least compliant data retention – that can otherwise overwhelm the capabilities of smaller eCommerce businesses.

2. Commission Structures

The average eCommerce commission is somewhere between 5% and 15%, but this rate will vary depending on a number of factors. These can include which industry you are in, the price of your products, and the value of each affiliate partner to you. There is nothing wrong, for instance, using target market analysis to identify a number of discrete audiences, finding affiliates in each space, and then paying them different rates depending on their level of expertise.

Equally, when you first start an affiliate marketing campaign, you’ll need to ensure that you are paying competitive rates in order to attract the most effective affiliates. For this reason, the first step for many managers is to check what other affiliate programs are paying, and then committing to matching this.

3. Influencers

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