How to Create a WooCommerce Affiliate Program (Why You Should and Tips for Success!)
In its simplest form, affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission for promoting other people’s or company’s products and making a sale. In other words, you find products, promote them, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale you make.
Affiliate marketing is great for both the affiliate and the brand that’s set up the affiliate program. Brands are able to get their products in front of more people without investing in marketing themselves and the affiliate can earn a commission on each sale they make.
This, of course, is a typical example of how an affiliate program can be run. There are plenty of other ways to get creative and boost commissions.
If you’re running a WooCommerce store, you can take advantage of affiliate programs. The best part is that anyone with some basic technical skills can start an affiliate program thanks to powerful tools available online, such as the Affiliate for WooCommerce extension.
In this tutorial, we’ll explain how you can create a WooCommerce affiliate program for your e-commerce store and earn commissions from your customers. Along the way, we’ll also share some actionable tips, hacks, and ideas to help you do it right.
Before You Set Up a WooCommerce Affiliate Program
There are a few things you need to do before setting up a WooCommerce affiliate program for your online business.
First of all, you need to write the affiliates’ terms and conditions. This will tell potential affiliates which products they can promote, what counts as a sale, how much they’ll make in commissions per sale, and how you handle payouts.
Here’s an example of an affiliate agreement that offers affiliates a 20% commission when a customer makes a purchase using their referral link. It also mentions that a cookie is placed on the customer’s browser for 30 days. So, if the customer makes a purchase in 30 days, the affiliate qualifies for commission. You can use this template to generate your own affiliate agreement.
Once that’s done, you will need to identify where and how you’ll find affiliates for the program. Some WooCommerce business owners advertise their affiliate program (for example by notifying their email list) while others simply create a page with details about the affiliate program on their WordPress site.
Finally, you’ll need to implement a system for managing and issuing affiliate payments automatically. You can either set up a direct revenue sharing system or sign up with an affiliate network that will handle payouts and product delivery for you. That said, the main benefit of setting this up yourself is that you’ll always have full control over every aspect of your affiliate program.
Once this is done, you can get started with the technical bits of your WooCommerce affiliate program. For this, you’ll need an affiliate plugin.
How to Set Up a WooCommerce Affiliate Program
If you’re looking to set up a WooCommerce affiliate program on your online store, we recommend using an affiliate plugin such as the Affiliate for WooCommerce add-on that integrates seamlessly with the WooCommerce plugin.
Here’s what you need to do once the affiliate plugin is installed and activated on your WooCommerce store:
Step #1: Make a User an Affiliate
To get started, you’ll need to set up a way to make users affiliates. There are three ways to do this:
- Individual user. This is perfect for when you want to manually make a user an affiliate. Go to the user’s profile and tick the checkbox next to the Is affiliate? option.
- User role. If you want to make a specific user role an affiliate, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Affiliate > Affiliate Users Roles and select the user role.
- Affiliate registration form. You can use the [afwc_registration_form] shortcode to display a WooCommerce affiliate program registration form on your website for new affiliates to put requests through.
In addition to this, the Affiliate for WooCommerce extension also lets you customize the affiliate’s referral link, create and assign coupons, and manage affiliate orders and payouts (via PayPal).
Generally speaking, using PayPal to issue affiliate payments is the best option for most businesses. This is because many people already have a PayPal account set up so it’s easy for the affiliate to provide their information and for the store owner to issue payments.
Other plugins – like AffiliateWP – offer both PayPal and a Stripe payout service that store owners can use to issue payments to affiliates.
Step #2: Create a Commission Plan
Head over to WooCommerce > Affiliates from the WordPress admin panel and click the Plans tab. Next, click the Add a Plan button to create a commission plan.
Here, you’ll need to enter a name for the commission plan, the commission rate, when it should be applied, and which products it should be applied to.
You can create an affiliate commission plan for an affiliate, affiliate tag, product, or product category.
Step #3: Add a Campaign
Using the Affiliate for WooCommerce extension, you can create campaigns for your affiliate program. Campaigns help you organize your marketing and promotional assets such as logos, banners, giveaways, and social media assets.
For example, you might create a campaign for common media assets which would include your logo and some banners, and a second one for social media campaigns which might include media assets for Instagram Stories or Tweets.
WooCommerce Affiliate Program Do’s and Don’ts
As a WooCommerce affiliate program manager, you’ll want to implement some guidelines and stay clear of poor practices that could hurt the success of your program.
We recommend using these best practices:
- Do provide quality content on your WordPress business website and leverage SEO to get the word out about the affiliate program.
- Do have an affiliate retention strategy in place with incentives (like bonuses and newsletters) to encourage affiliates to continue promoting your products.
- Do test new affiliates on a regular basis.
- Do relay your WooCommerce affiliate program on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Do screen affiliates and don’t approve every single one that wants to join the affiliate program.
- Don’t always promote the same offers instead of seasonal deals.
- Don’t work with affiliates that aren’t aligned with your brand values.
Why You Need to Be Tracking
Tracking is the cornerstone of any successful affiliate program. This is precisely why it’s important to have a good tool – like Affiliate for WooCommerce – in your tech stack. The extension lets store admins see a detailed overview of each affiliate’s activity directly from the WordPress admin panel.
In addition to this, users that sign up as affiliates can also view data on how much traffic and how many referrals they’ve sent along with a few KPIs. This includes data on total commissions, product-wise commissions, converted referrals, refunds, sales, clicks, and more. Affiliates can view their affiliate dashboard from their account page under My Account > Affiliate.
Creating Your Affiliate Program
An affiliate program is a great way to generate additional income for your business, provided that you have enough time to run it and set realistic expectations. It is a low risk, high-value channel because you only pay affiliates when they perform.
The Affiliate for WooCommerce extension makes it easy for store managers to create their own WooCommerce affiliate program and retain complete control over affiliate conditions, campaigns, and payouts. Additionally, you can use the affiliate plugin to keep track of how many sales you’ve generated through the affiliate program and identify your top-performing affiliates.
Ready to set up your WooCommerce affiliate program? Get the Affiliate for WooCommerce extension today.