What’s up? Ltd Addicts Dave Swift here. And in this video, I’m going to tell you all about affiliate programs, what they are, who needs one, and what software tool you should choose to start your own affiliate program. Stay tuned.
So, ever since my Cart Flows video at the end of October, I mentioned something in that video video about affiliate programs. Everybody’s been asking me, dave, why do I need an affiliate program? Can you give me a use case? What’s the point here? And if I know that I need one, which tool should I use to start my own affiliate program?
Well, that’s what this video is going to answer. So let’s start with step one. What even is an affiliatewp program? So here’s the idea. Let’s say you sell music lessons.
You’re a local brick and mortar music teacher, and you want to get some more students. Well, maybe you know somebody. Or you could go through the phone book and find some art schools, schools that are teaching children how to be painters. You could call them up and you could say, hey, if you can send me any of your students that want to they’re already learning art. Maybe they also want to learn to play some music.
I can give you a portion of the sales that would be an affiliate. The beautiful thing about affiliates is that you only pay them when you make a sale. Think about it this way. If you wanted to get traffic to your website of fresh new prospects, what are the common ways you could do it? Well, you could try to do it organically, which means you have to spend maybe a year or two trying to build trust on a social media platform to become an influencer.
Or you’d have to write really long in depth articles to outrank the competition on Google. So that’s a lot of work. I’m not saying it’s not worth it. You should probably still do that. But a lot of people don’t have a year or two to try to pursue their business.
Now, the other thing you could do is you could buy paid traffic. You could go to Facebook and run ads or do PPC on Google, and then you’d be paying per click to try to get people to your website. Now, that’s going to cost a lot of money. And if those people don’t turn into customers, well, you’ve lost money. There’s no return on investment there.
And a lot of paid traffic campaigns just aren’t successful. We talked about that in my recent app Simo video, where we’re talking about webinars and Isaac Rudanski’s struggle to launch his course platform. So if you’re not already an influencer with thousands of organic followers going to whatever sites you command them to, or you don’t have the funds to gamble on paid traffic, affiliates is one of the strongest bets that you could make to grow your business. Whether you’re doing a music lesson business or you’re selling online courses or just doing some WooCommerce. Affiliates are a huge business.
Now think about it this way. There is a reason that Amazon and Target and heck, even AppSumo have affiliate programs. Works just like this, right? You watch my channel, I give you helpful information, and if you want to support me, you can just click on my link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it keeps me giving you the information that you desire.
And I try to be as helpful as I can. Listen to all the feedback so that I get more clicks. It’s how I’m earning a decent chunk of my income these days. Thirsty. Affiliatewp programs are really critical.
Hopefully you’re starting to understand a little bit how they work. But maybe setting up the technical side of it seems too daunting. And there’s always a possibility that you could get screwed over, right? What if you dedicate a certain percentage of your business to referral programs and then somehow they swindle you, they figure out a loophole in the system and they end up making money off of you. So we want to make sure that none of that actually happens.
And the software tool that I’m going to show you today is the industry standard when it comes to affiliate programs, really anywhere but specifically for WordPress. So we are looking at affiliatewp right over here. As you can see, it’s a full featured affiliate program for WordPress. Let’s scroll on down. We can see some of the features here.
So it says it has easy SMTP, accurate tracking, which is what I was just talking about, being very critical. It’s got integrated payout services so you don’t have to find everybody and cut them a physical check. You can actually pay them from right inside of the application. There is real time reporting. Of course.
We have, let’s see, unlimited affiliates. So you can add as many affiliates as you want. You can track affiliates based on coupon codes. You know what, there is a ton of features here. I’m not going to go through them all.
Oh my goodness. It goes on and on. Let’s talk about pricing and then we’re going to get into it now. Right now it’s the tail end of their Black Friday sale. So I don’t really want to dwell on the pricing too much.
Typically, this is going to be $250. That’s the plan you’re going to want to get for a year. A nd if you get it as an Ltd, you just pay two years in advance, basically, and then you get it forever. Now, the reason you want to get this program is that you’re going to get all of their add ons and the add ons are going to be important. We can take a look at these actually inside of the application once we get going, but just know that to really run a full featured affiliate program, you’re going to want these add ons.
So you’re looking at either the 250 per year deal or the one time payment of 500. Now, I know that might sound a little bit shocking. That’s a lot of money to a lot of people, and I understand. But think of it this way. If you can land one major affiliate, then make the purchase of the program.
It’s going to make a lot more sense. So imagine you reach out to a large blog and they might have 100,000 people on their email list, and you get them to agree to promote you as an affiliatewp. Well, even if you convert, say, one or 2% of their 100,000 email list, you’re going to be making plenty of money to pay off your affiliate software purchase and probably finance do a large chunk of a new car. So this can really kickstart a business very fast. It can give you a ton of potential to grow rapidly.
So I think a major strategy for a lot of people really should be focusing on finding those big affiliatewp that you can complement. Now, just before we get into the software, let’s think about how you might try to attract an affiliate. I mean, this is obviously a large topic. You could write an entire book on this. But the types of affiliates you want to look for are the people that align with your audience but don’t overlap with your business.
So they should be the same type of people, but they’re not competing with your business. So my example earlier of art students, they’re going to be the same type of people who might also take music lessons, but there’s no competition there between the businesses. As your brainstorming about who my affiliates would be, you want to be thinking about what else are my customers interested in, what are they already doing? Where would I find more of them? All right, so without further ado, let’s get into the back end here of a WordPress website.
I’ve already got affiliate WP installed. This is the dashboard. Now, this is obviously a clean install. There are no affiliates set up already, but you’d be able to get at a glance, see what’s going on with your affiliate network, so you could see what people had earned, what you’ve already paid out this month, what’s happening today, what referrals are unpaid. So that means that someone’s earned a referral, but you haven’t issued the payment yet.
This is a common question that people have. What if someone returns after I’ve already paid out the affiliate? Well, that’s why you put in a delay of however long the return policy is. As an example, if you are a member of the AppSumo affiliate program, AppSumo is a very liberal 60 day return policy. So that means that if you were to purchase something through one of my links, I won’t actually see that money for over two months, because at the end of the month, that’s when the 60 day period begins.
So it ends up being quite a long delay before any income comes in that situation. But if you only have maybe a 14 day return window, then affiliates can start to get money within a few weeks. So that’s something to consider as you’re planning out your affiliate system and also planning out your return policy, making sure that those two are in alignment. All right, so let’s get into this. Here’s is the menu for affiliate WP, and I’m planning on just taking you through the back end and then I’ll show you what the front end looks like for affiliates.
So right here is the affiliatewp link. Now this is where I would see all of my affiliates, and I’m actually going to go ahead and just add myself as an affiliate here. So I’ll enter in my email address, select my name. Now it says affiliate status. I can either set someone as active, inactive, or pending.
Now this is great because you can actually have people fill out a form to apply to become an affiliate. And I highly recommend you don’t let everybody in as an affiliate. You want to have some pretty strict standards in terms of who would be a good fit to help promote your business. You don’t want people that are going to misrepresent your business or just post your links everywhere or maybe offer things like kickbacks so they give that part of their commission to someone who’s signing up. It just gets kind of scammy and it could give your business a bad reputation if you have an army of bad affiliates.
So I recommend having everyone come in as pending and then you can manually decide who is a good fit or who is not. For now, I’ll leave this as Active now referral rate type. I can do a site default, which we can set in the settings later, or we can do by percentage. So that means on a case by case basis, you could give someone else a higher percentage or a lower percentage. That doesn’t happen very often than the average.
So an example here would be if I got a very thirsty affiliatewp to my WooCommerce store, let’s say Kanye West was going to become an affiliatewp and he was going to put everything that I was producing over on Instagram and I was planning to make millions. Well, Kanye might want to take 50% of that or some huge number that I wasn’t really willing to give to the average person. Well, that’s where you can set this on a case by case basis. Now, on this same topic, there is also an add on that you can get to have a tiered solution so that as people become more successful, you can reward them with higher and higher commission rates. So that’s an add on we can look at in a little bit, or maybe we’ll just kind of mention it.
Then we can also do a flat rate. If you just want to pay people a set dollar amount when they get a new customer, I don’t really recommend that, but maybe on a case by case basis it makes sense. So here’s where we actually set the referral rate. You can see right now it’s set to the site default of 20%, the payment email. So as someone fills out their form to become an affiliate, you can ask them for their regular email address.
But then a lot of people have a different email that they use for something like PayPal. So you’ll ask for that in the sign up form as well. You can make some notes on your affiliate. Maybe they’re doing some suspicious behavior or maybe they’re performing excellently and you want to leave some notes. These are visible only to the admin.
You can send them a welcome email after they sign up. You can also set up a recurring referral. Right now this is really, really powerful. If you’re doing something like a subscription website or a membership site, let’s use it as an example. Let’s say I’m starting a cooking website and I’m going to charge people $20 a month to come on my website and learn how to cook with me.
I don’t really recommend that, but let’s pretend we did. And I got an affiliatewp that was getting me 100 sign ups in the first month. Well, if I’m going to pay them 20%, that means that they’re going to earn $4 for every single sign up. So they’d be earning $400 not just for that first month, but ongoing. So they did the work once and then they’re going to make that sweet, sweet recurring revenue without having to do any further work.
Of course, as people drop off, maybe they cancel their membership, then their payments would start to go down a little bit. But that is a really, really great way to motivate affiliates to work hard for you is to give them a recurring rate. Now you can set a limit. So let’s say I wanted to offer a recurring rate, but maybe only for six months. I would put six in here and then that would end after six months.
Zero is going to go on for all eternity. If you wanted to turn off recurring affiliates altogether, you would just check this little box. Now I want to say that this whole recurring section is also part of the add ons that I mentioned earlier. So you won’t be able to do this if you get one of the lower tier packages unless you purchase that add on specifically. So in the referral section we’ll be able to see all of the customers who have signed up because of an affiliatewp.
So this is a really great way to keep track of at a glance who’s coming in and who represents who. So that’s nice to have there. Now over in the payout section here, this is where we can see all of the money that we’ve sent to affiliatewp at a Glance. Now, most people pay their affiliatewp on a monthly basis. However, a few affiliate systems that I belong to you will pay out instantly or on a two week kind of riding scale from when the sale is made.
But I think it’s far more common to set it up for thirsty affiliatewp payments to go on the first of the month or the 15th of the month, something like that. When you’re ready to pay your affiliates, you can just click up here where it says Pay Affiliatewp and you’d be able to enter in the affiliatewp name, the start date and end date for the referral period and the minimum earnings that you’re willing to pay out. So a lot of affiliate systems will not make a payment if you’ve earned less than $50, right? So unless you get above that $50 threshold, the affiliate has to wait until they’ve made enough sales to earn a $50 commission. Obviously, that’s just to keep credit card costs down, because typically you’re going to be, you know, sending this money out over a PayPal.
So there is a per transaction fee of $0.30. Typically, on top of the 2.9% that they charge is kind of the the going rate that might fluctuate a little bit, but you don’t want to be paying someone $4 every day, because if you take $0.30 off of that, on top of 2.9%, you’re taking almost 10% of the total earnings that they might be getting. So definitely a good idea to set some kind of a minimum threshold before a payout begins. Under Visits, you’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view of everyone who’s visiting your website. From an affiliate link, you’ll be able to see the URL that directed them there and whether or not they turned into a customer or not and what affiliatewp sent them there.
So you can see that there is a lot of accountability going on inside of a platform like this where we can see every detail that’s going on. If you’re concerned that someone would try to scan the system, well, you’re going to have a lot of control over who is affiliated to who. And if there’s some kind of shadiness going on, you’ll be able to detect it really easily from the dashboard. And you can actually change the affiliate relationship if you think someone doesn’t deserve to have gotten the credit for an affiliate sale that they’re claiming. Under Creatives, this is where you can add content for your affiliates to be able to promote your business.
Maybe you want to create some very nice banner ads to make it really easy for them to put on their blog website. You’d be able to do that here. And then as we log into the front end, which you’ll see in a little bit, your affiliates will be able to grab those Creatives and easily stick them up on their website or use them in emails, social media, things like that. Now we have a full blown reporting section. We’ve been getting a lot of data coming in here, but in the reporting section we can actually run reports to see specifically what is going on over a given time period.
We can look by a certain affiliatewp name. We can look at just affiliate statistics, just payout statistics, visits, campaigns that are being run. So there is a lot of reporting that is available. Moving over to the tools section here. Now this is where we’re going to be able to get data in and out of affiliatewp.
So if you want to export your affiliate list, because maybe you want to add them to a special email list so you can message your affiliates directly, you’d be able to do that right here. You can also export referrals. So these are people who signed up from someone else’s referral and you can actually drill that down to a specific affiliate. So maybe you did get Kanye to promote your WooCommerce store. Well, you’d be able to find everybody who signed up because of Kanye and then make them another relevant offer that Kanye’s fans might find interesting.
And maybe that time you don’t have to pay them the commission so you’d make even more money. All right, moving on to the next one. We have export payouts. This would be probably for accounting purposes. We can export the visits.
Now we’re getting really detailed. I’m not sure why I’d want to do that, but I’m sure someone out there has needed to do it before then. We can export our settings. If we want to import into a different WordPress installation, we can import the settings here and we have basically the import options for everything we just covered available as a CSV file. Moving on to the settings.
Now. This is where we’re going to set up the infrastructure for our entire affiliate system. So really important stuff happens here. In the settings, you can see there’s quite a few tabs. Now these are related to the add ons that have got installed.
Now under the referral settings, this is going to be related to the URL. So right now it has ref as the default. So this means if you see a URL that has this question mark and then ref and a number that is an affiliate link. So you can kind of start to see as you’re surfing around online, if you’re not familiar with affiliate programs, probably be surprised how many links are actually affiliatewp links. So that question mark ref obviously standing for referral, you could change that to be something else.
If you didn’t want to be using the same system that everybody else uses. Then we can do the format as the ID, the username, or even a custom slug, which you can allow the affiliate to set themselves. I think most of the time I’d prefer if people thirsty affiliates I know as me being an affiliate because it just seems weird to have to post my username all around the internet. But I suppose if you like me and you saw that affiliate link, you might be more likely to click on it. However, it just looks like it’s kind of scammy to me to have someone else’s name inside of the URL.
We have the option to turn on pretty affiliate URLs, which just makes the URL look a little bit nicer because instead of having that question mark ref, we just have some slashes. So it looks like maybe it’s embedded in a subfolder. It makes it look a little bit less scammy, I guess, in my opinion. So I like those affiliate URLs because then you can just have one or the name of the affiliate rather than having to have this kind of long string after the URL credit last refer. This is really important if you want to attract strong affiliates, people who can drive a lot of sales for you.
So here’s the scenario. Let’s say I was googling for a coupon for your business and I happened to find one, and then I clicked on someone else’s affiliate link and it brought me to the site and I still wasn’t quite sure. So I thought about it and I’m going to go look for some reviews of this. And then I found a really great, helpful, informative review that convinced me, yes, I definitely want to buy this product. And so I clicked on the affiliate link in the review.
Well, guess who would get the credit here if this box is not checked? You would think it would be the person who actually provided the helpful service that drove someone to make the purchase, but unless that box is checked, it’s going to be the first person that sent someone to your website. So I guess this is a little bit of an internal debate you’ll have to have, but for me it makes a lot more sense to give the credit to whoever pushed you over the mountain, right? Whoever pushed you over the hill to convince you to buy that’s who should get the credit, in my opinion. So definitely recommend leaving that on.
Now, let’s talk about referral rates. We mentioned that a little bit earlier when I was setting up my own affiliate account, I could set it on a case by case basis, but of course we want to have a system default and that’s right here. Now, what should you set your referral rate at? Well, I would say as high as is comfortable for you because the higher the affiliate rate, the better the affiliates you will start to attract. Now obviously if you’re selling physical products, you’re not going to be able to maybe offer a 20 or 30% referral rate, but maybe you can.
And that should be something you consider if you’re doing digital products, say software or online courses. It’s not uncommon to see anywhere from 30 up to 50 or even higher for referral rates. Now, often a common tactic that people will make is to set their referral rate to be, say, 75% on a low ticket item because they know that they can convert a certain number of people who have purchased into a much more expensive upsell. So as an example, I’ll give you 75% of $7 books that you can sell because I know that 10% of those people will buy my $1,000 service and I won’t have to pay a commission on it. So that is a little bit you can be creative, is what I’m trying to say, with how you structure your affiliates.
I think in general, if you’re selling a few hundred dollars software product, giving a 30% affiliate commission could be a very big boon for your business. So something to consider, you have the option to exclude shipping. That’s fairly normal. If someone’s getting a huge shipping bill, you don’t want to pay commission on that. Exclude tax as well.
Obviously that shouldn’t increase the commission rate. So these two boxes are almost always checked. The cookie Expiration so how many days should someone get credit for? If I send someone to your website, say two weeks ago and someone buys on the 15th day, should I still get credit for that as an affiliate? Well, in most situations the answer is yes.
It’s very common to have 30 or even 60 day cookies set up so that if someone visited your website anytime within the last 30 or even 60 days, the affiliate that originally directed them there, or the last affiliatewp to be clicked, if you set things up correctly, they will still get an affiliate commission. Now, different businesses set this differently, so it’s up to you how you want to do that. Cookie Sharing now this is an option for multisite WordPress installs, so it’s going to be a pretty small number of people out there that this impacts. But it’s basically so that if you set it up on one part of the website, if you have subdomains, they’d be able to share the cookies there as well, so won’t spend much more time on that because it won’t be relevant to most people. Currency Settings you can set up your payment settings here and then down at the bottom we have the affiliate form settings.
This is where someone’s going to go to try to sign up to be an affiliatewp. Now let’s talk integrations. There are a ton of integrations here for affiliate WP you’re going to see the main ones are going to be definitely WooCommerce and Easy digital downloads because that is obviously where people are making the purchase. So you’ll definitely want to set that up if those are the platforms you’re using. Down here, we have options for affiliate dashboard sharing.
This is just going to allow you to add sharing buttons right from the affiliates dashboard. When an affiliate signs in, they’ll be able to share links to your website directly from the dashboard. If you turn these on again, that is one of the add ons that we’ll be looking at in a second when we get here to the add ons section. Let’s talk about add ons. So here are all of the add ons that come with the pro version that is included in the lifetime field.
So of course you’re going to get access to their API. You’ve got Zapier access here. We can do something called direct link tracking. Now that’s really cool. So it allows you to any links that come from my website, if I’m an affiliate of your website, can automatically be referrals.
So I don’t even have to include my actual affiliate link. Actually makes the affiliate links look a little bit less spammy. So that’s pretty nice. We can have things like sign up referrals. So maybe you’re not actually selling anything, but you want people to join your email list or just sign up for your service.
Well, you can have a sign up referral as well using this add on. So people can get credit for just getting people to sign up. That’s some integrations with different form plugins here’s. Gravity Forms. Ninja forms.
These two add ons right here are all about rewarding your affiliatewp over the long term. And I think that is a good idea. You want to be generous with your affiliate program so that you attract the best quality affiliates. Now let me explain the recurring referrals we already kind of talked about. That is when you have a membership site and you’re continuing to pay them when you charge someone a monthly rate.
So that should make sense to you. But the lifetime commissions, this is kind of unique. You don’t see this one very often. But here is what it does. Let’s say I send an affiliate link out to Susie.
She clicks on it and buys from your website. Now usually I would just earn a commission from that first sale, but let’s say three years down the road, nusii comes back to that website, makes a purchase again because she already bought from there. She trusts them. I, as an affiliate would still get paid. Again, it would be a lifetime connection.
Any sales that come from Nusii I can get credit for. So you might find that some larger affiliates are going to ask for something like this because they have a lot of clout and they. Have a big list. They’ll say, okay, we’ll do this, but we want a higher percentage and we want a lifetime commission. It’s negotiable.
It doesn’t mean that you have to agree to that, but that is what they would be talking about. And here is how you’d set it up. Affiliate dashboard sharing. This is a really important feature. It allows people to generate a link to a specific page on your website so that they could share an affiliate link, let’s say directly to the sales page or directly to a blog post that is talking about some new features.
That is what that feature does. And I find it really, really essential, it’s really handy as an affiliate to have that feature built in. And then of course, we’ve got PayPal. Now most of the time people are paying out via PayPal. However, affiliatewp actually has their own payment system.
There’s usually a link somewhere at the top of some of these pages where you can go and sign up and they will pay out directly for you. And that’s going to use more of a bank transfer type of scenario. So if you’re doing large dollar amounts and you can keep the fees a little bit lower by doing a bank transfer, it might be worth it. So let’s talk about statistics. Now remember, this is from the point of view of the affiliate, not the website owner.
So the affiliatewp will be able to see at a glance how many referrals have they had, how many have they been paid out for. So that would be the difference between unpaid and paid referrals. How many visits are they getting? That’s basically clicks, right? How many people are coming to the website and then what is their conversion rate?
So out of their visits, how many people turn into paying customers. You can see the earnings, the total amount that you haven’t been paid for and the total amount that you’ve received in the past, as well as your existing commission rate. I’ve got some nice reporting options as an affiliate right here. I’d be able to see my graphs over time. How am I doing this month, this week?
I could see the specific referrals that are coming in if I wanted to keep track of that. Any payouts that I’ve received, I could track here, see the number of visits, who’s coming in from what URLs, and then the creatives, remember, you could have uploaded some banners that would be located right here. And then finally we have the settings. This is where I can essentially set my PayPal address so that I’m getting my payments to the right location on time. So what are my final thoughts?
Well, it doesn’t really matter because the industry has already decided. Thirsty affiliatewp WP is the standard platform that almost everybody uses for their affiliate system that’s running a WordPress website. Sure, you could find cheaper alternatives over on Code Canyon. However, I don’t really want to trust a random script on Code Canyon to handle such a large chunk of the revenue that’s going through my business. Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t be great or they wouldn’t be secure.
I just don’t know. And for me, it’s worth it to go with the standard in these types of scenarios. So I don’t really have anything bad to say about affiliatewp because the entire setup that I did was just installing the plugin. You saw everything else in this video. I didn’t do anything behind the scenes to make it look good.
You pretty much just install the plugin, add your affiliates, the affiliate area is already created. Then you just have to get people to sign up and start selling your products and you generate revenue. I mean, there’s not really a losing situation there because you only pay the affiliates when they get a sale. So I’ve never given a 10.0 on this channel and I’m not going to today because I’ve got to leave room. There’s definitely going to be something better out there, but I don’t know what it would be.
So affiliate WP gets a 9.9 out of ten, the highest score I’ve ever given a plug in. I really love affiliate WP. So that’s going to do it for this video. If you’ve liked this video and you want to purchase your own copy of affiliate WP, my affiliate link is of course in the description down below. I would appreciate that so I can get some of that commission now if you want to head over to the Facebook group so that you can join in on the that Ltd life community chat about Ltds like affiliate WP.
We’ve had many great discussions going on over the last weekend, black Friday weekend. It’s been just bonkers nuts over there. So I definitely invite you to come join the conversation. And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to the channel like the video, click the bell, all the stuff you got to do to be a good YouTube citizen. And I’ll see you in the next review.