Understanding Affiliate Marketing: A Guide for Ecommerce Businesses - ld icon 42

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In recent years, the number of ecommerce businesses has surged, with thousands of new online stores launched. As the competition intensifies, so do advertising costs, making it increasingly challenging for small businesses to gain visibility and attract customers. One powerful method that often goes overlooked is affiliate marketing. If you’re running an ecommerce business and haven’t yet explored this avenue, it’s time to consider its potential.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based strategy where businesses reward affiliates for driving sales through their website via the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Essentially, affiliates promote your products or services on their websites, blogs, social media, and newsletters, and you pay them a commission for every sale or lead generated through their referral.

The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

  1. Cost-Effective: Unlike traditional advertising methods where you pay upfront without any guarantee of results, affiliate marketing is cost-effective because you only pay for actual sales or leads generated.
  2. Extended Reach: By partnering with affiliates who have established audiences, you can reach potential customers who might not have discovered your brand otherwise.
  3. Increased Sales: Affiliates are motivated to promote your products because their earnings depend on it. This can lead to increased sales and revenue for your business.
  4. Improved SEO: Quality backlinks from affiliate websites can enhance your website’s search engine ranking, driving more organic traffic to your site.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

  1. Join an Affiliate Network: There are various affiliate networks like AWIN, Commission Junction, ShareASale, and Rakuten Marketing where you can find affiliates willing to promote your products.
  2. Setup your Affiliate Programme: Define your commission structure, create marketing materials, and set guidelines for your affiliates.
  3. Recruit Affiliates: Reach out to bloggers, influencers, and websites related to your niche who can become your affiliates.
  4. Track Performance: Use tracking software to monitor affiliate performance and ensure accurate commission payments.
  5. Optimise and Grow: Continuously analyse the performance of your affiliates, provide them with the necessary tools and support, and optimise your programme for better results.

Alternative Approaches to Affiliate Marketing

While joining an affiliate network is a popular approach, it’s not the only option. Here are some alternative methods to consider:

Setting Up Your Own Affiliate Tracking System

For businesses using platforms like WordPress or Shopify, there are plugins and apps available that allow you to manage your own affiliate programme. These tools can track affiliate referrals, manage commissions, and provide performance analytics without the need for a third-party network.

Recruiting Influencers

Influencers can be powerful affiliates. By offering them free samples and unique discount codes, you can track their referrals and pay them commissions based on the sales they generate. This method is particularly effective on social media platforms, where influencers have dedicated followers who trust their recommendations.

Case Study: Success Through Influencer Marketing

One of our clients, a small startup, illustrates the potential of affiliate marketing without a substantial budget. Initially, they had enough funds for us to build their website but lacked a marketing budget. They decided to recruit social media influencers by offering them free samples along with unique discount codes. These codes provided consumers with a discount while tracking the referrals for commissions.

Within a year, and from no marketing budget, this client was achieving over £20k per month in sales from what started as a part-time, home business. This success story highlights how effective affiliate marketing can be, even for businesses with limited resources.

How Link Digital Can Help

At Link Digital, we understand that managing an affiliate programme can be time-consuming and complex. Our Affiliate Management Services are designed to simplify the process and maximise your results. Here’s how we can assist you:

  1. Programme Setup: We help you set up a robust affiliate programme tailored to your business needs, whether through a network, custom tracking system, or influencer partnerships.
  2. Affiliate Recruitment: Leveraging our network, we recruit high-quality affiliates who are a perfect fit for your brand.
  3. Performance Tracking: Our advanced tracking tools ensure accurate monitoring of affiliate performance, helping you make data-driven decisions.
  4. Optimisation: We continuously optimise your affiliate programme, providing insights and strategies to enhance performance and drive more sales.
  5. Support and Communication: We manage relationships with your affiliates, ensuring they have the support and resources needed to promote your products effectively.


Affiliate marketing offers a valuable opportunity for ecommerce businesses to expand their reach, drive sales, and improve their online presence. By partnering with affiliates, you can leverage their audiences and expertise, creating a win-win situation for both parties. If you’re ready to explore the potential of affiliate marketing, Link Digital is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about our Affiliate Management Services and start growing your business.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing: A Guide for Ecommerce Businesses - shape img cta1

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