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How to launch an affiliate programme

How to launch an affiliate programme


Affiliate marketing is a performance-based channel, making it an attractive way to enrich any advertiser’s online acquisition. In an already crowded market, a strong launch that makes the offer stand out is vital to the success of an affiliate programme. This article outlines some effective tools and marketing strategies advertisers can employ to stand out from other programmes and grab publishers’ attention.


Every programme requires affiliate software, usually provided by a network, which at its most basic will report and track key purchase information, manage commission and store marketing tools that publishers can use to promote the brand. Common tools include a product feed, voucher codes, creative and content, which help publishers promote products and services quickly and easily.

As performance marketing has matured, so has the means of engagement with publishers and consumers alike. Sophisticated tools advertisers can offer include:

  • Widgets: Content widgets display information in a variety of ways; buttons, dialog boxes and drop down menus, adapting the content to a publisher’s site design.
  • Dynamic Creative: Custom ad creative that puts the right message in front of the right consumer.
  • API (where relevant): an API is like a real time product feed that ensures the correct price (or other variable) is displayed on an affiliate site at any given time. This is most commonly used by travel advertisers.
  • Call tracking (where relevant): If onsite conversion is poor, call tracking is a useful tool that can increase conversion and reward affiliates for the sales they drive.
  • A Container Tag Solution: Although not a tool, a container tag is a line of JavaScript that is added to individual pages of the website. They hold other tags making it really easy to implement new affiliate technologies.


Once the foundations of the programme are in place, it is time to start building up the affiliate base:

  • PR: Press releases and posts on forums and blogs are a good way to spread the word about the launch. It’s important to utilise social media channels to advertise the programme as well.
  • Decide which publishers to work with: There are many types and some with really innovative and exciting propositions so take the time to research which potential partners will add value, and ask the network for guidance and insight into which publisher types will best suit the sector your brand works within.
  • Communication: Regular emails and newsletters updating publishers on latest products, special offers and deeplinks will ensure that the customers they’re sending to your site have the most current offers in mind.
  • Terms and Conditions: Not quite marketing, but it is essential to be clear about the dos and don’ts of the programme to ensure promotions are compliant and of quality.

Different things to try:

  • A publisher survey: This is a great opportunity to start a conversation with your publisher base, and also provides insight into what they find useful and what modifications and improvements can be made to help grow the programme.
  • Incentive: A publisher incentive can help the programme stand out from the crowd, and rewards new business partners.
  • Samples: Offering product samples can help educate publishers about the brand, products and services but also helps with build a strong relationship.

Maintain Momentum

Some advertisers may not have the resource or the need to do all these things at launch, but a successful programme is built over time, and its strength essentially lies in the technology/tools and relationships powering it. To stand out it’s important to maintain that momentum; be open minded to trialling new and innovative campaigns, build close relationships through regular meetings, affiliate days and incentives and together set clear objectives and goals that are achievable.

Best of luck!

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Nadia Hulkhory

Nadia Hulkhory

Nadia has been with Affiliate Window since 2010, working on Key Accounts including BT, Plusnet, H

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