unlock new profit-rich revenue streams for your Shopify store through next-level affiliate marketing
affiliate marketing consultant
- 25 years in ecommerce as an employee, startup founder and consultant
- First dedicated ecommerce Affiliate Manager in the UK way back in 1999
- Bootstrapped my own ecommerce business from 0 - £2m in 3 years with the majority of sales driven through partnerships & affiliates
- 13 years running Ecommerce Growth Co. as an independent affiliate strategy consultant working with over 150+ Shopify stores in a wide variety of niches and market categories
- Spoken at 20+ conferences around the world on ecommerce affiliate marketing (first in 2001!)
Affiliate Marketing 101: Laying the foundations for cost-controlled ecommerce growthDATA-fuelled. partnership-CENTRED. technology-DRIVEN.
Why ecommerce brands aren't building the anticipated traction with affiliate marketing in 2024...
The typical affiliate marketing lifecycle for a Shopify store....
- Add cheap and cheerful affiliate app to store
- Set low commission rate around 5% to test the water
- Add 'affiliates' link to the footer of the navigation
- Send out a newsletter announcing a NEW AFFILIATE PROGRAMME!!!
- Believe they're now 'testing the water' with affiliate marketing
- Little to no response and quickly give up and move on to the next channel (usually ads)
... and this is before we talk about crappy discount code farms that tar the affiliate industry and the opportunity it presents.
It's a real shame as, when launched and managed correctly, affiliate marketing can be a hugely profitable and consistent revenue stream in so many niches and categories.
I'm just glad you're here to figure out how to do affiliate marketing correctly. I hope I can be of help to you.
So, me and affiliate marketing go back to the last century.
Seriously. I was the first dedicated Affiliate Manager for a UK store way back in 1999. It was real pioneer territory managing the partner relationships we nurtured with the likes of BT, Royal Mail, Lastminute.com, FantasyFootball... the list expands to over 1,500 affiliate partners. We operated a store selling magazine subscriptions and pitched the idea of a 'done for you' magazine shop that affiliate could manage and earn commission on every sale. It was by far the biggest revenue earner for our business.
Fast forward 20+ years and the opportunities are still as big in today's marketplace working with social influencers, niche blogs and hobbyist sites all looking for new revenue streams. Take sustainable influencers and bloggers as one example... niches that are eager to build affiliate partnerships to drive up revenues alongside their ad earnings.
And the great thing for you? Your competitors are probably getting all this wrong.
My role is to help you select the right platform, flesh out your affiliate marketing strategy (commissions, tiers, target markets etc) and then help build those initial affiliate partnerships that get you up and running. It's not rocket science, it's not going to take weeks or months to get you earning. It just takes a little planning, structure and great communications with your affiliates.
Ready to launch and grow a highly successful (profit-laden) affiliate marketing programme for your Shopify store? Get in contact with me today using the form below.
What does a great DTC affiliate program look like?
Great question. It's a two-prong answer. What does a great affiliate program look like for the affiliate? What does a great program look like for you, the store?
Firstly, consider just who you're looking to affiliate with and don't forget your customers. I've worked with smaller brands who've made huge impact on the audience reach and sales growth by incentivising their existing customers to share their brand with friends or, more importantly, through their own social spaces. So, ask yourself, how can we build an affiliate program that caters for micro-influencers, strategic partners and our best advocates?
Now you need to get the offering right. Affiliates know what's happening with CPAs in every industry. They KNOW their value to you. The bigger their audience, the greater the leverage they may hold when discussing commissions. Don't even consider launching with 5% or 10% commissions unless your average baskets are greater than £250. Even then, you can't hide from the difference between the commission you're offering and teh typical CPA your business currently operates from. Be generous. This is a fixed CPA model based on either a flat fee or a percentage of sale. If your gross margins are sat at greater than 50% don't try to palm your affiliates off with a meagre commission in hope that they're do the selling for you.
This is about partnership. It's a two way thing. You're see some affiliates sprouting out of nowhere and bringing great business your way. Reach out to them. Acknowledge their work and deliver them a dedicated landing page that they can use to promote you. This is such a simple yet HUGELY effective way of nurturing real profitable long-term partnerships.
Communications are paramount to the success of your affiliate programme. Make sure to choose an affiliate marketing platform that integrates with your email platform. The integration between Social Snowball x Klaviyo is a great example. You can push affiliate data into Klaviyo allowing you to segment by affiliate tier or volume of sale. Highlight the work of your best partners to motivate your affiliates to up their game. Why not run a monthly YouTube interview with your best affiliates? Share the inside track of just how much affiliates could be earning and inspire the next level of affiliates to invest their time in promoting your products.
I could go on... there are dozens of ways to succeed with affiliate marketing in ecommerce. It takes structure. It takes strategy. It takes work. It's immensely rewarding when you get it right.
What's the best affiliate software for your Shopify store?
Like so many questions relating to ecommerce tech... the answer is "it depends".
For most ecommerce stores just starting out in affiliate marketing it doesn't make sense to invest heavily until you've created a viable business case for affiliate marketing. Fortunately this means that you don't have to invest heavily in your affiliate marketing software. Most platforms offer an entry level (eg. less than 1,000 affiliates or £x revenue generated through affiliate marketing) product that has all the bells and whistles of the 'enterprise' version. This means that the tech you choose when starting out will be there for you as you progress with your affiliate strategy going forward.
You need to make sure that the platform is, first and foremost, designed to reduce the time you're spending on administration. That means organising affiliate payouts (which is always a good thing!), setting up tracking links and generally answering questions from your affiliates. It's also key to make sure that you have easy access to sending promotional emails and updates to your affiliates. Even more so if you're running a tiered affiliate programme where you have different offers for different segments of affiliates. Integration with your ESP, such as Klaviyo, is crucial to making this happen. Don't rely on the 'mass email' capabilities of the tool itself. You want to tailor your messaging and heavily personalise each communication ensuring you're providing affiliates with updates on their earnings, offers and links.
The best affiliate marketing app is likely to be the app that takes your affiliate marketing to the next level... and continues with you for the journey (nothing more problematic than having to switch providers at a later date for any tech). You'll see dozens of affiliate marketing apps at a wide variety of price points within the Shopify App Store. Starting out? Either GoAffPro or Social Snowball are my recommendations. They have all the features you need and the ability to grow your affiliate marketing significantly. If you need advice on which affiliate marketing app is best for you, just get in touch, I'm happy to help out.
affiliate marketing consultant
to shopify stores
"Ian was a huge help in supporting us with developing a best-in-class set-up of ecommerce tools, helping us plan strategically for optimising the site, and making informed decisions to improve how we support our customers with the right services for their needs, through a simplified streamlined platform."
"The work we have done together has seen our online business go from strength to strength driving more traffic to our website and yet reducing our cost per conversion. "
David Winstanley - Managing Director at Pramworld
"He is an e-commerce professional with a depth of expertise and is a pleasure to do business with. I would not hesitate in seeking his consulting services again on another project."
Mathew Wade - Head of Digital at Gossard
MY ECOMMERCE BACKGROUNDBuilding and growing Ecommerce Brands For 20 Years
Wearing the hats of employee, director, ecommerce business owner & consultant.
Finding my feet at a startup online magazine subscription retailer way back in 1996. When animated gifs first roamed the 'net and web browsers were at the version 1.0 stage.
4 years on, I moved on to Priceline.com taking the role of European Marketing Director. Learning sustainable growth at a market innovator who are now the world's largest travel company.
In 2004 I launched my own ecommerce business. From 0 to £2m. bootstrapped. Doing the things you've done. Balancing time and energy marketing my business and running my business.
For the past 15 years my time has been dedicated to my ecommerce consulting business and teachings here at Ecommerce Growth Co. Working with management and in-house teams to lay the foundations for next stage ecommerce growth advising on operational efficiencies to help stabilise acquisition costs, scale growth and deliver your customer a better shopping experience.