11+ BEST Ways to Grow Your Affiliate Marketing Program [Expert Tips]

If you can make affiliate marketing work for your business, then the sky’s the limit. You have an army of people working on your customer acquisition that you only pay when you get new sales.

However, growing an affiliate marketing program isn’t that easy.

These tactics on how to grow your affiliate marketing program might help you build a successful system.

Let’s take a look.

1) Think about your affiliate program as a product

It has an offer, value proposition, and a lifecycle. You need to make it stand out to draw people in.

2) Your customers are your best affiliates

Promote your affiliate program to your customers and make it easy to access.

3) Educate your affiliates about your product

And provide them ideas on when, where, and how to promote it.

The more resources they have, the more successful they can be for you.

4) Chase micro-affiliates

Look for affiliates in different languages, topics, and sub-categories.

You might be surprised that you can make more money with French and Russian affiliates than popular English-speaking ones.

5) Treat it like a long-term relationship

And don’t be afraid to offer cash for their hard work.

6) Make sure incentives are aligned

If your goal is to sell your product, pay affiliates based on sales.

If you have a refund policy, have the payment clear for the affiliate after their sales clear the money-back period.

Other metrics, like paying based on clicks or leads, can be easily gamed.

Revenue and affiliate pay should have a 100% correlation.

7) Affiliate swaps

Sharing the best affiliates with other businesses and creating co-marketing programs are the lowest hanging fruits.

8) Run Google Ads targeting popular affiliate programs in your niche

This will help you target affiliates that are constantly and actively looking for affiliate programs. With this strategy, you should see a big increase in the number of affiliate leads.

9) Rank for affiliate keywords

Once your Google Ads start performing well, it will be easier to rank organically for relevant keywords.

The sweet part is that there isn’t much competition to rank for them.

10) Treat your affiliates like partners

Run a webinar for them, offer them discounts, dedicated landing pages, and so on.

11) Nurture your affiliates with “too good to be true offers”

Run constant promotions, viral giveaways, etc.

12) Think about how to acquire more than one customer at a time

When we market, the fundamental unit by which we make progress is a lead.

What’s better than acquiring a new customer? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Acquiring two (or more) customers.

And that’s why the two brands we looked at, Goli and Athletic Greens, use a referral program.

Right after you buy from them, they invite you to refer their products to a friend and get a prize in exchange.

Here’s the structure they follow:

The referral prize

Athletic Greens offers a $15 discount on your next purchase. Goli offers $10.

However, considering the price target of the two brands, the Goli discount is way higher in percentage.

The gift your referred customer gets

Athletic Greens offers five free travel packs ($20 value) to people who buy from your referral link.

A downside: Athletic Greens doesn’t explain the value of what they get, nor what a travel pack is.

Goli, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any gifts.


Both companies invite you to refer a friend right after your purchase.

This can work as it capitalizes on the enthusiasm the customer has for the product at the moment of the purchase.

However, it may not feel right to invite them to refer to a product they haven’t tried yet.

Bottom line: A referral program is a must these days. And if you want a smooth and easy referral process, Athletic Greens is probably the brand you want to take inspiration from.

Referral Program

Referral programs aren’t necessarily affiliate programs.

They often involve getting a lead or subscriber rather than a sale, like the implication in affiliate marketing.

Referral programs are a powerful tool for growing your newsletter or your business when you get them right.

If you want to start a referral program, first answer these two questions

  • How much are we willing to pay for new customers or subscribers?
  • With that in mind, what’s something your customers want that you can afford to give them?

It’s simple math, really. Imagine you’re an e-commerce brand handing out $20 gift cards whenever referrals make a purchase, and your average order value is also around $20.

You might break even at first.

But if your customer lifetime value is $100, it’s immensely profitable over time.

Once you have a couple rewards in mind, here’s the advice we’d give ourselves if we could go back in time:

Create customized referral messaging

When you refer someone to your service, they hit a landing page that is personalized. Personalization boosts conversion.

Only advertise one or two referral rewards at a time

Advertise one reward at a time. This reduces overwhelm and creates one specific goal for people to aim for.

Give the people what they want

Think about what your customers want and give it to them.

Final word

We shared 11 tips on how to grow your affiliate marketing program.

But needless to say, the most important strategy is a killer product:

If your product is easy to sell, it will be easy to bring in affiliates.

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