If you sell products or services, having an affiliate program is a good way to expand your sales. Get your customers and fans to help promote your products or services and reward them with a percentage or flat fee of the sale price.
As an affiliate marketer, I work with many companies that run their own programs. Some choose to use a platform, such as ShareaSale, but not all have the sales volume or resources to do that. I encourage sites that run WordPress to use the plugin AffiliateWP. It’s a solid plugin with a great team of developers behind it.
For many WordPress sites selling products, it’s a challenge to start your own affiliate program at the cost most platforms offer. That is why using AffiliateWP makes it easy and seamless.
We have used it ourselves in the past, and I know a lot of vendors who I am an affiliate with that use the plugin and feel it’s been the best decision they made.
The Basics of the AffiliateWP Plugin
Before I show you how to integrate this plugin into WooCommerce, let me give you an overview of the plugin itself
Out-of-the-box, this plugin can do a lot. But as I share later in this review, there are also add-ons that can help you with specific functionality.
General > Pages
The first three settings allow you to control how the referral link will look.
Credit Last Referrer will give the referral to the last link someone has used. For example, John Brown clicks on an affiliate link for the Super Duper Theme on his friend’s website. He is still thinking about it and, in the meantime, he visits his mom’s site, which also has a link to the Super Duper Theme. John is now ready to buy it and using the new link, his mom will get the referral. So, obviously, this is something you need to decide which option you will want to use.
The Referral Rate Type is straightforward and likely if you have a lot of products that are varied prices, you will choose the percentage over the Flat rate that you set in the next box.
Chances are that if you have shipping and taxes, you are likely to exclude them both.
Cookie Expiration allows you to set the duration that the links work for them, even if they leave the site and come back later to purchase it.
Nothing difficult here as these are typical formatting settings.
The nice thing here is that you can control which of these three you want sent out automatically. They are not auto-generated, so you can customize the message you, your referrals and new applications receive.
There are some settings here that you will want to be aware of, particularly the first two: whether you want to allow people to self-register as an affiliate themselves, or you want to approve them individually and only by invite. Running an affiliate can be hard work and some people prefer to be more selective about who becomes one.
Also, I would highly recommend that if you do allow them to sign up, that you enable reCAPTCHA.
Lastly, look at the remaining settings to make sure you haven’t missed something else important.
Affiliates, Referrals, Visits & Reports
As you can see here, you will be able to keep an eye on everything and see how it’s going. (Note that this plugin has not been running on any site of mine recently so I don’t have any data filled in these areas.)
A great way to monitor the activity of your affiliates and maybe send out a quick note to those who have been sending some good conversions your way.
You also can add an affiliate manually or edit an existing affiliate. The option to change the referral rate for a specific affiliate by overriding the global affiliate rate in your settings could be handy if you wanted to reward certain individuals for high-volume sales.
An overview of affiliates that have come in, have been paid and are needing to be paid.
The visits show you the landing page they ended up purchasing on. This gives you a chance to see and compare conversions if you have more than one landing page for the same product.
And some handy reports to give you a birds-eye view of activity.
You will probably want to provide creatives, or what you might recognize as banners and ads that your affiliates can use on their website if they choose to promote you that way.
All your creatives are listed here.
And of course, you can easily add or edit any creatives as well. One of the nice features here is the Status. For example, you may run a promotion every once in awhile and this allows you to turn it off and on as needed on the page your affiliates will access to use them.
A few available tools that you will find useful.
Front End Pages
As I said before, the plugin generates the affiliate account page.
This account page will generate affiliates links, reports and other information about their account after they log in.
And here is what the creative tab looks like if you have uploaded banners, etc.
If someone lands on this page that is not an affiliate and under Settings > Misc you have the Should affiliates be able to register for themselves box checked, then this is what will appear on the page and can be used to send people to sign up as an affiliate and as a login page.
If you choose to create a custom page for your new affiliate signups, the plugin has several shortcodes that will allow you to do this easily.
As I mentioned, there is additional functionality for all license holders with free add-ons that can be employed that give you specific features you may require.
And if you purchase the Professional or Ultimate license, you get an additional 10 pro add-ons.
To make it even easier, they have a list of 3rd-party add-ons, both free and paid, that they recommend on their site.
Landing Pages for the AffiliateWP plugin
If you are using the AffiliateWP plugin and have the Professional or Ultimate license, you are in luck. The add-on, Affiliate Landing Pages makes this easy to do with any page on your WordPress site.
With that said, consider this. It will easily integrate into whatever WordPress theme you are using. But you could even take it a step further. If you were using a page builder, such as Beaver Builder, you can easily customize an eye-catching template to use for your affiliate landing pages. Pretty cool, huh?
And with this page, you can display anything specific about that affiliate.
No More Ugly Affiliate Links
One of the cool features is this. When you look at a typical affiliate link, even when masking it, you see it for what it is. An affiliate link. But with the landing page you are able to create a custom link directly to that page and avoid any of the clunky- and funky-looking links.
How to Set Up the Landing Page
The very first thing you need to do is enable your landing pages.
Once you have done that, whenever you are creating a landing page for an affiliate, you simple assign that page to them.
Then your affiliates will see the page assigned to them on their account page.
Okay, let’s say this was created on the domain greatplugin.com, Kim’s affiliate URL to her landing page would have looked like this: greatplugin.com/kim.
Get creative with those URL’s. It doesn’t have to be a name. It can be anything that is eye-catching or brands it in a special way.
You can even use child pages to create multiple affiliates.
How About a Guest Post From Your Affiliates
Let’s say Kim does a guest post on your blog about her experience with the plugin. Remember that option to assign a page to Kim? Well, you can also assign the blog post to Kim. That way if anyone reads her post, then goes to your product page and purchases it, Kim gets the credit.
Giving affiliates brand recognition as well as letting them have the opportunity to share your product by sending their readers and clients to a special page created just for them, is another way to help increase those affiliate sales, for both you as the product/service owner and your affiliates.
WooCommerce and AffiliateWP
Let’s now take a look at using it with WooCommerce specifically.
First you will choose WooCommerce from the long list of integrations available in the AffiliateWP settings.
Product Affiliate Rates
When you are creating a Simple product, whether physical, virtual or downloadable, you will find an AffiliateWP tab on the product page.
In the AffiliateWP general settings, you can set a global referral type and rate. With each product, you can choose to go with that default, or create one specifically for that product. And if you do not want to have any referral rate on specific products, you can toggle it to disable referrals.
Subscription Affiliate Rates
This plugin will also work with subscriptions if you are running the Subscription extension. You need to be using their Recurring Referrals add-on, which comes with their Professional or Ultimate Licenses.
Similar to the simple product referrals, the recurring referrals have global settings that apply to all of your subscriptions. It also includes how many recurring payments you choose to pay a referral fee on.
As you see here, you can set these same settings for individual subscriptions as well as include the per subscription settings for recurring referrals. Note that you are able to set a different affiliate payout for recurring subscriptions as opposed to the initial commission.
This is slick. You could give a 30% affiliate commission when someone first starts a subscription, and then reduce their recurring payments to a 10% commission.
Affiliates for Product Variations
With product variations, you will get the same options to add a specific affiliate rate to any of the variations.
Product Category Affiliate Rates
There may be a reason that you want to set affiliates by category, if it would save you time and make sense. If you edit any category, you will find the option to add the referral rate. The type of referral, whether percentage or amount will be based on what you have set globally for the AffiliateWP plugin.
If you are looking to start up your own affiliate program on your WooCommerce store, I highly recommend AffiliateWP.
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