Whether you’re an independent affiliate marketer or a business owner exploring the referral model, starting and scaling to success in the affiliate industry can be a confusing path to navigate. There are thousands of marketing resources available to help increase signups and convert leads, making it difficult to know which expert to trust or what training course will actually help you to reach your goals.
Since you can’t spend time pouring over all the resources out there, we’ve compiled a list of the ones that pack the biggest punch and will help you skyrocket your affiliate marketing business. Now, you can spend less time searching for helpful content, and more time implementing the strategies and ideas that work!
If you want to stay on top of trends and meet the people playing (and winning) at the game, you’ve got to get out of your house. Yes, all of the fundamentals can be learned from your home office, but nothing can replace the benefits of quality face time and by meeting the doers and winners in the industry. Conferences offer a superior opportunity to learn, build upon existing relationships, rub shoulders with industry leaders, or explore a joint venture with a new contact. Best of all? The parties!
- Affiliate World Conferences are must-attend events if you’re interested in connecting with affiliates and the industry on a global scale. Although these events just started a few years ago, they’ve proven to attract a diverse audience and showcase a range of content that’s refreshing and focused on delivering quality education and networking opportunities. Affiliate World takes place twice per year, with one event taking place in Bangkok and the other in Berlin. If you decide to go, come visit our Shopify Affiliate Team, who will be in Bangkok this coming December.
- Affiliate Summit is the longest running and most recognized conference, serving the affiliate industry for over 13 years. Affiliate Summit West, held every January in Las Vegas, is favored by many and is also a must-attend event, especially when it comes to networking, if you haven’t made it there yet.
- PerformanceIN is another leading international event held in London with a lens on performance marketing across traditional online marketing channels, as well as influencer marketing.
- AM Days is a smart event for those responsible for overseeing an affiliate program — it offers deep insights into how brands are successfully implementing and managing their affiliate programs. Affiliate managers will find this event useful for topics such as affiliate recruitment, communication strategies, and fraud prevention. The next event is held in Las Vegas.
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Affiliate and general marketing education
To be great at affiliate marketing, it’s important to understand the technical pieces of affiliate strategies and programs. Just as important is having a solid foundation in general online marketing strategies. The following leaders in the marketing space have developed education to help other marketers replicate their success:
- Charles Ngo has a long history in affiliate marketing and has been teaching others how to be successful for years. He offers a free beginner course to affiliate marketing and an advanced course for those aiming for “Super Affiliate” status.
- Wealthy Affiliate is an interactive learning platform with a community that will teach you how to be a successful affiliate as you launch and run your affiliate site.
- 6 Week Affiliate Mastery Challenge is a six-week course that teaches affiliate foundations by video, with live chat support available to help push you along.
- Digital Marketer is the place to go for the most current digital marketing strategies and tactics that work.
- Performance Partnerships is a must-read book for anyone in the affiliate space. The content delves into past history and takes it into the future of the industry.
There are many thought leaders in the affiliate space, each with their own unique business backgrounds and marketing specialties. I would encourage you to discover different voices in the industry that resonate with you, both on the affiliate side and the advertiser side. Learning from different perspectives will help to give you better insights and strategies on how to succeed. Here are just a few leaders that I follow:
- Adam Riemer — With over a decade in the online marketing space, and too many written articles and speaking engagements to count, Adam started his blog to better connect with his followers. Through his blog, he educates affiliates, bloggers, and search engine marketing professionals on his tricks of the trade.
- John Crestani — Over the span of just a few years, John Crestani has built an empire in the affiliate marketing space. John offers a fantastic step-by-step training program on how to become a successful affiliate marketer using free traffic sources on the web.
- Luke Peerfly — Getting his start in blogging in 2006, Luke Kling has reached millions of people around the world through his online publications. Luke is now the Director of Marketing at PeerFly, a CPA network, where he and his team manage a publisher base of nearly 60,000 active affiliate marketers, helping them make more money online.
- Matt McWilliams — In his decade-plus of working as an affiliate marketer, consultant, and online entrepreneur, Matt McWilliams has helped numerous businesses across a wide range of industries build intimate relationships with their customers and target audience. Between his blog, podcast, mastermind group, and 1:1 coaching, there are endless ways to learn from Matt to build up your affiliate marketing business.
- Oscar Gonzalez — Since he bought his first domain name in 1996, Oscar Gonzalez has consistently learned and earned a living from using, teaching, and supporting all aspects surrounding technology. He is an internet marketer and coach who turns his knowledge and experience into money by helping businesses develop their marketing strategies. He offers blog posts, guides, and 1:1 coaching covering everything from making money, to online marketing, to even food and wine!
- Stephanie Robbins — With 20+ years of digital marketing experience, Stephanie Robbins has a proven track record of success. She helps brands connect with niche online influencers, to incrementally grow revenue through affiliate programs — without cannibalizing existing sales. Stephanie represents a select few brands that she can authentically promote to the affiliate community that trusts her.
If you want to launch your own affiliate program, or are building a store for a Shopify merchant who wants to launch a program without a network, check out one of these apps below to get started:
- LeadDyno — LeadDyno is one of the top affiliate marketing Shopify Apps. LeadDyno offers seamless integration with Shopify stores, and is highly customizable. For example, you can pay your affiliates automatically or with "one-click" approval using Paypal, Dwolla, or even Coinbase with LeadDyno calculating and paying out affiliate commissions for you.
- Refersion — Refersion offers an incredibly powerful affiliate referral platform. It’s one of the most popular Shopify Apps for affiliate marketing, with over 100 reviews and a five star rating. Its popularity is thanks in part to its scalability — start out on a free plan, and as you see the need to expand your affiliate offerings you can upgrade to a paid plan.
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Below, I’ve highlighted some resources and links that don’t necessarily fit into one of the overarching themes, but are nonetheless valuable to any affiliate marketer worth their salt. Take a read and see what might help push your affiliate marketing business forward.
- Performance Marketing Association is the affiliate industry trade association. Their goals are to promote the growth of the industry, help model best-practices, and advocate for businesses serving the industry. Keep up on industry news, affiliate industry jobs, best-practices as well as the latest on the internet sales tax reform.
Traditional affiliate networks offer the technology to both promote and track an affiliate program, and a pool of affiliates to potentially work with. Check out a few of my favorites below:
These platforms are strong solutions for brands with an existing presence to launch their own in-house affiliate program. These solutions offer a full range of affiliate program tracking tools and features, so that you can launch and grow your own program without the need for a traditional affiliate network (and all of the subsequent network fees):
Skyrocket your affiliate marketing business 🚀
Now that you’re armed with the best affiliate resources and tools out there, you can implement their recommended tactics and strategies, and watch your affiliate business take off! Remember to keep searching for new ideas and tools as your business grows — affiliate marketing success takes time and effort, and there are always new ways to improve.
Looking for other resources not listed here? Share some of your favorite affiliate marketing resources in the comments below