Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Boost Subscription Sales

affiliate marketing guide grow subscription sales

Written by Adriana Pope

January 27, 2023

In this Affiliate Marketing for Beginners guide, we’ll teach you how to create an army of influencers to promote your product while you focus on scaling your business.

Using an affiliate marketing model, you would be surprised how many big companies grow by collaboration.

An affiliate program is one of the best ways to grow your subscription business.

An affiliate program for a subscription company doesn’t have to be complicated or hard to start up.

The main benefit of setting up an affiliate program is that it can help grow your subscription business by increasing your revenue as affiliates send referrals to your store.

The second benefit is that it is outsourcing part of the sales and marketing process.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

A brand affiliate is when you partner with someone who will receive a commission for each sale they generate.

The affiliate will provide a referral link or code to their community, and promote your products.

For example, let’s say an affiliate successfully referred a sale and is awaiting payment of $15. You can pay them, which is known as payout or affiliate payment.

An affiliate program allows you to set up commissions you want to give your affiliates.

For example, if you give them 20% of profits on a subscription product (that they directly helped sell), they would get this dollar amount paid out to them.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Sharing Revenue

Affiliate marketing is a revenue-sharing model, which is excellent because you and the person promoting your product benefit from the sale.

The merchant and the affiliate make money, so it’s a win-win situation.

The customer is also happy because the affiliate has exposed them to an exciting product.

It’s best to approach influencers directly connected to your industry or niche to ensure they’ll perform well with their referrals.

If their community or followers are interested in similar topics (as the subscription product you are selling), this will have a higher chance of conversion.

What is the best Commission for Affiliate Marketing?

bark box commission program subscription box
Bark Box offers a high dollar amount affiliate commission on every new sign up

The commission amount you want to give affiliates depends on your numbers and what you can afford to part with.

You get the net profit if you minus all business expenses from revenue.

Decide how much of that profit you want to give away to the affiliate.

After all, without them, you wouldn’t make the sale.

Affiliate commission amounts typically vary between 5-20%, with 25% and above being on the higher end of the scale.

Remember, the higher the commission, the more alluring your affiliate program is.

We recommend starting with a happy medium amount of a 10% affiliate commission rate.

Test out your affiliate commission amount to see if you can get anyone signed up, you can always lower or increase the amount.

Affiliate Marketing Prep Questions:

  • What does it cost to make the subscription product?
  • How much are you charging for the subscription product?
  • How much does it cost to package the subscription product?
  • How much does it cost to ship the subscription product?
  • What are your operational costs? Employees, website, fulfillment costs, etc.?

Why Subscriptions are Ideal for Affiliate Marketing

unboxing video affiliate marketing subscription ideas

Subscriptions are products a person opts in to receive on an ongoing basis, meaning the order is automatically set to renew regularly.

This is highly recommended if you decide it makes sense to give a recurring commission.

Offering a recurring commission will make you stand out and helps you have an alluring offer that others companies might not be able to match.

This means the affiliate brand only has to convince the person once to sign up for the subscription product, and as long as that person stays subscribed, the affiliate will continue to get their commission.

Imagine telling a Twitch streamer that you’ll give them a recurring 10% affiliate commission on any subscription product they sell, by promoting your company to their community.

They’ll most likely jump on the opportunity!

How Affiliates Can Showcase your Subscription Product

affiliate marketing guide subscription product
In this vlog by FutureProof, mentions LeafShave & links to a 10% discount code in his description
  • Unboxing YouTube Video– This is particularly a good option for subscription box companies, & helps get people get excited.
  • Compare your product vs. competitor YouTube VideoThe StyleBlog created a vlog where she does a comparison between two subscription box to see which is better.
  • Email newsletter with affiliate link- They can do a little blurb about your company and include a promo code to give followers a discount (the link will be the affiliate link)
  • Create a YouTube video about your subscription product – The video can be just about your company and they an offer a special discount for new signups
  • Create a Blog article about the subscription product – An honest review of your subscription product, with a detailed description of the the benefits
  • Tweet on Twitter – If the influencer has a lot of followers, a mention of your subscription company can do wonders
  • Post on Instagram – Instagram influencers are perfect for demonstrable subscription products like beauty or makeup products.
  • Podcast partnerships- If you can get a podcast to join your affiliate program, they can do a quick advertisement in the beginning of their show. Tim Ferris starts off his podcast with This episode is brought to you by Magic Spoon Cereal!” and says use code TIM for free shipping.
  • Create a guest blog post on a major website – Creating a bucket list of the best subscription companies, and then making sure you’re mentioned as one of them is a powerful direct-website-traffic generator. Check out Wired’s list of the best subscription gift boxes.
  • For more inspiration, check out our guide on how to leverage social media marketing to grow your subscription business.
affiliate marketing ideas subscriptions
Tim Ferris verbally recommends Magic Spoon (an affiliate brand) on his podcast & also has an affiliate link on his website

The Beauty of Offering Recurring Commission

When customers buy a subscription product, they agree to automatic recurring payments.

So if you offer your affiliate a recurring commission, this is a strategic way to encourage them to join your program, stay on as an affiliate, and spread the word.

The subscriber’s recurring payments are then shared with the affiliate as a commission.

The commission payment is crucial in the relationship between an affiliate and the brand they promote.

Unlike an affiliate promoting a one-time purchase, where they only get paid once, a subscription gives them a recurring commission.

The number one cardinal rule is to make your commission payments on time. It’s best to create a schedule for payouts, such as weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. This way, there are no misunderstandings.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners is Low Cost

Affiliate marketing is a very cost-effective way to get started with collaborations.

Instead of paying a substantial upfront lump sum to an influencer to promote your product, they only get rewarded for sales you get from them.

Affiliate marketing is also low-risk because the affiliate only gets paid after they bring in a customer to purchase a subscription product.

Minimum Payment Amounts for Affiliates

Running an affiliate program costs money.

There’s the cost of the affiliate software service you chose to use, and the amount it costs to run/operate it.

Since you’ll most likely encounter transaction fees with the Affiliate software, it’s best to communicate a minimum payout threshold.

For example, you need to make X amount in affiliate sales, to get the commission payout.

This could look something like: Once you make a minimum of $100 in sales, you will receive a payout.

Should you have a Minimum Threshold for Affiliates?

When working with multiple influencers, you’ll want to evaluate who is doing the best at bringing on new subscription customers.

To avoid dead weight, you can impose a minimum threshold amount, such as “You need to have at least [X amount] of subscribers to stay on as an affiliate.”

Consider the time it takes to monitor them as an affiliate, make payouts, send out emails, create affiliate marketing campaigns, etc.

A minimum threshold for affiliates will encourage them to promote your subscription product even more.

What is the consequence of not doing a great job at referring your subscription product? If they don’t maintain the minimum threshold amount, they will get dropped as an affiliate.

How to Make Affiliate Marketing Payments

Remember that your affiliates might be located in different countries, so it’s best to offer multiple forms of payment.

Choosing a good payout method that works for most people worldwide is also ideal.

A straightforward payout process is one of the best ways to ensure they’ll stick around and be loyal.

If your payment to affiliates is not smooth or streamlined, you’ll see a drop in performance and loyalty.

Tipalti reported that 47.6% of people dropped out from an affiliate program due to payment issues.

The problems can be a late payment, payment not received, payment status not communicated, and a wrong payment amount.

Having a late payment in your affiliate program is the leading cause for an affiliate to drop out.

Best Affiliate Marketing Software for a Subscription

We recommend using a Shopify app such as GoAffPro, which works seamlessly with Ongoing subscriptions.

GoAffPro is one of the best affiliate marketing apps for an ecommerce store, especially on Shopify.

With over a thousand five-star reviews, this software delivers excellent customer service, and amazing documentation no matter what ecommerce platform you’re using.

GoAffPro provides the brand affiliate with their dashboard and analytics, so they can know how well they are doing with their campaign.

Affiliate Marketing Email Template

If you’re wondering how to contact influencers to join your affiliate program, we’ve got you covered!

If you have influencers or celebrities in your industry that you’d like to partner with, we recommend sending them the following template email.

Hi [insert name of influencer ]

My name is [insert your first name] & I’m the owner of [insert name of ecommerce store].

I would be thrilled if you would join our affiliate program!

We offer a generous revenue share, with a recurring commission of [insert amount%]

Our company’s purpose is focused on [insert a core value or belief], and we think your content on [insert name of social media platform] resonates with our core values, especially your posts about [describe a post they made that ties in directly with your company’s mission.]

If you’re interested, I’d be happy to discuss how our affiliate brand program works.

Many thanks!
[Insert your first name]
[insert your company role]

Best Shopify Subscriptions App for Affiliate Marketing – Ongoing

Ongoing is the best Shopify subscription app for stores looking to get started with automated recurring orders.
Ongoing offers a range of features that make it easy to set up and manage recurring orders.
Some of the key benefits of using Ongoing subscriptions include:

Easy setup: The app is simple to install and configure, allowing store owners to quickly get started with recurring orders. No code.

Flexible billing options: Ongoing subscriptions allows store owners to set up recurring billing on a variety of intervals, including weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.

Unified Shopify checkout: Ongoing allows store owners to keep their regular Shopify checkout experience for recurring orders, which helps increase conversions. No signup or account is required.

Password-less Subscriber Portal- Your customers get instant access to an online dashboard where they can update payment information, cancel or pause subscriptions, and make changes.

Automatic order scheduling: Ongoing subscriptions automatically creates recurring order based on the customer’s chosen frequency, saving store owners time and reducing the risk of errors.

Customer management: The app includes tools for managing customer subscriptions such as the power to change orders on behalf of customers, analytics, and customizable email notifications.

Overall, Ongoing subscriptions is a powerful tool that enables store owners to quickly set up and manage recurring orders, thus providing a more convenient shopping experience for customers and increasing revenue for the store.

affiliate marketing program subscription box

How to Attract Influencers to Join your Affiliate Marketing Program

It’s important to realize that influencers want to work with subscription companies that will be around 5-10-15 years from now.

This means you must position yourself as an expert and a professional in your niche.

  • Create an About Us page describing your company’s values and mission.
  • Make a Media Kit page with your press contact info, & images of your logo that can be used for affiliate purposes.
  • Get a real company email such as
  • Create a Affiliate & Ambassador Program page on your website with a form for applying. This example from Goddess Provisions asks how many followers do you have which is a great filtering question.

How Bokksu makes 25 Million with Brand Affiliates

affiliate marketing guide subscription business
The Youtuber Paolo from Tokyo mentioning Bokksu subscription box during a Tokyo Bento Box Vlog

Bokksu sells millions of dollars worth of subscription boxes. How do they do it?

Bokksu leverages the power of affiliate marketing to promote their subscription business.

The YouTuber Paolo from Tokyo interrupts his video midway to do a sponsored advertisement for the company Bokksu.

The YouTube Paolo excitedly announces to his Youtube audience, use my code Paulo15 to get $15 off your first Japanese Snack Box.

For every subscription box, he sells through that affiliate code, he’ll probably get an affiliate commission from Bokksu.

Bokksu is targeting the right audience for their subscription box because the Youtube channel Paolo from Tokyo is all about Japanese food.

It makes sense that people watching videos about Japanese food would be interested in a Japanese food subscription box.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Advertisements

Influencers directly impact (or influence) what their fans and followers purchase.

Their direct impact on consumer behavior is the primary value they bring to the affiliate marketing relationship.

  1. Increase sales – The number one reason you would want to partner with influencers is to increase subscription sales.
  2. Creates trust in your brand – The advertisement creates trust since the influencer vouches for the subscription product.
  3. Get more views than Skippable Ads – since the advertisement is a part of the vlog, people can’t click a skip button.
  4. Target the right audience – If you choose an influencer within the same niche, their audience and community will likely buy your subscription product.
  5. Brand awareness – The influencer promoting your brand educates people about your business who may have never heard of you. This person may remember the ad later and buy directly from your website.
  6. Outsource sales efforts – Affiliate marketing promotes the product among many people who only get paid if they generate results.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Grow your Subscription Business

In conclusion, affiliate marketing is a powerful tool that can help subscription-based businesses grow their customer base and increase revenue.

By partnering with other companies and individuals who share your target market, you can tap into a wider audience and gain valuable exposure for your business.

By following the tips outlined in this article, such as building relationships with influencers and creating engaging content, you can maximize the potential of affiliate marketing to drive growth for your subscription business.

Remember, building a strong and profitable subscription business takes time and effort, but you can increase your chances of success by implementing effective marketing strategies like affiliate marketing.

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