According to industry projections, by 2021, gross expenditure on affiliate marketing will be $6.8 billion, according to a recent report in Inc. Given the growing prevalence of this advertisement technique, many brands remain unclear as to what exactly affiliate marketing is—or how they can incorporate it in their own strategies.

In short, affiliate marketing is a process by which companies work together with third-party outlets to sell their products. These affiliates exchange links to goods and receives a small commission on sales or web traffic created by their content. Unlike regular ad placements, the brand is not responsible for creating ad content. Instead, the affiliates themselves are producing the material.

A wide variety of partners can fall under the umbrella of affiliate marketing, making creating a reliable and meaningful network an important priority for today’s brands.

Understand the options of your networking.

How to Build a Profitable Affiliate Network From Scratch

Before you start creating your own affiliate network, you should consider the types of affiliates out there. After all, various partners may be better suited to your brand than others.

A recent article from Scaleo, an affiliate marketing software solution, observed that most affiliates fell into one of three categories: publishers, advertisers, and influencers. Each of them uses their reach to promote your product.

Typically, the best affiliates will garner a certain audience that will be interested in your product. For instance, if you sold gym equipment, a fitness Instagram influencer might be a good choice for an affiliate partnership.

In that regard, another excellent alternative would be a fitness journal, and the article pointed out. A magazine could advertise the goods of the gym business the way the company wants it to happen. Advertisements, social media alerts, or content connections will all be possible outlets, the article said.

The good news is that you and your business don’t have to feel stressed about handling partner relationships. Affiliate marketing software systems provide a framework that helps marketers manage their affiliate campaigns. These systems also handle payments and transaction monitoring in order to further ease the workload.

When choosing partners, you should concentrate on affiliates that seem to be the most logical match for your niche. Study the audiences of the affiliates and the messaging strategies to decide whether any fit the brand image. These are the partners most likely to be involved in supporting your goods while at the same time providing quality traffic to your site.

Create an engaging opportunity.

How to Build a Profitable Affiliate Network From Scratch

Affiliate marketing is about creating a win-win situation for you and your partners at the end of the day. Many are entering this sector as a secondary source of income or intending to see it as a primary source of income.

For example, a case study by the online marketing company I Am Dawn-Marie showed how CB Passive Income had gained its creator over $12,000 in commission within its first three months of service. This happened thanks to a combination of blogging, email marketing, target landing pages, and more.

Such case studies demonstrate that many people choose to become affiliate marketers. They also indicate that these advertisers are deliberately seeking to weed out the best collaborations.

As a brand, you need to make your own affiliate marketing program as appealing as you can. This begins with the payment of a quality commission rate, and what is perceived to be a reasonable rate may usually vary depending on the industry.

Only take the Amazon. The commission structure of the e-commerce giant is based on the type of product. Although video games commissions are only 1%, fashion items receive an amazing 10% fee. Other programs provide even higher commissions for affiliates selling more goods.

As Mark Hayes wrote in Shopify’s blog post:

“You’re going to have to do some calculations to find out how much of a percentage you can afford to give up doing affiliate marketing. Will you share 5 percent of the gross sales revenue? How about 10% of that? The higher the percentage, the more affiliate traffic you will generally receive.”

Have clear goals.

How to Build a Profitable Affiliate Network From Scratch

And with the aid of an online network, you should be actively searching for new potential relationships when trying to make it as simple as possible for your current partners.

In The Balance SMB’s blog post, Laura Lake recommended: 

“Provide your affiliate partners with creative and promotional materials. You want to make their marketing of your products and services as easy as possible. The less work they need to do and the more conversions they see, the more likely they are to promote your products or services.”

So, regularly interact with current affiliate partners as you introduce or modify your product line. Be sure to include any marketing instructions relevant to your goods in advance to prevent expensive or reputation-damaging misunderstandings.

The disastrous California wildfires provide a case study: as Digiday reported, several influencers were controversial in 2018 as they used the destructive fires to support their personal accounts and brand partners—a move that inevitably harmed the brand’s overall image. When collaborating with affiliate marketers, develop specific rules or guidelines to avoid such credibility issues.


In short, creating a strong affiliate marketing network may take a bit of effort. Still, once the network is in place, this kind of system is relatively low-maintenance compared to other advertising strategies.

However, one thing will remain constant: you should always keep networking! The more affiliates you meet, the greater your sales potential. Be willing to spend time to constantly attract quality partners.

Using a commission-based set-up to allow others to advertise your products, you can effectively create a modern word-of-mouth mechanism that produces more consumers than ever before.

If you are looking to create your own affiliate network, give Scaleo a try – 14 days free, no credit card required!

Last Updated on January 17, 2024


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.