Looking for the best Shopify Apps for Affiliate Programs? You may want to read this before browsing all of the affiliate apps on the Shopify app store…
So you’re looking for Shopify apps for affiliate programs in 2018? Good call. When most e-commerce brands start to get early traction, their next major concern is scaling. And building an affiliate program is a great way to address scaling challenges and sell more product with very little effort required.
The best Shopify apps for affiliate programs are Refersion, LeadDyno, and OmniStar. These three apps are reasonably priced, and they have all the features you need to start your Shopify affiliate program successfully.
However, in our opinion, the Shopify affiliate program app you chose, doesn’t actually make that much of a difference.
When analyzing all of the top Shopify affiliate programs, the app isn’t what made the biggest difference…
Their ability to recruit high performing, reliable and consistent affiliates was the biggest factor of success!
Now, there are certainly some nuances when it comes to selecting the app like pricing and some feature differentiation which we’ll discuss, along with the following items…
- What is affiliate marketing for Shopify?
- How to find great affiliates?
- How do you incentivize (and retain) affiliates?
- How do people sell affiliate products on Shopify?
- Shopify Multilevel Marketing explained
- The best Shopify apps for affiliate programs (and which to IGNORE!)
- Concluding Shopify apps for affiliate programs
What is affiliate marketing for Shopify?
A simple way to think about affiliate marketing is a partnership between a brand and marketer (or person) who has the ability to get your product in front of your ideal audience. And sell it.
And the beautiful thing about it is you only have to pay them when they generate a sale or lead!
When you partner up with an affiliate, you usually use a third-party tool that helps you measure the results and success of their efforts through affiliate links.
Affiliate links are custom links you give to your affiliate to use in promotion, that helps you track website traffic, conversions, etc. that they drive to your Shopify store/website.
How to find great affiliates for Shopify?
Like we mentioned earlier, the biggest impact we’ve seen on an affiliate program’s success is the companies ability to find and retain great affiliates. So before we share the top Shopify apps, here are a few key strategies for finding great affiliates.
Most of your (bigger) competitors likely already have established affiliate programs. A great way to cheat the learning curve is to see how they’re affiliates are promoting their products (and potentially partner up with them!).
Here’s a nifty little trick to find promotions of your competitors’ affiliates!
Keep a close eye on what I type into google.
You’ll notice I use the verbiage that affiliates are likely to use, like “use promo code”.
I then specify which sites I want to include in my google search results with the “site:youtube.com”.
By leverage this advanced search, I was able to instantly find three examples (and affiliates) promoting these products.
Just replace Barkbox with your competitors and wallah! You will find some examples of their promotions. You may also want to test different searches on instagram.com, facebook.com (instead of site:youtube.com) and even swap out some keywords like “my invite code”, “this link”, etc. (instead of promo code) if you have a hard time finding results.
Another great strategy of finding affiliates is Facebook groups.
There are hundreds of affiliate groups on Facebook, so be sure to join them, search around, and once you get accepted into the group, search for keywords relevant to your niche!
Instagram (hashtag research)
One of the most underrated strategies of this decade, according to Gary Vaynerchuk, is cold outreach on Instagram messages.
As you likely know, Instagram search is a very powerful tool for finding photos by hashtags, but you can also find people and influencers too (that are likely to be interested in business opportunities).
There are over a billion active monthly users on Instagram, and many of those people are powerful influencers and thought leaders that can promote your product.
There are two ways to do research. The first is searching hashtags as seen in the GIF above. The second is going to relative pages and clicking the Dropdown.
Instagram shows you “relevant pages” which are often times generic industry pages that are actually affiliates and influencers.
If you are precise with keyword research on Instagram, and direct messaging potential affiliates and influencers, you just may find your next best affiliate!
Youtube and Google
As briefly mentioned in the competitor research section, a great source of affiliates is on Youtube and Google. If you can find people on these social sites that have already sold similar products, theirs a great possibility they can help you achieve similar results!
How do you incentivize (and retain) good affiliates?
So the big challenge we see most people get stumped at is properly incentivizing affiliates.
Because, let’s be honest, there are so many brands… Why should an affiliate work with you, instead of your competitors?
The answer is an attractive bounty.
Take a listen to Neil Patel on how you can work backward from your business economics, to find a great bounty that works for everyone, and out-bid your competitors.
But in order to outbid your competitors, you obviously need to know what they’re offering.
Here’s how you can find out.
Most of your competitors ( or websites in general ) keep their affiliate program in the footer of their website, which means you can easily go to it and see what their bounty is! But if it’s not visible in their footer, you can use this advanced google search query trick to find the affiliate programs if your competitors (are sneaky) and hide them!
Notice how I search “affiliates” and then I add + site:barkbox.com – this tells google to only show me results from barkbox.com!
Pretty neat, huh?!
Once you do this, you may have to click around through a few google pages (some brands don’t want this info public!), but you should be able to find it if they have one.
This result was on the second page of google!
Just replace “Barkbox.com” with your competitors and you will search the web for the keyword “affiliate” and filter ONLY results of the site (competitor) you specify!
Another thing to keep in mind is that affiliates aren’t just driving purchases.
They are driving customers. Which should come back again and again, if you serve them well!
So keep that in mind when determining your bounty.
How do people sell affiliate products on Shopify?
So you may be wondering, who exactly is this so-called “affiliate” and how do they sell my products?
Affiliate marketers have a wide-variety of marketing strategies and backgrounds.
It could be major hobbyist in your niche who have a large organic following on social media, or it could be an expert advertiser who has no organic following but can sell your product on paid traffic like Facebook ads.
Shopify Multi level Marketing explained
I do want to make a quick note on Multi–level marketing or MLM. Multi-level marketing is a common way to further incentivize affiliates to recruit OTHER affiliates for you by giving them an additional bonus for each conversion that the new affiliate (that they recruited) generates for you.
Some of the apps below, including LeadDyno, support MLM programs if something you are looking for!
The best Shopify apps for affiliate programs (and which to IGNORE)
The best Shopify apps for affiliate programs are Refersion, LeadDyno, and OmniStar. Here’s a breakdown on each.
1) Refersion Shopify App
When most people think of affiliate program apps, they think of Refersion. And that’s because they’re the best.
That’s assuming you consider the one the most positive reviews the “best”.
Refersion has over 600 reviews on their Shopify app with an average rating of 4.7-star review.
That’s the best out of all affiliate program apps we’ve reviewed!
They are also the most affordably priced out of this list with pricing starting as low as $19/month with a free 14-day free trial.
2) LeadDyno Shopify App
LeadDyno is the Shopify app was built to be “Easy Influencer & Affiliate Marketing” along with a solution for MLM support.
They have been on the Shopify app store since late 2013, and have served thousands of customers with over 400 reviews at an average 4.6-star review! Pretty good if you ask me!
Their pricing starts at $29/month and includes a 30-day free trial. Here’s the full layout of their pricing.
Check them out on the Shopify app store here.
3) OmniStar Shopify App
The last Shopify affiliate app to mention is OmniStar.
This Shopify app popped up in the Shopify app store in early 2012 and has been chugging along slowly ever since. Despite this app not seeing the same traction as the others, they still have a handful of happy customers.
With 27 reviews, at an average review of 4.6-rating, it appears they have a good product with the most recent complaints coming about only their customer support.
Their pricing seems to be one-size fits all at $47/month. With a 15-day free trial.
Feel free to take a look at their Shopify app here.
Refersion, LeadDyno, and OmniStar seem to be the best apps for affiliate programs on Shopify today. You are welcome to explore all of the others however I’d caution you before doing so. Some of the other apps have been received a large number of negative reviews due to poor support and many technical issues.
After sifting through a handful negative reviews on the other apps, it may be worth ignoring the other apps and testing these first, unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise!
Building a referral program is a great way to drive sales and grow your business without having to run extreme marketing efforts by yourself. When you craft a compelling bounty, find the right affiliates, use the right tools, and continue to focus on driving up LTV (customer lifetime value), you can turn a referral program into an insanely profitable growth channel for your Shopify business, even while out-bidding your competitors for the top affiliates!
Let us know what you think in the comments below, and as always…
Happy affiliating! 😉