Word of mouth is one of the most effective and cost-efficient marketing tools at your disposal. Maintaining an active network of Affiliates who act as an extended arm of advertisers, advocates, bloggers, and organizations can help drive traffic to your store. Volusion provides tools for you to track, manage, and reward your affiliates!
Turning on the Affiliate Function
For all new stores purchased after 10/23/2019, the Affiliate function is turned off by default. This is a security precaution. However, turning the functionality on is as simple as a click of your mouse!
From your store's Dashboard choose Settings > Config Variables.
Click the 'Search' button at the top of the page and enter "affiliate" in the Name field.
Click the blue 'Search' button at the top right.
You should now see a list of variables including "Enable Affiliate Marketing".
Click the checkbox in the Value row and then click the blue 'Save' button at the top right.
Your Affiliate Marketing is now enabled!
When a person signs up to be an affiliate, they'll be given a unique URL that links to your site. Whenever an customer visits your store through an affiliate's link, sales generated from that URL will be recorded, allowing you to track how effective your affiliates are!
Customers can become affiliates through the Become an Affiliate link located in your storefront footer. If you don't see that link, you can add one to your theme. Please be aware that this is the only way to create a customer as an affiliate. Simply changing the Access Key in Customers > Accounts to Affiliate DOES NOT make that customer an affiliate. They must sign up through the link for the system to recognize their affiliate status.
You might also consider creating pages to advertise your affiliate program!
To take a peek at all your affiliates, just follow these steps:
- Go to Marketing → Affiliates in your Admin Area.
- Click the ID number of an affiliate to view their account settings.
Now you can start customizing Affiliate accounts!
Affiliate Account Access 🔎
Once a customer has been made an affiliate, they can log in to their account and click Visit My Affiliate Page. This page contains reports, customized banner ads and your affiliate's link. It's important that your affiliates use this custom link, or else they won't get credit for their referrals!
Note that before an affiliate can use your store's banner ads, you need to create or generate the graphic content for use with the banner ads and upload them to your store.
Volusion supports up to 3 different types of affiliate banner ads. These banner graphics will need to be contained within the following locations within the Volusion store:
Banner graphics can be created with imaging software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Once banner images have been created, they can be uploaded to the directory locations listed above with your store's built-in FTP account.
Log in to your store's FTP account, and go to Vspfiles/Templates/X/Images (where "X" refers to the name or number of the template that is published to your store).
You may need to create a new "Banners" folder in your FTP if one doesn’t already exist.
Once you're in the "Banners" folder, upload your banner named as "banner1.gif", "banner2.gif" or "banner3.gif".
Once the images are uploaded, you're done! See How to Set Up Your Volusion FTP (SFTP) Account for more information.
Note that the banner graphics for the affiliate banner system only support the .GIF image file type and must follow the naming format "banner1.gif", "banner2.gif", and "banner3.gif" as stated above.
Setting Up Payments 💸
To set up how much you'd like to pay your affiliates, do the following:
- Go to Marketing → Affiliates.
- Select Affiliate Settings from the Filter menu.
- Enter a value into each field to get your system up and running!
Now it's time to decide how you'll be paying your affiliates.
You can easily pay your affiliates by going to Marketing → Affiliates and selecting Pay Affiliates from the Filter menu. Some fields you may want to know when filling out this section:
- Percent 1 (the percentage paid in commissioned sales to a primary affiliate)
- Percent 2, 3, etc. (If your affiliates have sub-affiliates, ones that signed up with your store when linked to the store from another affiliate's tracking URL, these tiers will let you assign a percentage of payout to them as well.)
- Group Title (If several affiliates are being conducted by a single company, you can use the field to group them under a single label.)
- Affiliate ID (This is the same ID as the affiliate's customer account.)
- Parent ID (If you're looking at a sub-affiliate, this will tell you the ID of the parent affiliate.)
- Days To Track (the number of days a customer can visit your store from the affiliate's link before the purchase is no longer credited to that affiliate)
- Affiliate Type (This can be defined as Regular Affiliates, Newsletters, Ad Campaigns or Other.)
- News ID (If the affiliate entry's Affiliate Type is Newsletter, the ID of the newsletter can be listed here.)
Once you set up your affiliate payment info, it's time to get those checks out!
To pay commissions to affiliates
- Enter the date up to when commissioned sales should be paid in the text box near the top of the page and click Go. This will reload the contents of the PayChecks for Affiliates table, displaying all affiliate commission data based on the date you entered.
- Select Click Here to Print All Checks for the Selected Period.
- On the Automated Check Printing page, you’ll set up and print the checks to issue to your affiliates.
And then to complete the payment process
- Generate electronic checks for payable commissions by entering a check date, a memo (optional), selecting to print 1 or 3 checks per page, and clicking Print Checks.
- Once checks are printed, click your web browser's Back button to return to the previous page and click Confirm Printing.
Your store will adjust the balances for the commissions paid! Please note that affiliate payouts can only occur for orders that have had payment received and have had the 'Complete Order' button clicked. 💸
Canceling Affiliate Accounts 🙅🏼
Canceling an affiliate account is easy:
- Just go to Marketing → Affiliates.
- Click on the Customer ID of the Affiliate you would like to cancel.
- In the Access Key drop-down list, select Cancelled / No Access.
- Click Save.
Your Affiliate's account will now be cancelled!
The affiliates program is a powerful tool that can extend the reach of your store by marketing it across a broad range of online communities. Maintaining mutually beneficial affiliate relationships can help drive traffic to your store and improve your sales!