The Shopify Affiliate Program [Promotion Strategies]
The Shopify CMS has exploded in popularity the last several years as make money online gurus have hyped the insane earnings potential of eCommerce sites.
According to w3techs.com, Shopify is used by 1.4% of websites. For reference, WordPress, which I use, is used by 32.5% of all websites (Source) and there is a WordPress affiliate program which I reviewed.
In this post, I’ll examine how much you can earn using the Shopify Affiliate Program and some promotional strategies.
- How Much Can You Make?
- The Big Idea
- How To Promote
- Building A Shopify Support Resource
- Summing Up
How Much Can You Make?
The short answer is if you’re an affiliate for Shopify,
“affiliates can earn an average of $58 for each user who signs up for a paid plan with your unique affiliate link, and $2000 for each Plus referral. To maximize your earnings, each referral will be supported to help them transition from trial to paid plan.” (Source)
You can see that there is a range of different paid plans you can promote, as of December 2018:
The Shopify Plus plan is an enterprise-grade option- and as of this writing, you need to fill out this form to request pricing (Source).
But Shopify is understandably willing to pay affiliates a lot of money ($2,000) to get an enterprise client.
According to their Shopify affiliate page:
“You’re eligible to receive a bounty payment for merchants that you refer to a paid Shopify plan through your affiliate link. Shopify Plus referrals are eligible for an additional bonus. To learn more about the revenue that you’re entitled to as a Shopify Affiliate, see Shopify Partner revenue share.”
Other Partnership Opportunities
It’s important to understand there are several different partnership opportunities, according to this Shopify page:
- Shopify Partners
- Shopify Plus Partners
For our purposes, the most relevant opportunity is with their standard Affiliate program.
The Shopify Partners program, according to this page, enables
“a diverse group of designers, developers, marketers, and affiliates who use the Shopify platform to build ecommerce websites, themes, and apps. We offer our partners three great ways to grow their business and generate ongoing monthly revenue: refer clients to Shopify, create ecommerce themes and publish them in the Shopify Theme Store, [and] create Shopify apps and publish them in the Shopify App Store.”
So, if you’re someone who is looking to publish apps and themes, that’s the partner program you should investigate.
But, for my purposes, as an information publisher, the standard affiliate program is where I would focus.
The Big Idea
The big idea here is creating a high-quality authority site, with a variety of social media traffic channels, that helps individuals and organizations make informed decisions about choosing and using the Shopify Content Management System.
As you create content, you’ll be strategically inserting Shopify (as well as other internet-marketing tool) affiliate links into your content to monetize the traffic.
My Application Info
I included my application information below. You can see that I took some time to write up some thoughtful responses- including why I was a fit and how I could hit the ground running.
My Application Answers
“I run a marketing blog called NicheFacts.com.
I help entrepreneurs research niches and build large content sites that use eCommerce as a monetization option.
I run several large content sites, besides NicheFacts.com, which is the marketing blog, that generate a substantial amount of yearly income.
I’ve been self-employed in this capacity for several years. Prior to that, I worked in the NYC startup community as a digital marketing manager and consultant.”
I Got Approved
As you can see below, I got approved to the program:
That should give you an idea of how to apply for an affiliate program and get approved- now I’ll discuss how to create the affiliate link and some promotional strategies.
Creating The Affiliate Links
Once you’re approved, you can log in to your Shopify Partners dashboard, click Affiliate tools and you’ll see your affiliate link:
I am using that affiliate link in this post, cloaked by ThirstyAffiliates, to monetize Shopify traffic- so if you click some of the “Shopify” keywords in this post you’ll see that they are actually affiliate links for Shopify.
Getting Started With Niche SitesUse the strategies on this page in conjunction with my niche site process. Here it is in a nutshell:
- AuthorityHacker's Authority Site System (my review): a complete, step-by-step system to start growing your own highly profitable affiliate & authority niche site.
- A cloud-based on-page optimization tool: Surfer SEO makes your on-page SEO easier, faster, and more effective than ever using data-driven, real-time signals to rank in search engines.
- A reliable and fast hosting solution like SiteGround (my review)
- A brandable domain name from GoDaddy (my guide)
- A premium theme- I use GeneratePress but there are some cool niche themes on ThemeForest
- SEO Friendly Article Writing ($8-$12 / 1,000 words) from HireWriters (read: my HireWriters review)
- Powerful Backlinks from Authority.Builders (read: my Authority.Builders review)
- An automated social media drip campaign from MissingLettr
- An auto-responder to build your email list– ConvertKit is what I'm using (read: my ConvertKit review)
- Finally- you can always refer to my free step-by-step niche selection guide and all of my free niche reports for inspiration
How To Promote
If you want to promote the Shopify affiliate program, you’ll be creating content in the internet marketing space.
Shopify Keyword Research
I did some keyword research below- I used Ahrefs to extract 1,000 of their top-performing keywords.
Refer back to this table to browse content ideas- I’ll be discussing more detailed promotional strategies below.
As you can see, there’s a variety of different themes Shopify generates traffic for, including:
- name generator
- logo maker
- business name generator
- company name generator
- royalty free images
- logo generator
- free images
- business ideas
- free stock photos
- slogan generator
- best free photo editor
- drop shipping
- now in stock
- free pictures
- shipping easy
- how to make money on instagram
- gift certificate template
- domain name generator
- stock photos
- drop shipping
- slogan maker
- profit margin calculator
If you want to promote Shopify, you can see that the content themes coalesce under the umbrella of ‘internet marketing’.
These are people looking to build online businesses, register domain names, find stock photos, even make money on Instagram.
Building A Shopify Support Resource
If I were trying to promote Shopify, the way I’d do it is by creating a content site that targets low-competition keywords to start along with a high-quality YouTube channel.
A 1-2 Combo
This would be a 1-2 traffic combo- both the website and YouTube channel would push monetizable traffic to Shopify.
If you’re really intent on promoting Shopify, one of the easiest ways to get traffic is to create a Shopify support site/YouTube channel.
The idea is to be a tech-solution type of content site with an associated YouTube channel.
This style of content would help users fix common issues, do advanced customization, help them select specialty themes, provide best-practices information on things like product photography, building eCommerce email lists, abandoned cart conversions, etc.
Here’s a screenshot of some of Shopify’s top-ranking support keywords:
You can see some solid support topics you can rank for including “shopify API” and “how to remove powered by Shopify”.
If I were starting a support-style site, I’d focus on the long-tail keywords- find keywords with a Keyword Difficulty under 15 (using Ahrefs) and begin creating content.
That should get you some traffic to start and you can begin strategically promoting Shopify’s affiliate program in your content using a tool like ThirstyAffiliates, or as a widget, or even a site-wide banner.
Here’s an example of how the Ecommerce Guide website promotes Shopify- you can see it has a really clear call to action:
The YouTube Channel
If you head over to YouTube and search for “Shopify Review”, you’ll see a ton of channels competing for this term. The Wholesale Ted channel I screenshot below was the number #1 ranking video at the time of this writing, in December of 2018.
You can see that the video creator’s video description, there’s an affiliate link to Shopify, along with links to a bunch of other content resources on a website and her channel.
What I would do, I would find keywords that I want to target- for example, “Shopify vs WooCommerce” and produce high-quality content on my website and then an associated YouTube video.
The video would link to my website and the website would embed and also link to my YouTube video.
I’d also be capturing emails and remarketing all of my site and YouTube content back to my list.
This is an easy content plan to start- you’re creating hyper-targeted content on two different traffic-acquisition channels, both of which are referring traffic to each other, to your email list, and to Shopify itself.
Other Social Promotion
You can automate an intelligent drip-campaign using a service like MissingLettr- this would plug into your site’s RSS feed and generate social media campaigns across a range of different platforms over the course of 3, 6 or 12 months.
Using a service like MissingLettr ensures that your content isn’t forgotten- a post you wrote 3 months ago is still being promoted across your social media channels even after you yourself have forgotten about it!
You can also use things like Stencil and Buffer to create attractive social media content and automate its cross-channel social publication.
There’s obviously a lot you can do with promotion- but the great thing is is that you don’t necessarily need to spend time building links, which everyone hates.
If you patiently execute on this sort of content formula, you will begin seeing solid traffic returns- which should yield affiliate commissions over time.
Shopify is a big-time player in the Content Management System space and its affiliate program looks to be pretty generous.
There’s obviously a ton of money to be made referring individuals and organizations to Shopify.
My approach would be to create reams of high-quality content- helping individuals and organizations make informed decisions about using Shopify.
While I recommend publishing on a website/YouTube to start- you can focus on different channels in the beginning, or launch with those two and add in some additional traffic-acquisition arms like Twitter and Pinterest if you have the bandwidth.
The big idea is that there’s an insatiable demand for content on the internet- especially when it comes to making complex decisions regarding the use of a Content Management System.
Capitalize on that demand by producing high-quality content intelligently monetized with affiliate links and it’s a sure-fire recipe for making money online.