Hi, I’m Enelin Paas, a strategic marketer, online teacher and a speaker. I’m the Head of Business Development at SafetyWing — a Y-Combinator company in Silicon Valley building a global social safety net. Through affiliate marketing I have been growing SafetyWing 20% every month since the launch from Feb 2018, with 0 ads spent. In this guide I teach you the main tips and tricks that’s needed to know about affiliate marketing and partnerships for growing online business organically. You’ll find my step-by-step formula you can use to start your own affiliate program and grow your business!


Affiliate marketers are working as mediators, resellers online. They sell a product or service online and earn a commission from it. The commission that they earn can be money, free products, cheaper products (a coupon) for them or their community or a combination of these.

The goal of affiliate marketing is to establish a win-win business relationship. With affiliate marketing everyone will win: the business owner makes more sales and the affiliate earns commission while the audience is happy to have found a great product or service thanks to the affiliate’s recommendation.

Affiliates are for example:
1. Individuals.
Influencers like bloggers, youtubers, instagrammers etc.

2. Business partners.
Businesses and organisations that share an audience with you.


If you have an online product or service you want to sell more, then the answer is yes! And it’s risk-free for your business as you will pay the commission only after the sale is made for you!

Why should you have an Affiliate program for your business:

  • It is effective → People don´t watch ads anymore, but they do listen to what other people and experts say.
  • It is passive → Once it’s set up, it can grow organically and exponentially.
  • It is free → You can pay the Affiliates commission only. So you pay only for what you get.


Yes, it’s tested and proven. Here are some of the reasons why it’s working:

  • I’m 100% sure you have bought something via an affiliate. How? If you have ever used Google to search for a product, used a review site, searched information in social media and found a product you’d like to buy, most probably you eventually used an affiliate link.
  • According to Business Insider Intelligence**:
    Nearly three-quarters (74%) of US shoppers say they visit two to three non-retail websites before completing a purchase.
  • Affiliate marketing is one of the four largest sources of e-commerce orders, outperforming social commerce and display advertising.
  • According to TradeTrouble*:
    74% of people trust social media networks to guide them through their purchase decisions.
  • 49% of people rely on influencer recommendations.
  • 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase based on a tweet.
  • Affiliate marketing its word-of-mouth marketing from people we listen to, trust, believe, and admire. It works because it’s not a salesy ads but genuine recommendations based on other people’s knowledge and experience.

Affiliate marketing does work and in today’s world it’s a must-have for an online business!


Finding affiliate partners for your business.

Measure twice, cut once they say. The first step for creating an affiliate program for your business is research.

First, you need to find out your keywords. What you need to do is simply think as your potential client does. What are the keywords they are using when they are searching for (information about) a product like yours in Google?

You need to know your keywords because:

  • Then you know what to use when you create your content — you need to use the same keywords that your potential clients are using, only then can they find you easily.
  • You can find content creators who are already creating amazing content in the same field, niche. Then you can ask to collaborate with them and join your affiliate program.

Research saves tons of time and money. Even a small amount of research is better than no research. Knowing your keywords will bring you to the right affiliate partners and clients.

Choosing the right affiliate partners for your business who can make sales for you.

After you have found your keywords and have already found some great potential partners, you may wonder, where to start and who to choose to work with?

The best affiliate partners for long-term collaboration are bloggers and Youtubers. The main reason is the content created by them stays out there forever and also supports your SEO. Unlike with Instagram for example, where the post disappears fast and IG story even faster (max 24h). Blog posts or Youtube videos can be created once and make sales for years.

You may wonder, how big or small the partner should be to be a great partner. My “sweet spot” so to say is from 7k to 30k followers. If they are smaller than 7k, they are a bit too small to invest time into. If they are very big, with many followers, they may not be willing to work with you only for commission and can be expensive to work with. Or they may have their own super specific terms, so it’s hard to even reach them.

If there’s no engagement nothing else matters, because this means in any case no one sees or interacts with that content. Try to work with accounts whose engagement rate is at least 5%. The higher the engagement rate, the better. It shows if people are actually interested in this content. Are they engaged or not?

How to set up a proper system.

One of the most common questions is how to reward your affiliate partner. Some of them are happy with just a free product, some of them like to promote you for commission, and some of them ask for a big sponsorship.
I recommend giving away your product plus commission, because this is the only way they can really try and test your product and create truthful personalized content. Adding the sales commission is crucial for sales motivation and long-term collaboration.

There are great affiliate program SAAS softwares out there that are reasonably priced, easy to set up and simple for the affiliate to signup and use.

My favorite ones are FirstPromoter, LeadDyno and AffiliateWP.


Your to-do list:
✓ Research and analyze (see the first 2 steps)
✓ Outreach and negotiation (get their contact, reach out, and negotiate a good deal for you)
✓ Set them up in the system you selected (send them the signup link)
✓ Provide information (info they need for promotion, for example marketing materials)
✓ Ready to go (make sure they will post eventually!)

Affiliate’s to-do list:
✓ Create content
✓ Post and promote
✓ Ask questions, give feedback
✓ Sell


Make sure your affiliate partners are getting paid correctly and on time. Affiliate management systems like FirstPromoter, LeadDyno and AffiliateWP have great automatic payment features built-in. They have integrations with payment methods like PayPal so you can pay all your affiliate partners with one click.

Grow the partnership
Always keep your affiliate partners updated about your features, products, and about the company overall. Keep them informed and also include them in company developments. Always being included also increases motivation.

Grow marketing
Make sure to always generate new marketing materials and campaign ideas, to support your partners.

Remember — Affiliate partners are your business partners. They are an important part of your business. If you think of them and treat them that way they will be more motivated to work with you, and then you can all grow your businesses together more efficiently.


Let me know what you think!
Cheers, Enelin

See more about affiliate marketing here: