While we typically recommend the online store owners look at a solution that’s not Squarespace, due to the platform’s particular limitations, sometimes it is the right solution, due to the ease of use. If your Squarespace store has a loyal following, it may be time to consider an affiliate program, which can build more raving fans and get them invested in your business.
What is an affiliate program?
Affiliate marketing provides incentives for customer referrals.
Ever wondered why all the sudden all your Facebook friends are promoting Rothy’s? That’s because Rothy’s gives referring customers $10 each time they refer someone who makes a purchase. That’s one kind of affiliate program, which provides store credit in exchange for recommending products.
Another common type of program shares a percentage. For example, if you subscribe to ConvertKit using my link, I get a small percentage (THANK YOU!). Depending on your marketing strategy (particularly if you rely heavily on online reviews from influential folks), an affiliate program can be well worth the money.
What are the ethical issues around launching an affiliate program in your online store, Squarespace or otherwise?
When you get down to brass tacks, the biggie is disclosure (your affiliates should have a disclosure statement on their websites) and authentic recommendations. Make sure your affiliates understand that they need to disclose their financial relationship. And, select your affiliates carefully—focus on building a community of people who do truly love your product and aren’t just shilling it for that sweet sweet passive income.
What tools can you use for affiliate marketing on a Squarespace site?
Squarespace doesn’t have built in affiliate management, so you’ll need to use a third party tool. I’ve researched this extensively and as of writing (summer 2019) the following are available and appear to be reputable: Referral Candy, Tapfiliate and Affiiatly. Referral Candy and Tapfiliate are definitely the most established, but Affiliatly is reputable as well, and is making inroads in this market.
In my research I also discovered Peach’s (yes, with the apostrophe), but can’t figure out much about the team behind it. I will update this post if I do.
What’s the most cost-effective Squarespace affiliate marketing tool?
That depends on your store and affiliate marketing plan!
However, I really really like Affiliatly’s transparent pricing (which aligns with my values) and the fact that they don’t take a commission—your price is your price, and that depends on the number of affiliates you have. Clean and simple. The $16/month plan with up to 50 affiliates could be great for a Squarespace store owner who wants to test the waters of affiliate marketing at an accessible price point.
Referral Candy has more features (so if you have a complex affiliate marketing plan, you might want to take a look at it), but the pricing is confusing, even though they do provide a calculator on their website (they charge a commission).
Tapfiliate has a boatload of features that could be amazing for a high volume Squarespace store, but they do have overage fees. This is likely not a concern for small stores but could be a worry for some people.
What else should I know about adding an affiliate program to my Squarespace store?
I recommend starting small. There’s no reason to have hundreds of affiliates running around. Invite a select group of your more loyal supporters as a thank you. Be prepared to provide your affiliates with quality assets and all the tools they need to be successful. Furthermore, you’ll want to evaluate your affiliate marketing efforts regularly (at least quarterly) to ensure it’s in alignment with the rest of your marketing and retool, if need be.