Partnerships Cheat Sheet: How to Start Affiliate Marketing Now

Lyndsey Fish

Use this affiliate marketing cheat sheet to launch a successful program
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Wondering how to test out an affiliate marketing program for your company? In the process of software buying for next year? Either way, we’ve got you covered with the information you need to start your partner program the right way.

Every successful partnership requires partner identification, outreach, negotiation, and ongoing relationship management. Devoting resources to this upfront effort will pay dividends in the success of your program.   

TUNE’s differentiation is that your program is highly customizable, rather than being held to the rules of a rigid network. Whether you choose a technology platform or a traditional affiliate network, success means putting in the work. Below, we dig into four areas that are keys to success when you start affiliate marketing on TUNE (or any platform). 

4 Keys to Starting an Affiliate Marketing Program 

#1 – Partner Identification 

There are thousands of potential partners for your program. However, all affiliate marketers are not right for every program. Our recommendation is to consider your offer, the channels that perform best already, and the marketing tactics you would approve for a third party to perform to promote that offer.  

TUNE Partner Groups Cheat Sheet
Download this Partner Groups Cheat Sheet for a quick guide to popular types of affiliate partners.

From there, you can look at affiliate marketers your competitors are working with using tools like Publisher Discovery. In addition, you can look at competitive commission rates using tools like

It’s also important to think about publisher groups, and to understand how they operate and which ones might be the best fit for your offer and budget.  

We’ve identified six main partner groups below: 

  • Coupon and deal: traditional affiliates 
  • Loyalty: cashback or points earned 
  • Content: large and small publishing entities 
  • Sub-networks: a mix of all partners under one umbrella 
  • Card-linked offers: deals tied to credit cards 
  • Closed user groups: partners who market to a small, more focused group that the general public cannot access (ex.: employee perk sites) 

For detailed information and insights about each of these affiliate marketer types, download our Ultimate Guide to Partner Marketing.

#2 – Outreach 

Your pitch to potential marketing partners is very important because they receive requests from brands constantly. So how can you make yours stand out?  

  1. Get straight to the point. Tell them who you are, what you are promoting, and what payout you’re willing to work on with them. 
  2. Make your headline stand out. Like any sales pitch, you want to get your audience’s attention, so let your subject line do the work for you.  
  3. Follow up at least three times. Partner recruitment needs to be treated like a sales funnel. You shouldn’t expect that partners are willing to work with just anyone — it’s a mutual relationship, after all. 

#3 – Negotiation 

There are many ways to work within your budget, so leave room for negotiation when onboarding partners. They may have goals they need to reach just like you do. Therefore, it’s common to negotiate on the payout — CPA, lead, upfront fees, or a hybrid of these.  

Below are some options for your offer to partners: 

  • Commission: your payout or cost per sale/cost per acquisition 
  • Flat fees: a flat payment upfront to a partner 
  • TM+ rights: you can allow certain partners to bid on your trademark  
  • Exclusive deals: you can offer a partner a steep discount no one else has 

#4 – Ongoing Relationship Management 

It’s called a “partnership” for a reason. Just like any relationship, it needs to be nurtured for ongoing success.  

The best programs operate on quality, not quantity. So, if you find the right partners, you will have the most success with them by testing and learning on an ongoing basis. Check in with them, ask what’s working and what’s not. Run flash sales to see what resonates with their audience. And above all, treat your partners like they are a branch of your business. Because they are. Without partners, there is no affiliate program. 

TUNE Partner Groups Cheat Sheet

How to Start Affiliate Marketing Today 

If you’re new to the TUNE platform, we have tons of resources available, from customized onboarding and professional services to the industry’s best technical documentation

The TUNE Resource Library is also full of helpful guides and info sheets, like our Partner Groups Cheat Sheet on the right. Download a free copy here.



Lyndsey Fish

Lyndsey Fish is the Director of Partnerships at TUNE. Before joining TUNE, Lyndsey worked for a leading partner marketing agency, overseeing a diverse portfolio of clients. Her career has focused on growing affiliate partnerships, utilizing data to make strategic decisions for consumer brands, and driving incremental growth.

Leave a Reply