This content has been authored by Tania Prieto, Head of Client Development at Tradedoubler. Tradedoubler has over 25 years of experience providing global performance marketing and technology solutions. For more information about their services or to get in touch with them please visit:


In this article, we will embark together on an exciting journey through the creation of a robust and dynamic annual plan. From the initial preparation steps to exponential growth, get ready for an adventure filled with learning, innovation, and, of course, hard work! To help you kickstart this journey on the right foot, I present to you the 5 essential steps to outline an annual affiliate marketing plan that will drive sustained growth for your program.


PHASE 1: Preparation

Imagine you are building a house: first, you need a solid foundation. In this stage, we delve into a series of key questions before diving headfirst into creating our annual affiliate marketing plan.

  • What are your objectives?
  • What do you want to achieve through affiliate marketing? Customer acquisition, growth of recurring customers?
  • How can you ensure you have an attractive and user-friendly website for affiliates and their audiences?

Setting specific and measurable goals is crucial to maximise return on investment.


PHASE 2: Planning

Now that we have our foundations well laid, it is time to chart our course. To ensure you are navigating competitive waters, your commissions must be aligned with your margin and the prices offered by your competitors.

How much are you willing to pay affiliates for each action performed?

But do not stop there: to maximise your earnings, it is essential to adjust your affiliate segment structure. How?

  • Divide your affiliates into segments based on different categories.
  • Classify your publishers based on their performance and potential.
  • Create premium commission groups for special agreements.
  • Identify super affiliates, niche affiliates, and those in need of an extra push.
  • Establish your CPA (Cost per Action) for each segment and optimise your commissions to ensure profitability.

Developing a global strategy that includes a mix of high-performing affiliates, niche affiliates, and emerging affiliates will ensure broader coverage and audience acquisition.

Navigating successfully through all stages of the customer buying process requires a comprehensive strategy that covers every touchpoint. Think big with an affiliate strategy that covers all customer phases:

  • To generate awareness, rely on content affiliates and influencers.
  • To engage with your audience, invest in comparison sites, display, retargeting, and subnetworks.
  • In the conversion phase, leverage coupons, Google Shopping, offer channels, Telegram, and bargain hunters.
  • For user groups, offer cashback options and loyalty programs.

In any journey, a clear map is essential. That’s why detailed terms and conditions are crucial for affiliates to understand the program rules. Have you drafted yours comprehensively?

The pay-per-click (PPC) policy is like traffic rules: crucial to prevent accidents! Ensure clear communication to avoid confusion.

A compelling program description is like an irresistible cover letter, highlighting benefits and opportunities. Clear brand guidelines maintain consistency in promotions.


PHASE 3: Execution

With our foundation firm and our course plotted, it is time to get down to business.

Establish fluid communication with your affiliates, share a detailed promotion calendar, and organise special events to strengthen relationships.

Share your promo calendar with affiliates for advanced planning. Consider a confidentiality agreement to safeguard campaign details until launch. Prioritise loyal affiliates with early info access.

Consumer trust in affiliate recommendations is paramount. In this journey, seek new companions and fortify existing bonds. How?

  • Offer special incentives or referral programs to motivate affiliates to recruit others.
  • Cultivate collaboration and support for ongoing engagement.
  • An Affiliate Day is a prime occasion to reinforce connections and show appreciation! Host events, provide exclusive perks, and offer unique content for a memorable experience.


PHASE 4: Optimisation

As we progress on our journey, it is important to continuously monitor and analyse our progress.

Which tactics are working best? Where can we improve? How can we adapt our strategy to capitalise on emerging opportunities?

Personalising strategies and optimising affiliates will help you stay on the path to success.

In this journey, we know that every travel companion is unique and valuable. That’s why we adapt to the needs and behaviours of affiliates. Optimise strategies with differentiated plans based on program activity and affiliate type:

  • For the Top 30, make sure to retain them through fluid communication and regular meetings.
  • For medium and small affiliates with growth potential, provide the support and resources needed to reach new heights.
  • And for those affiliates who have been “sleeping”, awaken them with renewed strategies and improvement opportunities.


PHASE 5: Growth

And finally, we arrive at the chapter of growth. What new opportunities in affiliate marketing are emerging? How can we constantly innovate to attract new affiliates and customers?

Keep your strategy fresh and exciting to keep growing and reaching new heights in your affiliate marketing journey.


In summary, creating an annual affiliate marketing plan is like embarking on an exciting adventure. With preparation, planning, execution, optimisation, and growth, you will be well on your way to achieving your goals and positioning your affiliate program. I hope this journey has inspired and motivated you to reach new heights in your affiliate marketing adventure.


About the Author: 

I’m Tania Prieto, the Head of Client Development at Tradedoubler, a leading global affiliate marketing network. We specialise in performance marketing and technology solutions, empowering businesses to unleash the power of affiliate magic for strategic insights and data-driven growth. Let’s connect and explore how we can elevate your marketing efforts together!