Core strategies

When you're sending traffic to Shopify through your affiliate link, you often want people to sign up for the free 14-day trial. During the trial and after the 14-day trial, merchants are asked to choose a plan to continue operating their Shopify store.

It is much more likely that trial merchants will choose a paid plan if they see some sort of success with their trial Shopify store. If they make a sale within their first 14-days, they're more likely to continue using Shopify, select a paid plan, and earn you a commission.

If you haven't already, we recommend signing up for a Shopify trial to familiarize yourself with the product you are promoting and get a first-hand look at what your referrals see when they sign up.

Doing this will give you more context when talking about Shopify as a product and when you're promoting it. It's a lot easier to talk about a product that you have used or are using.

Types of promotion

Passive promotion: This is the easiest and most common type of promotion that affiliate marketers use. Passive promotion does not involve you putting time into promoting your affiliate link. Examples of passive promotion are placing banner ads on your blog or website or including affiliate links in your content or blog posts.

Active promotion: This type of promotion yields more results but it also takes more effort and time. Active promotion involves creating content that helps drive traffic through your affiliate link, as well as setting up and running marketing campaigns to drive traffic to Shopify through your affiliate link.

The type that is best for you depends on your audience size but integrating both types of promotions into your affiliate marketing strategy will put you in the best position to succeed with the Shopify Affiliate Program.

How to promote Shopify as an affiliate

There are many different ways to promote Shopify and get traffic to your affiliate links. These actionable, proven strategies can help give you ideas on how to promote Shopify. There are many different ways to have success with the Shopify Affiliate Program. Choose the method that best suits your ability, audience, and niche.

Finding a content topic

Keep track of Shopify announcements and blog posts. The new Shopify mobile app is big news because it allows anyone with a smartphone to start a business on Shopify. Shopify's Apple Pay integration makes any online store mobile-friendly. Subscribe to the Shopify blog and keep an eye on announcements for ideas on what to promote next.

Sample content

If you would benefit from having sample content to repurpose for your blog, reach out to your affiliate manager and they can supply you with a list of topics to pick from. Keep an eye out for the affiliate newsletter for new sample content, giveaways, and more.


Webinars are live-streamed broadcasts from your computer to an audience that signs up to watch it. Usually during these webinars, a broadcaster shows slides or a screencast while helping viewers with a particular subject.

An example of a webinar to promote your Shopify affiliate link would be walking participants through setting up their first online store and getting their first sale. This webinar could teach your audience how to get started selling their first product online or how to find their first product to sell online, leading up to you pitching Shopify as the platform to make this happen.

Another example is walking participants through finding their first product to sell online. After providing a lot of value, talk about how they can quickly and easily set up their store, after finding their product, with Shopify.

A webinar that provides viewers a lot of value and content before the pitch will see more success.

As an incentive to encourage participants to go through your affiliate link, offer participants a limited time bonus if they sign up for Shopify through your link.

There are a lot of tools out there to help you put together a webinar. GotoWebinar, Google Hangouts and Easy Webinar all let you host your own webinar.

To drive traffic to your webinar sign up page and get attendees, Facebook ads are a great option. There will also be a section on Facebook Dark Posts later in this guide to help you get started creating effective Facebook ads that drive traffic to your landing page or webinar.

Commerce platform reviews or comparisons

You can create a detailed blog post on your website or a page on your website to compare commerce platforms on their features or pros and cons.

Here's an example of testimonials comparing different commerce platforms:

Testimonials comparing commerce platforms

Video walkthroughs, setups, guides, and tutorials

Videos are an excellent way to deliver a lot of value to your audience. When someone is looking for detailed information like a step-by-step guide or walkthrough on how to set something up for the first time, they will often turn to YouTube, as it's a great medium to consume detailed educational content.

Video content that walks your viewers through setting up a Shopify store, launching an commerce business, or finding a product to sell online are just some of the kinds of videos that would allow you to seamlessly promote your Shopify affiliate link.

Remember to include your Shopify affiliate link after in the video description. If you'd like to create a snazzy link like this, simply create a page on your website and then forward it to your affiliate link.

Written reviews

To better inform buying decisions, most savvy shoppers read reviews online before purchasing a new product or service. Writing a review of Shopify is a great (and easy) way to generate promotional content you can use your affiliate link in.

Creating content and blogging

Start a blog or start creating content around a niche that relates to Shopify and would share an audience of people interested in selling products online and your topic.

For example, you could start a blog centered on commerce and create valuable content that helps people interested in learning more about commerce. In this blog and in your content, you can include your affiliate link where applicable. Your affiliate manager has sample content to share if you'd like to repurpose the post.

Placing banners and ads on your website

The fastest way to get started with your affiliate link is to add a banner to your website. You can find sample banner ads in various sizes on our website.

If you're looking to post a banner to your website, copy your affiliate links and image URL and enter them in the code below.

<a href="your-affiliate-url"><img src="your-affiliate-banner-url"></a>

Case studies and interviews

If you enjoy highlighting interesting people on your website, why not interview Shopify store owners to give your audience tips on how to successfully sell online? Check out this list of Shopify stores to find a few people who might be interested in an interview request.

Create a guide or course

Online courses and guides have become a popular promotion method because of how fast ecommerce is growing. People are always looking for up-to-date training on how to be successful at ecommerce. If you have an audience or want to grow an audience around ecommerce, business, working from home or entrepreneurship, you could consider teaching others the ecommerce experience you have as a way to refer people to Shopify. You can cover Shopify-specific topics or go more broad such as "How to start a commerce business".

To maximize your affiliate results, have your students create Shopify accounts (using your affiliate link) the day they start your course or guide.

Increasing your earning potential

Here are some other ways to increase your earning potential:

Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is a cloud-based, fully-hosted enterprise commerce platform for high-volume merchants. It offers businesses enterprise-grade selling capabilities without the hassles and hefty price tag of traditional enterprise applications. With Shopify Plus referrals, you can earn up to $2,000 per closed deal.

If you're interested in promoting Shopify Plus, check out the Shopify Plus Toolkit for resources to help you sell. Additionally, the Shopify Plus Blog has great content ideas and success stories!

Remember, your affiliate manager can also help you learn more about Shopify Plus.

Offer a bonus

Give your audience an extra incentive or bonus from you to try Shopify. Let your audience know that if they go through your link, sign up for a free trial and choose a plan, to forward you proof through email and you will give them their bonus.

Here are some bonuses you can offer your audience:

  • A free half-hour consultation over Skype
  • A free store/website audit
  • A free PDF with tips ("10 tips to take your store to the next level", "How to get your first sale fast")
  • Other free supplementary materials (ebooks, cheat sheets, templates, marketing plans)
  • A blog post interview about their success with Shopify

Facebook dark posts

If you have a testing budget to play with, try Facebook dark posts. These unpublished posts allow you to launch unlimited ads to get hyper-targeted without spamming your audience.

Be transparent

Let your audience know that your links are affiliate links. Do this either through a page on your website where you let your audience know with full disclosure or by including a disclaimer in your content. If you're honest and transparent with your audience, they will be more likely to trust you. An audience that trusts you is more likely to listen to you and check out your recommendations.

Build an email list

It's a lot easier to keep the traffic you are sending to a landing page if you build an email list so that you can market to your traffic again later. With easy-to-use services like MailChimp offering free forever accounts (up to 2000 subscribers), you can have an email list up in running for free in 10 minutes.

Split test landing pages

To get maximum results from your affiliate promotions, be sure to split test the content and design of your landing pages. If you are new to this concept, check out this beginner's guide for more info. If you're using Wordpress for your website, try a service like LeadPages to quickly launch and split test new pages.

How to "sell" Shopify

Here are some of the core benefits of using Shopify you can talk about:

  • Shopify is an excellent product. Out of the box, it provides everything most merchants need to create and run a successful business.
  • Using an established platform like Shopify can be easier and have other advantages compared to a self-hosted platform. Shopify not only handles payments for merchants but also takes care of crucial security such as secure HTTPS checkouts and PCI compliance.
  • Shopify can also handle a lot of traffic. The mistake most new merchants make is that they purchase cheap and unreliable shared hosting. However, if they were ever to experience the "Shark Tank effect" or suddenly receive a spike in traffic, shared hosting would not be able to handle the load and the spike would likely crash the merchant's website.
  • Shopify has unlimited bandwidth, 99.98% uptime, and 24/7 monitoring. To learn more about the features and benefits Shopify can provide your audience, visit the features page.