Food Affiliate Marketing - Getting Started With Your First Affiliate Marketing Program


s a CPG brand, you are probably familiar with the concept of affiliate programs. In an increasingly competitive market, traditional advertising methods can be expensive and time-consuming. An affiliate program is a great alternative to get your product out there and increase sales with minimal risk. It’s also fairly easy to set up and maintain, making it a great option for small food brands that don’t have the resources or budget to invest in other marketing strategies. While food affiliate marketing can include working with publications, this article will focus on working with users and creators as affiliates. Here’s what you need to know about how your brand can benefit from an affiliate program.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

An affiliate program is a type of performance-based marketing where affiliates or partners promote a brand’s products or services, earning commission for each sale they generate. The purpose of the program is to increase the visibility of the brand and drive more sales. It’s also a great way to reward loyal customers who are happy to share their positive experiences with others.

How Does It Work?

The process begins when the brand registers for an affiliate program with an online marketplace such as Amazon Associates, ClickBank, or Commission Junction (CJ). Once approved, the brand provides its affiliates with special links that track visits and purchases made through those links. When someone makes a purchase using one of these links, the affiliate earns commission based on the amount of their sale plus any applicable taxes or fees. This commission can range from 5% to 30%, depending on the product or service being sold. For example, if someone purchases $100 worth of products from your store through one of your affiliates’ links, that person will earn $5 in commission for that referred sale.

Benefits Of An Affiliate Program

An affiliate program offers several benefits for brands: it increases visibility and generates more targeted leads; it rewards existing customers with commissions; it saves money on costly advertising campaigns; and it allows brands to leverage existing relationships with customers who are likely to refer potential buyers back to them. Additionally, because affiliates only get paid when they make sales, they are motivated to market your brand aggressively—which helps boost sales even further!

How to Set up Your Food Affiliate Marketing Program

A well-executed affiliate program can help any CPG brand increase visibility and drive more sales without breaking the bank. By leveraging existing customer relationships as well as offering rewards for referrals, brands can take advantage of this powerful form of digital marketing at minimal cost—allowing them to focus their resources on growing their business instead of spending all their money on expensive advertising campaigns! With all these advantages combined, there’s no doubt that setting up an affiliate program should be part of any CPG brand's overall marketing strategy!

Create Your Brand’s Terms & Conditions

The first step to setting up an effective affiliate program is to create terms and conditions that apply specifically to your brand. This document should include all of the rules and regulations you want associated with your program, such as how long affiliates have access to their commission, what forms of payment you accept, and any other relevant details about the program. Having this document in place will ensure that everyone involved understands exactly what is expected of them when it comes to participating in your affiliate program.  

Do the Math

Because affiliate marketing is performance based, it has far less risk than paying a flat fee for influencer content featuring your brand. However, you need to structure it so the margin makes sense for your business. In addition to the commission you'll be allocating for each sale, you will also be issuing discounts so affiliates can incentivize their community to buy from them, rather than in-stores or on the site not using their link. So if you're granting 10% commission and 15% off on top of that, your business needs to be able to support 25% taken out of your margin. You can adjust these amounts from affiliate to affiliate based on performance, as you'll definitely want to reward your highest performers with a higher commission percentage.

Choose an Affiliate Network

Once you have created your terms and conditions, the next step is to choose an affiliate network. There are several different networks available such as ShareASale, Commission Junction, and AvantLink. Each network has its own advantages and disadvantages so it’s important that you research each one before making a decision on which one is right for your brand.

Choose Your Affiliates Carefully

When choosing which individuals to work with for your affiliate program, a great place to start is looking at your customer base. Who are your best customers? Who keeps ordering from you? Next, look at your most engaged social media followers. Who is regularly engaging with your content? Liking and commenting on your posts, and DMing you with questions? You should also look at every mention of your brand across the internet and target people who have shared your brand online before. The goal with this first set of strategies is to go after people who are already your biggest superfans, as they've most likely already been talking about your brand to their friends, family, and social media followers. Next, you want to quickly and accurately get together a list of micro-influencers who belong to your target audience. You can find people organically on social media, or use an influencer marketplace like Grin or TikTok Creator Marketplace. The best way to find micro-influencers for your affiliate program is to search for creators through Crafted. Because we vet everyone in our network for having food experience, if you are an ingredient, snack, beverage, or cookware brand, working with us to find affiliates is your best best. Please reach out to if you'd be interested to learn more!

food affiliate marketing platform on crafted screenshot

Clearly Communicate Expectations with Affiliates

Putting together a landing page or a brand deck that clearly communicates the brand ethos, the products, and talking points is absolutely critical to enabling your affiliates to represent your brand in the most accurate and compelling way possible. You will also need to set guidelines and recommendations for marketing. Do you require your affiliates to post once per week? 3 times per month? The more you invest in communication up front, the less time you'll spend on an ongoing basis course correcting and answering questions. That being said, you do need to be available to answer any questions that may come up. You can even organize an orientation webinar to go through all of this information with your affiliates all at once, or set up a Facebook, Slack, or Geneva group to streamline all questions. This group chat format also helps build community and provides a platform to create healthy competition among your affiliates. We also recommending doing one-off incentive programs and running them in the chat community. For example "As Christmas is only 1 week away, whoever sells the most this week wins $500!" Bonuses don't always have to be cash, you could even offer gift cards or swag.

Track Performance Metrics Regularly

Once you have started working with affiliates, it’s important that you track performance metrics regularly so that you can determine which affiliates are performing well (and adjust commissions accordingly) and which ones may need some coaching or additional support from time-to-time in order stay successful in promoting your products/services. Monitoring these metrics will allow you make changes quickly if needed while also helping you establish relationships with top performers who understand how best promote your products/services effectively over time.  


Setting up an affiliate program for small food brands may seem daunting but it doesn't have to be! With careful planning, clear communication between all parties involved, and regular monitoring of performance metrics; establishing an effective food affiliate marketing program can help drive increased revenue while simultaneously raising public awareness of your business's products/services - resulting in both short term gains as well as long term success!

Dec 9, 2022
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