This is the first post in a short tutorial series about opt-in marketing and lead generation – woohoo, a series!

Affiliate marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Every business considering this type of marketing strategy has a completely unique use case (which makes affiliate marketing more exciting than one may initially think!). The most common use of an affiliate marketing program is to recruit affiliates who will promote your products or site, and reward them for successful conversions. However, the beauty of AffiliateWP and its integration with popular WordPress plugins is that the setup can be customized to suit your specific needs. Using AffiliateWP with the various official and 3rd-party add-ons, plus the supported integrations, enables you to build an affiliate marketing system that will generate you more business and traffic, and ultimately, more money.

Two little-known ways you can use AffiliateWP and its supported integrations are to create an “opt-in” marketing strategy, or a “lead generation” strategy which rewards affiliates for referring visitors to your site. Let’s quickly cover off some terminology on opt-ins and lead generation:

What is opt-in marketing & why do businesses use it?

Opt-in (email) marketing is a permission-based type of marketing which allows potential customers, or interested visitors to join your user database, mailing list, or even affiliate program. These are people who are genuinely interested in your products or your website; people who want to receive news and updates about your business. Or, they truly want to advocate your product or website (or become a part of your affiliate program) – so they “opt-in” to do so. They are not forced to sign up, nor are they “funnelled” through a process to opt-in for updates or news from your site.

Opting-in usually occurs via a form on your website. The opt-in form may appear on a landing page, a ‘Coming soon’ page, or it may be a ‘Contact’ form. It could simply say ‘Sign up for news and updates’. Therefore, it’s more passive than lead generation.

What is lead generation & why do businesses use it?

Lead generation has a more specific end-goal: to convert a potential customer into a paying customer. Lead generation is the process of qualifying and identifying prospects through their active interest or enquiry in your product or services. Potential customers or “leads” are often found when they progress through a marketing purchase funnel which further influences them to purchase a product or service.

A “lead” could be considered as your most valuable potential customer. These people have taken the time to learn about your business or product. Perhaps these potential customers want to help contribute to your cause, or they truly believe they will benefit by purchasing your product. Therefore, they are more likely to purchase. Leads are often generated for potential sales (online and offline), or other list-building purposes – sometimes to be contacted at a later date so a salesperson can connect with them to close a sale. It’s more assertive than opt-in marketing.

Using a form on your website allows you to collect the contact details, customer information, and/or any important questions from prospective leads.

So how does AffiliateWP fit in with these strategies?

You can sell products via a form to generate affiliate referrals with AffiliateWP, but you don’t have to. You can set up a form on your website to purely capture data/information (with one of AffiliateWP’s supported form integrations), and if your affiliates successfully bring in new sign-ups or potential leads, they will be awarded a referral. With supported form plugins, you can even choose to pay a commission to your affiliates for new sign-ups or potential leads. This is an incredibly attractive benefit for people who may be interested in joining your affiliate program.

(And as you know by now, more quality affiliates = more traffic and potential customers, which = more business.)

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll provide step-by-step tutorials which detail how to set up a simple data collection form that generates affiliate referrals using two popular WordPress form plugins – Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms. Plus, we’ll show you how you can integrate new sign-ups or leads into supported mailing list platforms, and how you can reward your existing affiliates for signing up new affiliates using these form plugins!

Make sure you look out for our next post where we’ll show you how to achieve all of this with Gravity Forms.

If you do want to sell your products through one of the form plugins supported by AffiliateWP, take a look at this awesome article by Beka Rice over at SellwithWP: Drive eCommerce Form Conversions with an Affiliate Network.


Lisa Gibson

About the author: Lisa Gibson dabbles with content, marketing, and support at AffiliateWP. In her downtime, she polishes copy as the WordMaid and loves walking her pup, Jaco.


    1. You’re welcome Ion! Do you mean you want to see our terms for becoming an affiliate, or you want to create a terms and conditions page for affiliates on your website?

  1. Nice post Lisa! I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

    I’m actually developing an AffiliateWP Leads add-on, which at its most basic level, will allow your affiliates to aid in the Lead Generation process, and the Lead Conversion process as well (via a Lead Management System in the Affiliate Area).

    Reading your post has brought me to the idea of integrating Affiliate Forms for Gravity Forms/Ninja Forms, so that you can fully customize the Lead Capture Form.


    1. Thanks Jason, I enjoyed reading it and was left wondering about the details behind this part:

      “Once your forms are set up and you have dedicated thank you pages – i.e. the pages users land on once they have completed a form – we will be able to add the AffiliateWP tracking to ensure that leads coming from registered affiliates will show up correctly.”

      How exactly is this tracking done is something I am still wondering about.

      1. Hi David

        When you setup an affiliate product in affiliateWP you will get some code to add to your confirmation page. This then triggers if someone fills the form in and reaches the thank you page. In effect this would mean someone has filled in a lead form in our case or could have bought a product.

        After all they will only see a thank you page if they have done something you want them to. AffiliateWP has that code in its system which then allows it to allocate activity against the right affiliate.

        Does that help?

  2. I guess that’s not part of the gravity forms add on but an upcoming release? I don’t see how this can be possible with the add on but quite keen on starting to pay affiliates based on leads instead of woocommerce ecommerce purchases.

    1. This is all available now. If you elaborate on what you’re not sure how to do, we’ll be happy to help.

      1. Ok sounds great. So where can I learn how to do it step by step. I checked the GF addon documentation and it still talks about adding someone to a mailing list, signing them up as an affiliate etc.

        I’d like to learn about that in the context of assigning values to submitted forms and then attributing a referral fee for each submitted form. Makes sense?

        Also, where do I re-download the affiliatewp plugin? I can see all the add-ons but after about 10 minutes of looking under my account and the website, I’m unsure where to find the download link.

        Finally, 2 times I tried to respond to this thread on mobile only to receive an error, perhaps you can get more discussion if that’s fixed?

        1. That absolutely makes sense! The next post will show you how to set this up step by step, and we’ll also add this to our documentation. 🙂

          To re-download AffiliateWP, if you head to your Account page and look under the Purchase History section, you’ll see a link to “View details and downloads”. Click on this, and you’ll see a link to download AffiliateWP at the bottom of the receipt page. If you can’t see this link, could you please flick us a support ticket?

          Regarding accessing the site via mobile, could you also send us a support ticket on this with a screenshot of the error if you see it again?

          Thanks David!

          1. Hey Lisa, th download link doesn’t show but I’ve paid for a license that’s valid until May 2016. Would appreciate to get it to this email. If you neeed more info you can send me an email with your questions and i’ll respond. It’s been more than 48 hours since I’ve been wanting to download it unsuccessfully.

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