Best Affiliate Programme For Small Businesses

Commencing in January 2020, the best affiliate marketing programme in the UK has extended it’s services to small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs. If your business has products or services that can be sold online then this “payment on results” advertising strategy might help your business thrive.

Awin extended it’s presence in the UK in 2017 and at the 2019 Performance Marketing Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London was crowned winner of Best Influencer Marketing Campaign. In 2019 over 1,500 SME’s in the UK were helped by Awin, driving £1billion in revenue through their affiliate sales.

Awin Access

Following a successful UK pilot operation with 159 businesses, Awin has introduced a new entry-level opening, Awin Access, designed exclusively for beginners, start-ups and entrepreneurs they term “micro-SME’s”. Awin Access will support those they partner with online tutorials and a chatbot. They have introduced simple integration, reduced commitment and are keeping outlay to a minimum by removing set-up costs.

Partnering With Vetted Publishers

Partner clients will have immediate access to Awin’s vetted publishers – there are over 200,000 of them! This is an ethical platform to a secure plug and play solution to boost presence, traffic and sales.

Michelle O’Sullivan, Business Director UK says:

“We are excited to open up Awin’s platform and network to a new customer segment, helping small businesses to thrive and create their own success stories through a proven, effective marketing channel.”

Pilot Operation Results

In March 2019 Awin commenced a pilot operation in the UK including 159 businesses. During approximately 8 months over £2.1million was generated in sales revenue. The pilot included small businesses and entrepreneurs from travel, finance, telco and retail sectors. Retail accounted for 72% of the programmes.


One business to take full advantage of the Awin pilot is Hersey & Son. Hersey & Son is an independent father and son business and one of the few remaining silversmiths in the UK. They wanted to increase online sales in a cost-effective way. In order to reach their objectives of increasing brand awareness, quality traffic and conversion rate they partnered with a broad range of affiliate publishers to test different audiences.

They have used the Awin facilities to the full including recruiting through the Publisher Directory, negotiating deals via the Opportunity marketplace, communication via the News Manager and using Scheduled Commission Changes and added My Offers to increase basket spend.


Hersey & Son now have an attractive affiliate program producing an average order value of over £75 and an excellent conversion rate of 5%. They set their starting commission rate at 8% and have 600 silver items to promote. During the pilot they have attracted 69 affiliates and saw their year-on-year traffic increase 29% with sales up close to 25%. During this short pilot their affiliate channel is already driving 15% of online sales and having a positive influence on their other marketing channels.


Our second example is an interesting entry to affiliate marketing. Homeward Legal are a conveyancing service company operating in a fiercely competitive sector. They were looking for a cost effective way to drive new customer acquisitions and took the opportunity to test if affiliate marketing would rival the paid searches which was the primary advertising channel in this sector.


Operating to a strict CPA target they achieved their objectives in just 5 months, converting over 600 quality customers through the “paid on results” basis of affiliate marketing within this high average customer spend sector.


The owners of Showcase Beauty seek out the most effective products and offer specially curated sets of independent brands. The owners get to know all of their founders personally. Showcase Beauty have used their own website as a partner recruiting tool creating a dedicated page encouraging recruits by featuring a beautifully designed publisher media pack.


Between March and September 2019 their programme had referred over 6,000 customers and reached 10% of their online marketing activity. Their average order value through the affiliate introductions is £50 which is 20% higher than their paid search advertising.

Affiliate Programs And The UK

Awin chose the UK to pilot Awin Access and following the success they are now extending the Awin Access model to other countries. Why did Awin choose the UK for the pilot? My own thoughts on that question are that the UK small business market is rapidly expanding yet at this time many of those businesses know very little about affiliate programs and many have not heard about affiliate marketing. The UK offers huge potential to Awin.

The benefits for businesses with an affiliate program come from numerous affiliate marketers advertising and recommending the business’ products and services at zero advertising costs to the business. Only when sales are made do the marketers receive a pre-set commission on the sales value. The Amazon affiliate programme alone has 100’s of millions of products. eBay is the same. As seen from the Awin Access pilot, a well managed programme can achieve substantial results. The smallest business can gain recognition country wide or worldwide if they are in a position to export.

Affiliate marketers (advertisers) who have websites with numerous visitors looking for products or services similar to your business will be ideal partners. Affiliate marketers have the benefit of ZERO overheads, zero shipping, zero customer support and zero dealing with refunds and returns. The marketers will be concentrating on attracting more visitors to their websites to increase their eventual commissions. The advertisers are set on growing their popularity within the niche which in turn is increasing awareness of your brand/products or services.

The Online Business Economy

Affiliate marketing has been the major driver within the online economy. In 2017 more than 1.66 billion people purchased something online, amounting to 2.3 trillion dollars (US). At that time growth was projected to increase sales to 4.48 trillion dollars (US)by 2021. That projection now looks to be on the low side.

A recent trend has seen new products being developed by people, rather than corporations. Platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Shopify offer cost-efficient ways of selling your own products as a merchant.

Larger businesses in the UK have their own affiliate programmes. You can check within google to see if a business has an affiliate programme by searching the business name with + affiliate programme added. So you might search for example: Post Office + Affiliate Programme.

Coming Soon

1,000’s of hours and 3 years of development have gone into a new platform which will be a “home” for affiliate programmes and affiliate marketers going forward.

To date there hasn’t been much transparency between the affiliate marketers and the merchants they work with. In some cases even the biggest billion dollar companies do not have a dedicated affiliate manager. The new platform is designed to bridge this gap so that advertisers can field questions about particular programmes and their subset of products.

This platform is being created by a business that has a community including 100’s of people that have experience with just about every affiliate programme in the world. The platform will also be a position to train, inform, manage and incubate successful marketing teams for merchants.

For the affiliates, programmes that are currently spread out everywhere on the internet and difficult to find will be centralized on one platform. The programmes will be categorized, showing the countries where they operate and the commission rates. Already close to 10,000 affiliate programmes have been added and are available to search. The affiliates will also have the ability to leave feedback on the programmes they promote which will help fellow marketers determine the quality of the programme.

Could You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

If you have a website that is attracting visitors then you could advertise products that are relevant to your content. Become a partner to businesses that run an affiliate programme within your niche. Contacting Awin Access could be your route.

In order to appreciate the overall opportunities for affiliate marketers then joining the community of over 2 million members of Wealthy Affiliate may be your route. Everyone who is someone within affiliate marketing is a member of Wealthy Affiliate. They have a platform where people are running million dollar businesses. In the six months to January 2020, 200,000 new members joined Wealthy Affiliate worldwide.

I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate since 2014 and joined to benefit from their tuition on building WordPress websites and securely hosting them for me. WA caters for all levels of entrepreneurs, from a brand newbie wishing to learn how to create a successful business online to someone that is running an already successful business.

Following my discovery of WA I wrote an article which gives an insight to some of the many benefits available and presents you with the opportunity to join for free. The article is Simple Website Tutorials.

I welcome any comments or questions you may have on this article. Please add them below and I will be pleased to respond.


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