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How to generate quality referrals in the Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme affiliate program

by Michael Hill

How to generate quality referrals in the Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme affiliate program

The Out of the Sandbox affiliate program is a great way to make some extra money referring friends, colleagues, followers, and clients to our premium Shopify themes.

Under our normal commission structure, you can earn up to $67.50 for Flex Shopify theme purchases, $52.50 for the Turbo Shopify theme or $27 each for Parallax, Retina, Responsive, Mobilia and Artisan.

There are a variety of ways to effectively promote your affiliate link.

Is your audience relevant?

If you’re a Shopify store owner, it’s worth noting you’re most likely not going to be able to generate significant affiliate referrals from your customers — unless you sell Shopify related products or services.

Instead, the best strategy is to focus on generating affiliate referrals from other Shopify store owners you know.

If you do design, development or store setup work for the Shopify platform, you obviously have a much more direct way to generate affiliate referrals since most (if not all) of your clients could potentially be in the market for a new Shopify theme.

Shortening your link

By default, your Shopify theme affiliate program referral link features a random set of letters and numbers, which can sometimes look odd and can’t be changed or customized.

In some cases, you may want to consider shortening it using a service such as Bitly to make it a bit more manageable. If you have a free Bitly account, you can also customize your link to be something like, for example, bitly.com/CompanyNameThemes.

Another option is, if you use Shopify to host your website, to create a redirect such as yourdomain.com/themes that redirects to your affiliate link.

If your site is built on another platform, it may still be possible to create a similar redirect — just check with your hosting provider or website platform for details.

Ways to build quality referrals

Blog posts

If you’re an ecommerce developer or designer, writing blog posts about Out of the Sandbox or a specific Shopify theme can be a great way to generate referrals.

  • You can write separate posts about the different Shopify themes we offer, with each one outlining unique points.
  • Posts can also target specific types of Shopify stores — such as apparel, jewelry or electronics. Again, each post can include unique points relevant to each industry or type of store.
  • If you offer specific customizations or services on top of Out of the Sandbox themes, creating posts about these services is a good way to not only spotlight Shopify themes but also your services.
  • Keep in mind that, in general, a post that sounds fair but also mentions some constructive criticism or important limitations readers should know about will be more effective.

Store owners can also create blog posts spotlighting the Shopify theme used to create their online store — and how the design and content development process went. You can even showcase how the theme has helped your business grow.

Social media

Your affiliate link can be posted on social media, though this approach will likely work best for those who provide Shopify development and design services.

  • Avoid creating content that sounds too much like an advertisement or promoted post.
  • Consider ways to showcase how you use our themes and tips on how to make them as effective as possible.
  • This can also be another chance, as a Shopify developer or designer, to spotlight your own products and services.
  • On most social media networks, posts with images tend to be more effective, so consider including an image of your final project or store.

If you’re a member of Facebook or other groups focused on Shopify, you can also create content here to generate referrals.

  • Keep in mind, however, that some groups prohibit affiliate links, so be sure to review any rules or community guidelines before posting.
  • If you do post your affiliate link, it’s typically best to avoid just pasting it into every post you see that mentions Shopify themes.
  • Instead, find ways to add to the conversation and offer a bit of constructive advice along with any links.
  • Even if the group prohibits affiliate links, being an active contributor is a great way to build your reputation in the group and indirectly connect with Shopify store owners who may be in need of Shopify development or design services.

Email and messaging

Another good way to spread information about Out of the Sandbox Shopify themes is to include your affiliate link in email marketing or direct, personal email communication or messaging.

  • If you have an email newsletter that reaches current or potential Shopify store owners, include a section with your affiliate link or link to a blog post or other content about Out of the Sandbox themes.
  • You can also, of course, share your affiliate link during one-off emails that you send in the course of your daily business — including letting clients or customers browse theme options for ideas and inspiration.
  • Avoid spamming people’s email or messaging inboxes. Copy and pasting messages with your link is not only annoying, but it can also often be a good way to get in trouble for violating community guidelines or even the law.
  • When you do reach out, take the time to craft a message that addresses the person’s specific site, situation or problem and how you think a particular theme might be a good solution.
  • It’s also typically a good idea to avoid sending messages to people who haven’t expressed interest in hearing from you by either subscribing to a newsletter or asking for direct feedback.
  • Finally, you can also consider adding your affiliate link to your email signature. Another alternative might be to give your contacts a bit more context with a line such as “Ask me about what Shopify themes I use” or labeling the link something like “My favorite Shopify themes.”

In person

Don’t forget in-person opportunities to spread the news about our themes.

  • If you recommend a Shopify theme to someone in person, consider following up with an email or other electronic note reminding them of the theme you suggested and your affiliate link.
  • You can also print small cards with your affiliate link — though it’s often best to include a short URL that’s easier to type in.
  • It’s worth noting that in-person referrals are obviously a bit tricky to track since it requires the person buying the theme to use a specific link. If you don’t end up getting credit for an in-person sale, there’s unfortunately no way to credit you with the referral retroactively, but keep in mind that you’ve hopefully been able to help out a fellow entrepreneur and built upon your reputation in the Shopify community.

    Before we go...

    Just a few quick reminders about some rules and regulations:

    • You may be required to include a disclaimer that your content contains affiliate links, especially if the content simulates news stories or blog posts.
    • The Out of the Sandbox affiliate program prohibits posting any discount codes in blog posts or other pages that are publicly available online. You can, however, share discount codes via one off social media posts or email.
    • You also cannot label yourself as a “partner” of Out of the Sandbox unless you’ve gotten approval from us. Instead, you’ll need to clearly state at least once that you’re an affiliate.
    • Our affiliate program does not allow discount, coupon or deal sites to participate.
    • Be sure to review all of our affiliate program terms and conditions and FAQs.
    Michael Hill
    Michael Hill

    Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.