How Affiliate Marketing Can Increase Sales for Your Tea Business

Email, paid ads and SEO are must-haves of any ecommerce marketing toolbox, but affiliate marketing is a lesser explored channel that can have immense benefits for tea brands of any size with an online presence.

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with external content creators – like bloggers and social media personalities – to reach new markets and audiences that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to through in-house efforts. ShareASale, an affiliate network, explains that “introducing your offer via a ‘trusted’ content publisher can grab a potential customer’s attention who you might not have reached through your own website or social media feeds.”

Benefits to Tea Businesses

For the tea industry in particular, affiliate marketing offers a host of other unique benefits that cater to small business sizes and a B2B focus. For example, because this marketing tactic only pays out once leads or sales are acquired by affiliates, there is a low upfront investment, making it accessible to even smaller tea businesses. And by partnering with affiliates in hand-selected, relevant markets, tea companies can take advantage of personalized marketing and cut through the noise.

In general, affiliate marketing has been on the rise, with affiliate marketing spending increasing from 1.6 billion in 2010 to an estimated 8.2 billion in 2022 in the United States alone. It’s well established within the tea industry as well, with brands like DAVIDsTEA, The Tea Spot, Buddha Teas, Teatulia and Teabox, among several others that offer their own affiliate programs.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Starting an affiliate program is simple for tea brands, due to the low involvement that companies need to have and higher responsibility taken by affiliate partners. Typically, there are only a few steps that a tea ecommerce company needs to take:

1. Join an affiliate network to manage details like partners, link tracking and payouts.

2. Create an page on your website for affiliate partners to submit an application.

3. Select partners who are best aligned with your brand and quality guidelines.

Because of the commission-based structure of affiliate marketing, relevant partners like tea bloggers, foodie Instagrammers and lifestyle YouTubers take on the work of marketing your product and generating sales. Each affiliate has a unique URL that links to an online shop and accredits a sale to them if a purchase is made within a certain timeframe (i.e., 30-day cookie). Joining an affiliate program is typically at no cost to partners either, incentivizing new partnerships and promotion of a brand.

For tea companies with an ecommerce presence, finding new affiliates can be done by building relationships with a wide range of users across blogs and social networks who have relevant follower bases. After all, a healthy lifestyle Instagrammer’s audience is as likely to include curious tea drinkers as a mommy YouTuber. When selecting affiliates, also keep in mind the platform that each uses to reach their audiences. A 2020 report from affiliate marketing network, Awin, states that content and blogger websites alone earned almost 40 percent of publisher commissions in the United States.

As an advertiser with an affiliate network, you can choose a commission rate per purchase made through an affiliate partner, such as 10 or 20 percent. Factors to consider are competitors’ rates, cost of production, and whether you’ll also be providing discounts and promo codes.

Examples of Affiliate Marketing in the Tea Industry

If you’re thinking of starting an affiliate marketing program for your tea company, taking a look at competitors in the tea space is a great place to start.

Buddha Teas
Commission: 20%
Payout structure: $80 minimum for payout
Discounts: None
Cookie duration: N/A

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Commission: Up to 10%
Payout structure: Monthly
Discounts: N/A
Cookie Duration: 15-day

Sips By
Commission: 5-10%
Payout structure: N/A
Discounts: Frequent featured products and promotions
Cookie Duration: 15-day

Commission: 4-8%
Payout structure: Minimum monthly threshold
Discounts: N/A
Cookie duration: 15-day

The Tea Spot
Commission: 5-12%
Payout structure: $50 minimum for payout
Discounts: Frequent featured products and promotions
Cookie Duration: 45-day

Commission: 12%
Payout structure: N/A
Discounts: N/A
Cookie duration: 45-days

Partner with an Affiliate Network

The easiest way for tea companies to get started with affiliate marketing is to partner with an affiliate network. ShareASale, Awin, PepperJam and CJ are all popular networks for B2C online sales partners.

Raquel Thoesen is a newer member of the tea blogging world at Steeped Dreams, but she’s a lifelong tea enthusiast. Her mission is to share robust, evidence-based information about tea and connect fellow tea lovers and newbies directly with tea companies around the world. Visit

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