How to Recruit Affiliates
It’s time for Part 8 of the Affiliate Marketing for Your Business blog series. This is your comprehensive resource for everything related to affiliate programs. We began this journey with intro material and have worked our way to more advanced strategies and concepts.
In case you’re just joining, here’s a recap:
- Part 1: Basic concepts for your affiliate marketing program.
- Part 2: A brief introduction to affiliate offers.
- Part 3: Understanding affiliate marketers.
- Part 4: Setting up your affiliate offers.
- Part 5: Variables and parameters for your tracking URLs.
- Part 6: Affiliate planning, research, targeting and traffic.
- Part 7: What can my program offer to attract affiliates?
- Part 8: Ways to recruit affiliates.
As promised, we’re going to review how to recruit affiliates to grow your program. There’s many ways to attract high quality affiliates, and we recommend testing all of these and determining which ones work best.
Before affiliates will consider joining your program, they’ll need basic information you can provide on your sign up page or through other mediums. Information affiliates will want included: fees, offers, payouts, tracking software, and support, among other areas. See Part 7 for more details on what to feature about your affiliate program.
Let’s jump right in and start learning about the different ways to recruit affiliates.
The most important (and easiest) way to recruit affiliates is on your website sign-up page. It should be easily accessible throughout your site and featured in the footer, and maybe even in the header. Your sign-up page should clearly and concisely describe your affiliate program, providing high level details and how to join. It should be customized to your branding and colors, creating a seamless user experience from website to sign up. Unless you are a major brand, affiliates won’t waste their time searching for information and steps to sign up. Present this information right away, and you’ll expedite the sign-up and approval process to allow affiliates to begin quickly.
Your tracking software should automatically deploy an email confirmation once an affiliate is approved for your program. Soon thereafter, be sure to send a welcome email and describe the benefits of your program, their affiliate manager’s contact information, how to reach support, featured offers, and any key information they should keep in mind.
To build a more successful affiliate program, it’s recommended to offer an affiliate referral program. Referral programs reward existing affiliates for recruiting new ones. Incentivizing your affiliates to do this requires a proper commission structure. Your affiliate tracking software should provide the option of compensating referrals as a single payout (CPA on the successful sign up) or as an ongoing percentage of revenue, generated by the referred affiliate (the referring affiliate gets x% of the revenue the referred affiliate receives for sales, over x period of time).
As you can imagine, this provides a great incentive for affiliates to help you recruit new affiliates with relevant traffic sources.
Listing your program and offers on various directory sites is a great way for affiliates to get visibility into your program. Affiliate directories like OfferVault and oDigger connect affiliates with programs and offers. Affiliates search these sites for offers and sign up for programs to get access to their offers.
Attending affiliate-related trade shows is a great way to get intimate access to affiliates. Trade shows connect affiliates, advertisers, and publishers with affiliate programs and networks. These gatherings make it easy to display your program’s offers by setting up a booth and participating in lectures and events. Because many affiliate trade shows draw in such a large crowds, it’s very easy to meet new and existing affiliates to create or grow your partnerships.
Emailing your existing affiliates and notifying them of updates such as new offers or payouts can really get them excited about your program. Affiliates network together, post in forums and blogs, review programs, comment on offers, and share, share, share. Reminding them of your referral program can get them talking and promoting your program to their affiliate friends. Check out this post for more information on communicating with affiliates.
Study Your Competition
The ideal candidate is likely already an affiliate of your competitors. Researching and studying your competition is nothing new, and it can be extremely helpful in finding new, high-converting affiliates for your program.
Study what your competitors are doing to recruit and retain affiliates. Research forums, articles, and blog content for recruiting strategies. You might even consider commenting in your competitor’s threads and replying to posts to get the attention of their existing or potential affiliates, but be prepared for reciprocation. Sometimes even a simple Google search for your competitors’ names will reveal affiliate sites that promote the competition. Feel free to contact these sites directly and negotiate a payout.
Leverage search engines to advertise your affiliate program’s ads to trigger based on search queries. Finding inexpensive and targeted search terms to bid on is key when building your affiliate base. Great PPC sources for targeting affiliates include Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Bidvertiser, and more.
Target your audience and potential affiliate base using relevant keywords and demographic information. To start, this might take some research, or begin broad and narrow in until you find the best keywords and phrases.
As social networks take over communication and marketing efforts, use this popularity and momentum to promote your program. Share information and link to your affiliate sign-up page. Test different types of messaging and see which renders the highest engagement levels. Remember to encourage others to share your message to increase visibility.
Posting on social bookmarking sites such as Reddit is another great way to recruit affiliates, so try to spread your message across platforms beyond Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Online article marketing is one of the easiest ways to recruit affiliates. Begin by writing a content-rich article emphasizing the products or services your program offers. Remember to hyperlink key phrases and words back to your sign-up page, offers, or information pages. The advantage of this method is that you’re attracting only affiliates who are legitimately interested in your offers and program, and who happen to be searching for related offers.
Reviews and Forums
Reviews are a great way to attract affiliates by providing information and featuring your program’s strongest qualities. Contact existing customers, clients, partners, or affiliates and request (or incentivize) them to provide a review. Ask to focus on the benefits and advantages of your products, offers, or features. Lastly, have someone in your organization write a comparison article, comparing and contrasting your program to others. Reviews provide valuable information and have a strong influence on readers, and can help make a name for your program and its offers.
Creating a forum is a quick way to get readers to post comments and encourage the community to talk about your program. This can spur interest with potential affiliates and get them thinking about your program. Use these forums to post benefits, advantages and opinions about your program, and provide a link and/or clear call-to-action for interested affiliates to easily sign up.
Before you begin placing links, make sure they’re working and tracking properly. Your reputation will be tarnished if an affiliate clicks on your link and is sent to an error page.
Now that my affiliate program is stacked with affiliates, what’s next?
Now that you can recruit the affiliates you want, we’re going to look into how you retain them and build those relationships to promote growth and retention. Stay tuned as you’ll learn how to help, engage, reward and communicate with your affiliates. Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to leave a comment below.
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Judy is the Director of Demand Generation at TUNE. Specialties range from marketing automation and operations, display advertising, and PPC, to content syndication and email marketing campaigns.