Congratulations on your shiny new affiliate program!
After months of studying the needs and buying habits of consumers, you developed a new product, created an offer, and opened a store. You identified your ideal customer, but also the biggest competitors in your targeted niche. After digging through tons of data and crunching the numbers, you’ve mapped out a solid go-to-market strategy to ensure long-term success. Everything looks good and you’re ready to launch, or so you think.
Just like a traditional brick-and-mortar shop, you want to get customers in the door as quickly as possible, but where do you look for them? More importantly, how do you let them know you’re open for business? How do you get them to start spending money with your brand? TUNE offers some quick tips to help small businesses discover the benefits of an affiliate program.
Why It Pays to Put in the Work
Whatever media channel or traffic source you choose to reach your desired audience, you’ll need to enlist reliable media partners to help get the word out as quickly as possible. Recruitment is often the biggest challenge when it comes to launching programs, so it’s important for brands to understand that a successful partnership program on any platform requires affiliate identification, outreach, negotiation, and ongoing relationship management.
Brands should always maintain full ownership of their recruitment initiatives and devote considerable time and effort upfront to build (and maintain) their desired partner pipelines. Adopting a “set it and forget it” strategy will always deliver poor results; investing in this effort early on will pay dividends in the success of your program. Try to think of it like this: An affiliate program is like a gym membership. If you join a gym, regardless of the amenities, but never take the time to actually go in and work out, you won’t see any results. And you cannot blame the gym — in other words, your platform — for that.
In the old days of affiliate marketing, publishers were relentless in the pursuit of brands. Advertisers called the shots when it came to deciding where to spend their ad dollars, and only publishers with pristine content, astronomical volume, and high traffic-ranking scores were considered for program opportunities. Requests For Proposal (RFPs) were a requirement, as brands expected a full accounting of where their ad dollars were being spent.
The roles have been reversed, and now it is publishers who are in the driver’s seat. Brands are now finding themselves in the pitching position. Publishers are more selective, and thanks to the success of social media platforms, they are more than willing to pass on opportunities that don’t make sense for their audiences or content strategy. For them, payout is secondary to offers that resonate with their base and foster long-term engagement.
How to Recruit Affiliates and Other Marketing Partners
To help our customers with their recruitment efforts, TUNE’s Partnerships Team has put together this quick list of internal and external resources:
1. TUNE Connect
TUNE’s Connect marketplace is a curated list of carefully vetted media, agency, and technology partners open to direct relationships with TUNE clients. From their private dashboard accounts, brands managing programs on TUNE have the ability to sort and preview partner profiles, including verticals, regions, and accepted payout models, after which, they can request a connection directly with the selected partner at the click of a button. After a partner has been selected, an automated introduction email will be sent to both parties directly from the platform. To improve the chances for a quick and reasonable response, it is highly recommended for the customer to follow up immediately with specific offer payouts, conversion metrics, audience targets, and acceptable traffic sources.
2. Publisher Discovery
Publisher Discovery is a third-party recruitment tool that can be used in conjunction with TUNE Connect. Think of it as Google, but for affiliates. For a discounted fee, it is a great add-on option that offers customers a wider range of affiliates for their programs, including granular competitor reports, payout details, and direct publisher contact information. Download our one-sheet to learn more.
3. Agency Services
We understand some brands experience limitations due to inadequate platform training, staffing shortages, or time constraints. Agencies can help grow programs at an average of 30% or more. TUNE has 40+ outstanding full-service agency partners who are available and willing to assist with program strategy, management, and partner recruitment. Pricing may vary, but we do our best to match our brands with the best and most reasonable options.
4. Rakuten Advertising
We understand some brands require may require a specialized network integration such as Rakuten Advertising, with whom we have developed a strategic relationship. We are able to offer a custom discount for TUNE customers.
Maximize Your Partner Recruitment with TUNE
As an important rule of thumb, it’s good to remember that the devil is in the details, so follow-up is a must. We recommend reaching out to the direct contact in the email introduction within a period of 24 hours or less. Brands should have a clear and viable understanding of their program goals and be ready to present them if the publisher expresses an interest in continuing the conversation. We strongly recommend avoiding the use of broad terms and vague language. This will improve the chances of receiving a response. Some publishers may also request a one-sheet or overview deck.
Even if you do everything right, publisher responses are not guaranteed once an introduction has been facilitated by TUNE. That’s why our Partnerships Team is here to help identify potential blockers and assist with helping you connect with your new and most valuable affiliates.
If you have questions about partner recruitment or would like more information about our resources, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
Tie Davidson is a seasoned veteran in the Affiliate Marketing space. As the Partnerships Manager at TUNE, he is committed to sharing his industry knowledge and expertise with brands, agencies, and media partners, while providing education and support for their program recruitment efforts. Tie currently resides in NYC, and spends his spare time as a local food influencer and life coach.