Have you just launched your new affiliate program and wondering how to find affiliates for your product? Well, I have exactly what you are looking for.
But just for the sake of the newbies, let’s begin with a piece of short but detailed background information.
The eCommerce and SaaS industries already recognize the importance of affiliate marketing in the 21st century. It has made ordinary businesses turn over millions of dollars in revenue at the end of every fiscal year.
Affiliate marketing is undoubtedly one of the most efficient ways to increase your sales and push your products to the screens of people who need them.
The chance to put your product or service in front of people that are highly interested yet hard to reach in normal circumstances is pretty great and can help you increase your business profitability within a short period – if you have the right affiliates.
Due to the cheap nature of the performance-based affiliate marketing model, it is expected to take over email marketing by the end of Q3 2022. Currently, it’s almost on the same level as email marketing regarding the best digital marketing method to generate quick revenues.
Affiliate programs can be a good way for marketing managers and retailers to reach a wider audience while earning new loyal customers and increasing revenue.
But the question is, how will you find those all-important affiliates to promote your brand and sell your products?
This article will learn what kind of affiliates to approve or recruit, where to find them, and what works best for your brand. Whether you run just a small business or a thriving SaaS business, affiliate marketing can help you increase sales through word of mouth.
Of course, that’s only if you have the right affiliates in your corner. So how do you find and recruit high-performing affiliates?
Today, we’ll go over 20 proven ways to find and recruit the best affiliates for your new affiliate program, but before we do that, let’s touch on a few more topics.
Who Could Be Your Affiliates?
Your affiliates could be:
- Niche experts
- Industry influencers
- Social media influencers
- Your very own employees
- Your existing customers
Note that these affiliates do not have to be familiar with your product, they do not have to be users of your service. What you should ensure is that they should be trusted within the same niche you occupy, or by the same audience, you target.
Your affiliates would be given unique trackable links to advertise on their channels. These links are called affiliate links and will usually link back to your website. It is through this link that you, the advertiser, track who is responsible for the conversions that happens and, ultimately, determine who is eligible for commissions.
Now, let’s look at why one well-known method for finding affiliates isn’t the best use of your resources.
Why Affiliate Networks Are A No-No
Affiliate networks are organizations that recruit and manage your affiliates for you. You’ve probably heard about them during your affiliate marketing research. While these networks contribute to making things a bit easier, they come at a high cost.
You’ll need to pay the affiliate network to find affiliates for you. This “recruitment fee” can be as much as 30% of the commission you pay affiliates, and most times, you do not even get the right affiliates.
To avoid these exorbitant fees, choose an affordable affiliate tracking software and create your own affiliate program yourself. These softwares don’t charge you to find affiliates, rather, you create a program and advertise the same to potential affiliates who would sign up.
This gives you absolute control over your affiliate program, your affiliate data and your affiliates. The only fees you pay are monthly or yearly subscription fees which of course are just a fraction of what your affiliate program would make you.
Plus, with affiliate marketing software, you’ll be able to personally reach out to affiliates (and build stronger relationships as a result), rather than relying on a middleman to pass messages back and forth. That’s very tiring.
Finding Affiliates: Whom? Where? How?
You have to put in a little bit of work to find the best affiliates to sign up for your own program, but it’s well worth it.
Here are my 20 best practices and strategies for how to find affiliates, including where to look for them and how to entice them to hit the sign up button.
1. Work with an Affiliate Recruitment Agency.
Using an Affiliate Recruitment Agency is one way to find affiliates. Affiliate Recruitment Agencies specialize in finding and hiring affiliates for brands, as opposed to typical affiliate networks.
Working with an Affiliate Recruitment Agency is best for brands that require a wider bandwidth for discovery and outreach. Instead of outsourcing your entire affiliate program, these agencies allow brands to simply alleviate the headache of affiliate recruitment.
While the goal is for you or your affiliate manager to manage the strategic aspects of your affiliate program, recruitment agencies will offer guidance on making your offer and commission structure attractive to prospective affiliates.
2. Contact Bloggers in Your Niche
Established Bloggers are great for affiliate marketing because they already have an audience that trusts their recommendation and are glued to their blog sites but don’t contact just any blogger. Look for those who share your target audience and niche and recruit them as affiliates.
Finding bloggers who share your niche would lead to a higher conversion rate since you’ll be getting more targeted affiliate traffic, as well as referrals who are more likely to purchase from you and since most successful bloggers have turned their content creation into a full-time business, be sure they will be committed to creating excellent content around your brand as they do not want to mess their blogs up.
3. Leverage Small Social Media Influencers
Just like bloggers, social media influencers make great affiliates. A lot of them have turned their social platforms into businesses.
Not only are they able to create exciting content, visuals, and stories around your brand, but they also have built trust with their audience, and that is what you want to leverage. You should never be misled by the number of followers they may have on their platforms.
Influencers with relatively minor numbers of followers tend to be more focused on a niche – and more trusted by their community of followers since they can engage with a lot of them.
The small influencers would find your commission offer enticing online the bigger ones charge high prices upfront for any promotional campaign they execute for a brand.
So what should you look out for? The answer is simple, look out for micro or nano-influencers in your brand’s niche. Micro-influencers have between 10,000-100,000 followers, while nano-influencers have between 1,000-10,000 followers.
There are several platforms where you can find influencers who can help you get good results for your business.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, YouTube, Snapchat, etc., have become a habit for millions of people who use them daily for hours. Influencers shape people’s opinions about them by recommending or rejecting products and services.
For example, if you are a gaming company and you would like to find influencers to promote your gaming accessory or your game, the best option would be YouTube or Snapchat.
There are some pretty famous influencers like PewDiePie who would charge you pretty high for recommending your product, but if you are just starting then there are several other influencers who are ready to work with you in your budget.
4. Search on Social Media Groups and Forums
Business social media platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to build trust and find trusted affiliates to grow your brand. Other social media platforms also have industry-focused forums and groups you can join to find affiliates. These include:
- Forums on industry sites
- Facebook groups
- Telegram channels
- WhatsApp group chats
- Reddit pages related to your industry
You can use these groups to grow your brand since these individuals are business experts looking for opportunities and are familiar with such conversations.
5. Invite Existing Customers
It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that your existing customers are the best advocates for your products. This is because they have first-hand experience with the products and are ready to defend what they have chosen to buy.
Word of mouth is powerful, and your customers don’t have to be content creators, influencers, or experts to impact your affiliate marketing because people already trust the recommendations of their friends and family.
We built our Post-Purchase Widget at Metricks.io to help you encourage your customers to sign up for your affiliate program. Once this is set up, every new customer gets a pop-up to join your affiliate program as soon as they purchase from your eCommerce store or subscribe to your SaaS solution.
A referral program may be a better fit if you want to invite a more extensive base of your customers to refer friends and are looking to try out different reward structures (other than cash commissions).
You can offer free products, discounts, or even larger chunks of cash rewards when they prove their loyalty. This method is trusted to grow your brand in no time at all.
6. Make Your Affiliate Campaigns As Visible As Possible
You can have the best affiliate campaign, but of course, it would perform poorly if it isn’t seen by affiliates. How do you get the right people to see your campaigns? There are lots of ways you can achieve this:
- Include an affiliate program page link in your website’s top menu and footer menu.
- Search Engine Optimize your affiliate program page for key niche terms plus “affiliate program” (e.g., “pet supplies affiliate program”) so it’s easily found in search results.
- Promote your affiliate program in dedicated emails or email newsletters.
- Briefly mention your affiliate program in transactional and thank-you emails.
- Post your affiliate program on social media (and include a link to your program page in every one of those posts).
- Use an affiliate marketplace. (We are building one, drumrolls!)
- Link to your affiliate program in your social media bios.
- Create paid ads (AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.) focused on niche keywords and highlight your affiliate commission in the ad.
- Add a link to your affiliate program in your email signature using a brief blurb (“Check out our affiliate program!”)
Note: “affiliate program” and “affiliate campaigns” can’t be used interchangeably because they mean different things. Think of your affiliate program as your office building. T
hen think of your affiliate campaigns as the single offices in the building. In summary, your program is a structure that houses the campaigns.
As a business, you have one affiliate program, but you can create several campaigns, perhaps for different products or with different offerings, within your program.
Affiliates, on getting to your program’s landing page, will find all your active campaigns and choose the ones they would like to join.
7. User Fiverr Marketplace
Fiverr Marketplace has its weaknesses. However, you can find great gigs if you look hard enough.
One of the best and easiest ways to find affiliates to promote your product is by choosing ten sellers on Fiverr that offer a gig to promote your product and test them all with unique affiliate links to track their performance.
Since it is performance-based and you only pay for conversions, this method is cheap and less risky.
Out of 10, you should find at least 1 or 2 performing well and are profitable. Then reach out to them and start to develop a long-term partnership with them.
Repeat this until you have a good number of affiliates.
8. Attract Affiliates With Great Offers
Once you’ve found the best potential affiliates for your program, the next step is to convince them to sign up.
Personally reaching out to the affiliates you’ve found is key, but setting up a good offer, such as a valuable commission structure is another key factor in attracting and recruiting the best affiliates who want to get paid well for the excellent quality of service they’ll bring to your program.
Offer a commission rate that’s competitive to other affiliate programs in your niche, while still making sure it’s sustainable for your business, remember not to run at a loss while doing it.
Consider offering higher commissions or adding bonuses to your top-performing affiliates. For more on this topic, see our other article that covers all the details on setting a commission rate that effectively attracts affiliates.
9. Attend Affiliate Conferences
Affiliate conferences are events where both program owners, AKA you, and affiliate marketers come to network, listen to industry experts share updates, take part in various activities, and network.
This provides a befitting environment for you to find all the affiliates you need in one room and a plus you get is that the affiliates who attend these events are the most experienced in the industry.
Plus, these conferences give both you and your potential affiliates the chance to meet face-to-face to create a genuine connection beforehand.
Two of the most popular conferences in the industry are Affiliate Summit and Affiliate World:
Every year, hundreds of advertisers and affiliates gather both physically and virtually to network.
However, there are dozens of these events happening all over the world. Once you’ve found the one you’d like to attend, the best way to proceed is to treat it as an opportunity to network.
Focus on talks and meet-ups where you can chat with people in the same industry and niche as you. In addition, keep an open mind and be genuine with the people you meet. This will endear you and your program to potential affiliates and partners alike.
10. Have A Great Product
The place of a good product is paramount in any marketing strategy, including affiliate marketing. Offering a high commission is not enough.
An outstanding product that satisfies your customers would go along way in promoting word-of-mouth marketing even without you asking or incentivizing them. An excellent product is actually 90% of the reason for a good customer retention rate. The other 10% is attributed to excellent customer service.
Here are a few bonus tips, just a few checkboxes to mark before and while your affiliate program is running.
1. Provide Marketing Materials like Banners, Videos, and Email templates
Create banners, articles, and promotional emails that your affiliates can use. They will appreciate that, and their launch will be easier.
2. Give Gifts to New Potential Affiliates
It could be a free offer of your software or products. This may persuade a new potential affiliate to join your program. Decide if you want to give them a gift at the beginning or after their first sale.
3. Recruit Affiliates by Doing Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
You can try to use Google Adwords, Yahoo!, and Facebook ads to find new affiliates. You can target certain niches and recruit a large number of affiliates. Do not forget to create an explanatory landing page, where you describe the advantages the affiliates get by joining your program.
4. Participate in Affiliate Events
Take part in special affiliate events that are held all over the world (mainly in the US). The most important is the Affiliate Summit, where you can find a lot of important affiliates. You will have the opportunity to confront your potential affiliates and present your program in a friendly way.
These are a few ways to get your campaigns active in no time. However, note that you should prioritize quality over quantity when recruiting your affiliates.
You might think you have nothing to lose if you partner with a hundred affiliates since, after all, you’d only pay commissions to those who make actual sales, but on the contrary, advertisers should check for character and ensure affiliates do not paste their referral links on shady sites like pornographic and gambling sites that could bring your brand a bad reputation or even lawsuits.
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Henry is a marketing and communications specialist. He enjoys helping individuals and brands find answers to their marketing questions. He has spent the majority of his career in the SaaS industry, gaining experiences in areas such as corporate communications, digital marketing, copywriting, and community building.
Henry currently serves as the head of marketing and comms at Metricks.