Hey there sea changers, today we continue our look into the other side of the affiliate marketing world and explore 8 ways to find affiliate marketers for your affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is a booming industry that is expected to grow by 10% ($1.2B) over the next year or two – and with current events (at time of writing) around COVID-19, a few more might be looking to pandemic proof their income with an online business.
So as businesses that look to expand their market, increase sales or brand recognition, or to achieve any number of other strategic outcomes, the development of affiliate programs has been something that they are tending to explore more and more. Just as it is with traditional sales models where companies need to find salesman to promote their products, building an affiliate program will not automatically attract affiliates to it. Affiliate program managers need to be constantly seeking and sourcing good affiliate marketers to ensure that their programs can be given the best chance of meeting its goals.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we get to that however let's just make sure we are on the same page as what we call affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is essentially a partnership between the vendor (the company selling the product) and the affiliate marketer (the person marketing the product) in which commissions are paid to the latter on the sales they generate. This works as follows:
- A company (vendor) decides that they want to start an affiliate marketing program.
- They release the program out into the online world with affiliate links for their products.
- Affiliate marketers apply/register for the program.
- Once approved, affiliate marketers add links to the products they are promoting to their websites, social media and so on.
- As ‘readers' click on the links within the affiliate marketer's content, they are redirected to the vendor's own website where the sales is recorded and products shipped.
- The affiliate marketer is paid a commission for referring their reader to the vendor.
Advantages to Merchants/Vendors
This process is often referred to as a “win-win” for both the vendor and the affiliate marketer for the following reasons:
- Risk and cost free advertising – Whilst there are some costs to affiliate program owners (we will discuss this below), essentially there is no real risk in terms of marketing costs. Affiliates do all the work in regards to marketing the merchant's products and are only ‘paid' if they make a sale.
- Increased Brand awareness – Even if a sale is not made, the fact that by design affiliates will need to be ‘talking up' the products that they are trying to sell – as well as posting all over their websites and social media – there are definite advantages in terms of gaining brand exposure. If nothing else, this simply increases the sets of eyes that are viewing and sharing products, logos and slogans etc.
- Brand reputation – Believe it or not, there are many affiliate marketers (and influencers) out there with legions of followers. In many cases, if an affiliate is promoting a brand, then its reputation can easily skyrocket leading to increased sales both via affiliate marketing and more traditional options (this can also however be a disadvantage too – see below).
- Increased traffic and SEO – Even if affiliates are referring people to the site of the vendor who do not end up purchasing, there is still the added bonus of increased traffic to their websites. This has major advantages – especially for newer companies – in that Search Engine rankings increase meaning they can also attract potential customers via other means. This is an advantage not to be underestimated.
Disadvantages to Merchants/Vendors
Of course, with anything there are a few disadvantages that those looking to set up affiliate programs should be aware of including:
- Brand reputation – Yep, this is both an advantage and disadvantage as just as affiliates can enhance a brand, they can certainly do it some damage as well. Obviously a rogue affiliate is not going to make any money from the relationship however at the end of the day, the merchant had absolutely no say in how their branding, products and logos are displayed, discussed or promoted once an affiliate is let loose with their links.
- Management can be costly – Just as running an affiliate program can be very beneficial cost wise to a vendor, the actual costs of running the program can outweigh the benefits quite quickly if sales are low. These costs can include:
- Managing commission payments
- Updating creatives
- Policing rules
- Approving applications
What will affiliates want to know?
And finally, before we try and work out how to get our programs in front of those beady little affiliate eyes, it is worth just making sure that you are aware of what it is that many of them look for in a program. Obviously it will need to match their niche and sub niche requirements, but affiliates may also be looking for:
- Commission rates and cookie length.
- Payment terms.
- Statistics such as number of link ‘clicks’.
- Conversion rates of sales per click .
- Average sale amount.
- Average commission amount.
- Most/least popular products.
- Marketing materials that are provided.
- Back office tracking processes.
Now, obviously for newer programs this may not always be available, but it is definitely worthwhile keeping in mind that affiliate marketers will definitely want to know what is in it for them. This is because they can be required to put in a lot of time and effort in order to generate sales and will not want to waste time on a program that may not generate interest or a decent return on investment for them.
How to Find Affiliates
Ok, so let's now fast-forward and assume that the program has been setup as required and the affiliate manager is now on the hunt to find affiliates for it. There is an old saying within the sales industry that you need to go where your customers are. In online terms, this is often realigned to ‘you need to be visible on places that your customers look'. Let's check some of them out…:
1. Register with Affiliate Networks
Affiliate program networks are online platforms that work as intermediaries between merchants and affiliates. Many affiliate program managers, especially those who are new to the process, adopt the use of affiliate networks purely due to the fact that they provide plenty of support in terms of setting up and maintaining the affiliate program, tracking and reporting and affiliate payment solutions.
In terms of utilizing affiliate networks to attract affiliates, these networks also automatically provide high visibility to affiliates looking to promote programs. Not only that, many affiliates like these networks as it gives them easy access to a number of programs within the one niche so as to fully flesh out their website posts and social media. Common affiliate networks include:
2. Affiliate ‘hangouts'
Affiliate marketers, like most other industries like to hang out together and discuss all things online business. These can be social media groups or affiliate marketing training platforms such as Wealthy Affiliate who list affiliate programs for their members. Some of these programs will allow your to advertise your program and some will not. However even if not you can generally interact to gain an understanding of what they are looking for with an affiliate program (or what they are taught) and where they go to find them.
For example, many affiliate marketing training platforms will push those starting out with affiliate marketing to the big platforms such as Amazon or Clickbank. If you, as an affiliate program manager can find ways to get your program in front of them and outline your benefits over those other platforms (usually via social media or email lists etc.), then you might be able to redirect some marketers in your direction.
3. Ask for Reviews
Another oft used ploy for affiance program managers is to reach out to affiliate marketers within the ‘online business' niche and ask them to review their programs or include them within their lists. This can be very worthwhile as in many cases, affiliate marketers in other niches will look for these reviews in order determine whether the program is worth their time and effort in joining.
Generally, reviews will cover the information we discussed above in terms of commission details, program performance and assistance provided. The risk here is obviously that some writers may be less than favorable if the program does not stack up in their eyes compared to others however generally at the very least, it will get your company and program out there on high ranking sites a lot quicker than it may otherwise.
Oh, and a small ‘bounty' (a commission paid for every person that signs up as a result of the review) for the reviewing affiliate can definitely help here.
4. Social Media
Yep, as with most industries, good old social media is a great way to get your company and program noticed by a wider audience. Specific platforms such as Pinterest and YouTube are great for this as they tend to be where affiance marketers look for program reviews (as we discussed above) and comments.
Add your program details to your own website and social media pages so that everybody who visits can see those details regardless of whether they are affiliate marketers or not. You just never know.
5. Tell your customers
This next option definitely fits into the “you never know” category but if you have an affiliate program that you are trying to promote then why not let your customers know about it. If carefully promoted, it can be very powerful in increasing sales via those means. Some companies also use this strategy to add their own larger customers and retailers to the programs to allow them to make extra commissions via their own websites as well.
Other promotional processes can be undertaken via a number of methods such as:
- Social media promotion
- Website pages
- Email lists
- Direct calls to big customers
6. Check your competition
I have mentioned this option in many posts that I have written but it is a critical element in any business strategy, planning or marketing campaign process in checking what your competition is doing. In this case use your research skills to find out:
- Where they are posting their programs (affiliate networks, self managed etc.)
- Where they advertise for affiliates
- Social media presence
- What their affiliates are saying.
This information is critical in terms of not only how your competition is managing their programs, but also how they are attracting affiliates to them. As with everything in business, as long as you are not stealing content, copying your competition is a very shrewd way of succeeding with a solid affiliate marketing program.
7. Affiliate conferences
Ok, I need to make an admission here, until now I did not even know that these exist (and I call myself an affiliate marketer). But another way to get your program out there and attract affiliates is to attend affiliate conferences. It turns out that there are major affiliate conferences on most cities around the world yearly. These are effectively large networking events for affiliates, affiliate networks and in some cases, marketers as well.
Obviously there is a cost to attend (travel, accommodation and conference fees etc.) so it is critical that you have a good understanding of the following:
- What is your reason for attending and does the conference match those reasons?
- What is your plan of attack to meet these needs – i.e who do you want to talk to?
- How are you planning to engage and interact – do you need any documentation or S.W.A.G ?
- What are your post conference followup processes – we all know how many say they will be in touch afterwards and will call you – but never do.
If managed correctly, conferences can be a gold mine for either attracting affiliate marketers directly, or gaining exposure to your program to indirectly attract them in the very near future.
8. Offer incentives
And finally, once we have all of the above in play so that our program is more visible, there may be a need to offer incentives to entice affiliates to apply to your program. These can include:
- Discounts for the affiliate's customers
- Higher commissions for higher sales
- Self use of affiliate links
- Extra payments for click links instead of just sales (this is not always recommended but can be good to gain exposure)
These require careful consideration as there are a few negatives to this approach as well such as reduced profit margins and the attraction of affiliates who are there for the incentives only and not to ethically promote the products. However if managed well, these can certainly be the difference between an affiliate sighing with your program and going elsewhere.
So there you have it… 8 ways to find affiliate marketers for your affiliate program. As with everything in business, check them out and see what can work for your program so that you can take advantage of extra affiliate numbers to promote your business and its products.
I hope this has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own online business?
Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to ethically develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO, post ideas, social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.
Until next time
Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.