How to Recruit Affiliates?

In the world of Affiliate Networks, one of the biggest challenges for affiliate networks and their affiliate managers is recruiting new affiliates, but even more difficult is finding quality affiliates that can deliver volume and valuable traffic. Depending on the niches your network promotes also determines how many competitor networks and programs there are, who are all vying to sign up more affiliates. So how exactly should you go about recruiting new affiliates? This article explores some key considerations and approaches you can take. 

Get Your House in Order

Before you even start trying to recruit affiliates, you need to get your house in order. What does this mean? It’s rather simple. Make sure everything on your side is working and top-notch because once you start recruiting, you get one shot to impress. If things like your website don’t work or your tracking is unreliable, or your processes are poor, all your efforts will be a waste of time. 

Here are the key things to check, polish, and optimize before you start knocking on doors:

Website


In the world of internet marketing, your website is your ambassador and if your site is old, outdated, doesn’t work and information is not clear, all those new leads will bounce in a matter of seconds. You won’t get a second chance. One of the biggest mistakes that affiliate networks make is filling their sites with marketing hype and making impossible promises. Make sure you have some kind of USP (Unique Selling Point) and most importantly, new recruits will want a clear picture of what sort of commissions your offer and your payment terms. Also, make sure the sign-up process is easy and works. In a nutshell, take a good, hard and honest look at your website as if you were an affiliate, and ask yourself if you would sign up or is this just another cookie-cutter site or worse, does it look spammy. Your site should be something your affiliate managers can be proud to send new affiliates to. 

Tracking, Reporting & Payments

 

When affiliates join your network, they are putting a lot of trust in you that you will track and report accurately. If your tracking is not working properly – FIX IT! There is no excuse for inaccurate reporting and often affiliates will test things by getting people they know to buy products through their links so they can make sure they are going to get paid for every single referral. Many affiliates belong to forums and are friends and the last thing you want is affiliates bad-mouthing your network in these forums. Remember that once something is posted out there, even after you’ve fixed things, new recruits will find those old posts and may not want to take a chance that they could lose out on commissions. One of the worst things for affiliate managers is having to smooth things with new potential affiliates before even trying to get them on board. When it comes to payments, affiliates want to get paid, no excuses! If your network is renowned for late payments or payments are inconsistent with what the reporting says, you’re going to have a real tough time not just recruiting but retaining your affiliates. Once affiliates start complaining about payments on forums, you are going to spend more time doing crisis management than recruiting. 

Marketing Collateral & Tools

If you want affiliates to stay loyal and promote your products, be sure you have top-quality marketing materials for them. Banners should be well designed with quality copy and solid CTAs (Call to Action). Landing pages and funnels should be professional, optimized and all links and redirects should work seamlessly. While many professional affiliates will create their own content, the vast majority will use what you supply and if your stuff doesn’t work and doesn’t convert for them, they will move to the next network.  

These are just a few key areas that you should pay special attention to and if you neglect to have your end up to scratch, all your time and effort onboarding affiliates will be lost. 

Ways to Recruit New Affiliates

There are many ways to find new affiliates to join your network and establishing what works for you should be approached from a performance marketing perspective. This means that all your recruitment efforts should be tracked, measured, and optimized. 

Now let’s explore some options…

Advertising – You’re working in the world of internet marketing, so it should come as no surprise that you can use the plethora of advertising options out there. Take a look at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other large platforms. The cost of advertising on these sites can be expensive, so these campaigns should be well managed, tracked, and optimized. 

SEO – Yes, your site should be well optimized, but just bear in mind you want to be optimized for the niches you work in and not just generic affiliate marketing or you will be attracting affiliates for all sorts of niches outside of your market focus.  One of the most effective ways to focus your content is building your blog content with quality posts. 

Social Media – Well it goes without saying that these days you need a strong social presence, so making sure your social media is up to date and maintained can go a long way to helping recruit new affiliates. Also, make sure someone on your team is managing things and replying to new recruits who may try to connect with you through social media. 

Trade Shows / Conferences – There is no shortage of affiliate conferences and selecting the right ones to attend can be pivotal in finding new business. Despite the digital world we live in, meeting people face to face and building relationships is vital. Just be sure that whoever is attending from your team, presents themselves and represents your business professionally. One area that most companies fail when it comes to conferences is the follow-up. When you have made a connection with new people, make sure you follow up immediately after the conference and don’t wait weeks. Strike while the iron is hot.  

Referrals – Just like any business, one of the best ways to get top-quality recruits is to get other affiliates to refer people they know. If you’ve been doing things well and you have existing affiliates that are satisfied, ask them for referrals. You may even consider implementing a multi-tier referral program, which means affiliates can earn commissions when they refer other new affiliates. Most modern affiliate back-office platforms have this functionality built-in and may just need activation. If you do decide to go this route, then be sure to notify your existing affiliate base about this option and that they can earn even more. 

“Cold Call” Emails – This involves putting together lists of possible affiliates and emailing them. This process is not easy, but if done correctly and methodically, it can produce excellent results. Creating these lists is a time-consuming process. You will need to search on Google to identify the sites that rank and would be ideal affiliate sites. Then, you need to find their contact information which can often be difficult as most many affiliates don’t want to be bombarded daily by affiliate managers. If you are unable to find their email address, then try the contact form on their site. Some sites may even have a dedicated page for “advertisers” which explains their requirements and how to contact them. The trick to being successful with “cold call” emails is writing a short, meaningful message that will make the affiliate want to reach out to you. Avoid just sending canned generic mails or long essays and stay away from marketing hype messages that claim you are the best network with the best commissions. Take a few moments to look over their website and identify something you can speak about, it could be a particular post on their site, or maybe a suggestion on how you can collaborate. One of the best ways to spark interest is by adding value, so if you can see an angle that can add value, then approach it like that. A technique that can also work well is to offer a free blog post and get a writer to produce it for them. The bottom line is you need an angle, something that will make your offer stand out from all the others who are trying to do business with that site owner. You may need to repeat the process a few times, but do not SPAM people by sending endless emails to them, or in no time at all, you will end up blacklisted and have burnt that bridge before it’s even built. 

Affiliate Directories – There is no shortage of affiliate directories where you can list your program and what you have to offer. Some directories also allow for sponsored listings or email blasts to their base, so you may want to consider this too. 

Backlinks – No were not referring to SEO backlinks. Search on Google for your brands or products and identify sites that have links or mentions of your products but are not using affiliate links. Then, reach out to these sites and tell them that they can monetize those links by joining your network. It’s a win-win scenario for both of you. You can even apply this technique on social media where people are speaking about your products. 

Influencers – It’s no secret there are people out there that are influencers for certain niches. These people may be bloggers, Youtubers, or on social media platforms. Getting one of these influencers to endorse your network and telling their followers can be highly effective. Just note, you need to be extremely professional and do not start spamming them in the hope of getting a response. Influencers are bombarded every day by advertisers who want to leverage them, so you need to be smart about how you approach things. 

Press Releases – Regular PR can go a long way to building your brand and getting new recruits to come and knock on your door. The key thing with PR is making sure you actually have something newsworthy. Simply putting out pointless news won’t even get a glance from potential partners. There are plenty of PR agencies that can help craft the content and ensure its distribution. 

Meetups and Masterminds – Affiliates and digital marketers often host events where they meet up to share their ideas and network. Attending these events can serve as an excellent way to network with potential recruits. When attending these events, don’t come in guns blazing and do your sales pitch to everyone. The marketers attending these events don’t come there to be cornered by every affiliate manager wanting their business. Join in discussions, and demonstrate value, in no time at all, affiliates will be approaching you to learn more. 

Advertising – You’re working in the world of internet marketing, so it should come as no surprise that you can use the plethora of advertising options out there. Take a look at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other large platforms. The cost of advertising on these sites can be expensive, so these campaigns should be well managed, tracked, and optimized. 

SEO – Yes, your site should be well optimized, but just bear in mind you want to be optimized for the niches you work in and not just generic affiliate marketing or you will be attracting affiliates for all sorts of niches outside of your market focus.  One of the most effective ways to focus your content is building your blog content with quality posts. 

Social Media – Well it goes without saying that these days you need a strong social presence, so making sure your social media is up to date and maintained can go a long way to helping recruit new affiliates. Also, make sure someone on your team is managing things and replying to new recruits who may try to connect with you through social media. 

Trade Shows / Conferences – There is no shortage of affiliate conferences and selecting the right ones to attend can be pivotal in finding new business. Despite the digital world we live in, meeting people face to face and building relationships is vital. Just be sure that whoever is attending from your team, presents themselves and represents your business professionally. One area that most companies fail when it comes to conferences is the follow-up. When you have made a connection with new people, make sure you follow up immediately after the conference and don’t wait weeks. Strike while the iron is hot.  

Final Thoughts

Recruiting affiliates is a process. It takes time, effort, and a strategy. Even though we are living in this digital world, people deal with people, which means your focus should be on building relationships. When you demonstrate to potential recruits that you have a value proposition and are interested in what they do and can assist them, you will win them over!