I'm not going to beat around the bush—finding the right affiliates for your brand is hard work. To succeed, it takes a mix of determination, experience, writing skills, and negotiation tools.
I've been doing this for 10+ years, and I’m still facing new challenges every single day on how to find affiliates. There are 15 steps to getting affiliates to become active sales, yet many executives don't understand the grind affiliate managers go through. So, one of my favorite things to do is to educate others on how to skip the mistakes I've made in my career.
If you are struggling to find affiliates for your program, this article will give you the tips and tricks that make that marketing graph stretch up and to the right. Let's get into how to find affiliates that are right for your brand.
I'm a big fan of using the latest and greatest tools to improve efficiency in my workday. If you are not using the right tools, you might be overcomplicating your efforts.
Affiliate manager tools come in three variations:
Recruitment: Helps you find prospects easier.
Organization: Keeps affiliate managers focused on important tasks.
Time-saving: This is my personal favorite because when you get tasks done quicker, that leaves more time for recruitment.
In my experience, the most important tool is a partner organization tool that can fulfill all three of these variations. Kiflo has not only built out a tracking solution, but also an outstanding Partner Platform that helps affiliate managers track the flow of each relationship. This feature helps affiliate managers stay organized and save time that can be spent recruiting partners.
To compliment Kiflo, Grovia has the best-in-class software to help brands quickly find affiliates, influencers, and publishers that are relevant to their niche. Grovia provides the website and contact info so you can reach out to connect and partner up.
There are hundreds of tools to choose from, and I have personally tested dozens throughout the years. If you want a complete list of tools Grovia uses to manage affiliate programs, check out this video.
When thinking about how to find affiliates, sometimes brands miss the most obvious solution: their own website!
Affiliates have a habit of finding a product they like, going to the brand’s website, and going to the footer of the page to find the affiliate program sign-up link. If it isn't there, they might assume your affiliate program doesn't exist, and they will move on to your competitors to promote their products.
Don't let this happen to you! If you do not have your affiliate sign-up link in your footer, do it today. Also, sprinkle it into some of your blog posts and newsletters. People who are reading these might be interested in joining. The more exposure to your program, the better.
People are motivated by money and free products, so give them an opportunity to promote you and earn.
Consumers that buy and love your product make the best evangelists. Let them know via newsletter that you have a new affiliate program that has opened up and you pay XX% of each sale they refer.
When recruiting affiliates, create two different lists:
Nice to have
The nice-to-have affiliates are content websites that are a good fit to promote your brand. Many of them will be small-time and they won't necessarily have tons of traffic to their site or huge sales volume. However, they will provide solid brand recognition and bring in an occasional sale or two. Create this list, send out a wide-net generic email sequence to get their attention, and try to get to them in the program.
The wishlist contains the partners that will make a real difference in your program. They have the potential of generating dozens (or even hundreds) of sales each month. This should be a shortlist of no more than 25 potential partners. Once a publisher makes this list, do not stop asking them to join the program until you get a hard no or they accept your offer. The latter is my preference.
When getting any affiliate into the program, you will need to use all the incentives you have at your disposal to negotiate a deal. For example, if you can offer affiliates free products or services, do it! This first-hand experience will show up organically in the content, which will come off as genuine to the reader.
Other enticing incentives could be sponsorship bonuses, increased commission rates, and deeper discounts to their readers. Every partner wants something different, so get creative in what you offer.
When you get a random email in your inbox, how often do you read it and respond immediately? It's a pretty rare occasion, right?
Good affiliates are getting dozens of emails every day and only respond to the most enticing and best offers. The best chance you have to land one of these good affiliates is to have enticing offers in your emails.
But don't just stop at one email. Keep reaching out until you get a response. I like to use a five-email sequence spread out over three weeks and sent out at different times of each workday. Everybody's inbox works a little bit differently, so having this variety means your email could be #55 one day, but email #3 the next. The use of different outbound prospecting tools can make this step easier as they allow you to schedule follow-up emails automatically.
My favorite part about affiliate marketing is the relationships I've built throughout the years. Every partner that isn’t a good fit for your program today could potentially be a good partner for a different brand in the future.
Keep these connections close; you never know what the future may hold for you and your career.
Few marketers know the real secrets of how to find affiliates. It can be a long process and building a successful affiliate program is not an easy task.
Hopefully, a few of these tips have been helpful and you have a few new ideas on how to connect with the right affiliate. If you are looking for more help, I’m only a phone call away from being your next lifetime connection. Good luck out there.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Grovia?
Grovia is a Partner recruitment services and software to find affiliates, influencers, publishers, and more.
What does it mean to be an affiliate partner?
An affiliate partner is a partner that focuses primarily on cost-per-action marketing. This is a performance-based marketing method that focuses on conversions and sales. The important thing to know is that affiliates always talk to an audience of people whereas referrals and resellers usually target potential customers on a 1 to 1 basis.
Is an affiliate a partner?
Yes, an affiliate is a partner type, but not all partners are affiliates.
How to find affiliates?
Use your customer list, google relevant keywords, search on LinkedIn, build an email sequence to get more responses, etc..