There is no affiliate program without affiliates. They are your main salesforce, and the more quality affiliates you partner with, the more successful affiliate program you will be able to build.
The problem for merchants who work on a tight budget is that many affiliate recruitment tools require additional investment (e.g. IBP Standard/ARELIS currently costs $249.95, LinkCapture – $499, PPC Bully – starts from $997/yr, thePartnerMaker – from $2,499/yr, Syntryx – $30k). It is with these merchants in mind (and the current state of the economy as well) that I have decided to compile a list of the top 5 tools to use on a limited or no budget at all:
- Search Engines – www.google.com, www.bing.com, etc
- Twitter – www.twitter.com
- Internet Success Spider – www.grabthespider.com
- Your affiliate program’s blog [do you have one at all?]
- Affiliate program directories [post & poll to review]
Carefully crafting and implementing your recruitment strategy with an incorporation of the above 5 tools will help you cover as much as 63% of the avenues affiliates routinely use for finding and joining affiliate programs [see this AffStat graph].
KEY RULE to remember throughout using the above five tools: Thou shall not spam. Seriously. Respect your potential partners, and they will respect you in return.