How to Recruit Affiliates: 10 Strategies That Work

Affiliate recruitment is one of the key pillars of affiliate management. Without affiliates aboard your affiliate program, there will be no sales force to promote you.

Recruitment is also one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks that affiliate managers have to tackle. Between identification of the right prospects, outreach to them, and follow-ups, it isn’t unusual for an affiliate manager to spend as much as 80% of their time on recruitment-related activities.

There are many different ways to find and recruit good affiliates, but some strategies are consistently proven to be more effective than others. Our below list outlines the ten techniques that we have found to be the most productive.

1. Competitive Intelligence

Identify the affiliates who make your direct competitors successful (as well as the prominent affiliates in your niche), and then reach out to them with compelling reasons to join your affiliate program. Some of the tools that you will find of use here are Publisher Discovery, MediaRails, and NerdyData.

2. Satisfied Customers

Invite your happy customers (and fans of your products/brand) to become your affiliates too! You may do this on the order confirmation page, through customer-geared email newsletters, and on the social media where they follow you.

3. Influencers & Opinion Leaders

Determine the individuals (and/or resources) that carry clout among your target market, and seek to engage them through your affiliate program – to touch their audience through them. Do stay open to combining pay-for-performance models with placement fees (a compensation model that some of them may be more accustomed to).

4. Platform-Based Opportunities

If your program is run on an affiliate network, look into the affiliate recruitment opportunities that may be available to you there. Some of these will be free ways to recruit affiliates, while others will come at a cost. Examples of such opportunities would include ShareASale’s Recruitment Tool, CJ’s Publisher Recruitment function, Rakuten’s “Find New Publishers” tool, Impact’s Media Partner Discovery, and so on.

5. Cross-Program Recruitment

Partner with affiliate managers who steer affiliate programs for brands that sell products and/or services related to yours, and cross-promote your programs to each other’s affiliate bases. If, however, your programs sit on different (and therefore, competing) affiliate networks, take the steps necessary to prevent any potential conflicts that this technique may bring about.

6. Second Tier Affiliates

Open up a “second tier” dimension in your affiliate program, and start paying affiliates to refer other affiliates to you. To avoid double-dipping (or having affiliates self-refer themselves – only to get compensated both on the first, and on the second tier), it’s best to structure your second tier compensation as a flat amount paid for every valid sign-up.

7. Affiliate Program Directories

Year after year, studies by AffStat Report and Affiliate Benchmarks confirm that around 20% of affiliates use affiliate program directories to find new affiliate programs to join. Do not miss this opportunity and submit your affiliate program’s information to those directories that are best-optimized for your niche.

8. Replication

As you determine your most valuable types (and kinds) of affiliates, look to recruit more of the same. Utilize tools like SimilarSites to identify prospects.

9. Related Verticals

Don’t limit yourself to reaching out only to affiliates and influencers who are active in your immediate niche, but branch over to related verticals! Case in point: sunglasses aren’t purchased only by beachgoers, but also by snow sports fans, anglers, gamblers, and many others.

10. Paid Ads

Finally – to get your affiliate program in front of the right eyes – consider experimenting with paid advertising campaigns. Do not limit yourself to pay-per-click platforms (like Google Ads or Bing Ads) only, but look also into paid visibility opportunities on social media (through Facebook Business Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and more). You will be surprised how few of your competitors are using this strategy.

So, there you have it… 10 tried-and-tested strategies to find and recruit new affiliates. Go get ’em! Literally.

If you have anything to add to this list, be our guest and do so using the “Comments” area below. We always love to hear your thoughts.

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