Four Ways To Recruit Affiliates Online

So you’ve built up an online business and you’ve decided that it’s a good time to launch an affiliate marketing program for it. But what do you do next? How do you recruit affiliates (the right ones for your business)? Let’s start with the first steps.

You’ve done your competitive intelligence research, put together your affiliate program, launched it, and now you’re finally ready for affiliates to start promoting your product.

Now comes the tricky part: recruiting affiliate marketers into your program. Where do you start? What are the best ways to recruit affiliates online and get them interested in your program?

First off, it’s very important to have an attractive offer, commission structure, and cookie life. Remember that you will be compared to other programs and opportunities when a prospective affiliate is deciding to apply into your affiliate program or not. A presence on a popular affiliate network doesn’t hurt either, but what else can you offer at the beginning to grab an affiliate’s attention?

Four Ways to Recruit Affiliates

Complimentary Product or Samples

The most difficult part of recruiting affiliates into your affiliate program is getting their attention in the first place. One way to entice affiliates is to offer them complimentary product or samples to try.

This is especially valuable for content affiliates who could use the product to create a review of what you offer. As a result, they may also choose to create their own images or videos with what you send them.

This may also help their SEO and thus drive more potential buyers to their page. As with most affiliate deals, this is a classic win-win as you’ll then benefit from greater traffic as well.

When sending out complimentary product, do not forget to stay organized. I suggest creating a spreadsheet specifically for this, and keep notes of everything related to product samples in it.

Record the address information for the affiliate and also set a column aside for the tracking info. Use this column to appropriately follow up and confirm that your samples arrived. I would also consider making notes on this sheet of each day you follow up. You can then make sure you’re circling back in a timely manner.

You always want to make sure that affiliates who were sent free product follow through on what they’ve promised you. Ultimately, you are sending free products out not for the sake of sending them, but to activate these publishers in your affiliate program.

Always make sure to get a phone number too when you send out free product to affiliates. This can be useful for delivery purposes. It can also help you connect with the affiliate if they become unreachable by email. This does not happen often and is very unprofessional. Unfortunately, every affiliate manager has a stories about sending product and never hearing from the affiliate again.

Finally, if it isn’t a physical product that you sell, you can still leverage this technique very effectively. You may offer free trials of your service or technology, or create other opportunities for affiliates to “test drive” your product.

Paid Placements

The most expensive way to recruit affiliates online also ends up being one of the most effective. Creating a budget for affiliate recruitment can help onboard new affiliates.

This could end up being the best money you spend on marketing.

Crunch some numbers and determine if you have some cash to spend onboarding key affiliates. It is never a good idea to just start throwing money around at any marketing campaign.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Be very selective with who you offer these sign up bonuses to.

If you choose to go this route, I highly recommend having some additional affiliate assets talking about your program. This could simply be a PDF one-pager with some program details and information about your product.

When proposing your offer, do it over the phone if possible so that the affiliate knows you’re serious. Reaching affiliates by phone may be difficult. Make your outreach emails concise and easy to digest to ensure the affiliates read them.

It’s highly unlikely an affiliate will ignore someone who is willing to pay them upfront.

Increase Cookie Life

Increasing an affiliate’s cookie life is an easy way to entice them to join your program. This also doesn’t cost you anything.

Affiliates like a longer cookie because customers may click and then not purchase for weeks or even months later.

A shorter 15 or 30 day cookie could mean sales that affiliates lose out on. This creates an unhappy affiliate.

Lengthening the cookie life for a new affiliate is sure to make them happy and feel special. This is a great way to start off a new relationship. It shows the affiliate that you’re serious about what you’re doing and value building that relationship.

Social Media Shout-outs

Most brands these days have their own blogs and social media pages. One way to recruit affiliates online is to leverage these when initially talking to affiliates.

recruit affiliates social media shoutoutThis could be beneficial for the affiliate to be mentioned on (or through) your social media channels.

An example scenario here could be with a large review site within your niche.

You would like the reviewer affiliate to join your affiliate program and write a review on your product. You already went ahead and sent out free product, but that’s still not enough.

This is where you can offer up your social media pages to convince them to join your program. Coordinate a campaign with the affiliate to post about their branded content on your social media pages.

Doing this accomplishes several things.

First and foremost, it makes the affiliate happy and gives their site added exposure.

Second, since you’re advertising their content to your customers, it makes it more likely that they’ll earn commission from your customers.

Third, it provides third party validation about your product. As consumers, we’re a lot more likely to purchase something if we see others have had a good experience.

Last, it further strengthens that new relationship with the affiliate. We’ve touched on relationships a lot in this post. Strong affiliate-merchant relationships with your affiliates are going to be instrumental in your affiliate program’s growth and sustained success.

Good luck with all your recruiting efforts.

Feel free to email us or comment below with any comments or questions.

We would love to hear from you!

 

How to Make Your Affiliate Program Stand Out Within In-Network Search

The most important way to guarantee successful passive recruitment for your affiliate program is to make your affiliate program stand out within in-network search. Affiliates are constantly looking for new programs to join and if there are a few extra steps you can take to make it easier for them to find you, you should be doing them.

Below are three excellent practices for making your affiliate program stand out within in-network search.

Proper Keywords

Assigning the right keywords to your program is far and away the most important way to make your affiliate program stand out within in-network search.

When you set up your profile within your affiliate network there will be a place to list out keywords that affiliates can use to find you when they’re searching the network. The screenshot below is from ShareASale and shows where you can place keywords for your program.

Affiliate Program Keywords

Make sure that you’re using keywords that accurately describe your product and ones that affiliates are likely to type in when searching.

The best practice here is to use several of your competitor’s names as keywords. If there’s only one tip you take away from this article, have this be it.

In the programs that I manage I get more applications from affiliates who found my program through a competitor’s name keyword than any other way of passive recruitment.

Along with utilizing competitor’s names as keywords, make sure to also include generic terms relevant to your product. Be selective though because networks have caps on how many keywords you can utilize.

Attractive Creative

Once affiliates find your program you want to make sure they don’t just gloss over it and move on to the next one. You need to stand out and attractive creative is the best way to do this. Affiliate networks give you opportunities to include nice images of your company’s logo and sometimes product shots and animated gifs.

Affiliates like to have an arsenal of assets to promote the brands they choose to represent and if you display from the get-go that you have high-quality creative, the prospective affiliate is that much more likely to look further into your program and apply.

Clean Messaging and Complete Profile

affiliate marketing passive recruitmentLastly, it’s important to have a full profile with clean messaging and descriptions. If you have an incomplete profile, not only will your program not have a professional look, but the networks will not list you as high in search results.

There are typically fields for short description, long description, and other smaller things such as cookie life. Make sure that you complete all available fields and provide prospective affiliates with as much information as possible. Make sure you make your descriptions succinct and easy to digest.

Also, make sure to include contact info in case prospective affiliates want to ask you any questions.

I hope that you found these few ideas helpful and that you implement some of them when optimizing your program for visibility within your network’s search.

Good luck with all your affiliate marketing efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any comments or questions.