Although influencer marketing is arguably the marketing method with the most buzz surrounding it right now, its close relative “affiliate marketing” has a long and continuing history of generating sales success for businesses.
In this guide, we’ll walk you step by step through how to find affiliate marketing partners to work with your brand.
Ready to drive profit from affiliate marketing? Read on!
Affiliate marketing is a simple and effective advertising model. It works when brands pay a third party (such as a blog owner or content creator) a commission on sales or when they generate traffic to their website. Learn more about the different types of affiliate partners here.
Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing often get confused as the same thing. However, there are some clear differences.
For example, influencer marketing typically works by paying a flat fee in exchange for specific content generation, whereas affiliate marketing typically works by paying a commission on direct sales made. Another benefit of affiliate marketing is that it can be used to tap into a variety of audience sizes and types.
Affiliate marketing is a simple, yet highly effective method of getting your brand, products, and services in front of your target audiences. Unlike other marketing methods, affiliate marketing has a major focus on incentivizing direct sales.
So, affiliate marketing can be a great way to drive direct sales – but how do you find the best affiliates for your affiliate marketing program? Here are some top tips on where to find affiliate marketing partners to work with your brand:
In business-speak, this can be considered as “low hanging fruit” – as in it is very much the easiest option when it comes to finding good affiliates for your affiliate marketing program.
After all, who better to recommend your products and services than those who buy, love, and use them every day?
Inviting your customers to become affiliates can also drive a higher ROI because they are more likely to accept payment in discounts or free products. However, using customers as affiliates can also limit the audience you reach. This is because the majority of customers will only be able to drive traffic from a relatively small audience.
TOP TIP: Use your mailing list to promote your affiliate program to current customers. Also, ensure that sign-ups and participation are automated, since large volumes of customers joining your program can create considerable admin work.
Affiliate marketing networks and directories offer brands a quick and simple way to access publishers who may be interested in joining their affiliate program.
These work much in the way they sound. Most platforms offer two ways of growing your program. Firstly, they allow you to publish the details of your program and let potential affiliates apply to join. Secondly, they let you browse potential affiliates who fit your criteria and reach out to them.
Although affiliate and influencer marketing differ in their approach, influencers can still make powerful affiliates for your brand. This is primarily due to three reasons:
- They have large audiences
- They have influence over their audiences’ buying decisions
- They know how to create content that compels their audience to take action
Since influencers are typically in high demand from brands, it can be tricky to convince them to work on an affiliate basis rather than accepting a flat fee. This usually leads to negotiation in commission percentages, ultimately leading to lower profit margins.
When it comes to running an affiliate marketing program don’t make the mistake of overlooking the power of search engines such as Google. Using platforms like this will let you quickly and easily search for sites and blogs in your niche.
This is especially efficient if you use a search engine to look up terms such as:
“Top [Insert Niche] websites”
Because this often returns lists of websites in your niche, it makes it easy to quickly approach many sites in a short period of time.
Once you’ve found relevant sites you can simply contact them about joining your affiliate program. This approach works well because they’re likely being found by potential customers in your niche if they’re appearing high for your searches.
However, this approach can be time-consuming and you often have to contact multiple site owners to successfully onboard just a few.
When looking for affiliates you ideally want to target those who are active in and knowledgeable about your niche. Doing this will help you find those who are naturally building influence with others who would benefit from your products/services.
Again, a simple Google search should point you in the right direction for online communities, groups, and forums in your niche – these are fantastic places to find these types of individuals.
Although this is a great way to find affiliate marketing partners, it can also be time-intensive.
Here’s a tempting thought: Why not let your competitors do the hard work for you?
Researching your competitors’ affiliates can be a smart way to find those who are eager to partake in affiliate programs in your niche. There is also a high likelihood that your competitors have already done their due diligence on the affiliate, saving you time.
You can find these affiliates in several ways such as:
- Searching competitors’ hashtags on social media
- Searching posts your competitors are tagged in
- Searching your competitors’ names on platforms such as YouTube
- Google searching your competitors’ names and product names
TOP TIP: Caution should be taken when working with your competitor’s affiliates as it can appear disingenuous when an affiliate works with multiple, competing businesses.
Building your affiliate network doesn’t always have to involve outreach. Simply advertising that you are looking for affiliates on your own website can be a good way to generate inbound enquiries and sign-ups.
This approach will help you tap into your current customer base and into the audience who are already visiting your website. It can also let you take advantage of potential affiliates that are using search engines to look for programs in your niche.
However, this approach can be very slow because you’ll need to wait for potential affiliates to contact you. It can also create additional admin work since you’ll need to sort through the enquiries, both good and bad.
Find out more:
How to Set Up an Affiliate Program For Your Shopify Store – Not sure where to start setting up affiliates on your website? Our guide walks you through it step-by-step!
Networking events offer an opportunity to find individuals and publishers who may be interested in joining your affiliate program.
By seeking out networking events in your given niche, you’ll be able to quickly and easily find potential affiliates who are already operating in your specialist area. The same is true of trade events.
TOP TIP: When attending networking events get cards printed with a link to your affiliate program so people can quickly and easily find it after the event.
If you really want to take affiliate marketing seriously, you can hire an affiliate manager. These individuals are specialists in all aspects of affiliate marketing, ranging from creating affiliate target profiles and identifying those who meet your criteria, to creating professional and compelling emails to ask them to join your program.
Of course, hiring a full-time or freelance affiliate manager is a big financial investment. However, if you hire correctly it is also likely to help you generate the best results and ROI from your affiliate program.
Knowing your affiliate marketing goals will help you create an ideal profile for your affiliates and therefore make your search considerably easier.
It is clear that there are many ways to find affiliate marketing partners for your program. Which one is best for you will depend on several factors such as time and budget availability. For the best results, you will want to try several different options in order to find lots of options to choose from.