How to Find Great Affiliates
Affiliate marketing has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Businesses ranging from large e-commerce retailers to SaaS startups have made affiliate marketing a crucial part of their marketing strategy.
Almost any business can set up and run an affiliate marketing program in-house. With a combination of budget-friendly advertising costs and top affiliate tracking software, you can start quickly.
But getting your affiliate marketing program set up is just the start. The next step in affiliate marketing involves finding top affiliates to promote your products and services.
Affiliates can be anyone from high-profile influencers with hundreds of followers and high engagement rates to small niche industry websites. You can even create affiliates out of existing customers who can refer your brand to their inner circle.
In this article, you’ll learn how to find top potential affiliates to promote your brand.
Start with existing customers
When it comes to finding affiliate partners for your program, your customer base is a great place to start.
Customers don’t need celebrity status to promote your brand. Word-of-mouth recommendations via social media or even directly to friends and family can be just as impactful. 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
Customer-driven promotions are in themselves a powerful form of social proof. After all, people won’t promote something they are unhappy with. But if you have a great product and excellent customer service, this won’t be a problem.
Customers can share their personal experience of your brand and how they benefited from using your product or service. They can provide real-life use cases, explanations, or reviews. This is especially true with SaaS. Customers can simplify software in a way that other users can clearly understand and relate to.
Strategy: Directly invite your customers to become affiliates
With Tapfiliate’s Affiliate Recruitment feature, you can easily invite customers to become affiliates. Your new customers will automatically receive a referral link that they can use to spread the word about your business. Make this a part of your email marketing strategy with new customers.
Once your customer refers someone who purchases on your site, you will automatically promote them to affiliate status. They will automatically get invited to log in to view their performance and find more of your program’s resources.
Seek out niche bloggers and websites
Recruiting affiliates from niche blogs and websites is a great way to reach target audiences.
These bloggers and websites will have built-in audiences that are likely to overlap with your brand’s target audience. This means more targeted traffic and high-quality referrals for you. They also are experienced content creators that can come up with new, unique promotions around your product. They are a great marketing tool.
Plus, many of them invest in having high quality content and optimizing for SEO.
Strategy: Conduct your own search to find blogs and websites to partner with
Start by researching blogs and websites with content related to your industry and aligned with your brand. Use a variety of search queries and keywords for better prospects.
- Start by the general searches with something simple like “vitamins” or “daily vitamins”
- Switch to questions like “what vitamins do I need daily” or “which vitamins are best for my health”
- Be even more specific, “vitamins for healthy skin” or “vitamin C tablets,” etc.
- Try finding reviews with searches like “best vitamins for young women” or “best vitamin brands”
- Include more general searches too like “how to be healthy” or “nutrition plan” or “nutrition advice”
- Consider adding “blog” or “expert” at the end to these keywords
From here, you’ll be able to find tons and tons of search results for blogs and websites with content. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your affiliate partner target list. Keep information on contact details, traffic, social media following, for example.
This will give you a sound basis for finding potential affiliates and promotional opportunities within your niche.
Then, the next step is reaching out directly to the blog or website.
Here’s what Affiliate Manager Taylor Barr recommends:
*Consider taking a different approach before thinking about pitching your affiliate program (commission rates, great promotional tools, etc.) on your first outreach email to a potential partner.
Start by asking if they would be interested in taking your product or service for a spin via a demo account or live walk-through. Many affiliates will want to test first, and it gives a better understanding of your product or service. And for you, this signals their interest level and if they are ready to promote before you present your program offerings.
With this step, be sure to make it personal. Approach this as a working partnership rather than an indirect, generic sales pitch. Let them know why you are interested, explaining how their content fits your affiliate marketing goals and how it can also be of value to them.
Partner with influencers
Thanks to social media, influencer marketing is more powerful than ever before. The global influencer marketing market size is valued at 13.8 billion, and it is only growing. Influencer marketing spending is set to surpass $3 billion in 2021. And influencers are social media marketing experts.
That’s why partnering with influencers for your affiliate program helps put your products and services in front of large audiences.
Influencers can be social media personalities, industry experts, thought leaders, trendsetters, niche bloggers who have social influence. They range from large-scale celebrity influencers to niche micro-influencers with somewhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers.
There are several different types of influencers, so finding someone who fits your brand should be easy.
Seek out influencers that fit with your brand and share the same target audience. You can do this by searching social media hashtags related to your brand. For example, search #travelgram or #wanderlust for anything related to tourism.
As you search, consider the following:
- Which platforms they use
- What type of content they post
- How many followers they have
- How engaged their audience is
- How often they post
- How they fit with your niche
Strategy: Partner with micro-influencers and nano-influencers
It’s easy to think bigger is better — or in the world of social media, more followers are better. But this isn’t always the case.
Impact found that an increase in followers results in a decrease in engagement rates. Conversely, Impact found that influencers with 1,000 followers had engagement as high as 85%.
High engagement rates can mean increased conversion rates. This makes micro-influencers and nano-influencers ideal affiliates for your influencer marketing program. Plus, you can include them in any influencer marketing campaigns you decide to do.
Micro-influencers have between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. They tend to be more focused on a niche, unlike celebrities.
These influencers have better insights into their niche and can engage with their audience more personally. A celebrity endorsement would not be able to do this. Creating influencer campaigns around your product with them will be more successful.
Nano-influencers have a smaller following than micro-influencers, with around 1,000 followers. Nano-influencers are especially effective for local promotions, as they are usually influential people in their communities.
These groups of influencers are more likely to be happy with the commission offers of your affiliate program. Mega-influencers tend to charge an upfront, and often hefty, rate for their promotions. These influencers will likely be more open to an affiliate commission as a way to monetize their content.
Strategy: Look beyond the “influencer” stereotype
When we think of influencers, we often think of the Kim Kardashians of the world. But influencers can be so much more than this stereotype.
It’s easy to think Instagram influencers are the only option for promoting your brand. You can find influencers on social media platforms. Wherever your potential customers spend their time online is a great place to look
A significant shift came in 2020 when it came to influencer content. Audiences started turning away from highly curated posts and looking for more authentic content that provides value and expertise.
They can be accredited professionals, industry analysts, brand employees, and niche experts and can all be excellent influencers. For example, Cerave partnered with top estheticians like @makeupforwomenofcolor to create educational content around their skincare products. Influencers discuss how to use the product, what skin conditions they target, and why the ingredients work.
Tips for creating this type of content for affiliate promotions include:
- Focusing less on follower count, more on their level of expertise
- Providing influencers with free samples or product previews to review
- Allowing influencers to have more control over their promotions
Industry groups & forums
Online forums and social media groups can be another place to find affiliates.
You can recruit affiliates by sharing your brand and introducing your affiliate program offerings with group or forum members.
Start with groups focused on your industry. These groups can help you find affiliates that are already familiar with and active in your niche. They can easily share with others in the community.
On the other end, you can try affiliate forums that focus on everything affiliate marketing. This is where to find affiliate marketers who are actively looking for new products to promote. Members of these forums will likely be familiar with affiliate marketing. This means they can easily be on-boarded and start promoting right away.
Popular forums and social media groups include:
- Facebook Groups
- LinkedIn Groups
For finding professional affiliate marketers, we recommend doing your research beforehand. Several websites and forums feature these groups & networks, each with varying terms and conditions..
Professionals and businesses in related fields
Professionals and businesses in related fields can effectively bring in new leads for B2B & B2C markets.
Reach out to similar brands with products or services that complement yours or are often bought by similar target audiences. Think of products or services you use together and can easily promote one another.
- Coffee bean brand and espresso machine makers
- Makeup products and skincare lines
- Luggage stores and travel booking platforms
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems and email marketing softwares
Then, they can use their existing platforms and networks to share brand and refer new customers.
Here’s a few ways other professionals can promote:
- Write a blog post or product review on their site with affiliate links
- Create a recommendations page on their page featuring products they use with affiliate links
- Refer clients with recommendations (a dentist recommending a toothbrush)
- Use coupon and promo codes exclusively for their customers
This is also a win-win for them. They will be able to bring in additional revenue from referral commissions and provide resources and recommendations to their customers. Keep this in mind when you are doing your marketing planning.
Link to your affiliate program on your website
Make sure you promote your affiliate program to the visitors that come to your website using a landing page. The more people that know about it, the more likely they are to join your program. Detail the benefits, including the commission structure or commission rates (depending on your setup). You might want to offer affiliates a higher commission rate to attract them to your program for the first few months.
Interested in more?
Finding great affiliates is key to your program’s success, and we’re here to help! Be sure to check out our blog for more ways to promote and grow your affiliate program.