Recruitment is going to be an important and ongoing part of your program management. In order to have a growing and vital affiliate program, you will want to be dedicating some time and resources to finding great potential affiliate partnerships.
Below we have listed out some strategies to help you do just that. The strategies have been separated by things you can implement once with minimal to no upkeep and no low monetary investment. The second set are the strategies that will require some ongoing upkeep and may involve some investment to find the perfect prospects.
Level 1 Strategies
Many affiliates only work with programs that have set up auto deposit because it serves as a safety net to ensure the merchant will always have the funds to pay the affiliate commissions. Enable Auto Deposit
In your account settings, you will see a section for Search Keywords (below the link for program agreement). Be sure to utilize the available 255 characters. These are the terms your program will be associated with when an affiliate uses ‘search by keyword’ to find a new program to join. To learn more about the keyword search, click HERE.
Optimize your Datafeed:
Many affiliates search for programs that have full Datafeed capability (meaning Merchants use all recommended fields in addition to the required fields) so they can be used in tools such as The Product Discovery Bookmarklet, Make-a-Page and more. Affiliates can also search for new Merchant programs in their interface by product name/information which is only possible if you have a robust Product Datafeed. Read more about Datafeed Optimization.
On your site:
Don’t miss an opportunity to capitalize on your own site visitors. Be sure to have an affiliate page on your site which describes your program and includes a link to join. Additionally, consider a link to the program on the sales confirmation page. Your customer clearly loves your product enough to purchase, so there’s a good chance they may want to earn money telling their friends about it too! Your program invitation link is: http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=YOURMERCHANTID (swap the YOURMERCHANTID with your ShareASale Merchant ID number). Learn more about your Recruitment URL.
Post Purchase Alert:
Along the same vein of including a notice about the program on the sales confirmation page, retailers could utilize the real estate directly after the point of sale. These pop-ups can be a great way to education customers on the potential of being an affiliate.
Level 2 Strategies
Merchants can take out ad space on the ShareASale affiliate interface. This is a great way to advertise your program to all affiliates that are part of the ShareASale network. The location, price, and duration of placements vary. See the “Become A Featured Program” page for full details.
Access a database of Affiliate contacts both on and off the ShareASale Network! Send custom invitations through the interface that include an exclusive incentive offer. Recruitment tool access requires an addendum to your Program Agreement with ShareASale.
Put yourself in the shoes of your consumers – where would your demographic be visiting? These are the sites are potential affiliates. Use the power of the internet to search for new partnerships. Do keyword searches to seek out affiliates who have built content sites, PPC campaigns, or blogs.
Create a presence for your program. Get involved with industry events and the community in general. Affiliate marketing is a relatively small space. If you start being involved, you can give your program some grass roots growth. Face to face networking is a great way to boost recruitment and build a solid relationship with your affiliates.
Check to see if your area has any related meet ups, this is a great way to start practicing your “elevator pitch”. From there, you might consider attending blog or industry conferences. We attend a good number of shows throughout the year, so if you are planning a show let us know! We often have additional promotional opportunities for clients at the conference.
Contacting Prospective Affiliates
When contacting an Affiliate:
- Don’t spam!
- Do research the affiliate’s site before contacting them.
- Craft a message that is concise and to the point using legitimate stats and minimal sales jargon.
- Personalize! Using the research you did on their site, communicate exactly why the two of you create a great team. Use specific examples that highlight the potential between your product and the website they operate.
- Be gracious. Affiliates are real people and just like you, they appreciate the thoughtful touch of something like a hand written thank you note. Be sure to thank you recruits when they’ve done something special like joined the program or made their first sale.
Think outside the box:
- Think of related marketers who may not already be in affiliate marketing but might be a good fit. For example, Sell hair products? Consider reaching out to salons. Or sell pet products? Contact some local dog-walkers.
- Affiliates and bloggers specifically are in high demand. They may be receiving hundreds of program invitations on a regular basis. Find a way to cut above the noise and make your program stand out! Which brings us to the next point…
- To maximize the ROI on the hard work you put in to find the perfect prospective Affiliate, provide them with the absolute best incentive you can offer. Some examples of join incentives may include the following:\
- Double or triple commission for a period of time.
- Cash bonus in exchange for a specific action such as blog post, social shares, banner placement, etc.
- Tangible product. The double reward with sending product is not only is it a nice bonus reward, it also guarantees the Affiliate will become that much more familiar with your product from first hand experience. Plus who doesn’t love getting something in the mail?
- Affiliate recruitment is traditionally slower during the fourth quarter and there may be fewer affiliates looking to join new programs during this time.
- If you have a high sales season, be sure to put extra emphasis on recruitment several months before to allow affiliates enough time to set up their site with your links and maximize on the sales potential.
Plan, plan, plan!
- Keep a log of affiliate prospects you’ve already contacted as well as a target list and remember to follow-up
- Track which recruitment tactics are working and converting best for you
- Carve out time on a regular basis that is dedicated solely on recruitment efforts.
- Try to remember to keep the focus on the quality of affiliates rather than the quantity. It can be easy to wrapped up in the number of affiliate in a program when the attention and effort should be on finding quality affiliates who will help grow a program. A program could have 1,000 low quality affiliates with 1% driving sales, or 50 really solid high quality affiliates with 30% driving sales. Concentrate resources on affiliates who are motivated and well matched to market your product or service.
Learn about our Recruiting Tool