Today we talk about one of the most important aspects that will contribute to the growth and success of your affiliate program – affiliate recruitment. Success comes not with how many affiliates you can recruit, but with how many quality affiliates you build a relationship with. When a program is just starting out, the prospect of taking on recruitment can seem to be a daunting task. And that’s when we cue the best practices series!
Best Practices – Affiliate Recruitment
Affiliate recruitment takes on various forms. There are tactics that can be employed on and off the ShareASale Network and items that are free of charge and some paid options. We’ve highlighted some tips below that fit every category. For quick reference, you can view or print our Best Practices PDF.
On Network – No Fee 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 affiliates uses search by keyword to find a new program to join. To learn more about the keyword search, click HERE
By using the Advanced Options under People Search, you can look for affiliates that have created an Aquarium account based on their type of site and interest and send them a direct message inviting them to join your program. Create your Affiliate Aquarium profile!
On Network – Additional Fee 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.
Going Beyond the Interface
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 costumer clearly love your product enough to purchase, there’s a good chance they may want to earn money telling their friends about it too! Your join link is: http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=YOURMERCHANTID (swap the YOURMERCHANTID with your ShareASale Merchant ID number).
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 partnership. 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 boast recruitment and build solid relationship with your affiliates.
– Affiliate Summit
– Affiliate Management Days
General Recruitment Tips
- 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.
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! Reverence exactly why you think they’d be a great partner.
- Be sure to include your co-branded recruitment link (swap the YOURMERCHANTID with your ShareASale Merchant ID number): http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=YOURMERCHANTID
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.
- Offer an incentive for them to join
- Consider adding an affiliate bonus to recruitment communications. For example, you could offer VIP commission for a year, or a cash bonus for signing up, double commission on first 10 sales, etc.
- Communicate affiliate performance incentives. If you create an affiliate bonus, you are welcome to communicate this in our monthly ShareASale “stickied” thread on either ABestWeb.com or the Affiliate Summit Forum. Please note, these threads are for affiliate promotions only, merchant program announcements or consumer deals will not be posted.
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.