How to Recruit Quality Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is relationship-based, the relationship among advertisers, affiliates, and affiliate networks.  For a successful affiliate program, we can’t emphasize too much the importance of affiliate recruitment and management.

Here is a simple guide for you to recruit great affiliate partners.


1.Affiliate Types
2.Affiliate Recruitment Plan
3.Find Top Affiliates
4.Email Outreach
5.Affiliate Partnerships

1.Affiliate Types

As a qualified affiliate manager, you need to understand how affiliates promote your offers and which types of affiliates work best.

Coupon RetailMeNot, Groupon (exclusive vanity code)
Loyalty Ebates, Topcashback (email, cashback)
Niche, (blog, SNS)
Sub Network Skimlink, Viglink
Influencer Network Rewardstyle
Cart Abandonment Yieldify, Salecycle (pixel )
Search  wickfire, JWEB (trademark + bidding, PPC)
Toolbar joinhoney, wikibuy (coupon toolbar)
Price Comparison pricerunner, pricespy, Idealo(data feed, CPC)
Student Discount Studentbeans, UNiDAYS
Media BuzzFeed, Business Insider

awin report US
Awin Report 2019

2.Affiliate Recruitment Plan

  • Goal
  • Product
  • Budget
  • Website Traffic

A goal without a plan is a wish.
You should always make a plan before action.

a. What is your goal? drive awareness, traffic, or sales?
SMART goal setting:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound

b. What role does affiliate channel play in your marketing mix?

c. What is your budget for paid placement?

d. Is your product attractive enough that influencers will be interested in promotion?

e. What type of affiliates do you need to boost your affiliate program?

f.  Why affiliates will promote your offers instead of other merchants on a CPS model? your website traffic? your brand big name? your competitive commission? your product matching with their audience? your advertising fee?

3. Find Top Affiliates

Where to find affiliates? You can recruit affiliates both in and out of the affiliate networks.

Within Affiliate Network

a) Affiliate Recruitment Tool

Some affiliate network such as ShareASale offer tools to help advertisers to recruit affiliates, which can save a lot of time.

You can contact affiliates through network messages or find out emails based on the websites provided.

b) Affiliate Account Manager
If you have a dedicated account manager from the affiliate network, they would offer suggestions on affiliate recruitment. Usually, they have publisher development team responsible for affiliate side. And you can ask for their top 100 affiliates list.

Besides, some of them write about publisher spotlight on their blog, through which you can learn more about how affiliates work.

c) Affiliate Conference
If possible, you can join affiliate conferences to take a look at the real affiliate industry. It is a great chance for networking.

Some affiliate conference you need to know:

  • Affiliate Summit
  • Affiliate World
  • DealMaker by Rakuten Marketing
  • Awin + ShareASale ThinkTank
  • CJU
  • Impact Growth

Worldwide Affiliate Marketing Conferences

Outside Affiliate Network

a) Competitive Analysis
It is important and useful to do a competitive analysis for your affiliate program.

For example, Google ” Anker coupon” “Anker reviews”,
you can get a list of coupon affiliates and media/ content affiliates.

b) Free tools

  • similarsitesearch
  • similarweb

If you get one good affiliate, you can find similar websites.

c) Paid tools
Some paid tools can help hunt for affiliates from different affiliate networks.

d) Paid ads
You can either use Facebook ads to expose your affiliate program or buy placement on affiliate networks.

4.Email Outreach

When you send emails to the affiliate contacts, you need to pay attention to:

  • Who  (you and your company)
  • What (your product)
  • Why (your offer and publisher’s audience)
  • When (date for the campaign)
  • Where (website, app, email, SNS)
  • How (product review, paid placement, sponsored post)

To build up a good partnership, you should always think like you are an affiliate. If you were an affiliate, you want to make money by promoting merchants’ offers and you hope your audience like the content you create instead of fake product reviews.

It should be win-win cooperation; otherwise, it won’t last long.

5.Affiliate Partnerships

It is a challenge to maintain a long-term partnership but there are some tips.

a) Promotion advice
You can provide your best seller, your top-performing markets, and your best creative so that affiliates can take advantage of them to optimize their campaign.

b) Bonus Incentive
High commission rate or extra bonus can encourage affiliates to put more focus on your offers.

c) Frequent Communication
Affiliate marketing is relationship-driven. You need to stay in tune with affiliates and inform them of your latest promotion and program updates in a personal way. It takes time but it is worthy.

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