The process of finding new affiliates to join your program can be daunting. One of the most common challenges is where to find affiliates. The Internet is a big place, and many advertisers don’t know where to start or what to look for.

JEBCommerce has been managing affiliate programs since 2004 and with that experience we have developed tried-and-true strategies to find new affiliates

Here are 8 affiliate recruitment tools that really work:

Google SERPS

This may be the most obvious, but stands the test of time as being one of the best tools to find affiliates to recruit. 

If you don’t know who your customer is or how they spend their time on the internet, this is a great first step.

Start by finding the common search terms that are performing well for the brand via Google Search Console. 

Next, simply search the keyword on Google. For example, when recruiting for an outdoor retailer, search different variations of popular outdoor terms to see who pops up. 

When you come across new affiliate prospects, add them to your outreach list!

Try mixing and matching words to see how results change. Starting broad and working your way down:

  • “Outdoors”
  • “Exploration”
  • “Camping”
  • “Backpacking”
  • “Hiking”

Google’s free  Keyword Planner is also a fantastic way to generate related search terms.

By searching these terms on Google, you are effectively recreating the consumer’s path to purchase. 

We call this “owning your SERPs” because the more top search results sites become partners, the more coverage the brand has over top search terms to make a nice closed loop back to site for a purchase.

SEMRUSH 

As an agency, JEBCommerce uses a tool called SEMrush which gives tons of data surrounding search keywords, results, and competitors. 

This affiliate recruitment tool can search your competitors sites to discover what keywords are performing well. With this data, you can inspect those SERPs to gain traction on your competitor’s terms by partnering with any relevant high-ranking sites.

And the beauty of it all? The list is exportable in spreadsheet form that can be sorted by metrics such as traffic numbers. 

This way, you find good affiliates that also drive quality traffic (and hopefully sales!)

Starting at $99/month, I would definitely give SEMrush a closer look.

Facebook

Facebook, although fundamentally a social media platform, is almost a bit of a search engine itself. On it are many thousands of different “Facebook Groups” of many varieties of categories.

Because Facebook’s massive reach, there very likely are groups that are within the sphere of your recruitment targets. 

Similar to Google SERPS, keywords can also be searched, providing relevant search results. 

After searching your keyword of interest, click the “Groups” tab, giving you some potentially big opportunities for recruitment.

To keep in line with the outdoor example above: typing in “Backpacking,” you will find several groups with over 10,000 members. Once you join a group, there is almost always a list of moderators and admin contacts to reach out to.

Most affiliate and content sites have corresponding Facebook pages. Oftentimes, by going to Facebook and checking the “About” tab, you will be able to find an email and/or Messenger link.

YouTube 

Like its parent company Google, YouTube can also be used like a search engine (are you seeing a theme here?). The main distinction, of course, is that your search will be restricted to video content. 

By searching relevant keywords and phrases, many videos will pop up showcasing your topic of interest. And many of these results, in turn, could also function as possible recruitment targets. 

Click through some of these videos to gain a better understanding of the Youtuber’s content, and if they are worth reaching out to.

There are a few key things to observe as you evaluate YouTube content. The first, and most obvious principle, is the content itself. 

Is it a good fit for the brand? 

If so, I’d recommend also taking a peek at their video description. 

Here the YouTuber may already be promoting products as an affiliate, giving you more context for their promotional efforts (and possible negotiation tactics!).

Even if the first video you click on isn’t a fit, it is also worth looking into other suggested videos in the sidebar. Many of these are right in the same category of the video and may be a better fit for your affiliate recruitment endeavors.

Instagram and Twitter:

The commonality that both of these social media platforms have is their strong roots in hashtags. 

Sifting through top posts featuring relevant hashtags is an effective affiliate recruitment tool.

In our hypothetical advertiser’s situation: searching the hashtags #outdoors, #camping, and #hiking will yield many hundreds of posts to explore.  

Hashtags are a great way to find affiliate recruitment leads when utilized properly.

Another perk for these social media sites is the discovery of influencers that may already be promoting your brand. Searching using the methods above may provide some surprising results. 

This technique can also be utilized for competitors. By searching competing brands on Instagram and Twitter, you will likely find content providers that vibe well. 

 Similar Sites

Similarsites.com is a free resource, and a quick-and-easy way to find sites that are similar to the one that you search.

 Simply plug in a website of interest into their search bar, and the online tool will spit out various sites within the same category. 

SimilarSites aggregates sites based on common data. Thus, searching top affiliates in your category of interest provides you with many other ones that are very much in sync with the affiliates you are looking to recruit.

 I’d also recommend downloading the Similar Sites chrome extension. This handy toolbar also provides essential information about sites; such as traffic numbers, monthly visits, and a short list of similar websites to peruse.

Mass Media Conglomerates

More and more the affiliate industry is swaying in favor of high-quality content sites that can provide reviews on products and that hold a lot of decision-power over their reader base. One of the best examples of this is mass media affiliates. 

Companies like Meredith, Conde Nast, Hearst, Vox and more not only have the potential to drive mass amounts of clicks and sales to your site, but they’re also slowly realizing the earning potential of affiliate marketing. 

Now is a great time to talk to these affiliates. Educate them on affiliate marketing because not everyone is familiar with it yet and it’s different from their traditional advertising model and try to show them the potential for earning by joining your affiliate program. 

They won’t always be willing or able to participate, but because of their market share, it’s worth a conversation to see if they’re interested.

Network Tools

Because you are recruiting for an affiliate program, chances are you’ve partnered with an affiliate network. 

Almost every single network includes robust tools for recruitment. Be sure to reach out to your network contact for more information. 

These network tools are integral to generating recruitment leads, and a low-hurdle way to find affiliates that are already integrated with your network.

Additionally, reach out to your network account contact about any possible recruitment lists they can provide! Because they work with dozens (and potentially hundreds) of brands in your vertical, they can likely assist with recruitment. 

It can’t hurt to ask, and you may be rewarded with some great leads and contact information that would otherwise take a while to dig up organically.  

 The list above, while certainly not comprehensive, is a fantastic starting point. And by working with these recruitment affiliate tools on a weekly basis, you will be well on your way to recruiting top affiliates.

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