One of the biggest dangers in the affiliate channel is stagnation, or letting things run on auto-pilot. Since the channel is all about relationships and growth, a top priority for all affiliate programs is to find new affiliates and keep the momentum going.
When performance isn’t improving (or worse, going downhill), this is a leading indicator that something needs to change – and one of the best ways to turn things around is to bring in new affiliates to help offset that declining performance.
Recruitment very well may be one of the most important aspects of a successful affiliate program, but if you don’t know where to look, the process of finding new affiliates can feel impossible.
On average the process of finding new affiliates takes up to 60% of an affiliate manager’s time.
This is why so many advertisers reach out to JEBCommerce for affiliate recruitment services. They either don’t have the manpower in-house or don’t have the budget to pay for a full affiliate program management service.
Managing an affiliate program can be an overwhelming task especially when you’re juggling multiple channels. JEBCommerce can help.
Sign up here to find out about how JEBAccelerator can help you recruit new affiliates now and grow your program with our short term engagement.
In the accelerator program JEBCommerce gets to work setting up the pillars of a successful affiliate program: gap analysis, identification, new affiliates recruitment and activation.
The purpose of this article is to give you a sneak peak by helping to refine the process of affiliate recruitment using the best strategies to find new affiliates.
Affiliate Gap Analysis
A gap analysis is essentially looking at where an affiliate program can be bolstered in terms of recruitment. Or in other words, looking at the “gaps” in the program, and seeking to fill those gaps accordingly.
By comparing existing programs with the one you are recruiting for, you may find that there is a large need for loyalty publishers. Thus, the best course of action would be to place emphasis on recruiting loyalty publishers specifically.
An affiliate Gap Analysis is a way of comparing multiple affiliate programs and their affiliate lists to each other.
You pull affiliate lists from a program and compare it to another so that you can see if either program is missing affiliates you should be working with. As an agency, JEBCommerce has the ability to compare a number of affiliate programs to each other at any given time.
To run an affiliate Gap Analysis, you first have to know what the overarching goals are. Perhaps there is a need for content affiliates; thus, recruiting efforts should be placed there.
The next step is to analyze the program as it stands, and evaluate it based on the client’s needs. This can be done a variety of ways, such as splitting the program up by affiliate category, and comparing it to other established programs.
Lastly, once the data has been determined, then recruitment is the action step. Utilizing the information that was gleaned prior in the gap analysis, to recruit accordingly.
Where to Look for Affiliates
In order to see continual growth in your affiliate program, you’re going to have to consistently recruit, that’s just the nature of managing an affiliate program.
So the mentality to have is, always be recruiting.
When managing an established affiliate program, you’re going to have to dig deeper to find new affiliates to work with in order to achieve that growth.
The longer your affiliate program is live, the more important it is to constantly be adding new affiliates and finding new and creative ways to partner with affiliates.
Having managed some of the largest names in online retail over the past 16 years, JEBCommerce has refined the process of affiliate recruitment. Here is a quick list of places to look for new affiliates:
This may be the most obvious on the list, but stands the test of time as being one of the best ways to find affiliates. Simply type in the keyword for the type of recruitment target you are looking for, and search it on Google.
By searching these terms on Google, you are effectively recreating the consumer’s path to purchase. In doing so, you can gain a better understanding of where your client’s traffic lives online, as well as derive some recruitment leads in the process!
The biggest feature of interest is SEMrush Domain Overview. By entering the tab of the same name, you are able to type in any URL and get an overview of the domain. This includes tons of fascinating data, such traffic, backlinks, and my favorite: Main Organic Competitors.
The list is exportable in spreadsheet form, and can be sorted by metrics such as traffic numbers. This way, you can not only find good recruitment fits for your client, but also those that drive quality traffic (and hopefully sales!)
Because Facebook’s massive reach, there are 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 on the “Groups” tab, giving you some potentially big opportunities for recruitment.
To keep in line with my outdoor example above: I typed in “Backpacking,” and found several groups with over 10,000 members.
Once you join a group, there is almost always a list of moderators and admin contacts that you can reach out to.
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 for your program. When clicking through some of these videos, you can gain a better understanding of the YouTuber’s content, and if they would be a good fit.
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 you are searching, and may be a better fit for your recruitment endeavors.
Instagram and Twitter
The commonality that both of these social media platforms have is their strong roots in hashtags.
Hashtags can be a great way to drive 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 for your advertiser using the methods above may provide some surprising results. This can also be utilized for your competitors.
By searching competing brands on Instagram and Twitter, you will likely find some content providers that are in the same zeitgeist as the brand you are recruiting for.
Because you are recruiting for an affiliate program, chances are you are also partnered with an affiliate network for your brand.
Almost every single network includes robust tools for recruitment.
If you aren’t utilizing them already, make 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.
Top Affiliate Recruitment
After finding potential affiliates the next step is to reach out, explain the opportunity and get the top talent to actually join your program.
Because affiliates are so contingent on relationship-building, the worst thing to say to an affiliate prospect would be an unauthentic message that sounds “sales-y”.
“Do you want to make money working from home and selling the products you already use?” – this message doesn’t specify anything about the affiliates website and it also sounds like a Multi-Level-Marketing pitch, which many people find repulsive.
The world is becoming more and more immune to sales pitches and you’ll never get noticed if you blend in with the rest of pitches and don’t provide value to the affiliate from the start.
Instead, focus on just 10 affiliates per day. Review the website to learn more about them and to make sure you have the best method of contacting them.
Then reach out and personalize your language. Include what it is about their website that you enjoy and why they would do well with your affiliate program.
Before reaching out to a new affiliate into your program remember these 5 tips:
- Educate yourself on the affiliate’s website
- Pick up the phone
- Connect on Social Media
- Follow up
- Think long-term relationships
Activation of New Affiliates
Recruiting is important. But having a new affiliate join your program and say “yes, I will promote you” is only a piece of the puzzle to increasing revenue in the affiliate channel.
Activation, optimization, relationship building, product education, placement negotiation and helping affiliates with what they need to be successful takes much more time than simply getting them to join.
If a retailer has poor customer service, no education tools, have no time to strengthen relationships and even less time prompting them to activate and optimize their marketing on your behalf – you will have a million affiliates and not a single one producing sales.
Identifying great partners and getting them to join your program is half the battle. Getting new affiliates to be producing partners, takes time, attention, education and service.
JEBCommerce has compiled their 10 years of business into an accelerator program to help (what type of brands) with the process of analyzing and finding new affiliates.