Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn passive income if you are an affiliate all you need is to sign up at the right affiliate program and the right marketing strategies. But what about the other side of affiliate marketing–The Affiliate Program? Well, in order for the affiliate program to be successful, you need affiliates to promote your links.
So let's say you have yourself a killer affiliate program, that doesn’t mean affiliates will sign up and work with you. Here’s where the recruitment strategies come in.
Let's look at the recruitment strategies to kick start your affiliate program.
Understanding the industry. As an affiliate manager, understanding who your target audience is very important. Having an excellent knowledge of the industry will be very handy to bring in the affiliates who will give more value to your affiliate program. So always find time to update yourself with the latest news and information in your market niche. But keeping updated yourself with the niche market is not enough, keep yourself knowledgeable about your affiliate program too!
Finding the right affiliates Before you recruit, figure out who is the best affiliate for your affiliate program. There are many types of affiliates out there who use a variety of marketing channels and techniques to promote (Bloggers, You-tubers, review sites, coupon sites, etc). For example—if you own a software product, you need to check your branding, pricing category, target audience, and based on that, you will need to figure out what kind of affiliate you should be targeting. When you recruit these target affiliates, check the following
a) Are they posting content relevant to your product consistently? b) What is the traffic they are achieving, will it be enough to give exposure to your product? c) What is the major geolocation their audience/traffic is coming from?
Reaching out to the affiliates. Reach out to potential affiliates with a well-written email. Explain how your program works, what are the salient features, commission structure, a link to your Calendly page to book a meeting in case they have more questions. Include a link to your sign up page as well so you don’t waste time going back and forth. One way to increase the response rate is by drafting emails one by one with a personal touch, customize your email according to the affiliate you are recruiting this will make sure your have a very good response rate, yes this method is time-consuming but the results are far better than using the same formatted mail for all your potential affiliates
Affiliate sign up page. Around 30% of the affiliates who join any affiliate program does so by finding out about the program from the Merchant website Make sure your program has a visible affiliate sign up page! Don’t forget to provide all the information about your affiliate program which includes the program description, commission structure, and a sign-up button, most of the affiliates find about the affiliate program from the merchant website, here’s an example.
As you can see from the above, screenshot AppSumo checks all the boxes for their affiliate program sign up page. Add relevant information like the T&C and policy links on the page so it will be easier for the affiliates to find. Add a section for testimonials and share some success stories of your affiliates. Set up an FAQ page with the relevant information about your program, including the key questions as a header with a 40 to 50-word answer.
Affiliate page optimization People out there are searching for new affiliate programs to join. This is an enormous opportunity for you to take advantage of! Have your affiliate program sign u page SEO optimized and make sure you share this page to your social media or any campaigns you run for the program. Optimize the page with relevant keywords to your niche for example “SaaS affiliate program”, this will enable affiliates to find your program much easier. Research keywords that go with your affiliate program make a list out of it and make sure these keywords are SEO optimized
Forums and Groups One of the easiest ways to push your affiliate program is by joining forums and groups/pages on social media. It will serve you three purpose a) Connect directly to the affiliates. b) Keeping yourself updated with fresh information on your niche markets. c) Keeping a close eye on your competitors Regular updates on these forums and social media groups/pages will make sure your affiliate program has more visibility.
Make some noise Once you get to know your target affiliates and your affiliate program has the proper page set up to their needs, your nest set should be to market the affiliate program. Make your affiliate program presence known in the social media channels and forums, send emails to your professional contacts, include a banner about your affiliate program in your email signature, update your Skype status to reflect the news about your affiliate program. Post about your affiliate program on social media groups tailored for affiliates, it doesn’t matter if they are not in your niche they might know someone who works in your niche and pass the message on. Social media is always the easier medium to pass on your message be extra vocal here and be very active.
Networking it’s no doubt that your industry will have an annual networking event or events in your location, attend those events, and spread the message about your affiliate program. A lot of affiliates attend events like seminars, webinars, conferences, etc those who attend will learn more about your affiliate programs so make sure you go well-prepared to carry pamphlets or visiting cards with relevant information regarding your affiliate program. Make sure to collect leads that you can work on converting later on. There are many major affiliate marketing events around the world like the affiliate summit run by Clarion Events, they have everything to do with affiliate marketing, you will find a lot of influencers and leaders of the industries here and it will be a great way to learn about your industry niche.
Recruitment Lists Once the affiliates join your program, it will be very useful to maintain a list and keep track of the progress of these affiliates. There are a lot of CRM tools in the affiliate realm to assist you with this, like Buzzstream and MediaRails. Start building a list of potential affiliates, connect with them, build a beneficial relationship that will help you convert them into a precious affiliate in your affiliate program. CRM tools like Buzzstream has functions where you can do an influencers search in the particular niche they are involved in, this could come in handy when you build that list.
Rewards Program Set up a rewards program where the affiliate with the most activity gets a particular benefit. The most common rewards program is the referral program, the affiliate will earn some commission based on the number of active affiliates who joined via his/her link. One way to speed up the activation of a new affiliate is to run a special campaign by assigning a specific set of actions for ex a certain number of sales in a week or promote a certain product in their promotional mediums. These campaigns can be useful to activate the dormant affiliate in your program.
Competitor Analysis Always keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. Make a list of 5 to 10 of your top competitors out there be it the market leaders of your niche it doesn’t matter, get a keyword alert to start for these competitors on your social media platforms. Now every time there is an update from one of your competitors you will get an alert, use the information you get from these alerts to enhance your program and your marketing efforts. I would suggest signing up at these competitor's programs and observe how they go through the application process, what emails they send, what updates they give when there is a new product launch. Understanding what your competitors are doing is replicating it will be an excellent strategy, especially when you are a new affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing can be a very efficient way to grow your product’s brand exposure, all it need is marketing strategy, a lot of patience, good knowledge and an affiliate manager willing to learn at every step!