So you created a terrific product, an affiliate program with generous commission and you bought an energy drink for when your affiliates to be storm your castle. You know how to recruit affiliates because you read this article that talked about how easy it is.
Then life offers you a sip of reality. Nobody knocks on your door. That is if you don't count the fake coupon site guy and that guy without website or list.
You open your eyes to the realization: Recruiting affiliates isn't easy. Only recruiting great affiliates is harder. The first issue you will run into is that many internet marketers are not interested in the quality of your product or service. They might offer you clicks for clicks. So you get them 10K clicks, they'll do the same for you. That might or might not fit with your brand.
Or maybe you already have a working joint venture program with active affiliates. Issues you might run into:
- Many affiliates signed up but never promote
- They promote once and then are never seen again
- There's a lot of competition for the last click (a feasible solution is to reward the first click), but many partners do not bring in any new business
Typically, the lion share of sales comes from a few select partners who promote you repeatedly. These are your stakeholders.
There is no magic shortcut to building a reputable affiliate army, but the following tips will be helpful on your way to greatness
Best Tips on how to recruit great affiliates
Even in the digital world, business is H2H. Not B2C or B2B - Human to Human. Your advantage in the affiliate marketing world (as opposed to business world) is that it's easier and quicker to get to the decision maker at your target digital marketing company.
You could write an email to bloggers, websites, and other publishers, but I recommend only doing so with smaller ones. Most companies with dedicated JV Manager will politely write back that they have a click for click rule.
Even if you want to go that route, if you're just starting out, you might not yet have an impressive sized list or statistics about your EPC (earnings per click.)
It's a sales job. Pick up the phone and call companies/bloggers you'd love to work with. If you want to go with the email variant, be prepared to play a numbers game because you will send many messages to get any outcome.
Leaderboards of affiliate contests are a fabulous starting point.
Third party service for recruiting affiliates
There are companies dedicated to finding joint venture and affiliate partners for you. You will find them with a simple Google search. Be ready to spend some on a quality service. There are also many affiliate networks where you can list your offers if you don't expect an enormous fish to bite.
If you have the budget, you can outsource the entire process of affiliate recruitment.
Examples of companies that would do that for you are Tune or ExperienceAdvertising.
Influencers and bloggers
Contacting influencers and bloggers in your field is another great way to recruit affiliates. There are services, such as http://www.grouphigh.com (not an endorsement!) However, on this and similar sites, signing up as an "influencer" is relatively easy. The top stars of digital marketing don't have time or need to sign up to sites like this. To get a feel how influential a blogger/site really is I recommend is looking for most shared articles (and the quality of shares.)
For instance, if many people talk about someone but they talk about them negatively, it might not be your first choice for growing your business.
Dedicated Affiliate Page
Create an affiliate page right away and update it regularly with quality content and news. Don't forget to put the link into your email signature, website footer, etc.
Generosity goes a long way
Some affiliates focus on the percentage of the commission as much as the conversation rate, product price, and upsell opportunities. They will not consider opportunities with low numbers.
Reward the people who bring in business generously. However, 50% of 0 is still 0. Your funnels should be exceptional too.
Run a contest
Run a contest for your product launch and promote it everywhere. Consider an incentive for sharing your contest promo to get your message out there. The contest might make some joint venture partners interested, and they will look at your affiliate program. Don't be skimpy with the rewards, you can't entice successful affiliates with $100.
Sign up to affiliate programs and learn how to recruit affiliates
The easiest way to learn how to recruit affiliates is to look at what other successful players are doing. Also, you can see leaderboards and find joint venture partners that might be interesting for and interested in your offers. Ideally, you do that well ahead of your own product launch.
The top of the leaderboards are filled with super affiliates. Win a few of those over and you're good.
Show me yours, I'll show you mine
It can be difficult if you're just starting out and you might have to be creative and figure out ways to get more eyes on your promotions. Once you figured that out or if you already have a decent sized list, you can approach potential joint venture partners with a click for click offer.
Especially if you have a tight budget, this step is a cost-neutral way to recruit affiliates. If you don't have a list but a budget, you can always use solo ads to deliver clicks.
Recruit your customers
After every sale, you can send an automated message that invites them to refer their friends to your programs. While they might not be digital marketers, they love your stuff enough to pay for access to it. They can definitely help you get some traction.
Several sites, for instance (not an endorsement) https://www.referralcandy.com/ make setting up and administering a "friend buy" program simple.
Leverage social media for recruiting affiliates
Social media is your best friend. Not just to find influencers, but also to see how other digital marketers engage their joint venture partners and who interacts with them. Don't think just Twitter and Facebook - LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding great affiliates and more of what you see there (interaction, content) is real.
Join groups and discussions and start commenting/sharing content of people you would love to have in your affiliate army.
Quality over Quantity
You might feel tempted to accept everyone who applies for your affiliate program. Especially in the beginning. I don't know what it would mean from an SEO standpoint, I'm looking at it from a reputation standpoint.
If your links are on every high-ranking fake coupon site and every "is xy scam" blog talks about you, good affiliates might back off. Keep i mind: these are not the people who generate interest. They merely steal the reward from the deserving people who got someone to look and research your company towards the end of the buying process.
I do not understand SEO. I could imagine signing up the wrong partner who spams your link in forums and comments might have a negative effect.
Build and maintain a presence on affiliate portals. Establish a reputation and following by posting helpful content. You can observe affiliates and learn what's important to them and much more.
Make sure that the portals you choose align with your brand. Some links below are for sites with a few low-quality affiliates. Keep in mind that the bigger the marketer, the more likely it is that they have an affiliate manager. While building a network with the help of affiliate partners is an excellent step, still go after the decision makers of bigger companies directly. It's highly unlikely that they spend their time networking on affiliate sites.
Here are a few sites for a start on your journeysome of how to recruit affiliates. Please copy and paste, I don't really want to link out to some of the sites.....
A Best Web http://www.abestweb.com/
Affiliate Fix https://www.affiliatefix.com/
Black Hat World https://www.blackhatworld.com/
DN Forum https://www.dnforum.com/
Digital Point https://forums.digitalpoint.com/
Site Point https://www.sitepoint.com/community/
Warrior Forum http://warriorforum.com
Wicked Fire http://www.wickedfire.com/
My favorite (and this IS an endorsement) is the offer of Mike Merz.
You can learn how to recruit affiliates, promote your offers, and connect with top affiliates.
A lot of the services are free, I recommend that you upgrade to VIP.
Another service is the JVNewsWatch (a forum, launch calendar, and newsletter with upcoming launches and evergreen offers), a peaceful way (paid and unpaid options) to get your offer in front of many qualified affiliates.
How to recruit affiliates through affiliate meet-ups
Nothing beats 1:1. There are plenty of congress-style affiliate meet-ups that you can attend to recruit joint venture partners. As always, a google search will lead the way.
In the new normal, obviously most events happen virtually.
Use affiliate networks
The crux with these networks is that you have to die one of two deaths. Either you will have to spend a significant amount of money to get in or you're dealing with a site with a lot of unreputable affiliates.
For instance, JVZoo is yucky. Your problem on Clickbank is that you cannot even manually approve partners. Even if you block them once you notice bad bot traffic coming in or that you have a backlink from sites you do not want to be associated with, it's not much help.
Do your due-diligence before you take action. You could look at sites, such as shareasale or comissionjunction and find many others via google search.
Ads and Press Releases
Press releases are a wonderful tool for everything you want to share with the world. Depending on your budget, you can put in some work and get low-level distribution for your release for free.
Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook and even Twitter and Pinterest ads are also useful to get targeted eyes on your affiliate program offer. Solo ads are useful too.
After you recruited affiliates
You must not assume that the affiliates you recruited will do a sales job or be as passionate about your products and services as yourself. Think of them as your baby that you need to feed, put to sleep and educate. Even many of the big affiliate marketers do the "my best friend" spiel and use your copy and assets to send clicks to your offer.
Test and double-test everything so you don't cause frustration with subpar marketing material that results in low conversion rates.
2nd Tier Affiliates
How to recruit affiliates? Let your partners do the job! You can establish a 2nd tier commission where your affiliates can recruit other affiliates and get a small portion of the affiliate's commission. Chances are, your new partners have connections. A referral beats any cold outreach action.
It only takes 5 great affiliates for a 6-digit business!
Take good care of your stakeholders. Just as they can share their positive experience, any shady action (or late payments) can destroy your reputation before you even have one. Keeping affiliates engaged and motivated is crucial for the success of your business.
To sum things up
With dedication and hard work, you can build your empire quickly. It's not just about how to recruit affiliates, but also how to keep them happy and wealthy.
You should have a business plan and realistic expectations. Bigger players in the affiliate marketing spectrum plan their mailings and which external products they will promote in advance. They know too many salesy emails will cause unsubscribes or even spam complaints. Be aware that there might be a waiting period after you recruited your first big affiliate partners.
Use common sense. There are no shortcuts to building a sustainable, ethical business and no magic formula to recruiting affiliates.
Be humble and put in the work and soon affiliates will storm your castle and your affiliate recruiting process will be as easy as putting an application form on your site.
As you know, most digital marketers never make it. They focus on SEO, SERP, and whatnot and ignore the business aspect of things.
If you want to make a living from your online activities, you should be business-savvy. Keep in mind: If it doesn't make money, it's not a job, it's a hobby.
I recommend you check out THIS program, at least soak up the free content like a sponge.