The affiliate marketing industry is worth $12 billion, with 81% of businesses using affiliate programs to increase their revenue. And with the growing popularity of internet reviews and recommendations, this number is only expected to grow. It’s hard to be surprised by the popularity of affiliate marketing when it’s beneficial for all parties involved.
- Merchants are able to reach and sell their products to a much wider audience.
- Affiliates can earn additional income by promoting a product they use and like.
- Customers can learn about products that solve their current problems.
Another reason why marketers like affiliate marketing so much is that it’s cost-effective. Compared to the more common PPC advertising, where you pay for all clicks regardless of whether a lead is converted or not, you only pay for actual results with affiliate marketing.
If, thanks to an affiliate, your sales increase, then you will pay them a commission. But if the affiliate campaign is ineffective, then it won’t affect your budget at all. Basically, the amount you pay depends upon the performance of your affiliates. The question is, though, how do you find affiliates that will bring in new customers, and how many affiliates do you really need?
Who is an affiliate?
Let’s start by explaining who an affiliate actually is. An affiliate is either an individual or a business that, through various content, promotes a merchant’s products or services. If the consumer purchases the product thanks to the affiliate’s recommendation (through a unique affiliate link) then the affiliate receives a percentage of the seller’s revenue.
That means that the affiliate’s income is directly proportional to their performance. But it’s not as easy as hiring random people to promote your products. If you want to have visible results, you need to look for the best affiliates. But how can you find affiliates that will produce good results?
How to find great affiliates for your business
At first glance, it might seem like finding affiliates to promote your products won’t be a problem at all – there are hundreds of people ready to work for you, right? The thing is, not all of them can give you the results that you want. If you are looking for talented affiliates for your business, you need to know two things: what you are looking for in those affiliates, and where you can find such people. To be a good affiliate marketer, you need several skills. Here’s a few of them:
- Creativity – compared to what many people might think, getting potential users to pick a recommended service or task is not that easy, especially considering the number of companies doing the same thing! Marketers need a fair amount of creativity and thinking “outside of the box” to find ways to stand out from the crowd and attract potential buyers’ attention. Creativity also comes in handy when encountering a problem, such as a failing campaign or low conversion rates.
- Willingness to learn – affiliate marketing is an extremely competitive area. If a marketer doesn’t increase their knowledge about the industry and hone their skills, they will quickly fall behind their competitors. Affiliates should also keep an eye on industry news and advancements, and use them in their work.
- Understanding of data analytics – affiliate marketing is all about data. Marketers are unlikely to determine which actions will help them drive conversions, whether their campaigns are successful, or what the consumer purchasing habits are without proper data analysis skills and strategy. Data can also show marketers what type of content attracts the most attention and which audience segment is the most likely to convert, as well as point out potential issues causing low conversion rates.
- Self-discipline and productivity – affiliate marketing can be done from any place, and affiliates usually work on their own. On the one hand, this gives them a lot of freedom since they are their own boss. But on the other, it also means they don’t have superiors to keep an eye on their work and deadlines. A good affiliate marketer is disciplined enough to complete all of their tasks and meet deadlines even if they work alone. Another important trait for affiliates to have, besides punctuality, is also being consistent and fitting all of your quality requirements.
Where to find affiliates for your business?
Now that you know what kind of affiliates you need for your business, you probably want to ask “but where can I find people with all of those traits?” That’s what we thought – so here’s a list of the five best places to look for new affiliates.
Among existing customers
The best affiliates know the product they recommend inside out, and can therefore persuade people to try it. So why not offer your existing customers a way to earn extra money by recommending your product to others? They may easily promote your products by, for example, writing a review describing how they use your product and how it helps them. You could run an email campaign to encourage your customers to sign up for your affiliate program or put out a registration link on your website.
If a customer likes your product or service, they should be happy to recommend it to others. And what could be better for them than earning a little cash while doing this?
On forums or groups related to your industry
A great place to find new affiliates is a community forum, where people discuss different products. For example, you can reach out to the most active members of a group and ask them to join your affiliate program. You could also use affiliate forums or communities and promote your program there.
However, look out, as some forum have plenty of spammers, people looking for freebies, or self-acclaimed experts. It’s advisable to first browse through these groups, learn more about the community, and then look for people who could be a good fit for your company, rather than jumping straight into promoting your affiliate program.
On industry-related blogs
In 2019, there were more than an estimated 500 million blogs. A vast majority of these were started by people who are passionate about a given topic and wanted to reach a like-minded audience. This means that you can easily reach people belonging to your target audience by making yourself known to the followers of such blogs.
So why not look for your new affiliates among bloggers connected to your industry? Start by looking for blogs that fit your industry and check out the quality of their content, their following, and traffic. Then you can contact the blog owners by sending them emails. But rather than starting out by proposing an affiliate partnership up front, ask if the bloggers are interested in trying out your products or services first. Have in mind that popular blog owners with a stable audience probably receive similar emails quite often, so unless you offer them something worthwhile they may just ignore you.
Another good idea would be to reach out to niche bloggers. While they don’t usually have a broad reach as the most popular blogs, their audience is more engaged and therefore more likely to try out any recommended products.
On social media
Here you can find an uncountable number of groups about all possible topics, both industry-related and niche ones. Social media is a great place to look for potential affiliates. Social media channels can also be very helpful when looking for influencers to promote your products. But tread carefully here – you should only focus on profiles related to your products or industry, no matter how many likes or followers they have, and build a long-lasting partnership with them.
Social media is also full of people looking for free products or services “in exchange for promoting your product”, so proceed with caution.
On affiliate networks
Besides forums and social media groups for affiliates, you can also use affiliate networks. Affiliation networks make it easier to find marketers related to your industry, and they also have only verified affiliates in their database. Such networks are also usually the first place that marketers go to when looking for a new product.
However, since there will be several other companies looking for affiliates, you need to think of a way to stand out from the rest. Make sure you have a clear and easy to understand program that offers a worthwhile commission. It’s also a good idea to offer materials to help affiliates with their promotion, like banners, graphics, or articles, etc.
Now, how many affiliates do I need to cooperate with?
Ah, the difficult question. It would be so much easier if we could just say “you need to hire twenty affiliates to increase your sales revenue by a third”, or something similar. But sadly, that’s not the case. You won’t find the answer without testing what and who works best for your business.
For some low-tier B2C companies, having many affiliates to build up your reach might be just what is needed. However, for B2B it’s usually far better to have a few affiliates who can bring in quality traffic and conversions. So as you see, it’s a bit more complicated than “the more the better”.
Our advice is that rather than going for affiliates who can reach the widest audience possible, it’s much better to have a few affiliates who match your target audience and can bring quality traffic. You should also keep experimenting with different groups to see which channel brings you the most conversions. When it comes to marketing, quality beats quantity most of the time – so keep this in mind when looking for new affiliates.
Well executed affiliate programs can become an excellent asset for your business. Besides higher sales, they can also increase your brand recognition and build trust in your company. But for this, you need skilled and smart affiliates. With our tips on how to find affiliates that are a perfect fit for your products, and where you can find them, building long-term partnerships should become much easier.