As affiliate managers we spend a lot of time on recruiting new affiliates into our programs. There are many different ways to identify affiliates and then contact them to tell them about your program, but today we’re going to focus on things you want to avoid as you’re going through your recruitment. Below we’ve laid out five deadly mistakes to stay away from while recruiting affiliates.
1. Not Utilizing Competitive Analysis
Perhaps the single most important piece to your recruitment effort is going to be your competitive intelligence analysis. Surely you’ve performed this kind of analysis before setting up your affiliate program — in order to see which of your competitors have affiliate programs and how much commission, among other things, they offer to their affiliates.
You can use this same competitive intelligence analysis when starting your recruitment efforts as well. You can run searches on your competitors and see where they’re being featured on affiliate sites and where they’re being marketed. These are going to be great prospects for you.
You can take this a step further if you use tools like Publisher Discovery or SEMrush and actually plug in your competitor’s info into those tools and see what affiliates they return back to you.
2. Ignoring Your Customer Base
When you begin your recruitment efforts and you start putting together lists of prospects and potential reviewers for your product, it’s so easy to forget a base of people who are all instantly a good fit. That base of people, of course, is your existing customer list. If even just a few of your customers are online marketing savvy, why wouldn’t they want to earn commissions promoting something they’ve already purchased and enjoyed?
Consider sending an email to your customer base announcing your affiliate marketing program and its benefits.
Make sure to leave a clear way to contact you and you might just get a few great partners from the list!
Another great way to announce your program is through your own social media channels and also as a link on your website. You want to make sure you give fans of your business every opportunity to see that you have an affiliate program. These efforts will greatly enhance your affiliate recruitment.
3. Focusing Only on Your Niche
You should absolutely be targeting affiliates in your niche when you’re recruiting. These are going to be some of your top partners. However, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of professional affiliates out there who might also be a great fit despite not having a site specific to your niche.
Do you plan to incorporate discounts and deals into your affiliate strategy? If so, you want to make sure to target top deals and coupon sites that have massive user bases and often rank really well on discount related keywords within search engines. You may want to partner with some of these — so you can manage them and guide them to how you want your brand represented on their platforms.
Cash back affiliates and loyalty sites are also good ones to target as there are thousands of consumers who like to use these platforms and they are always a great addition to most affiliate programs. It’s easy to forget about these potential super affiliates because you’re so focused on recruiting the key sites within your niche. Do not forget to spread your efforts out a bit more.
4. Ignoring Content Monetization Tools
Along with affiliates who may not be in your niche, you’re also going to want to make sure not to neglect the several content monetization platforms that are out there. Tools like Skimlinks, VigLink, YieldKit, and others add a lot of value to your program by helping content creators easily monetize their articles.
Large media outlets such as Business Insider, TechRadar and Cosmopolitan have been known to monetize their content using these platforms.
Thus, simply by onboarding such monetization platforms into your program, you can get promoted on hundreds of websites. It’s always preferred to have a direct relationship with affiliates, but this is still a great place to start.
These platforms are also very easy to work with and very responsive when trying to get them to join your programs. We have never heard of them turning away a merchant before so there’s really nothing you have to lose but targeting them.
5. Not Utilizing Affiliate Network Opportunities
Lastly, make sure to take advantage of your affiliate network! While some merchants choose to run their affiliate programs in-house, most will launch on an affiliate network and utilize their platform and tracking solution to run their program. Affiliate networks like ShareASale, CJ, Impact and others all offer various recruitment solutions for their merchant clients.
ShareASale has their Recruitment Tool, which allows the merchant to structure a special offer for the prospective affiliate to entice them to join their affiliate program. Awin and Rakuten Affiliate Network (Linkshare) both have excellent publisher discovery tools built in to their networks where you can search by affiliate domain, type, category and others. Impact also has their marketplace where you can see some of the more active affiliate publishers on the network.
Along with the publisher discovery options these networks provide, don’t forget to also take advantage of whatever marketing opportunities they may offer. It is not uncommon for affiliate networks to discount their marketing packages for their advertisers. Getting an email sent out to an entire network of potential affiliates can be very helpful in boosting your recruiting numbers.
We hope that these tips will help you as you go through your recruiting process. Good luck with your affiliate program management efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any notes or questions.