Finding affiliates is one of THE crucial steps to build a successful affiliate program.
You can build a stunning affiliate program landing page. You can offer a higher commission. You can apply every CRO technique there is to convert potential affiliates.
Yet, no one will join your affiliate program if they don’t know about it.
In this article, we’ll show you how to find affiliates who’ll bring you all the benefits that come from affiliate marketing – brand awareness, high-converting traffic, more sales, and more revenue. What’s more, you’ll also discover some best practices that’ll help you convert potential affiliates into affiliates.
Excited to learn? Let’s begin!
How To Find Affiliates For Your Business?
These are the most straightforward (or perhaps the only) ways to find affiliates:
1. Convert customers into affiliates
As rightly said by Lisa Masiello, happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.
There’s no one more qualified to recommend your product (or service) than your customers. They know your product, they brought your product, and they had the reason to buy it.
In fact, they might already be promoting you by word of mouth.
By converting customers into affiliates, you incentivize them to communicate their reasons for buying from you and why they like your brand.
Now, there are two ways to find affiliates from your customer base:
1. Automatically convert all customers into affiliates: This is what Social Snowball does for Shopify ecommerce brands — everyone is an affiliate. Ideally, it’s recommended for D2C brands because all customers know other potential customers (friends, family, social circle).
2. Invite customers to become affiliates: If your brand is not for anyone and everyone, invite customers to become affiliates. Then, filter & accept affiliate entries. To invite entries, you can:
- Send a simple email announcing the affiliate program,
- Trigger a proactive live chat message when a return visitor/customer lands on your website,
- Announce & promote it to your social media followers,
- Ask NPS promoters in post-survey Thank you emails, etc.
2. Join an affiliate network
An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between you and your affiliates.
If you sign up with an affiliate network, they’ll list you on their merchants’ directory. As a result, when an affiliate on their network searches through the directory, they might discover your products.
For example, assume your run a baby products store, and a potential affiliate runs a baby products-related Instagram page. Now, if they want to monetize their Instagram with affiliate products, they’ll go on an affiliate network — say ShareASale — and search for related terms.
There, they might find your brand and consider joining your program. For instance, the potential affiliate can search “baby jewelry” on ShareASale, find Mountain Moverz, and join their program:
Note: Creating your affiliate program (say with Social Snowball) gives you flexibility and costs comparatively less. On the other hand, an affiliate network can cost as much as $3000+ to join, + there’s a recurring monthly fee and an extra 20-30% cost per sale.
3. Invite social media influencers
Promoting affiliate products is a standard monetization method for social media influencers. Therefore, find potential pages/accounts and ask them to join your program.
Let’s continue with the previous example. Say you sell baby jewelry. You can go on Instagram and search for a relevant hashtag like #babyjewelry and find potential affiliates:
Here’s the profile of the account that posted the photo in the middle:
It seems like they are a potential affiliate. Now, just DM or email the page owner to see if they’d be interested in your affiliate program.
Rinse & repeat.
4. Find affiliate niche sites
Niche sites are websites with content targeted to a specific group of people. Find sites whose that “specific group of people” is your target audience.
You can reach such sites via affiliate networks, of course. Unfortunately, however, only a fraction of potential affiliates are part of a single affiliate network. Others, you’ll have to find.
The simplest way to find affiliate niche sites is through Google search. For example, if you sell dog food, you can search for a keyword like “best low carb dog food” and identify sites that promote others’ products for a commission.
Then, simply reach out and ask.
5. Contact “best affiliate programs” sites
The niche sites promote the product or service.
Then, there are meta affiliate sites that teach affiliate marketers about affiliate marketing. One of the things such sites publish is listicles on the best affiliate programs in [Niche]. For example, AuthorityHacker is a meta affiliate marketing site that publishes articles like these:
When people want to monetize their site/page with affiliate products, they refer to sites like these to find the best affiliate program.
You can reach out to them, introduce your affiliate program, and ask if they can add your program to the list.
6. Join relevant communities
You can also find affiliate marketers in communities related to affiliate marketing or your niche. Look for relevant Facebook groups, subreddits, etc., and promote your program if it’s allowed.
For example, here’s a post under r/affiliatemarketing where 100+ companies promoted their affiliate programs:
This community has 90k+ members (many of them are affiliate marketers across categories). So naturally, many marketers discovered new affiliate programs, and a % of them probably joined the suitable ones, like this user u/josalek:
7. Hire an affiliate recruitment agency
If you don’t have time to find affiliates on your own, you can pay an affiliate recruitment agency to do it for you. A good agency will know all the best practices and have access to a list of relevant affiliates they have contacted in the past.
8. Reverse-engineer your close competitors
If you have an affiliate program, it’s likely your competitor does too. So, find and approach the affiliates they are working with and ask them if they’d be interested in joining your program.
Here are a couple of ways to reverse engineer:
- To find influencers, search for your competitor brand’s hashtag. Influencers typically use hashtags when they post about anything.
- To find affiliate sites, search for related queries and add your competitor’s brand name alongside in the search. Similarly, you enter your competitor’s domain in a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs and see the sites linking to them and promoting their products.
Best Practices To Convert Potential Affiliates Into Affiliates
With all the abovementioned “How to find affiliates” methods, you’ll succeed in attracting potential affiliates to visit your affiliate program page. But what next? Will they join? Well, you can just hope + do these things for higher conversions:
- Make your affiliate program landing page scannable: The first thing a potential affiliate wants to know about your program is the commission rate, cookie period, and when payouts period. Therefore, highlight those things.
- Set competitive commissions: If your commissions aren’t up to mark, they’ll leave without even reading other details.
- Keep your affiliate form minimal (and, of course, mobile-friendly): This depends on what you sell. For example, if you are a D2C ecommerce brand, you don’t need much information to accept affiliates. You can create a simple form like this (that can be filled in under a minute):
On the other hand, a company like SEMRush that sells B2B tools will need details like affiliate’s company information, where they’ll promote it, how they’ll promote it, their phone number, etc., to ensure only the most relevant affiliates join the program.
- Keep them motivated: Once someone joins the affiliate program, you don’t want them to leave. So do everything to motivate your affiliates. For example, you can share promotion tips, give banners they can use on their site(s), pay early, offer tiered commissions, etc.
Above, we shared the best ways to find & recruit affiliates for your affiliate program. Hopefully, you found some interesting ideas on how to find affiliates.
Give all a try and let us know which worked best for you.
If you don’t have an affiliate program yet:
Start your 14-day free trial with Social Snowball, and power your Shopify store with affiliate marketing.