Despite the overwhelming abundance of deal sites, coupon codes, loyalty programs, cashback programs, and content bloggers, a well-designed affiliate program can bring clarity and illumination to what may initially seem like a chaotic and overwhelming landscape.
Affiliate marketing involves working with affiliates who act as your partners, promoting your products or services and earning a commission for every sale or lead they generate. An established affiliate program can be effective for increasing your online presence, driving traffic to your website, and, ultimately, boosting sales.
Affiliate marketing is also an increasingly popular strategy and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, as of 2023, at least 80% of advertisers run an affiliate program, attracting and retaining customers at every stage of the buyer journey.
If you’ve decided it’s time to launch an affiliate program of your own, it’s important to find the right affiliates who share your values and inspire trust in your potential customers. Let’s explore where and how to find the best affiliates for your company.
1. Identify Relevant Publishers
For an affiliate program to be successful, it needs effective partnerships with relevant publishers. If you haven’t already, take some time to understand and research your industry’s “niche” — where your product or service specifically makes the most sense. As you explore your niche as a merchant via social media, search engines, and other industry directories (more on affiliate networks later!), you should begin to identify relevant publishers.
Established publishers have already built a community that trusts them, so by partnering with them, you get automatic access to an audience of hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers. Spend some time exploring social media content related to your offerings and identify effective content creators that may make a good affiliate partner.
Ask yourself a few questions: Do these publishers have an established and engaged audience? Does the publisher’s content and/or audience align with your brand’s voice, values, and vertical? Does your product or service offer a solution their audience may find useful?
If the answer to all of these is “yes,” the publisher may make a good partner for you. Don’t be quick to overlook smaller publishers if they tick all the right boxes, either. Quality over quantity can be just as effective.
2. Leverage Affiliate Networks
An affiliate network gives you access to affiliates even faster than finding them on your own. Affiliate networks are a robust and unified place to manage your blooming affiliate program, giving you, the merchant, and affiliates a one-stop shop for finding partnerships.
The right affiliate platform can also provide real-time reporting and intuitive dashboards to give you a to-the-minute idea of which partners are converting effectively — as well as when and how. This valuable data on affiliate performance will help you continue to hone your approach and get the most out of your affiliate efforts.
With so many different networks out there, that valuable data could easily get lost in the shuffle. FMTC aggregates data from over 20 top affiliate networks in one centralized, vetted platform, offering the ability to broadcast your deals and coupons to thousands of affiliates — and allow them to find you.
3. Network and Learn at Marketing Events
From Affiliate Summit to PI Live, there is no shortage of conferences, conventions, webinars, and other events in the affiliate world. These events bring together merchants, affiliates, networks, and industry experts, providing an opportunity to network and build relationships, learn best practices and trends, and ultimately grow your affiliate program.
These events are impactful opportunities for fledgling and established affiliate programs alike — and often allow you to travel to exciting locales to boot!
4. Don’t Overlook Your Biggest Fans
Your best advocates are already doing the work for you. Existing customers can be a great source of potential affiliates, as they already know and love your offerings and are more likely to promote them to their friends and family. So it may be time to entice them to join your affiliate ranks.
Reach out to loyal customers via email or social media with an invitation to join your affiliate program. A little incentive may go a long way, too — for example, you could offer them a free gift for signing up in addition to their commission.
5. Establish a Program Worth Affiliating With
Lead your prospective affiliates to really good water, and they won’t be able to help but drink it.
To attract the best affiliates, your program should be well organized and mutually beneficial. Here are a few key tips for running an affiliate program that both reels in worthwhile partners and keeps existing ones happy:
- Offer competitive deals and commission rates
- Provide robust and thoughtful support channels
- Create a dedicated landing page or portal to find data, deals, and resources
- Ensure your deals and coupon codes are reliable, updated, and easy to use
- Promote, promote, promote — in newsletters, on social media, and with content from existing affiliates
With these five clear strategies — identifying relevant affiliates, leveraging affiliate networks, networking at events, partnering with existing customers, and optimizing your affiliate offerings — your affiliate program is set up for success.
Keep the momentum going with FMTC’s freemium merchant services program. We make it easy to streamline your affiliate program and get your deals and products in front of top-performing affiliates. With our platform, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your affiliate program — and your revenue.