Editor’s Note: We bring you more live coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs.  

This session was conducted by Wade Tonkin of Fanatics, Inc.

Why recruit affiliates? The main reason is to be proactive in the affiliate programs growth.

Here are 3 reasons to recruit:

  • The network you are on does not have all the affiliate you will need to be successful
  • Your program is not on an affiliate network (then it is a must)
  • To build the right balance of affiliates – a well-balanced affiliate program is a successful one

Before reaching out to prospective affiliates, perform the following tasks:

  • Analyze the current publishers (if existing) and group them accordingly (bloggers, social, deal/coupons, etc.)
  • Dive into KPI’s of each affiliate group
  • Know the value of each group to determine their value and worth to the program
  • Find out if the network or platform you are running on provides the tools that will be needed to work with the type of affiliates you are targeting.

After performing the tasks above, load your tool box with the following:

  • Get your messaging together for each group of affiliates (email, social, etc)
  • On-boarding resources…find out if they can be automated
  • Have your approaches tailored to the in-network vs. out of network recruiting and by affiliate type for the best results. It’s not a one-size-fits-all project.

Ways to utilize in-network recruiting and external recruiting:

In-network Recruiting

  • They are low hanging fruit
    • Already familiar with the network
    • No delays in getting them up and running
    • They know the network tools
    • Can message differently than out of network
    • Play up the tools that work for them
    • Show them 3rd party tools (i.e. FMTC)

Out of Network recruiting

It takes time and effort and often requires education to the prospect.

  • Tools for external recruiting:
    • 5IQ
    • GroupHigh
    • Blogrolls on influential blogs
    • Google
    • Facebook and Twitter searches

How to reach out to bloggers:

  • Check their web stats, social following and engagement
  • Are they trusted? Does their audience care?
  • Do they speak affiliate?
  • Do they work with other programs
  • Do they write content
  • Personalize the outreach, let them know they can make money for their efforts (do not overwhelm them in the initial email)
  • Have the data heavy piece ready when they do respond. What is in it for them?

Possible objections from bloggers can include:

  • I don’t want to post banners
  • I don’t have time
  • My readers may think I am spammy
  • I’ve never done this before and don’t know how to start
  • I get sponsorship money for banners ads
  • Can you give me something to give away

What works with bloggers?

  • Shop and support
  • Product links/text links in content
  • Navigation links
  • Storefront or widgets
  • Reviews
  • Let affiliates buy through links for their own use

How to reach out to social affiliates:

  • Use a video that works to recruit and on-board as it shows them the process
  • Explain what you are looking for and empower them. Provide them a bonus upfront to get them to boost a timely post.
  • Engagement is more important than the follower count – watch for volume of discussion driven by members.
  • Provide custom images (depending on their niche)

No one ever said affiliate recruiting would be easy and not all affiliates are treated equally. Using a blanket message for all types will not be effective, so grouping them and targeting them with specific message will help in the campaign. Recruiting can be a fun, rewarding experience.