To make the most of an affiliate marketing program, a robust strategy for affiliate recruitment is vital. This involves reaching out to potential influencers and bringing fresh affiliates on board with enticing offers.

Building a strong, diverse network of affiliates requires careful planning, a dedicated effort toward building an affiliate portfolio, and regular assessment of results.

How to recruit affiliates? Here’s everything you need to optimize your affiliate recruitment strategy.

What is affiliate recruitment?

Affiliate recruitment refers to the techniques you use to find and attract potential affiliates for your program, and convince them to sign on. It enables your business to draw in affiliates who can efficiently endorse your brand, product, or service.

Affiliate recruitment is not a lottery, where you simply hope for top affiliates to join your program. It is about shaping a program that is attractive to the potential partners who are perfectly aligned with both your customer base and the products or services your brand offers. It’s also about strategically promoting your program –  making it known to the potential affiliates who fit your needs.

How to recruit affiliates: Effective strategies to locate partners

When venturing into affiliate recruitment, potent strategies for identifying and onboarding the right affiliates can bring substantial business growth. Let’s delve into these various strategies. 

Note: These strategies are meant for businesses using affiliate software, where you have the freedom to select your own affiliates but have to do some searching on your own.

Don’t use an existing affiliate network. Yes, it may seem like networks make recruiting affiliates easier. But if you use a network for affiliate recruitment, you won’t have the flexibility to choose any affiliates you want, and you’ll lose the opportunity to build relationships with affiliates.

1. Engage customers who are content creators

When embarking on the affiliate recruitment journey, the first stop to find affiliates should be your pool of existing customers. Launching an email campaign to notify current customers about your affiliate program can be an effective way to start this process. But don’t just open the program to any customer.

Customers who create content are the ideal affiliates. They’re typically more open to joining your affiliate program, because they already know and love your products or services and don’t need an introduction to them.

If you have access to relevant customer data, you could further streamline your outreach and target customers who have already promoted you for free (or shared you regularly through a referral program). This is even more efficient, because they’ll almost always be willing to get paid for what they’re already doing –  sharing your brand!

Recruiting from your existing consumer base offers the tangible advantage of aligning with partners who already have faith in your product or service. They can advocate for your brand with authenticity and conviction, helping to garner the trust of potential customers.

lokai customer potential affiliate

2. Create a custom application

Streamlining the affiliate sign-up process is pivotal for successful affiliate recruitment. So, creating a hassle-free online application catering to the recruitment process should definitely be on the cards. This platform empowers bloggers and digital marketers to come to you, and express their interest in your program by simply filling out the online form.

Whether you resort to email marketing or social media channels to promote your program, the endgame should be ushering them towards the landing page or application for sign up.

An effective sign-up form should extract valuable information about the potential affiliate, such as their promotional strategies, social platform insights, website traffic, and more, helping you make informed decisions about prospective partnerships. affiliate application

3. Utilize brand mention tools

Whether you’re an ecommerce business, a Saas company, or in another industry, brand mention tools can be invaluable teammates in the hunt for the best affiliates. These tools serve insights into who is talking about your brand on social media networks, as well as in other locations like blogs. This intel can be used to contact people regularly mentioning your brand to gauge their interest in becoming an affiliate.

 Some of the most popular tools of this type include Mention and Brand24; check out this list of our favorite brand mention tools for more.

4. Scan relevant hashtags

Keeping an eye on both brand hashtags and relevant industry hashtags can also tip the scales in your favour. This strategy enables you to discover individuals who have significant followings on social media and are active within your business niche. 

Such leads are valuable as they are already investing time and effort in creating content around your industry. By aligning with them, their followers become potential customers for your brand, leading to increased conversion rates.

Search and/or follow the hashtags you’re interested in, whether that’s on the social media platforms themselves or using an external tool. (Also, make sure you pay attention to who tags you in posts!) Once you’ve found a potential affiliate through hashtags or tags, and vetted that their content and target audience are a good fit for your brand, send them an application for your affiliate program.

5. Fish for affiliates in the social influencer pool

If high-quality affiliates are your target, swimming into the influencer marketing pool can be highly rewarding. Forging partnerships with social influencers provides you access to their cultivated audiences. By reaching out to these influencers and communicating your custom incentives, the transition process for them to become affiliate partners becomes even smoother. And thanks to affiliate links, influencers’ efforts become much easier to track – you’ll know exactly how many sales their posts have motivated.

Don’t count out nano- and micro-influencers when deciding on the types of affiliates you’d like to recruit. Their niche focus and close community may result in higher engagement from followers – and higher conversion rates.

influencer affiliate fitness code

6. Spotlight the program on your business website

Prominently featuring your affiliate program on your business website can pique the interest of potential affiliates. Embedding a call-to-action (like a banner or hero image) on the homepage, which directs interested people to your affiliate program application page, can be a masterstroke. You might also dedicate a blog post to promoting your program.

7. Make use of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) presents a golden opportunity to broadcast your affiliate program through organic traffic. Identifying and utilizing relevant keywords can significantly optimize your affiliate landing page for niche affiliates to find them (say, if you’re a baby food brand, you might optimize your affiliate application page for the keyword “baby affiliate program” or ‘baby food affiliate”). Coupling SEO with pay-per-click advertising can stir the desired web traffic towards your sign-up pages, serving dual benefits.

8. Dabble in affiliate forums and communities

Forums and communities dedicated to affiliate marketing are goldmines for businesses keen to recruit new affiliates. Registering and remaining active on these forums can yield rich dividends. However, a subtle approach, rather than a hard-sell, usually works wonders. Participating in interesting threads and discreetly advertising your program in your profile signature can create the desired buzz.

9. Profit from LinkedIn’s professional outreach

LinkedIn, with its vast network of professionals, has emerged as an efficacious platform for affiliate recruitment. After setting up a business profile, you can comb this platform for proficient affiliate marketers and reach out for collaboration. As always, look for affiliates in your niche with an audience that matches yours. With all the B2B influencers on LinkedIn, it’s an especially great place to find expert voices to be your affiliates if you’re in the B2B space.

10. Network at industry events

While online efforts form the backbone of your affiliate recruitment strategy, offline avenues should not be short-changed. Identifying industry events in your area and gracing them with your presence can be a profitable move. Face-to-face networking with industry experts can boost your affiliate initiative, and these interactions also provide a chance to promote your affiliate program.

You never know when a chance encounter might turn into a fruitful partnership. Always keep printed collateral ready during these events to showcase your affiliate program’s benefits to prospects effectively.

11. Sweeten the deal for affiliates tied to competitors

Affiliates wowing the audience with their promotional skills could already be associating with your competitors. Although challenging, it’s worth your while to devise innovative offers and approach these seasoned affiliates. A promising recruitment strategy coupled with higher commission rates can sometimes sway them towards your program.

How to recruit affiliates: Convincing them to sign on

Knowledge of outreach tactics for discovering potential affiliates is only the tip of the iceberg. Implementing proven strategies during the recruitment process enhances your chances of successfully getting affiliates to sign on. Let’s explore a few such tactics.

1. Customize a compelling offer

The perks offered through your affiliate program play a decisive role in luring prospective affiliates. Therefore, careful consideration should govern your offering. Offering a lucrative payout greatly enhances the probability of affiliates throwing their weight behind your program.

Apart from a generous commission structure, other incentives such as bonuses for achieving specific goals can act as effective bait. You might also offer them coupons to share with their audience, which will increase the odds of a purchase (and thus result in more affiliate commissions overall). Tailoring your offer to cater to your target affiliates’ specific interests takes the allure to another level.

Remember: the conversion of potential affiliates is remarkably higher when you present an offer they can’t resist. Make sure to lay out all benefits clearly, highlighting how your program could cater to their needs and contribute to their success.

2. Furnish essential resources and support

A successful affiliate recruitment drive goes beyond simply signing up affiliates. Providing consistent support and resources is paramount to recruiting affiliates and keeping them in your corner. Furnishing an array of resources such as banners, email copy, landing page templates, and other promotional materials can be a game-changer. Additionally, teaming up with a platform like Referral Rock can simplify access to these resources for affiliates.

Trainings and regular check-ins with affiliates are other ways to offer support. Listening to affiliates’ concerns and applying their feedback goes a long way.

3. Highlight success stories

As your affiliate program mushrooms, opportunities to interview successful affiliates will present themselves. These interactions provide precious testimonials and success stories about the financial benefits experienced by these affiliates. Publicizing these inspiring stories on your program page, email newsletter, blog, and/or social media can be a clever ploy to encourage and recruit new partners.

4. Forge robust relationships

Regularly interacting with your affiliates and expressing interest in their progress strengthens the bond with them. Regular follow-ups, and support for those affiliates who are not performing as expected can rectify their performance. Similarly, appreciating and rewarding top performers can further cement your relationship. This enduring bond between the affiliate manager and the affiliates boosts the program’s overall success.

Maintaining open lines of communication with your affiliates, appreciating their efforts, and addressing their concerns promptly fosters a strong partnership. This creates committed, long-term partners who will actively endorse your brand as opposed to just earning commissions.

Check out more affiliate program management tips.

Final notes

Exploring affiliate partnerships can propel your marketing strategy to new heights. It can enhance your brand exposure, drive customer acquisition and keep costs in check. However, a successful affiliate program mandates the right approach to affiliate recruitment. Harnessing the tips shared in this guide, and using the right affiliate recruitment tools, can equip you to manage a thriving affiliate marketing program.