How to recruit affiliates: 10 actionable strategies to recruit top-notch affiliates

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Want to recruit affiliates to your program?

Affiliates are the life force of every affiliate program — no program would exist without them.

However, recruiting top-notch affiliates can be daunting if you’re a small business or your affiliate program isn’t well-known.

In this guide, we’ll share 10 actionable strategies you can implement to help you recruit high-performing affiliates that consistently drive sales.

The best part? Many of these strategies are universal. They work across all niches for all products and services, regardless of the size of your business.

Recruit affiliates

What makes a great affiliate?

Trust fuels affiliate marketing. The most successful affiliates have built a high level of credibility with people, so they trust their recommendations.

High-performing affiliates typically fall into these buckets:

  1. They’ve had positive experiences with your product and company: Happy customers make the best affiliates. People who have tried your products and services and are pleased with their experience will most likely promote them effectively. Plus, it’s relatively easy to entice satisfied customers to join your affiliate program and refer their friends and family.
  2. They are experts in your niche and industry: Although it’s ideal for affiliates to be satisfied customers, that may not always be a realistic option. The next best kind of affiliates are people with substantial knowledge and expertise in your niche — who have preferably used your products similar to yours. Think: content creators, influencers, super affiliates, media publishers, etc.

Whether they are past customers or experts in your niche, your affiliate’s reputation will impact the credibility of your program (and business as a whole). Recruit affiliates with a track record of ethical and effective promotional practices.

10 strategies to recruit affiliates for your program

Here are ten affiliate recruitment strategies to recruit affiliates for your online business (ranked in order of difficulty).

Think of them as starting points to inspire you and tailor them to your specific situation.

1. Highlight your affiliate program on your website

This is probably the simplest way to advertise your affiliate program and recruit affiliates. Yet, many companies fail to take advantage of it.

Add a link to the affiliate registration page in prominent areas like the primary menu or footer menu to make it easy for affiliates to discover your program.

Related reading: Unsure about what to include on your affiliate landing page? Check out our complete guide on how to build your affiliate form and signup page with real-life affiliate landing page examples.

2. Promote your affiliate program on your social media accounts

Social media platforms are a direct channel to engage with people, making them a great way to recruit affiliates for your program.

No matter the size of your social media following, you can leverage your presence to reach potential affiliates. Regularly post Feed and Story posts about your affiliate program to encourage people to enroll. Include clear instructions and a direct link on how interested individuals can sign up.

To keep your program top of mind, you can add links to your profile’s bio section and create a Story highlight pinned to the top of your profile. 

Promote affiliate program

3. Promote your affiliate program in email communications

Email is still one of the most popular channels to connect with subscribers and customers — and to recruit affiliates.

You can create a dedicated email series with details about your affiliate program. Here, you can highlight the benefits of becoming an affiliate and include a call-to-action inviting people to sign up.

Another approach is to add a brief description and link to your affiliate program in the footer section of your transactional, marketing, and support emails. Think: welcome emails, thank you emails, order confirmation emails, review emails, newsletters, etc. This way, you gain more exposure for your affiliate program.

4. Recruit influencers in your niche

There are loads of nano, micro, macro, and mega content creators and influencers with engaged audiences across several social media platforms who are open to partnering with businesses.

Search for keywords that are related to your products on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other social networks to identify creators who have created content relevant to your products. Then, reach out to them through email or direct messages.

For instance, if you sell supplements, you can recruit affiliates in fitness, nutrition, and holistic health who align with your brand. 

Pro tip: When shortlisting creators to work with, focus on their audience engagement rather than follower count. Engaged audiences have high conversion rates.

Affiliate Partnerships

5. Partner with media publishers and niche affiliate sites

Media publishers and affiliate sites create content within a specific niche. They are similar to content creators, except that they’re business brands. Sites like:

  • Forbes: Covers finance and technology-related content.
  • Healthline: Covers health-related content.
  • Authority Hacker: Covers affiliate marketing-related content.

While the sites listed above are quite popular, finding niche sites focused on virtually any niche is relatively easy.  

Run Google queries for topics that are relevant to your target customers. Then, compile a list of websites with published content addressing those topics. Reach out to the site admins via email or their contact form and introduce your affiliate program to them. Highlight how your products benefit their audience and the advantages of joining your program.

6. Recruit competitors’ affiliates

This strategy differs from recruiting creators and media publishers within your niche: it’s laser-focused on targeting specific affiliates that are already part of your competitors’ affiliate programs. 

Here’s a rundown of how to recruit your competitors’ affiliates:

  1. Put together a list of your top competitors.
  2. Check their websites to determine whether they have affiliate programs.
  3. Google “‘Your competitors’ name’ reviews”.
  4. Compile a list of affiliates — both content creators and media publishers — who have created written or video content about each competitor.
  5. Reach out to affiliates that align with your business.

Pro tip: Recruiting this kind of affiliate might take some extra convincing. Highlight your products’ superior quality, distinctive features, or attractive commission rates to entice them to join your program.

Affiliate Events

7. Attend industry events 

This is the only ‘offline’ affiliate recruitment strategy on the list.

Participating in industry events is an effective way to connect with potential affiliates face-to-face. Attend conferences, trade shows, or summits related to your niche, network with people, and share details of your affiliate program.

A similar approach is to attend marketing events like Affiliate Summit East & WestICAMM, and iGB Affiliate, which specifically cater to affiliate marketers. These events are great avenues to establish personal connections that can lead to valuable affiliate partnerships.

8. Run Google and/or Facebook ads

Content creators and media publishers are constantly looking for ways to make money online.

You can launch targeted ads on Google and/or Facebook to recruit affiliates and direct them to a dedicated affiliate landing page with details on your program and signup form.

Make sure to craft compelling ad copy highlighting the benefits of joining your affiliate program and use keywords related to your niche to attract affiliates with relevant interests.

9. Recruit affiliates already running Google ads for products in your niche

If you run a quick Google query for some terms (for example, ‘best hosting services’), you’ll find affiliates who run ads to drive traffic to their posts in exchange for a commission. Reach out and convince them to promote your products and services within their content.

Note that this strategy is geared toward products or services with substantial payouts. This may not work for you if your commission rates are relatively low.

Pro tip: Before using this strategy, ensure your terms and conditions are properly ironed out to prevent affiliates from bidding on branded search terms, which can increase your ad cost.

10. Ask your existing affiliates to refer affiliates

This affiliate recruitment strategy is slightly more advanced than the rest. It’s also known as multi-level, sub-affiliate, network, and multi-tier affiliate marketing.

We’ll keep it brief as we already have an in-depth guide on how to create a multi-level affiliate program.

In a nutshell, multi-level affiliate programs leverage the relationships you’ve built with your existing affiliates and reward them for recruiting new affiliates into your program. This creates a system of parent affiliates and sub-affiliates. 

Make your affiliate recruitment efforts count

There you have it: ten actionable strategies to recruit affiliates starting right now.

We’ll wrap up with a quick word of advice: Don’t rush to implement multiple affiliate recruitment strategies at a time. Start with the ones with the most significant impact on your efforts. Then, continue until you’ve used the rest.

PS: Want to create your affiliate program? Check out our plugin, Coupon Affiliates. Since 2019, thousands of websites, including e-commerce stores, e-learning, membership sites, and more, have used it to create successful affiliate programs. Many customers say it’s the best affiliate marketing plugin. Get the 100% free version, or start your 7-day free trial with the PRO version.

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