Thinking Outside the Box to Find Affiliates – By Wade Tonkin

by Sara Szado on November 16, 2015


For years, I have frequented affiliate marketing discussion boards and forums and have seen the question of where to find affiliates and how to recruit them come up. Many affiliate managers who are new to the game incorrectly assume that their affiliate network should be the only source of affiliates for their offer.

When those targeted affiliates don’t come knocking and they are greeted with an endless stream of applications from cookie cutter coupon and deal sites they get frustrated and blame the network. They may also think that affiliate marketing just doesn’t work for their business.

So where do you find targeted affiliates? The most successful managers take what they can from the networks, and are effective at recruiting their niche affiliates specific to their merchant offer.

Here are some suggestions on how to find targeted affiliates for your offer, or brand, by finding where your shoppers consume their content and discuss their interests:

Millions of people listens to podcasts every day and if you can find related podcasts you can approach them to promote your offer. Some free product for fan giveaways might go a long way to get you connected to some passionate fans. It also helps if you can track based on coupon code redemption as most listeners won’t be in front of a computer, but can remember a brand and code for Free Shipping.

Discussion Forums
These sites aren’t high-tech or graphically impressive, but they can be a great place to reach people passionate about a topic. They likely won’t want to run banners, but banners aren’t big sellers in most cases anyway.

Approach them with an offer to assist with covering their hosting charges and time spent. Encourage transparency and even calls to their fans to “shop and support” or offer cool tools like the ALE Script from AvantLink to help encode product keyword mentions with affiliate links with minimal effort on their end.

Local Media
You would be surprised how many newspapers will work with a strong rev share or CPA deal these days in their online versions.

If you have a kid in school or sports, you are likely getting hit up with fundraising offers. Fundraising shoppers are motivated to shop and shop big vs. shopping for discounts. Fundraising can be a great way to attract non-traditional affiliates like sports teams, school groups and community organizations.

There are some great tools out there for fundraising including and ShareASale’s Fundraising Storefronts that provide easy to use fundraising infrastructure.

There is nothing wrong with building a broad base of topically relevant affiliates who contribute 6-10 sales per month and send you customers who aren’t just looking for a deal. With some smart development of training tools like quick getting started guides and videos, the support effort can be minimized.

Now get out there and think like a shopper and meet your new customers where they are.

Wade Tonkin is the Affiliate Manager at Fanatics, Inc.

This article appeared in issue 31 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2015.

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