Niche Publishers: Find the Right Affiliate Programs By – Nathan Smith

by Sara Szado on April 27, 2016

Discovering affiliate programs that offer products and services your readers will relate to can be a challenge. Sometimes, you think of a store that would be a perfect fit, but you have trouble finding information about their affiliate program or any mention that one even exists.

These tools will help you in your search.

Footers and Google

A practical first step may be to look for an “affiliates” link in the footer of a merchant’s site, or turn to Google and search for “___ affiliate program”. That’s where I started, but I found myself joining programs in networks that I would rather stay away from, never knowing they were offered though my preferred network.

Monitor the Competition

Another method for discovering appropriate programs is to do some undercover work by exploring other sites in your niche. See what programs they are promoting and how. Often, the most prominent programs are the publisher’s best performing. A trick I gleaned from Tricia Meyer (@sunshinetricia) is to use Redirect Detective, a service that traces the redirects of cloaked links. Use this to locate the program when the site doesn’t use the standard network links.

While thinking of large merchants, who are household names, and scoping out the competition are both excellent starting points, what about the tens of thousands of merchant programs you may not have heard about? You’re leaving money on the table, but where do you begin?

Affiliate Program Directories

Affiliate program directories can be a useful tool to help you zero in on relevant programs, but most of them contain a significant amount of outdated information. FMTC recently launched a publicly available directory called Merchant Hub, which is a dynamically updated index gathering information from 24 affiliate networks and data sources.

Within Merchant Hub, you can search through more than 10,000 programs by category, OPM, network, keywords, etc. When you find a prospective partner, you can click through to the merchant detail page to learn what networks they work with, terms, creatives, and current sales and deals.

Relationships

Above and beyond these online strategies, your relationships within the industry will help you to connect the dots. I can easily trace every success that I’ve had in business to fundamental relationships that I’ve cultivated.

Reach out to other publishers in related niches, talk to your affiliate and blogger friends, and ask them about the programs that are on your radar. If you don’t currently have an extensive network of people to poll, ask someone you respect to introduce you to those who can assist you.

Each of these strategies will get you closer to forging the affiliate partnerships that will fuel your business. You’ll have to make adjustments as you test programs, but these steps will limit the number of mistakes you will make.

Nathan Smith is the founder/President of Zynali Marketing Solutions, an online marketing agency.

This article appeared in issue 34 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2016. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-34

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