Your affiliate program is only as good as your team of affiliate partners. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is or how well you manage your affiliate program, if you don’t have a good relationship with your partners, you’re not going to see the ROI you deserve.
Finding the right mix of partners to help drive demand and revenue for your business is no easy task. And it is rarely a “set it and forget it” situation. If you’re looking to assemble your first team of affiliate partners or are looking to add new ones to your existing mix, take a look at these three helpful tips.
1. Set a Budget
Finding the right affiliates for your program takes some planning. Before you can even begin recruiting, you need to consider your costs and determine your ideal budget for your affiliate program.
The key here is to set a budget and rates for affiliate commissions. Many larger affiliates have a set commission rate that they expect to get, and won’t even consider programs that can’t match that figure. Take your time to understand typical commission rates, and pay structures for similar-sized companies in your industry. You need to find the right subset of affiliates that work within your budget.
Pro Tip: Creating multiple insertion orders/contracts with different commission rates for different types of affiliates provides you with some negotiating power and can make it easy to set up new affiliates.
2. Identify Your Ideal Affiliate Partners
In order to build your dream team of affiliate partners, you need to have a good understanding of what your ideal candidate looks like. Start out simple by listing the qualities or characteristics you are interested in like:
- Supported promotional methods
- Geographic location
- Social engagement
- Alexa ranking
- Post frequency
It’s important to remember that bigger isn’t always better. Often, smaller affiliates have the potential to be more responsive and willing to work with your program—this is especially important to keep in mind if you are not a well-established brand.
When you are working through this phase, it is helpful to set goals for your outreach. Decide on the number of partners you want—making sure that it fits within your budget and makes sense for your program. The volume of qualified potential affiliates you will receive can vary depending on your product, how large your program already is and what types of affiliates you want to attract. So try to make sure to set a goal that is realistic as well as achievable.
Pro Tip: If you decide to opt into an affiliate program marketplace like the one that FastSpring offers in partnership with Impact, make sure you are applying the same set of criteria to the affiliates that reach out to you, as you would if you were finding them and reaching out. Do not be afraid to say no if the timing is not right for an affiliate, or if you are not currently looking for a specific promotional method they specialize in either.
3. Reach Out, Follow Up, and Repeat
Now that you established your budget, identified your ideal affiliate partners and set goals for outreach—the next step is to start contacting potential partners. Concentrate your time around affiliates you feel can really make an impact, and be flexible if they come back with a different offer than what you initially suggest, you can counter with different terms like higher commission rates, or longer referral periods if need be, but be aware of how that might impact your profitability so you don’t overextend.
Start out simple with an email message to your ideal candidate. Make sure to include all necessary information about your program—your company and product information, commission rates, and goals. If you don’t get a quick reply, try following up in a couple of days with a variation of the first email where you dive a bit deeper into why you would like to work with them.
Pro Tip: If you do not receive a response a few days after the second email, try asking them if there is a better contact for you to reach out to or look yourself to find a better contact at a given company and start a new message with them.
Recruiting affiliates is a process. Taking your time and finding the right partners for your program will set you up for long-term success. Visit the FastSpring website to learn more about FastSpring’s Affiliate network.