It’s a question we get all the time. “How do I find and attract affiliates to promote my product.” In this post, we’ll share what we’ve learned over the years.
First Things First
An extremely important step in attracting affiliates that many new vendors don’t know about or ignore is promoting your offer yourself before seeking out affiliates. The reason for this is that you need to make sure your offer converts. Otherwise, all your efforts will be wasted. Many affiliates, especially highly successful ones, will only give a product one chance. If it doesn’t convert into sales for them, they’ll stop promoting it and probably won’t try again, especially if they spend money to promote it.
Cold or paid traffic is a great way to test how well your product converts. The goal is to get a conversion rate of at least 1% – ideally closer to 3%.
This may sound like unnecessary groundwork, but it really is a vital first step: the importance of having a high converting offer can’t be stressed enough.
If your offer converts, recruiting affiliates will be a piece of cake. Any affiliates you bring on board will make money and continue promoting you. Their efforts will quickly pull in many new affiliates, and so on – its a virtuous cycle. Your offer will go viral if your conversions are high, as other affiliates start to see what their competitors are promoting.
However, if your offer does not convert you will have a tough time keeping any new affiliates you do manage to enlist. Your offer will likely stagnate and then disappear for good.
So be sure to run a simple paid or cold traffic campaign to test your conversion rates before reaching out to affiliates.
Now that you have a proven 1-3% conversion rate, its time to start contacting affiliates. The good news is that some of the work is already done. With ClickBank, you are never working from a dead start.
The ClickBank Marketplace will introduce your new site to a potential network of hundreds of thousands of affiliates. Second, the fact that all payments are handled by ClickBank ensures you have instant trust with affiliates. ClickBank have paid out billions to vendors and affiliates – so your affiliates know they will be paid on time, which is important since you don’t have any reputation right now. In short, listing your product with ClickBank gives you a firm platform to recruit affiliates from. You may well even attract affiliates passively before you start work.
But a mere presence on ClickBank won’t be enough; you have to actively build on that platform and reach out to affiliates if you want to succeed.
So how do you do that? And what kind of affiliates do you recruit? To a large extent, it depends on your niche. In the fat loss niche, for example, you have many avenues open to you. There are thousands of potential affiliates, some with lists of customers (so they can promote you via e-mail), some spending huge amounts of money on Pay Per Click traffic, and others with well-visited “authority sites” that pull in masses of free (“organic”) traffic from the search engines.
Smaller niches may be more restrictive, with all the sales coming from one traffic source or affiliate type. For example, in your niche, perhaps there are 10 big e-mail affiliates (“list owners”) who account for 70% of all sales. Perhaps all the action is happening on a handful of search engine keywords that can be targeted via “organic search” or “pay per click” (this is actually the norm).
The ClickBank Affiliate Tools Page
Before we dive into the different kinds of affiliates, there is one incredibly beneficial step every vendor should take. Setting up your Affiliate Tools Page.
The Affiliate Tools page is your gift to Affiliates. A hub where you can upload pre-created banners, email copy, creative, images and a number of other things to make the potential affiliates job more plug and play.
We HIGHLY recommend you use the link above to set this feature up before moving forward with any of the tips and strategies below. If you have any questions about this feature or any others, please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, let’ s move on to the three major affiliate types.
For simplicity’s sake we have restricted the affiliate types to e-mail, Pay Per Click and organic.
Affiliates with Large Email Lists
These are the hardest affiliates to get on board, but also potentially the most lucrative. Affiliates with large email lists have a wide range of customers that they can promote offers to. It stands to reason that many of your top e-mail affiliates will be your competitors, such as other product vendors. These guys have a customer list of their own, and may be interested in promoting your offer to their list.
If you do get them to promote, they can generate huge numbers of sales with a single e-mail. Secondly, affiliates with large email lists are the key to going viral: since all the big product vendors and affiliates sign up to each other’s lists, if they do promote you, other affiliates can jump on board quickly. A high-converting offer can go viral off a single e-mail, as more and more affiliates see the e-mail blast and jump on board. That’s the power of reaching thousands of people with a single e-mail.
List owners like this are in theory very easy to find – just do a simple search on the ClickBank Marketplace and contact any vendor in your niche who is collecting names and e-mails on their Pitch Page.
However, while they are easy to find, these affiliates are also the hardest to recruit. Many of your e-mails asking for promotion will probably go ignored, much more so than the other kinds of affiliates. These guys are bombarded with e-mails like yours, and they just don’t have the time to answer every one they receive. It isn’t personal, its just business.
For this reason, we advise you to focus on the PPC and organic affiliates to start with. Then, when you have some grass-roots traction behind your offer, and you know your product converts well, you can approach the big e-mail affiliates from a position of strength.
Organic / Website Affiliates
Some affiliates buy traffic from the search engines via PPC, but others have established sites that actually get free rankings in the search engines. These “organic” affiliates often have a huge amount of traffic coming to their sites, and so can be superb affiliates.
The first step to finding them is to take the keyword list you generated earlier (when you were looking for PPC affiliates), enter the same keywords, and now look for webiste owners appearing on the left hand side of the results page. Visit every site and head to their contact page, explaining how your offer is relevant to their website. Some website owners may not be familiar with affiliate marketing, so you may need explain to them why it can be lucrative for them and a good fit for their audience.
You can also search for the name of a competitor’s product (e.g., “The Ultimate Fat Loss Guide”) and contact any website that has a review of your competitor’s product. If they are promoting your competitors, they may well promote you also. When contacting these organic affiliates be sure to emphasize why your offer will add value for their visitors.
Pay Per Click Affiliates
PPC affiliates are very often the easiest to reach of all, although often the most fickle (they are constantly tracking their return on investment, and so will move to the highest converting offer in a heartbeat – another reason to ensure you are converting before you recruit affiliates).
PPC affiliates basically buy traffic from search engines such as Google, so that when people enter a keyword relating to your niche (e.g., “fat loss guides”), their ad shows up on the right hand side of the search results page.
If you enter a few keywords that relate to your niche, look at the ads that appear down the right hand side. Do any affiliates appear here that are promoting your competitors’ offers? Are there are any vendors promoting their own offers but collecting leads? If so, they may be open to promoting your offer to their lists.
If you find vendors like these, you should contact them and ask them to promote your offer.
You can brainstorm keywords to find these PPC affiliates by entering the URL of your website or related keywords using the Adwords Tool. Search for each related keyword that the tool returns and look for affiliates advertising on that phrase.
What to Say When You Contact Affiliates
You usually only get one shot at contacting affiliates, so it’s vital that you do it right the first time. First, make your e-mail personalized to the affiliate in question. Reference their site and start by telling them your offer is relevant and will deliver value to their visitors/customers. Please do not send out a “one size fits all” e-mail. Any potential affiliate receives dozens of e-mails like yours – you need to make it personalized if you want your offer to stand out.
Next, tell them why they will make money by promoting your offer – give them your overall conversion rate, details of any affiliates you already have on board, and how successful they’ve been. Explain what is working especially well for you. Finally, close by giving them a call to action – tell them to either visit your affiliate page or e-mail you back for further information and a review copy of your product.
Let’s repeat our advice from earlier : it’s vital that your Pitch Page converts before you recruit affiliates!
This will make it much easier to retain the affiliates who you do recruit, and also bring on new affiliates once you get your first set of affiliates on board. Once you have a high-converting offer, set up your affiliate page, listing details of your conversion rates at the top of the page. The affiliate page is where you will be sending potential affiliates, and should include your HopLink info and any resources (Adwords ads, e-mail swipe copy, etc) that affiliates can use.
You should also submit your offer to all the affiliate directories that are out there, along with the “announcements” sections of the top affiliate forums. This will take some time, but is vital to establishing your initial grass-roots foundation. Then, once your offer converts, your affiliate page is live, and you are listed in some directories, you can approach the above 3 affiliate types and start generating some real sales for your ClickBank product.
Finally, understand that affiliate recruitment is a numbers game. Look at it as a process rather than an “end game.” You’re looking to build gradual momentum, get your offer out there, and if it converts, the viral power of the Internet will do the rest. A high-converting offer only needs a little push before it gathers traction. So get to work – and build that initial buzz yourself!