One of the most persistent questions we get from merchants is how they can find more affiliates for their program.
Sure, we could just give you the usual advice — but what fun would that be? We’re here to make sure you succeed in all of your affiliate marketing efforts. That’s why we sat down with a real affiliate to get his unique perspective on how best to attract people like him.
Enter Oscar Gonzalez. Oscar is has spent years operating as a highly successful affiliate. He’s also has an awesome blog where he shares some of the best advice and tips he’s picked up along the way.
Oscar was happy to talk to us about the key steps businesses need to take if they want to get affiliates for product promotion.
Oscar’s been an affiliate for six years, so he’s not exactly new to the scene. With experience comes his wide breadth of affiliate marketing knowledge.
While he admits that recruiting is the hardest part about growing an affiliate program, he had plenty of tips to share.
“Brands need to look attractive to an affiliate,” Oscar explained. He mentioned that, for example, if he checks out your site and it looks awful, that’s an immediate turnoff.
This is because affiliates want to be confident that they can successfully promote a merchant’s products and ultimately drive sales.
Some merchants may overlook it, but having a sleek, professional site definitely plays a role in a prospective affiliate’s decision, Oscar said.
The easiest way to find affiliates, explained Oscar, is to clearly identify who your customers are.
“See who’s promoting your competition or in your niche and approach them directly,” he explained.
Oscar emphasized that personally reaching out is critical.
His belief is that merchants should approach a potential affiliate by sending them a product, presenting them with an offer right off the bat, or by referencing their past work in a personalized message(in an effort to show that they know what this particular affiliate is about and appreciate his or her work).
“Find them on Facebook and Twitter. Reference their work. Personalize your messages to them,” Oscar said. “It takes longer but it’s worth it.”
Though, he warned, be careful so it doesn’t look so planned and calculated.
“Don’t leave a comment on a blog, then when an affiliate answers it, never respond or engage with him again,” he said. “It’s all about making a personal connection.”
But what do you do to get a full-time affiliate like Oscar?
Oscar was happy to share the most effective way to get his attention:
“Go to my blog, find my email, and send me a message about something I talked about,” he explained. “Then ask me if I’d like to promote and present me with an offer.”
In addition to advice on the importance of being sociable and interacting with affiliates, Oscar also shared the keys to helping affiliates succeed and the secrets to retention.
“Responsiveness is critical,” he said.
He revealed that when an affiliate joins a program, getting a personal welcome message from the affiliate manager is “huge”.
“Let your affiliates know when they’re doing a good job,” he also said. “A thank you email goes a long way.”
“We like to know that we’re not sending traffic into a black hole,” he laughed.
He also emphasized the way merchants view affiliates makes a large difference as well.
“Affiliates are like your salesman, so you need to keep them in the loop.”
In other words, he said, let them know when you have a big promotion or special deal coming up. Keep the lines of communication open.
He also said that merchants should be taking full advantage of special events (like holidays) by creating unique landing pages, deals, coupons, and promotions around them.
“And let us know when you’re planning on doing that,” he said.
While having worthwhile, competitive payouts is obviously one of the most important things to affiliates (if not the most important), Oscar also mentioned that tiered commissions in particular are great for productivity.
“Affiliates like to be rewarded for their hard work,” he said. “Give them some recognition for being a successful affiliate.”
He also shared what is perhaps the most off-putting thing a merchant can do:
“It’s the worst when they run a promotion with a coupon better than the one they gave me!” he said.
Merchants need to understand that competing directly against affiliates undermines their efforts, he explained.
Another thing Oscar talked about was how many merchants were too concerned about affiliates promoting a competitor’s product.
Merchants need to realize that affiliates promote a lot of different products in same niche and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, he said.
By reviewing many competing products, the affiliate is maintaining an air of open-mindedness and authenticity with his audience.
“Don’t be upset,” Oscar said. “Just be confident that your product is good.”
He mentioned that this is usually a mistake smaller companies tend to make when it comes to “affiliate loyalty”.
Oscar wrapped up his advice with some parting wisdom for merchants interested in building up an affiliate program.
He explained that when affiliates send new customers to a merchant, it’s an endless opportunity for the merchant to retarget that customer and get future business out of them. That’s why, he said, merchants shouldn’t be so hesitant to offer worthwhile commissions.
“Think of commissions as a business expense,” he said. “And understand the value of the first sale.”
Join our events and access our guides to learn how Refersion can manage, track, and grow your affiliate marketing program.