If you have an affiliate program, your highest priority is to recruit active affiliates and get them to promote your product or service.
You may have already done everything you can think of to get the opportunity in front of people, but still... very little activity.
And it's a great opportunity! So why aren't they biting?!
Did you know that just one or two super affiliates can out-perform the rest of your affiliates combined? As a super affiliate myself, I get a lot of requests to look at various affiliate programs. From that side of the coin, I'll share some tips for recruiting super affiliates successfully...
What is a Super Affiliate?
In any affiliate program, it's the top percent of affiliates that make the majority of the sales. These are the super affiliates. There is not a true industry definition, but super affiliates are those that are in the top earning tier and win affiliate contests.
They are affiliates who know how to appeal to a market, how to add value to the sales process, and how to make sales. These are the affiliates you want involved with your affiliate program, promoting your product or service!
Creating Super Affiliates
New high performers appear on the affiliate leaderboards all the time, so don't limit yourself to known super affiliates. You may just discover the perfect affiliates for your program, and turn them into super affiliates yourself.
There have been merchants who took a chance on me in the past, and went out of their way to help me succeed with their program - well before I was known as a super affiliate (under this name, or certain pen names).
Always give an affiliate the benefit of the doubt. You never know when or where you're going to find your next top affiliate!
Finding Super Affiliates
You've likely already done the ground work to get your affiliate program listed in affiliate program directories, joined and actively network on top affiliate forums, and created an optimized page for "niche/keyword affiliate program" (or multiple pages) so that affiliates can easily find you in a quick Google search.
If not, those are your three top priority tasks. Two of which will require a small investment of your time upfront, and continue to pay off for years. Forum networking has major viral potential. Make friends in the affiliate world, and you'll get super-profitable referrals! You definitely want to make that a priority.
Assuming you have all that taken care of, next you want to seek out ideal affiliates for your program and make personal contact.
The most obviously place to look is on Google. Take the top keyword phrases in your niche and do a search on Google. Make a note of the paid advertisers, the bloggers, the websites, and the communities that show up in the top 20 results.
Check YouTube, and look for active affiliates or those with popular video channels in your niche. Search is going social, so you want fresh affiliates with video presence and/or social media skills going into 2010 and beyond.
Next, check Twitter. Use http://search.twitter.com to perform searches on your keyword phrases, your product/site names, your competition, etc.
Find the people who are already talking on your topic. Whether they are a "super affiliate" yet or not, they are reaching your target market. And they are likely interested in ways to monetize that conversation.
Recruiting Super Affiliates
First and foremost, you'll need a dedicated affiliate manager, or be prepared to give affiliates personal attention yourself. Super affiliates want a person they can talk to and work with directly. Someone who has the power to pull strings, make changes, and get things done. They usually have special requests.
Before you can establish this type of mutually beneficial relationship with a super affiliate, you'll have to get their attention and get them on board with your program.
Most of the affiliate programs I actively promote are the direct result of personal contact by the merchant or affiliate manager. Even though I ignore more than 90% of the email requests I receive...
This is where most merchants struggle. Super affiliates are often super busy, and they are usually very selective about the merchants they work with and the products they promote.
You have a very limited space in which to get your message either read or deleted. And if your message gets read, you want to make sure it elicits a response.
- Contact them where you find them, and while the conversation is hot if you can. If you find them on Twitter, enter the conversation there or send them a DM (direct message). If you find their blog, contact them through their contact form at the blog. If they offer a number, pick up the phone and call.
- Get to know them before you shoot off a message. Address them by name. Include something personal, such as their great article on XZY or their top ranking for ABC. (ditch the copy & paste canned emails!)
- You may not be able to appeal to them with dollar figures or conversion rates alone. Especially if they are community oriented. For example, with me a line like "I think your readers will love this" or "we'll give them an exclusive coupon code" works wonders Keep in mind that affiliates are marketers and they can read through big red headlines better than anyone else.
- Keep your messages short and simple. REALLY short and simple.
It seems like that needed more explanation. But really it didn't. Point made.
- Do NOT bombard them with follow-up messages or phone-calls. If you send an email, DM them on Twitter, comment on their blog and leave a voice mail - all within 24 hours - they will likely never work with you out of fear you'll harass customers they refer to you in the same way.
- Keep it targeted. You'd be surprised at the random requests I receive to promote products outside my niche. That's a waste of both their time and yours.
- Offer them something extra: 2nd tier, an exclusive interview, first dibs at a new viral report, a coupon code to share, higher commission rate, etc. Anything that gives them an angle and an edge.
You want to get the point across that you'll be available and that you are interested in working with them personally. That you'll take super good care of them - as well as any referrals they send your way.
Have tips or resources for recruiting super affiliates? Share them with us below! I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you're an affiliate or a merchant...
p.s. Rosalind Gardner turned ME into a $uper Affiliate. Whether you are new to affiliate marketing, or looking to take it to the next level, you'll benefit from her Super Affiliate Handbook. That link will take you to my in-depth review of her latest version of SAH. It's updated often. Enjoy!