HOW TO FIND AFFILIATE PARTNERS THAT BENEFIT YOUR BRAND
Whether you’re a brand, an agency like Silverbean or a network, the main goal when recruiting affiliate partners is to identify those who are most suited to the ecosystem you’re building, thus creating long-lasting, valuable relationships that benefit both parties. Great affiliate partners are not only going to help drive relevant traffic to your website, but in turn, generate higher revenue for your brand.
Most affiliate account managers will know that when it comes to finding affiliate partners, there are many potential obstacles that can occur throughout the recruitment journey. This begins even before recruitment starts, assessing your current publisher base, and affiliate mix and coming up with the right recruitment strategy to meet your overall programme goals.
So, what steps can you take to ensure you find high quality affiliate partners that will add value to your program?
THE PROCESS OF FINDING AFFILIATE PARTNERs
One of the most difficult and potentially time consuming pieces of recruitment is identifying new, high quality affiliate partners, as well as understanding what makes a great partner.
A great affiliate partner is one that aligns with your goals, so when it comes to recruitment, it makes sense to have your target at the forefront of your plan. This could be increasing revenue by £X, increasing clicks by X% or increasing revenue by a specific partner type. These would lead to different outcomes in the partners you’re looking for, and narrow the focus of your efforts.
But, how do we find affiliate partners?
LOOK AT PUBLISHER PERFORMANCE INSIGHTS
One of the strengths as an agency is we work with a wide range of brands in different verticals and geo’s. All of our individual programme data feeds into our reporting system Affluent, which means we can get an overarching view of publisher performance across all of our programmes. This allows us to spot trends across our total publisher base. So, when there’s a partner who is increasing their performance week on week, we can take learnings from this and apply to other brands.
If you don’t have access to other brand data, for example if you work in-house, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your affiliate network and request a list of the top performers in your sector. That way, you’ll be able to find affiliate partners that are already vetted and valuable
CONDUCT A GAP ANALYSIS
Using the data set mentioned above, you can also run gap analyses to see where your brands’ partners differ from competitors’. Agency data, like Silverbean’s, can track revenue and click driving partners on other programmes that can be used to inform potential partners.
While you may not be able to get this exact data without an agency that handles multiple verticles, you may still be able to request similar data from your network, particularly around clicks and conversion rates.
CONDUCT A COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
By looking at who is linking to your competitors, you’ll be able to get an idea of the publishers who already have similar affiliate relationships. This will help you find affiliate partners for your own brand, as they’ll be targeting a similar audience.
Ideally, if you can establish who has an affiliate relationship with your competitors, you’ll get a really good indication of which publishers hold value. So, if your competitors are appearing on cashback sites, you can start to assume that these partners are valuable to your industry.
FIND PARTNERS THAT ARE RANKING FOR YOUR TARGET KEYWORDS
Running a keyword analysis through a tool such as SEMRush or Ahrefs can be hugely valuable, particularly if you’re looking to onboard some content affiliates to support brand awareness.
This can help you identify popular search terms that can lead your customers to your brand. These will be dominated by brands, competitors or potential partners, so you can see exactly who to approach and where to align your affiliate and SEO strategy.
When creating and publishing affiliate content, it’s important to understand the level of competition around each search term. You should also consider your website’s search engine rankability, looking at metrics such as domain authority and backlinks.
Where it isn’t feasible for your brand to rank, these search terms can be targeted through affiliate publishers. Or, where the search terms are extremely valuable to your brand, affiliate content can help boost your visibility further. That way everywhere your audience looks, your brand is there waiting.
This makes up part of our search affiliate marketing service, focused on ensuring our brands are dominating the relevant search terms.
ALIGN YOUR GOALS
Whether you’re talking strategic, a joint venture, a technical integration or a content partnership, the framework for a great partnership identifies the benefits that both parties expect to get. You need to make it clear to partners what you’re getting out of it, but also that you care what they’re getting out of the partnership too.
Our Head of Global Affiliate Partnerships, Nic Yates, did a round table at PI Live with affiliates and brands to understand what the pain points are right now within the industry. One of the things that came out from one of the publishers was ‘we don’t know what your objectives are, and you don’t know what our objectives are’. So, defining this from the outset is key, to ensure they align with the strategic goal driving the recruitment, and that your brand aligns with their strategy too. This can only benefit both of your successes throughout the partnership together.
To find out more about how to find affiliate partners for your program, get in touch with a member of our team today for a free consultation – we’d love to speak with you.