You did it! You’ve subscribed to Purply, logged into your account, used our reporting tools to find the affiliates who make the most sense for your brand and you’re ready to start making sales. Amazing!
Now comes the hard part.
Your affiliate network is the heart of your campaign, but recruiting the affiliates you need can be challenging, especially if you’re just starting out.
A study by Forrester shows that 82% of brands are now using some form of affiliate marketing. That means that the competition to partner with high-performing affiliates is going to be fierce. You’ll be fighting with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to well-funded start-ups to get placement with the best affiliates and you need to have a strong game plan if you want to come out on top.
These are the steps you need to take if you want to build the strongest possible network.
Personalize Your Pitch
Have you ever received an email or letter that began “Dear Sir” or “Dear Ma’am”? Did you even get past this generic greeting before you threw it in the trash? We’ve all been pitched, sold and marketed to enough at this point that we can tell when someone is insincere, has no idea who you are and has no plan to actually add any value to your life.
That’s why before you reach out to any affiliate, make sure that your pitch is tailored to them. Show that you understand who they are, who their audience is, how they work and perhaps most importantly, how you can bring value to them. Crafting personalized pitches for every affiliate you want to work with is hard work, but remember, you’re competing with almost every other brand in your vertical for their attention, so you need to think of ways that you can stand out from the pack.
Highlight the unique value that you bring to them as a brand. Does your product have a better price, more features, or can you offer a better commission structure with more incentives? Before they ask, give them the answer to the question: why are you the best brand for me to partner with?
Don’t Just Chase the Big Dogs
Do you want to have your product featured on Wire Cutter’s best-of list or Buzz Feed’s holiday gift guide listicle? Of course, you do! You know who else wants that? Literally, every single other retail company in the world.
We wouldn’t tell you not to make the effort to reach out to high-profile affiliates but don’t make them the only part of your strategy, especially if you’re just starting out.
One of the major trends in affiliate marketing for 2022 is the growing importance of micro-influencers. These are influencers who have anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 followers and are considered to have high credibility in a particular vertical. Whether they’re fashion stylists, video game reviewers or travel bloggers, micro-influencers can be highly effective at selling products because they have both credibility and a high level of engagement with their followers.
That’s why you should make reaching out to them a priority when you’re building your network.
Do it Live
The easiest thing in the world to say is no. No requires no follow-up, no planning, no next steps, not even an explanation. No just ends things and it’s very easy to say no to an email or an unsolicited phone call from someone you don’t know.
That’s why you should make a point of going to affiliate marketing conferences or other gatherings where you can easily connect with representatives from affiliates, networks and traffic sources. Face-to-face meetings are one of the best ways to build relationships, establish credibility and build a foundation of mutual trust and respect.
You don’t have to give them the hard sell either. It’s enough to get to know someone, establish rapport, learn about their business and what they’re looking for. It’s easy to say no to an anonymous email, but if you’ve had a drink or shared a meal with someone on a work trip, they’re more likely to give you a few minutes of their time when you follow up with a pitch for why you should work together.
We get it, it’s not always easy getting started with your first campaign. We’ve been at this for over a decade and we still put in plenty of hours on the phone just building the relationships that we need to succeed in affiliate marketing.
But there’s also a reason that we’ve overseen over a billion dollars worth of sales: because it works. So if you’re ever feeling frustrated or discouraged when you’re building your first network, just remember that there are eight billion reasons why sticking with your campaign will be worth it.