Affiliate marketing is a popular marketing strategy to increase sales. Some companies use external affiliate networks through parties such as Tradetracker, Daisycon and AWIN. The disadvantage however is that additional costs are often charged for the use of an external network. This can be based on one-off affiliate costs for a successful collaboration or based on a commission per sale. An even more effective way of affiliate marketing is by building an internal affiliate network. This does mean that you have to get in touch with potential affiliates yourself. The question here is, how to find affiliates to sell my product?
Who is your affiliate target audience?
Who benefits from promoting your product or service? Who regularly comes in contact with your product or service?
You often see that an internal affiliate network starts with existing customers. They know exactly what the added value and quality of your product is. Affiliate Marketing is the digital form of word-of-mouth advertising. Did your neighbors just have solar panels installed? Then the entire neighborhood will most likely know the solar panels supplier in no time. Who doesn’t want to earn back their purchase amount through affiliate income? In addition to existing customers, channels such as Instagram or LinkedIn are a strong tool to find potential affiliates.
An affiliate can support in making the final decision during the purchase process. There are several stages before a final purchase takes place:
- Inventory phase
An affiliate can contribute to accelerate a purchase before, during or after the inventory phase.
- Optimization phase
An affiliate has an advisory role in the optimization phase and can thus realize a purchase.
- latent need
An affiliate serves an advisory and supporting role and thereby can fuel a latent need for your product and/or service. Logically, this will lead to a sale that you would not have had otherwise.
Think of an affiliate target group for each phase of the purchase process. The more stages you have covered for the purchase process, the better your affiliates’ results will be.
The sales process
Approaching affiliates is a commercial activity. After all, you have to sell yourself and your product or service to the affiliate. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation and pick up the phone, the more personal you initiate the conversation, the better you will be received.
The first contact
Getting in touch with an affiliate is perhaps even more important than having a conversation. Affiliates are approached by many parties. It is recommended to open the conversation in a unique way.
- Voice memo via social media
Most social media channels offer the possibility to send a voice memo. Use that to initiate the first contact with the affiliate. The most effective social media channels for this are Instagram and LinkedIn.
- Inmail via LinkedIn
Do you have a premium account on LinkedIn? Send an Inmail to someone who is not your connection. Your message will always end up in the inbox of their LinkedIn messages. A short introduction and request for contact is sufficient, avoid writing a whole book in an attempt to initiate the first contact.
After all, you don’t know the person’s needs and can therefore hardly pitch your product. Your goal of the Inmail is to set up a call, focus solely on that goal.
- Record a personal video
Do you really want to be unique? Record a video to convince the affiliate to start a conversation with you. The affiliate immediately has an image of you which will help to memorize your video.
- Pick up the phone
Are you dealing with an affiliate whose phone number is known? Pick up the phone! This gives you the opportunity to be specific during the telephone conversation. Make sure you know the basics of a commercial conversation. Don’t know this one? Then ask for advice from a specialist or let yourself be coached.
Is the first contact successful and can you discuss details with your affiliate? Make sure to make an inventory of the wishes and needs of the affiliate, before you present your own product or service.
There are some basic rules for inventory:
- Ask relevant questions
- Ask open questions
- Summarize regularly for confirmation
- listen carefully
You are preparing your proposal during the inventory. By mapping out what the affiliate expects from a product or service that they are going to promote, you can gather ammunition to convince them to promote your product or service as well.
During your presentation, you only tell the affiliate what is important to him or her. That does not mean that you withhold things from him or her, but purely and only share what is relevant. Why? No one needs to hear additional information that is not of interest to him or her.
For example, the affiliate tells during the inventory that he will never promote fitness items. You have a webshop for sports equipment and you start your presentation with: “We mainly have a lot of fitness items.” That is irrelevant in the case of this affiliate, he told you that before. By bringing it up anyway, you’re showing disinterest and actually showing that you haven’t listened to him.
So only use the ammunition you collected during the inventory in your presentation.
Last but not least: dare to ask for the deal.
- Are we going to do business?
- Shall I start on the preparations?
- Shall we get started?
If you don’t ask for the deal yourself, you give away the lead in conversation and the contact will “fade away”. That’s something we definitely don’t want, so don’t be afraid to ask the question.
Make sure you have a clear idea of who your affiliate target audience is. If necessary, make a list of everyone you would like to do business with. Don’t be afraid to make the first contact and then go into the sales process.
Most importantly, dare to ask for the deal.