16 Types of Affiliate Marketers You Can Partner With to Grow Your Affiliate Program
Hey there! Thanks for reading my latest post. Growing a large, productive affiliate marketing channel is a great idea if you go it about it correctly. The bottom line is that not all affiliates are the same (nor should they paid the same commission rates), in fact there are several different types of individuals and companies that can be brought on as affiliate marketers to promote your company. Recently, our CEO Evan Weber gave a talk on how to recruit affiliate marketers and this was the first part I discussed, i.e. what are the various types of affiliate marketers that you can bring on board to promote your company on a performance basis (paying them when they drive in a sale or lead)? Here are the 16 types of affiliate marketers that you can look to prospect and sign-up as your company’s affiliate:
1. Webmaster Affiliates – the original type of affiliate marketer. Webmaster are website owners that can promote your company through display ads, newsletter spots, social media posts, and other ways that they are able to market your company. Some of the best quality affiliates are those with relevant websites to the products and services that you sell as a web business. So finding relevant webmasters to promote your company as an affiliate is a great way to increase the “new eyeballs” that are exposed to your company. These are what are called “publishers” these days.
2. Search Marketing Affiliates – search engine oriented affiliate marketers are also a very desirable type of affiliate marketer, if they go about it according to the rules you layout for your affiliates to follow. For instance, if you sell pet supplies, you may want your affiliates to build organic content and do PPC ads promoting pet food, pet supplies, pet coupons and other types of search-related content. However, you may not want them to bid in PPC on your company name, trademarks, or company name + coupon code since those users have likely already visited your website and are just “Googling” for a coupon code. If you do allow them to participate in this type of advertising, I would recommend paying them a lesser commission than a relevant website affiliate, since you are basically giving them money for little effort. Affiliates that optimize content on their websites for valuable search phrases that can bring you sales are some of the most desirable types of affiliate marketers you can work with because they can be very productive and produce very targeted traffic.
3. Social Media Affiliates – affiliates that focus on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram are also very desirable in most instances. You can work with them to promote your company on their social networks and even sponsor some of their Facebook boosted posts and Twitter sponsored tweets to really leverage the ability to reach their audiences. Working with Instagram users with a lot of followers in your niche is also a great way to drive in new customers. You can assign them a dedicated coupon code, dedicated url, or even dedicated 800 number to effectively track the traffic and sales they are referring. You can also look to provide free products or samples that they can review, or “unbox” and review, then sharing a post with their audience. This can be a very effective way to increase new customers through your affiliate channel. They have to be found and prospected and this takes a lot of work, but very effective when you do land these types of affiliate relationships.
4. Blogger Affiliates – bloggers are some of the most desirable types of people to work with on the Internet as an affiliate marketer because of the reach and audience they can expose your product to. Bloggers as affiliates can leverage product reviews, sponsored posts, email blasts, and other web placements they can do for your company. One of the best things bloggers can do as an affiliate is to become a 2nd tier referrer in your affiliate program. This means that they refer their blogger friends to join as your affiliate through their affiliate referral link, which ensures that they get an “override” on the sales that the bloggers they have referred produce. Some bloggers, mom bloggers for instance, know a lot of other mom bloggers and have the ability to refer a ton of them to join as your affiliate. This can be an incredibly powerful strategy to grow your affiliate program and increase productivity in your affiliate program drastically.
5. Coupons Site Affiliates – coupon affiliates primarily operate in the ecommerce channel, and most times are capitalizing on a merchant’s traffic by serving up a coupon code to users that have visited the merchant website, observed that the company accepts coupon code discounts, and then go to Google looking for that company’s coupon code, which is where the coupon affiliates are ranking organically and frequently in the sponsored search results ready to serve up a coupon code to the user. This can be an effective way to show affiliate channel sales, however isn’t without it’s issues. Because of the nature of how they operate, I recommend not paying them a very high commission amount, otherwise your affiliate commissions will go through the roof as soon as you launch your affiliate program and let them in the door. Rather, you should pay them a lesser commission rate to preserve the overall ROI in of your affiliate channel.
6. Review Site Affiliates – reviews sites as affiliates are great for service providers such as in the niches like: dating, diet, hosting, software, and other services. The reason for this is because a lot of times people look for reviews in Google for companies that operate service businesses. So as an a service-oriented company you want to have a good amount of review sites as affiliates to capitalize on this phenomenon. Review site affiliates can be very productive for your affiliate program especially if they do PPC advertising for search phrases related to your services or your company, such as: dating website reviews, or match.com reviews. These types of affiliates can be the main producers in some affiliate programs depending on how heavy the search volume is for these types of phrases.
7. Loyalty Portals – there are a whole slew of “loyalty portal” affiliates that run sites like cashback virtual malls and membership portals. They can be very productive affiliates for a company depending on the amount of members or users they have to market your company to. Some of the larger sites in this space are eBates/Rakuten, Upromise, and big companies that run membership portals for their customers. They can be very productive however can have issues related, such as having rogue users that sign-up to their portals to place orders and get their cashback with fraudulent credit cards. You have to keep an eagle eye on any orders referred from loyalty portals based on this fact. With a good “order reconciliation process” at the end of the month you can effectively screen their orders and make sure nothing unwanted is happening. But don’t blame the portal, just make sure they are doing everything in their power to remove these bad apples from their systems.
8. Incentivized Traffic Affiliates – these types of affiliates will motivate users to make a purchase by giving them something in return like points or credits towards a prize. They can be good affiliates but you have to watch their orders closely to make sure they are referring only valid orders that aren’t experiencing buyers remorse when they realize they aren’t getting their prize. It can work for some types of companies but I don’t recommend it for all companies or for lead generation.
9. Email Marketing Affiliates – email “publishers” are affiliates or companies that own email databases they can market offers or ads to. Email-oriented affiliates can be some of the most productive types of affiliates if they have a quality email list and operate in an extremely ethical manner. However, it’s really a case by case basis because you never know how they generated their email list or if they adhere to ethical email marketing practices. You have to have a very rigid policy for your email affiliates to make sure no issues arise from their type of marketing such as requiring that use an suppression file management platform like Optimzo.
10. Large Web Properties – big websites are some of the most desirable types of affiliates because they have have a lot of traffic that they can expose to your affiliate banner ads or links. They can have large, quality email lists as well. There are a lot of large web properties that utilize affiliate ads on their sites and you would never know they participate in affiliate programs. Most of the time you can access these types of affiliate marketers through the big affiliate networks, where they have joined to partner with big brands with affiliate programs. So if you want large web properties as your affiliate you may have to join a big affiliate network like CJ or Linkshare to access them.
11. Company Partnership Affiliates – one of the best types of affiliate relationships are when you can partner with another company with a similar audience, that’s non-competitive. You bring up the idea of doing a “reciprocal rev share partnership” which means you promote their offers and they promote yours, and you pay each other on a revenue share (which is just a more corporate term for an affiliate partnership). These types of reciprocal partnerships are extremely desirable because they can be really strong, consistent producers. A lot of times they can place your ads throughout their website and include you in their customer newsletter, which can bring you a whole slew of new customers. This is a great strategy for B2B affiliate programs.
12. Traditional Media Affiliates – a lot of people don’t know that you can run traditional media on an affiliate basis. TV, radio, and even print ad buys can be done on an affiliate basis. Usually you have to access their “remnant inventory” which is unsold advertising space that would normally be going to waste. Often times, companies are willing to partner on a revenue sharing basis and run ads to their remnant inventory on this basis. Because there isn’t necessarily a click through, you have use tools like dedicated coupon codes, dedicated 800 numbers, and dedicated urls to track the campaigns effectively. If you can show them a decent amount of revenue through working on this basis, it can be a great way to run traditional advertising on a performance/affiliate basis.
13. Pay-Per-Call – pay-per-call marketing is all the rage in the affiliate marketing industry. It typically works great for service companies and lead generation companies that are looking to drive phone calls into their call centers. Typically, you would assign a dedicated phone number to the affiliate source and then pay them for every call that they drive in through that phone number. Because quality can be an issue, you have use a reliable pay-per-call tracking platform to make sure you are getting quality calls from each affiliate source you are working with. This can be a powerful way to grow your inbound call volume on a performance/affiliate basis.
14. Mobile Affiliates – mobile affiliates are growing dramatically as the mobile industry grows. There are various types of mobile affiliates that can promote your company through app ads, per call ads, and rewarding actions in mobile games with offers. There are many ways mobile companies can utilize affiliate ads to monetize their apps and mobile experiences. This is a burgeoning vertical so it’s really still taking shape, but in general mobile affiliates will at some point become one of the most formidable types of affiliate marketers in the channel.
15. Conversion and Technology Affiliates – these are typically technologies or widgets that plug into your ecommerce website to help convert traffic and sales on your website. Conversion affiliates like Engage Tech, Yieldify, or VE Interactive, help companies better convert their overall traffic into more sales with widgets like: pop-up boxes, on-site offers, and shopping cart abandonment follow-up emails. Because they capitalize on your website’s traffic you have to be careful how well you compensate them or the commissions can go through the roof, and there goes all the profit. Another type of affiliate technology are companies like Viglink and Skimlinks, which help bloggers and other web publishers to monetize the content in their posts or pages by automatically hyperlink certain phrases in the content through affiliate links. This has emerged over the past few years as a great way to generate more affiliate traffic from the content already on the web.
16. Influencers – you may have heard social media Influencers can be cultivated to be an affiliate of your company. While this is possible and can be the case, it may not be the well spring of affiliate traffic you’re looking for. Yes, Influencers can produce sales, but a lot of times they want to be paid upfront for promoting your company. At our agency, we like to pay influencers to create content for our brands and then we use that content in the brand’s Facebook Ads and other places. Using influencer-created content in your own ad campaigns can be a very effective way to run your social media ads.
Whew! That’s a lot of different types of affiliate marketers you can work with to promote your company and drive in sales. Of course you have to go out and bring them on board so they can participate. Then treat them really well and compensate them well so they make money promoting your company. In my next post I will review numerous ways to recruit the various types of affiliate marketers, so stay tuned for that. You should seriously consider bringing on an affiliate agency like Experience Advertising to help you grow your affiliate program quicker.
Let me know if you have any questions, and be sure to contact us if you would like to discuss growing your affiliate program or managing your other digital marketing and social media channels. We run one of the most effective agencies on the planet at growing traffic and sales through the various online marketing channels. I look forward to hearing from you!