Proven Ways to Grow your Affiliate Program Larger in 2011

Hey all! I hope you are having a really nice January so far. Affiliate Marketing is still a growing and burgeoning industry and is due to expand further in 2011. Everyday, more and more webmasters and bloggers are getting into Affiliate Marketing to help monetize their sites with additional revenue. It’s amazing that so many site owners and bloggers still aren’t into using affiliate programs on their sites, but thats the incredibly exciting part of it, there is so much potential still to be realized by bringing people into the Affiliate Marketing industry to participate in affiliate programs.

Affiliate Marketing has undergone substantial year-over-year growth in the last 10 years and there is no reason to think it will slow down at all. More and more large web properties are using affiliate programs to monetize their traffic and newsletter subscribers by exposing them to promotions and “exclusive deals.” This in itself grow the industry by chunks. Through outreach, site owners and bloggers can be brought into affiliate networks and affiliate programs in order to grow the numbers. Whether affiliate networks or in-house programs are doing this well enough is another story, but it is being done to some degree which grows the industry.

Here are some bone-fide ways to grow an affiliate program or affiliate network:

– Site Contacting – Finding and contacting relevant websites and blogs to be your affiliate is a great way to build your affiliate program or network. It has to be done tastefully, with a really nice email, and has to be done in volume because the response rate tends to be low. But site contacting is a great way to grow your affiliate program numbers. Tools like Arelis or just simply running Google searches for keywords related to your company will produce a veritable endless list of sites and blogs that your affiliate managers can prospect from. I usually recommend not contact any site more than once, just stick and move until you fill the ranks with new affiliate blood! Then all new recruits have to be followed up with and spoon-fed the tracking and creative they need to start promoting.

– Email Recruiting – Some of the Major Affiliate Networks like Commission Junction allow you to send “recruiting emails” to their database of affiliate-publishers by category and country, not currently in your program. They do charge for this, but it works really well if you do it right. All the recruits can be put into a Group and then reports can be run on them sometime later to see how much revenue they produced. If it works well you do more of them. This is an incredibly effective way to build your niche affiliate partners from my experience and one of the top ways we are able to grow affiliate accounts on CJ.

– Advertising in Search – One of the best ways to build your affiliate program or network is by advertising in Google and Yahoo Paid Search under “affiliate program” related keyword phrases. This obviously costs money per click, but you can track all the sign-ups you get from your campaign and see what the ROI is on the spend. This is an extremely effective way to grow your affiliate numbers because most companies don’t do this and the keywords aren’t very expensive.

– Advertising on Facebook – Facebook represents the biggest opportunity to grow your affiliate numbers because you can really “target” your ads to people’s Likes and Interests which produces relevant affiliate sign-ups to your niche. You have to experiment with various ad copy and targeting options, but the inventory is pretty much limitless. Again, new sign-ups need to be followed up with and really worked in order to make it worth the spend.

– Tapping into Your Customer Base – A great place to gain new affiliates is through your company’s actual customer base. You can send your customers an email about joining your affiliate program and earning money by referring their friends and family to your site through their tracking link. Your customers are also your best advocates, assuming they like your product or service, and can be a very vocal group of affiliate representatives promoting your company’s great qualities. Since most of your customers will be fairly clueless about how to promote your affiliate program, you have to provide strategy and tools to make it easier.

These are but a few great ways to grow your affiliate numbers in 2011. It does take some planning, strategy, and effort, but will work well in the long-run. Believe it or not, most companies don’t employ these methods for growing their affiliate partners, so there is a lot of opportunity to utilize these methods. When engaging in any type of affiliate recruiting you need good, competent, proactive affiliate management in place to follow-up with all your newly recruited affiliate partners. If you don’t have good affiliate managers in place, I wouldn’t bother spending the money. Also, don’t be cheap with your affiliate program! Investing into growing your affiliate channel can only pay dividends down the road if the recruits are worked properly and a good, strong relationship is built with your affiliates. Now get out there and build your affiliate base! Thanks for the read and let me know your comments!

CEO and Founder

Evan is the CEO and Founder of Experience Advertising. He has more than 20 years experience and background with ecommerce website marketing. His skill sets include: search engine marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, conversion rate optimization, and other traffic driving and community building strategies.

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