How To Find Affiliates For Your Brand: 11 Ways (+Best Practices)

November 21, 2022
14 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
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Customer acquisition through affiliates is a dream come true — cost-effective, low-risk, and high ROI.

Since affiliates get paid for the sales they bring in, running an affiliate marketing program is relatively inexpensive. You pay a fixed margin to each affiliate, but beyond that, you don’t lose a single penny until the affiliate makes you some moolah.

The power of affiliate marketing is undeniable, but everything hinges on being able to find the right affiliates for your brand. Those that align with your company, and are genuinely trusted by their audience.

Where do you find them? Here are 11 different places you could hunt, along with tips on when each method is right for you.

How to find the perfect-fit affiliates to sell your product: 11 ways

1. Recruit social media influencers as affiliates 

Use this method when

  • You aim to use social media channels for your affiliate program
  • You have existing influencer relationships
  • You want to use influencer-generated content in your marketing campaigns

Want to turn influencers into affiliates? The most reliable way to find them is by using an influencer discovery tool like Modash.

The short version: Modash lets you search every social media profile on Earth on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. You can search based on your criteria, get contact emails, check audience demographics, and more. It’s painless, quick, and scalable.

The long version (if you’re not convinced): it’s painfully time-consuming to Google affiliates, vet every single one through a fine-toothed comb, and manually check their performance. You don’t need that kind of headache when running a business. In contrast, when you use Modash:

  • You get the granular influencer details in under five clicks: Modash has powerful filters to help you find exactly the affiliates you’re looking for in no time. Follower range, fake followers, engagement, growth rate — you name it, Modash has it. For audience filters, there’s even a percentage granularity. Let’s say you want at least 50% of an influencer’s followers to be female because you sell to a female-centric customer — on Modash, you can get into the weeds and apply that criteria in an instant.
  • You get an inside scoop on influencers’ performance data: How do you find an influencer’s best-performing posts, interests, and engagement on recent posts without contacting them? Doing the math yourself for each potential affiliate can take forever. Modash provides influencer analytics data detailing everything — the popular posts, the number of followers increasing or dropping, and the likes this month. 

Here’s how to use Modash to find and partner with your next affiliate: 

Step 1: Head to discovery and choose your channel

Modash is a home for over 200M+ creators from Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Step one is selecting the channel you’re targeting for your affiliate marketing efforts.

Step 2: Use filters to find your ideal affiliate

There are plenty of influencers and audience filters on Modash — narrow down your search using follower range, niche, location, growth rate, and more.

⚠️ Warning: Test one to two filters at a time and keep slimming down your research as you go. This will ensure too much specificity doesn’t make you lose out on the perfect affiliate for your business.

Step 3: Shortlist your ideal influencers through a deep-dive analysis

Modash provides a full-scale profile summary for each affiliate — recent likes, popular posts, follower growth, brand affinity, and more. It’s also critical to check if they overlap with your audience’s demographics and interests through audience data.

Do creator outreach for only those influencers who seem like the perfect match for your affiliate program. 

2. Partner with loyal customers as affiliates

Use this method when

  • You have happy customers publicly sharing their love for your products 
  • You want to build stronger relationships with your customers
  • You have repeated sales from the same people

Customer advocacy marketing is top-tier since it’s from people who already love your product, understand its benefits, and have stories that can directly speak to other potential customers.

The best part? Asking satisfied customers to join your affiliate program increases their loyalty to your brand because they feel heard and valued by getting a cut each time they recommend you to their peers.

But how do you find faithful customers to turn into affiliate marketers?

  • Monitor who’s tagging you on social media: Customers might often share their adoration of your brand publicly on social channels. For example, Palesa — a happy customer of Pastry Skincare — shared how helpful she finds the company’s products in a tweet with over 4000 likes.
  • A great way to capitalize on this positive review is to graduate Palesa from a happy customer to an affiliate marketer by giving her a unique UTM link or discount code. You never know which of your customers are micro-influencers who can help you tap into a sizable audience.

  • Share affiliate program details in your customer emails and social media: Invite interested customers to join your affiliate program by sharing its joining instructions on your order confirmation emails and social media handles. Redirect people to a landing page sharing the nitty-gritty about your affiliate program, like the styling brand, Jane, does.
  • You’ll attract inbound interest from people who are genuinely interested in supporting your brand. But with this method, you also run the risk of too many potential affiliates signing up for your program in hopes of making some side money. Ensure you have a foolproof vetting process to avoid crowding your affiliate campaigns with irrelevant influencers.

  • Proactively reach out to happy customers: A slightly manual method is to check your order history and reach out to customers who repeatedly order from you to see if they would be interested in joining your affiliate program. It’s best if they have a few thousand followers on social media and if their followers align with your target customers — all of which you can check on Modash’s influencer analytics platform by simply searching for their username.

3. Seek niche content creators and websites

Use this method when

  • You want to reach a hyper-targeted community of potential customers
  • You aim to list your products in a blog by an expert creator
  • You need to add more credible affiliates to your network

There are niche, trustworthy content creators in every industry — whether they’re bloggers, influencers, YouTubers, or newsletter writers.

They have a built-in audience who love hearing from them and rely on their product recommendations. By making them your affiliate marketers, you not only get on the radar of new & targeted potential customers, but also borrow the trust a creator (or their website) has built among their followers.

How to find these niche content creators and websites?

  • Google: Search “{your niche} review sites” to find a list of review websites that might be able to list your product — like The Derm Review comes up for skincare.

  • Narrow down or widen the Google search to find hundreds of potential affiliates who can discuss your products on their website. For example, if you specifically sell skincare products to reduce acne, Google “best products for acne,” and you’ll find a website like Allure that often publishes content on similar skincare queries.

  • Social media: Many influencers are also niche content creators with an engaged following around a specific topic. The best way to find them is to hunt for them on Modash using its influencer discovery tool, but you can also search for them using product-centric hashtags like #acne-treatment on social channels. But it can be time-consuming to vet each creator who comes up to see if they look the right fit for your affiliate program.

  • Ask your customers: Many customers might already be coming to you from a specific community that listed your products. For every order placed, ask customers where they heard about you. If you see a website or a niche creator as a common source among many customers, reach out to the creator to turn them into an affiliate marketer for your brand.

⚠️ Remember: Some niche content creators might have never heard of your product or brand. If you can afford to, send them a free product, no strings attached. It sets off the relationship on the right foot. If they genuinely like your products, they’ll post about you for free or reach out with potential collaboration ideas.

4. Collaborate with industry experts

Use this method when

  • Consumers seek expert recommendations before buying products in your industry
  • You want to gain consumer trust through affiliate marketing
  • You aim to partner with leaders to promote your products

Trust is a big factor in buying — seven in 10 customers buy more from brands they trust and stop buying from those they don’t. But building consumer trust can take years. What can you do right now to gain some ground among potential customers?

Borrow the trust of an industry expert.

There are these people in every niche: key opinion leaders (KOL) whose recommendation is sought after and strongly trusted. They can be bloggers or influencers or someone who works in a well-known company in the industry. Customers buy products simply because it has their stamp of approval.

How awesome would it be to have them as your affiliates? You boost sales and get backing from a well-known figure in your industry. Here’s how to find them:

  • Ask customers: Send a survey to ask customers who they turn to online for product recommendations in your niche. You might stumble onto a key opinion leader who has built thought leadership in the space.

  • Participate in industry events: Who are the experts speaking at your industry events? These are your influencers who consumers trust. Form a relationship with them in the event — this can pave the way for a long-term partnership.

  • Subscribe to industry-specific communities and newsletters: There are communities and newsletters for everything — from skincare to CRM. Hunt on Google for these audiences in your niche, and you’ll soon land on a thought leader who has a significant influence and can make a great affiliate marketer for your brand.  

5. Attract inbound interest through a tempting landing page 

Use this method when

  • You’re launching a large affiliate program 
  • You’re open to considering all kinds of affiliates 
  • Your affiliate program is generating a lot of buzz online

A dedicated page for your affiliate marketing campaign can capture inbound interest to create a database of potential affiliates. You can promote this page on different channels — like social media, paid search, and emails — to get promising leads.

Here are a few best practices for creating a stellar landing page:

  • Design a curiosity-driven hero space: Grab a visitor’s attention as soon as they open the page. Make your hero header eye-catchy and intriguing, as Seed does. Invoke curiosity that’ll make potential affiliates scroll down to learn more.

  • Keep the copy simple yet compelling: Get creative with your website copy to encourage visitors to become your advocates. Add some personality to your writing and speak directly to your ideal affiliates. Decathlon does this well with its purpose-driven copy.

  • Answer what’s in it for them: Your affiliate landing page is incomplete without answering why an affiliate should work with you. For the best affiliates, it’s not just about the money. Talk about your brand values, non-commission perks, and highlight your differentiators. Acorns is a good example of how to nail this section.

Pro-tip: Add a “FAQ” section and answer all the frequently asked questions about your affiliate program, so your team isn’t wasting time addressing common queries from potential affiliates. 

6. Hire an affiliate marketing agency

Use this method when

  • You have the budget to outsource to an affiliate marketing agency
  • You want to work with experts to launch your affiliate marketing program
  • You don’t have the time to do all the work required to run an affiliate campaign

Outsourcing to an affiliate marketing agency might be your best bet if you don’t have the time and resources to run an affiliate program.

They’re experts at running affiliate marketing campaigns and can help you tap into their network, follow best practices, and maintain relationships with affiliates on behalf of your brand.

But remember: agencies can be expensive. You can’t work with them if you’re on a limited, airtight budget.

It also matters what kind of affiliate agency you hire. Here are some factors you should consider before signing an agency contract:

  • Case studies of past campaigns: Check out their past work to review the quality of ideas, creativity, and results they’ve produced for other clients.
  • Workflows and team setup: Understand their systems for collaboration and how their team is organized to clarify any possible roadblocks. It's important to discuss factors like a conflict of interest, lack of performance, and other such details.
  • Roster of affiliates: Look through the kind of affiliates they work with to see if their talent aligns with your market and target audience.
  • Program size and capacity: Ask them about the size of affiliate programs they can handle. This will tell you about their maximum bandwidth to plan a large-scale campaign. 

7. Tap into affiliate networks

Use this method when

  • You want to remove the legwork of hunting for affiliate marketers
  • You don’t mind competing against other brands to hire affiliates
  • You aim to start a large-scale affiliate program

Affiliate networks like ShareASale and ClickBank act like a marketplace to discover hundreds and thousands of potential affiliates. Once you get listed on them, you’re exposed to many affiliates keen on joining affiliate programs.

But there are several cons with this method:

  • You’re listed against a lot of competing brands, so you need to stand out with a generous commission or other benefits 
  • While there are plenty of affiliates, it might be tricky to find relevant affiliate partners who’d genuinely love your product 
  • Some affiliate networks can be expensive as they take a fee on top of the cut you give your affiliates 

8. Join relevant communities 

Use this method when

  • You want to build relationships with target affiliates 
  • You have the time to participate in a community 
  • You aim to find affiliates at a minimal cost

There are plenty of communities on Reddit and Facebook you can join to find your next affiliates. Search for relevant subreddits and Facebook groups and become a part of these networks.

You can join a subreddit like r/affiliatemarketing and directly post about your affiliate program.

Or a better approach is to find industry-specific communities where your target affiliates hang out — like r/skincare — and build relationships with community members who could be potential affiliates in the future.

⚠️ Note: You can’t approach people in these niche communities with a cold DM — you must build the exchange on genuine connection, engagement, and within the protocols of community guidelines.

It might be a bit time-consuming to find affiliates through this method, and there’s no guarantee of the scale of influence they might have. But it’s a great way to build relationships and find affiliates at little to no cost. 

9. Combine your affiliate campaign with a brand ambassador program

Use this method when

If you’re already running a brand ambassador program, combining your affiliate marketing efforts with it makes sense.

Brand ambassadors believe in your product and mission, making them great affiliates. Offer your favorite brand ambassadors a sales-based commission and recruit them to your affiliate program.

Pura Vida, for instance, offers a 10% cut to all its brand ambassadors when they join its ambassador program.

10. Run ads on Google and social media

Use this method when

  • You have the budget to run paid ads 
  • You aim to reach potential affiliates quickly
  • You want to target a specific demographic of affiliates

Running ads can be expensive, but it can be a quicker and hyper-targeted way to recruit relevant affiliates. Google Ads has a large reach and gets your affiliate program eyeballs from thousands of affiliates. For example, Razorpay runs ads in India to reach targeted potential affiliate partners.

If you want a more targeted search, all social media platforms let you run your ads to niche audiences. There’s also the option of running advertisements on relevant websites, newsletters, and podcasts in your niche.

⚡Pro-tip: Remember to highlight the commission structure and use the right keywords in all your ad copy. This will ensure you get the maximum ROI from your paid efforts.

11: Find your competitor’s affiliates

Your competitors have likely done a ton of legwork to find top-quality affiliates. You can use their research to complement your own. How?

  • If you want to find your competitor’s social media affiliates: Influencers typically use brand hashtags to signal their affiliate partnership.

    But instead of searching for this manually, simply create a campaign on Modash to track your competitor’s brand mentions and any affiliate hashtags.

    Let’s say your competitor is the athletic apparel brand, Lululemon — specifically in Europe. Add #lululemonambassador and mentions of Lululemon’s social media account to track any content that meets those criteria.
  • You can approach these influencers to see if they’re interested in joining your affiliate program, or you can also search for similar influencers using an influencer lookalike tool.

  • If you want to find your competitor’s website and blog affiliates: Use a tool like Ahrefs (or an alternative like Semrush or Similarweb) to track your competitor’s backlinks. For example, to find Amazon’s affiliate links, look for in their backlink profile.

Export a CSV file of these affiliates, and filter them out based on their traffic volume and engagement.

🔥 Hot tip: Don’t stay limited to your direct competitor’s affiliates. Widen your net by hunting for affiliates of companies adjacent to your industry — even though they might not be direct rivals.

For example, if you’re a fitness gear brand, don’t just search for affiliates of other companies that sell gym equipment. Also hunt for companies that sell fitness clothing — affiliates of these companies might also be interested in promoting other fitness products.

How to maximize revenue using affiliates: 3 best practices

Simply launching an affiliate program won’t skyrocket your sales. Finding the right affiliates is only part of the puzzle — here are the three best practices to maximize your revenue through affiliates:

1. Introduce base pay and bonuses

Many social media content types — like Instagram posts and TikTok videos — don’t inherently support clickable links. This means a potential customer might have discovered you through an affiliate, but the affiliate will never get paid for it. 

If you follow a strict commission-only model, you’re underpaying your affiliates. It’s nearly impossible to track 100% of the impact an affiliate creates.

The solution? Using other types of compensation methods — like paying a base fee along with the cut of sales. For example, Semrush ran an affiliate contest where they paid $100 extra for every tenth trial sign up through an affiliate’s landing page.

Paying your affiliates fairly — and better than your competition — is the first step to making your affiliate program a success. 

2. Hire affiliates from different channels 

Affiliates can add their unique links to blogs, social media, emails, podcasts, and more. The options are plenty — so why should you stay limited to one? It’s good practice to test affiliates on all channels and see which one works the best for you to acquire new customers.

Even better: look for affiliates active on multiple platforms and can cross-post about you on various channels.

3. Build a meaningful relationship instead of a transactional one

Like influencer relationships, affiliate partnerships are best when done long-term. It’s better to have ten relevant affiliates who consistently promote your brand rather than hundreds of random affiliate marketers who barely move the needle.

How to make affiliate marketers your A-team players?

  • Track content and share best-performing posts from affiliates, along with tips on how to improve
  • Remember notable days like birthdays, anniversaries, and events, and offer best wishes to your affiliates on these occasions 
  • Vet affiliates thoroughly and hire only those people who genuinely love your product and can imbibe it into their content seamlessly — the best affiliates don’t let their content feel like it's trying to sell something

Affiliates give you the best of all (marketing) worlds  

Affiliate programs are a 360-degree marketing tactic — affiliates can boost your brand awareness, multiply sales, and get your customers’ trust. No wonder 59% of brands employ influencers as affiliates.

With these eleven methods under your belt, you have some direction in where to hunt for your affiliate partners.

But what’s the quickest and most reliable way? Using an influencer discovery tool like Modash. It doesn’t just find your best-suited affiliates, but also monitors your affiliate campaigns with them under one roof. Take it for a spin — for free — and see for yourself.

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