Notes from Webinar 7 May 2020
Finding Webhosting Affiliates
The Webhosting sector is slightly more fragmented than some, covering hosting, domain names and web apps. The webinar looked at the types of affiliates and how you find them.
The usual start point in recruiting is usually a google search to find websites by keyword. You can then find out which websites are active with good SERPS. Its worth finding out where your your competitors are being promoted.
When I launched the program for Easyspace, I had gone through the same process as most other affiliate managers; the first decision is on which network to run with. It made sense to see where other hosting merchants were advertising and, as CJ Affiliate appeared to have the biggest number of direct competitors, it made sense to be there. After all, the affiliates I was after were already signed up to that network!
First job is identifying who your ideal affiliate is – and getting in front of them. There are several affiliate program listing websites, such as affiliateawesome.com and others where you can promote your program. You can also promote via Linkedin and Facebook groups, though as with any social media, messaging is of course ephemeral.
Who are the Affiliates?
So how do you identify your ideal webhosting affiliate publisher? As in most programs, the highest performers are likely to be cashback/loyalty and coupon/vouchercode. You’ll probably be all sorted out there.
You’ll also want to be listed on Hosting review websites – of which there are a lot. You’ll want to be on as many as possible but you’ll probably find out that getting listed as a new advertiser isn’t easy.
Make it easy by providing them with the content to fit their format. It saves them doing the digging and makes it more likely to be listed. You’ll also find that many of these, especially the higher traffic sites require a tenancy for top spot, or even for ‘above the fold’ placement. So, time for a bit of negotiation.
Types of Affiliate
So who else is out there to connect with? As we’ve mentioned in other posts, there are anything from 10-20 different types of affiliate. Every list is different and CJ identifies 6 types of content affiliate alone!
AM Navigator has listed 20 types in a recent blog post, but for clarity, I’ll suggest 10 covers the main types.
- • Cashback & Rebate
- • Voucher / Coupon
- • Blogger / Influencer
- • ‘Content’
- • Corporate
- • Search & Social
- • Reviews
- • Remarketing
- • ‘Software’ – and toolbars
Once you’re working deeper, you’ll identify the nuanced differences within each of these as well. You’ll also want to then adapt your approach for each type. But to start off, where do you go to find them all?
Finding Your Ideal Affiliates
Once you’ve picked off the obvious publisher partners, usually cashback and coupon/vouchercode, you’ll need to start widening your search. The first place is usually searching for your keywords in Google or your favourite search engine. If you’ve already ‘been there – done that’ you’ll know how easy it is to find thousands of websites. Not all of them are useful and not all will work with an advertiser on the affiliate model.
Your network may well provide some tools to identify potential affiliate partners, though these are variable in functionality. CJ, Partnerize, Awin and Shareasale all have well established (sometimes payable) tools. Some networks such as Affiliate Future are partnered with Publisher Discovery using our in-network Recommender tools, which apply AI to finding the ideal partner. You can see more on the effectiveness of this in the recent Performancein interview.
You can use SEO based tools as well, though you will get a mix of affiliates, influencers and general linking websites. You’ll still need to sift through using affiliate analysis to find actual affiliate publishers. Publisher Discovery does this far more effectively.
Using Publisher Discovery
I’d say (of course) that the beauty of using our platform for affiliate recruitment, is that the sites you see listed are all using affiliate links. It also shows how relevant each site is – and an idea of traffic. As the example here shows, the platform also shows how many advertisers they link to, other sites they own and social accounts connected. Where emails are discovered, users can easily reach out direct from the app:
You can test this yourself for your own market and be searching and finding affiliates in a matter of minutes. Just subscribe via the Get Started button at the top right.
Vary Your Approach
We’ve seen there are lots of types of publisher – its fair to say these are all different sizes and styles. It makes sense then that you need to vary how you address and message them. A single template recruitment email may not cut the mustard! You’d not address a solo tech blogger or a potential corporate partnership in the same way face to face. It’s true in all other sectors, so certainly applies when recruiting webhosting affiliates.
Make sure you vary how you’re writing to be appropriate for your target market – don’t come across as a fake version of you! Read the social posts they make and content and make your approach personal. You need to offer something of value – as well as the commissions of course.
Use Social Media accounts as StatusCake have done here, as a direct connection to reach out to affiliates. A name like @brand_affiliates or similar in Twitter, Facebook or Instagram enables you to engage with your affiliates. It can also be useful to have a presence in Linkedin.
Follow your target publishers and engage online – the best way to soft-land a recruiting message! This can also be a support channel and to communicate offers and deals. Affiliates can get upwards of 2000 emails a month from the various account managers – this can help get ‘under the email radar’. You can read more in this recent article.
Meet Face to Face
Of course nothing beats meeting in person. That of course is not an option at the moment but will become do-able later this year hopefully. Almost all affiliate conferences and meetups are paused, with most not restarting until September at the earliest. If by any chance you’ve not attended any of these, I would very much recommend it. Not only do you get a chance to meet and discuss yours and your affiliates’ business in detail, the social aspect can be a great way to cement those relationships.
We look forward to meeting you at a conference sometime later this year or next!
As a summary, here’s the key steps for how to recruit affiliates:
- • Find which affiliate sites are most active in your vertical
- • Understand who your competitors are getting traffic from
- • Built a target list to recruit
- • Reach out to engage with your target partners
- • Diversify your affiliate types to strengthen your program
- • Build your relationship and work together
- • Rinse and repeat