Recruiting Quality Affiliates
Affiliate marketing has become an increasingly popular channel for B2B SaaS companies looking to acquire new customers and grow revenue. By partnering with affiliates to promote your products to their audiences, you can expand your reach and only pay when affiliates drive sales.
But to have an effective affiliate program, you must find and recruit quality affiliates aligned with your brand and business goals. I recently spoke with Joran Hofman, founder of Reditus, to get his insights on sourcing and selecting the right affiliates. Reditus is a software platform that enables SaaS companies to set up, manage, and optimize their affiliate programs.
Leverage Social Media to Identify Potential Affiliates
One of the best ways to find affiliates is through social media. As Joran explained, “Many people don't realize that they could be an affiliate of SaaS companies. I think when you're listening, and you have a big network, or you have a newsletter, or you have a blog, or you have it. Yeah. You could become an affiliate if you talk to many people and recommend tools.”
Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook allow you to identify and connect with influencers, bloggers, and publishers who might fit your program well. Look for accounts that regularly share content related to your industry or promote relevant products. While mass-blasting connection requests likely won't be too effective, personalized outreach explaining why you'd value their partnership as an affiliate can help kickstart the relationship.
Partner With Complementary Businesses
Another way to tap into an existing base of potential affiliates is by partnering with complementary businesses that attract your target customers but don't directly compete with your offerings. For example, a project management software company could partner with a business selling graphic design templates.
Joran suggests looking for opportunities with “like-minded businesses that aren't competitors within your industry. For instance, if you sell fitness equipment, you could partner with a health foods business with an active affiliate program.”
Approach them by cross-promoting each other's affiliate programs to expand your reach. You can offer a special commission rate to incentivize their existing affiliates to join your program.
Make Your Affiliate Offering Attractive
Once you've identified promising affiliate partners, you must sell them on the value of joining your program. Joran emphasizes “creating an enticing affiliate program that offers incentives, support, and recognition.”
Some key elements to highlight in your outreach include:
Competitive commission rates
Offer a commission level that makes sense based on your product pricing and compensates affiliates fairly for their efforts. Consider tiered commission rates based on volume to incentivize ongoing promotion.
Marketing collateral and assets
Provide pre-made banners, text links, product images, and other assets to make it easy for affiliates to promote you.
Assign an affiliate manager to assist affiliates with questions and provide guidance on optimal marketing strategies.
Performance tracking and payment
Use affiliate software to track clicks, sales, and commissions seamlessly. Ensure affiliates have visibility into their earnings.
Recognition and rewards
Spotlight top affiliates on your site or in communications. Offer contests, bonuses, and other perks to recognize their achievements.
The goal is to demonstrate the value of your program and get affiliates excited about the partnership opportunity.
Vet Affiliates to Ensure Quality
While you want to attract as many affiliates as possible, it's also crucial to vet them to ensure they will represent your brand well and drive meaningful results.
Joran explains that Reditus has affiliates answer screening questions when applying to a program, allowing the company to review, accept, or reject them. Some key details to gather include:
- Relevant website and traffic stats
- Social media profiles
- Content samples and audience demographics
- Promotional tactics they plan to use
- Other tools or brands they work with
Look for indicators that an affiliate has an audience that aligns with your ideal customer profile. Also, ensure that their marketing approach matches your brand style and guidelines. Declining applicants who seem spammy or outside your target niche helps maintain program quality.
Monitor Performance and Optimize
Once affiliates join your program, you must closely track their performance and optimize the experience. As Joran recommends, “Setting clear and realistic goals and metrics to track regularly is essential. Analyzing the data and performance of your affiliates can help identify the program's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.”
Look for trends regarding which affiliates drive the most conversions and revenue. Identify any gaps in your program by assessing dropout rates or minimal activity among affiliates—survey affiliates to get feedback on their experience and suggestions for improvement.
Make changes to your program based on insights from the data. For example, you may adjust commission rates, provide additional promotional resources, or refine your ideal affiliate profile. Maintaining an optimization mindset ensures your program remains effective as the market evolves.
Foster Open Communication with Affiliates
Open and frequent communication creates a strong relationship between affiliate programs and partners. Joran highlights, “To nurture your affiliate relationships, it is important to communicate regularly and personally with them via email, newsletters, or social media.”
Check-in with affiliates to see if they have questions and provide support as needed. Share affiliate program news and updates to keep them informed. Ask for feedback about the partnership experience. Recognize top performers and milestone achievements.
This personal outreach makes affiliates feel valued as partners, not just as a source of commissions. They'll be more engaged and willing to go the extra mile to promote your brand.
Key Takeaways on Recruiting Quality Affiliates
The tips that Joran shared provide a blueprint for effectively sourcing, vetting, and managing affiliate partnerships to grow your SaaS business:
- Identify potential affiliates on social media and through partnerships with complementary brands.
- Make your program attractive by offering competitive commissions, marketing assets, support, and rewards.
- Screen applicants to ensure they meet your quality standards and promote your brand appropriately.
- Continuously monitor performance and make data-driven optimizations.
- Foster open communication and value affiliates as true partners.
Focus on recruiting affiliates who create quality content and have audiences that align with your target customer base. Develop a mutually beneficial relationship built on trust and transparency. Affiliate marketing can significantly drive customer acquisition and revenue growth with the right approach.
Affiliate marketing has emerged as a powerful customer acquisition strategy for B2B SaaS companies. However, simply launching an affiliate program is not enough. The key is identifying and recruiting the right affiliates to authentically promote your brand to aligned audiences.
As discussed, leveraging social media and partnerships with complementary businesses can help uncover potential affiliates. However, the program incentives, application screening, and continuous performance monitoring are equally critical to curating a high-caliber affiliate network.
With the software tools and robust analytics available today, B2B companies can track affiliate activities in granular detail to optimize their programs over time. As the article outlines, maintaining open and regular communication creates a mutually beneficial relationship built on trust and transparency between brands and affiliates.
Affiliate marketing can cut through the noise in our crowded digital landscape, where consumers are inundated with promotions. When credible influencers and publishers tell their audiences about your product, people listen. This human touch lends a level of trust and nuance that paid advertising alone cannot achieve.
The brands that recognize and capitalize on the potential of affiliate marketing stand to benefit immensely. Companies gain passionate brand advocates who can accelerate awareness, interest, and sales by developing relationships with affiliates invested in their mutual success. When done strategically, it's a winning proposition for businesses and their affiliate partners.
Listen to the Software Spotlight podcast featuring Reditus: Joran Hofman, founder of Reditus, joins host Michael Bernzweig to discuss his B2B network connecting software companies with affiliates. Hofman shares Reditus' origin story – built to solve his own affiliate marketing frustrations – and key capabilities like centralized affiliate management, listing programs in their marketplace, and focus on SaaS metrics. The episode covers Reditus' transparent commission structure, GDPR compliance, and future plans to improve affiliate matching.