How to Find Quality Affiliates and Keep Them

Quality Affiliate Marketers

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to craft up a decent landing page or place a Facebook Ad, but in the world of affiliate marketing you really have to dig through the dirt to find the gold when it comes to locating quality talent.  After speaking to numerous affiliates and affiliate managers from both networks and in-house programs, here’s the lowdown on what makes a good affiliate and how to keep them around.

A good affiliate… generates a significant volume of quality traffic, uses compliant practices and communicates often with their affiliate managers providing both positive feedback and suggestions for improvement on a campaign.

Unfortunately when you do find one, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll consistently perform or stick around. So what does it really take to keep them active in a program?

  • A competitive commission.
  • A valuable product with a “sustainable” business model. If an affiliate is going to invest resources to test and optimize an offer,  they want to make sure the campaign will be around for the long run.
  • Affiliates are looking for unique offers that are somewhat exclusive and not pimped out on every network (too much competition).
  • Work closely with affiliates to provide deep insight into the conversions (ex. types of products bought, cities and zip/postal codes, track LTV of their conversions, etc.).
  • Do you offer special incentives or a rewards program?  Super affiliates make enough money so increasing a payout doesn’t mean all that much.  Rather they look for preferred treatment or exclusive experiences that they can’t get elsewhere.  For example, Neverblue selects their top 25 affiliates every year and rewards them with a fun networking trip (this past year was Thailand).  Who wouldn’t work extra hard for that?!
  • Ensure that they are managed by efficient and knowledgeable affiliate managers that respond to emails/IM/calls promptly.
  • Have offers with clean landing pages that are already tested on internal traffic (where possible) and has some historical performance data.
  • Transparency! Don’t force offers on affiliates because you make the most commission off them.
  • Always pay your affiliates on time!  Offer different types of payment methods and have the ability to pay faster on higher volume.
  • Have accurate tracking.  If there are discrepancies in your tracking and theirs, get to the bottom of it and resolve it quickly.

At the end of the day this is like any other business relationship.  Take the time to get to know your affiliates outside the industry matrix, learn and respect their needs, find out what makes them tick and maintain a high level of transparency.  Active affiliates are always on the hunt for new opportunities and ways to expand their business, but they are also selective.  Stay on their good list and they’ll keep the conversions coming.

About Wendy Kam Marcy

Wendy Kam Marcy has been working in the online marketing and advertising industry for 8 years. Plugged in, she is a Lifestyle Blogger and the Marketing Manager for (a competitive intelligence platform for display and mobile advertising). Unplugged, she’s a foodie, globetrotter and amateur photographer. Twitter: @wendykammarcy

One Response to How to Find Quality Affiliates and Keep Them

  1. Sarah Miller says:

    I enjoy reading your article. It is important to look for a good affiliate. Thanks for sharing this.