How to Find Affiliates (My 7 Strategies)

Struggling to find the right affiliates? I've been there. Discover my 7 game-changing strategies to attract affiliates that amplify your brand and drive sales.
Image of author Nick Cotter

By Nick Cotter
Updated Mar 06, 2024

How to Find Affiliates (My 7 Strategies)
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Actually, the real question you probably have is:

“How do I find affiliates that will elevate our brand, generate content, and drive revenue?”

I know, because I’ve been in the same boat.

It didn’t matter whether I was launching or optimizing a client’s affiliate program, this question was always top of mind for me.

But when I first started into affiliate partnerships, I honestly had no idea where to find affiliates for our programs. But over time, I’ve been able to develop some pretty creative strategies.

Let me share some of those with you.

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To make this easier to follow along, let’s play a hypothetical example:

I’m a B2B affiliate marketing consultant onboarding Attio, a CRM software company. My primary goal to start is to find and recruit affiliate partners for their newly launched program.

When it comes to the strategies I share, let’s start with the “low-hanging fruit” first and then build up to some more advanced ideas.

1. Work with your customer base.

I know. This one may seem so obvious to many, but let me tell you, so many people who launch their affiliate programs completely forget about their customer base first.

If you have thousands of customers, the likelihood of some having some form of reach across TikTok, YouTube, etc. is probably at least 10% – yeah, that’s a guess but probably true!

For instance, with one of the affiliate programs I ran in the past I worked closely with 5-10 customers who joined the affiliate program. They were huge brand advocates for the platform, and come to find out, had followings across their courses, blog, social, and YouTube channels.

You just never know until you open up these conversations.

Here’s what I’d do:

  • Work with the product marketing team to launch an affiliate program announcement across email, socials, and maybe even within an in-app login page.
  • I’d identify customers with a high NPS score and work closely with the account manager team to establish a relationship with them – Think customers who have already done a case study with you.

2. Explore your email newsletter subscribers.

We’ll keep this one short because there’s not a whole ton to add here, but I’d absolutely make an effort to announce the launch of the affiliate program to Attio’s email newsletter subscribers.

You’d be surprised who is actually subscribed to your content.

3. Search for content publishers on Google.

This is one of my favorite ways to find affiliate partners because it takes a lot of creativity and investigation.

There are thousands of publishers across the Google search engine results pages (SERP), and it’s our job to find and recruit them to our affiliate program.

Let’s just get right into it.

High-Intent Search Queries

I’d first begin with high-intent keywords that are relevant to your business.

Think of keywords that you’d be searching for when you’re in the beginning stages of your purchasing journey.

Here are some high-intent keywords I would use to begin my search across the SERP:

  • Top-rated CRM solutions
  • CRM software comparison
  • Best CRM platforms for small businesses
  • Leading CRM software reviews
  • CRM software prices
  • Buy CRM software
  • Affordable CRM software
  • CRM software for sales teams
  • Enterprise CRM solutions
  • CRM software with best customer support
  • Award-winning CRM systems
  • Top CRM software for marketing
  • Best value CRM software
  • CRM software free trial
  • Customizable CRM platforms
Google search result for affiliate search query

When you click into the Forbes search result, you’ll see very clearly they’re an affiliate partner of the following competitors.

Forbes affiliate page

Now, I’m not saying just because you found Forbes, DOES NOT mean they’re going to be an affiliate partner for your brand.

For large publications with their reach and brand reputation, it’s going to take a lot more to convince them to work with your company – especially if there are hundreds (if not thousands) of other similar products to yours in the marketplace.

Finding your competitor’s affiliate partners

In order to find your competitor’s affiliate partners, you can simply begin by searching for high-value keywords for your brand. Here are a couple search queries I’d begin typing into Google to see what the results look like.

  • [Competitor name] reviews
  • [Competitor name] alternatives
  • [Competitor A name] vs. [Competitor B name]
Google search result for affiliate search query

Low-intent search queries

I think it’s better to spend most of your time within high-intent, competitive search query targeting, but if you started to exhaust your efforts on those fronts, I’d then begin coming up with a list of lower-intent driven keywords.

Low intent keyword = not ready to buy

These are keywords that have huge search volume, but lower intent because the pool of people searching for these terms is so wide.

Google search result for affiliate search query

Here are some examples based on the Attio example:

  • What is CRM software?
  • Benefits of using CRM
  • How does CRM work?
  • CRM software examples
  • CRM features list
  • CRM software for beginners
  • CRM software tutorial
  • Why do companies use CRM?
  • CRM case studies
  • CRM software history
  • Free CRM options
  • CRM software platforms overview
  • Types of CRM software
  • CRM strategies for businesses
  • CRM software trends

I could go into so many other ways of finding affiliates across the SERP, but let’s move on for now. Maybe a post for another day?

4. Affiliate Recruitment Tools

We won’t spend too much time within this section, but there are some tools to help you streamline the affiliate recruitment process.

Affiliate discovery & recruitment tools

  • Ahrefs
  • SimilarWeb
  • Affistash
  • Publisher Discovery
  • Respona

Contact information verifiers

  • Clearbit
  • Hunter.io

Affiliate marketing networks

5. Search for PPC Affiliates

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) affiliates are marketers or publishers who use PPC advertising to promote affiliate products or services.

Unlike traditional affiliate marketing, where affiliates might use content marketing, SEO, or social media to drive traffic to their affiliate links organically, PPC affiliates invest in paid advertising campaigns to generate clicks and conversions.

Image of PPC affiliate in Google SERP

I’ve worked with quite a few of these affiliates over the years, and let me be upfront and say how these are some of the most difficult relationships to manage. As an affiliate program manager, you need to pay attention to things like:

  • Ensuring compliance and brand integrity
  • Quality and relevance of traffic
  • Cost and commission management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Ad platform policies
  • Monitoring performance and fraud prevention

It’s a lot to consider, especially if your program already has thousands of other affiliate partners.

Here’s a look at what a typical PPC landing page looks like.

Image of PPC affiliate landing page

6. Join an affiliate network

When I first got into B2B affiliate marketing, I had no idea what an affiliate network was.

It was all new to me.

I just thought you could track everything within your CRM platform and payout affiliates, referral partners that way.

Of course when you’re first starting out, this actually might be a great method to test the waters.

That said, when I read up about affiliate networks, it made a lot more sense to me.

Affiliate networks act as the middleman between the brand and publisher, handling everything from tracking, platform set up, commission management, payouts, to even contract management.

Image of Impact Affiliate Dashboard

There are several affiliate networks out there to launch your program on, but here are just a few:

  • PartnerStack - B2B focused network
  • CJ Affiliate - B2C focused network
  • Clickbank - B2B/B2C network
  • ShareASale - B2B/B2C network
  • Awin - B2C focused network
  • Impact - B2B/B2C network

7. Work with your existing partner ecosystem

A cool strategy I came across a couple of years ago – which come to think of, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner – is working directly with your existing partnerships.

What do I mean by existing partnerships?

Well, if you’re a technology company – think integration partners.

These integration partnerships may already have an active referral and/or affiliate partnership program. So, why not ask them for a few introductions to some of their affiliate partnerships?

It’s a great warm introduction, which as you know, goes a long way in building relationships with people.

For instance, if I was running the Attio affiliate program, I’d try to connect with our partner manager who manages the Mailchimp integration and see if they’d be open to formalizing an introduction to the affiliate manager.

And that’s how you find affiliates

Now, these are just a few of the strategies I’ve found to be quite effective over the years.

There are plenty of others I’ll continue to add to this post over time.

But for now, I think this is a great start for those expanding or starting their affiliate program.

If you have any other ideas or strategies you’ve found to be successful, I’d love to hear from you.

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Nick Cotter

Nick Cotter

Founder & CEO
Growann

With over 7 years navigating the intricate realms of marketing, and specifically B2B partner marketing, Nick has forged collaborations with top-tier tech brands, prominent agencies, and some of the industry's foremost B2B publishers and content creators. His deep immersion in both marketing landscapes showcases a trajectory of expertise and innovation. Identifying a significant void in specialized resources, he founded Growann.The aspiration? Deliver unparalleled insights and guidance, carving out a dedicated space where the broader marketing and B2B partner marketing communities can flourish.