Affiliate marketing has become a key performance channel with UK business alone spending in excess of £1 billion on affiliate and lead generation initiatives. According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), affiliate marketing has grown 15% year on year when comparing 2012 to 2013.
Building your affiliate marketing network is a central component to ensure you’re maximising opportunities in generating incremental revenue streams through a network of publishers that are active within your program either through lead generation, display, search or voucher codes.
In a previous post, I outlined a framework to follow in managing an affiliate marketing program and this post will highlight a range of FREE tools to use to identify and recruit new publishers to your affiliate program and how to use each tool for the purpose of publisher recruitment. It’s not an exhaustive list but all 10 tools offer some really good wins in building your affiliate base:
1) Google Keyword planner – A tool used by search marketers, the keyword planner is used to uncover keywords you’re looking to target for a search campaign and the volume of searches conducted on a monthly basis.
How to use it: Enter a list of search terms within your industry sector by search volume. From here, run a Google search and note the websites listed in the search engine results page (both paid results and organic). This provides you with a list of potential new publishers to approach.
2) Google trends – Displays the frequency of keywords that are searched for throughout the year – a great tool to understand fluctuations in search demand for certain search terms. The below graph displays performance for the search term “football shirts”:
A consistent seasonal peak occurs during the start of the football season (July/August). Google Trends also provides a list of “Related searches” and as with the Google Planner, this provides you with an additional list of keywords to identify other publishers ranking in the search results.
3) Open Site Explorer – A link analysis tool which provides a number of different data streams when analysing a competitor website. This is a great tool to use to understand what external links your competitor sites have and from analysing this feedback, provides a number of prospects for you to target to join your affiliate program.
4) Followerwonk – Created for Twitter, understand yours or your competitor’s audience by audience numbers, location frequency of twitter activity as well as to find and connect new influencers within your specific market sector – perfect for affiliate prospecting.
Followerwonk provides a number of search options and for affiliate prospecting this comes really handy to search for twitter profiles by URLs associated with a twitter handle, their name and location – a perfect base to commence your affiliate outreach campaign:
5) Buzzsumo – is a content marketing platform, the tool provides you with ideas for content marketing based on the subjects trending through social media channel performance. For affiliate marketing outreach, by correlating your list keywords and your product inventory – this provides a base of search terms to browse through Buzzsumo and identify potential bloggers and websites to target to join your affiliate program
6) Mention.net – Similar to Google Trends, Mention is a real-time social listening tool. Refer back to your keyword list and simply add these terms into Mention – it will return you with real-time mentions of these search terms that appear which then provides you with a list of prospects.
7) Search Google for blogs – There are a number of different searches you can use through Google to identify potential affiliates – here is a list of search commands you could use to build up a list of prospects. Key influencers and authority figures are bloggers/speakers that will have an online presence:
Go to Google and search
- [YOUR TOPIC] blogs
- [YOUR BLOG TOPIC] blogger
- [YOUR BLOG TOPIC] author
- [YOUR BLOG TOPIC] speaker
8) Editorial Calendar – Refer to your content marketing plan and the content calendar – this is a schedule of content listing what needs to be delivered at what time throughout the year. It helps deliver the right types of content and schedules content production. By using the key themes, product launches and marketing activities planned for the year this provides a base for affiliate outreach.
9) Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) – Use GWT and download the search queries report – this is a list compiled by Google of searches that have generated urls from your website as well as which pages were displayed most often in the search results. The list of search queries only goes back 90 days but provides a list for affiliate prospecting by search queries and correlating this to websites that rank well.
10) Suppliers/Partners – Your company must have a list of 3rd party organisations it works with, this is an untapped opporutnity to work with the organisations to help drive revenues by promoting your products/services through their own websites