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Mar 19, 2012 | 4 minute read

14 Ways to Recruit 12 Types of Affiliates

written by Linda Bustos

As you may be aware, I recently attended the Affiliate Management Days conference in San Francisco. There were a number of fantastic sessions at the two-day show. Today's post takes a deep dive into the most common "types" of affiliates and methods to attract them, based on the session How to Find & Recruit Super Affiliates by Sarah Bundy of

12 Types of Affiliates

1. Coupon

Coupon codes are one of the most popular methods of affiliate promotion (whether it's the most profitable is another question). Affiliates share coupon codes with their site visitors, through social networks, in email campaigns and post them to sites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin.

2. Loyalty / Cashback

Websites and apps that offer members cash back, donations to good causes or other rewards in exchange for shopping with partner merchants make money on the spread between affiliate commissions and incentives offered to customers. The former Bing Cashback program and are examples. (Hint: they loyalty is with the affiliate, not the merchant).

3. Content

Any topically focused site that monetizes its content with affiliate banner ads (as opposed to regular display ads), contextual links, widgets and image links can be considered "content affiliates." Content can also be user generated, like discussion forums.

4. PPC

PPC marketers who run campaigns that direct traffic to merchants or intermediary pages pay for clicks in hopes to reap conversions on the other side. They typically bid on merchant-specific keywords (branded) in major search engines, within the rules of an affiliate program and paid search network. Merchants pay out only when the visitor converts.

5. Mobile

App developers like Shazaam can monetize their creations with affiliate links. Shazaam's free app links to tagged songs in iTunes.

6. Datafeed

An example of datafeed affiliates is shopping engines, like Shopzilla or PriceGrabber. Customers browse the affiliate's catalog and are redirected to the merchant's website when they indicate intent to purchase (buy, subscribe, contact, etc).

7. Email

Email is a natural channel for promotion. Content sites and shopping engines may run campaigns similar to an ecommerce site. Some affiliates are topical thought leaders, and market to their list through newsletters, subscription content and "story selling" autoresponder series.

8. Social Media

Affiliates may certainly use Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the like to share codes, offers and links, but some social networks themselves are affiliates. Pinterest is a perfect example, it is an affiliate to a number of major brands. Pinterest also uses Facebook's Open Graph to extend its reach, one of the first apps to launch with the new platform.

9. Bloggers

Any blogger can work affiliate links into posts. Some monetize their blog heavily this way, for example, software, electronics and beauty reviews.

10. Pay Per Call

Rather than directing visitors to websites, trackable phone numbers can be baked into content pages that can trace leads and conversions back to the referring affiliate.

11. Offline (TV, Radio, Print)

Affiliate URLs can be published in print, or announced by radio hosts, for example "Go to forward slash 'Ramona.'"

12. Other (not yet defined)

Quite a variety. Now the question is...

How do you attract affiliates?

1. Organic Rankings

Use Google to find 'em. For example, search for “sunglasses reviews” to find potential affiliates.

2. Twitter

Try a search for an affiliate network + your keyword in Twitter's own search box. Example: ' sunglasses.'

3. Facebook

Search for affiliate groups and pages in Facebook search, you can start with “People You May Know.”

4. Competitor Backlinks

Use the linkdomain command ( in Google) or the various backlink check tools available on the Web.

5. Affiliate Links in Your Footer

Don't forget your Affiliates link in your footer (I would also add to treat this as a landing page complete with SEO treatment and A/B testing).

6. Affiliate Directories

A simple search for "affiliate program directory" should do the trick.

7. Tool announcements

GoldenCAN and PopShops send announcements to affiliates when new merchants join their programs.

8. Forum announcements / sub-forum

Hot affiliate forums like 5StarAffiliate, ABestWeb and Affiliate Summit have opportunities to advertise.

9. Events, tradeshows and conferences

Affiliate Summit, PubCon, AMDays, etc. etc.

10. PPC campaigns

Run a PPC campaign for your affilate program.

11. Facebook ads

Target social ads towards affiliates.

12. Retargeting ads

Use site or search retargeting campaigns.

13. Network advertising

Within your affiliate network (e.g. CommissionJunction, ShareASale).

14. Affiliate recruitment tools

Like or LinkCapture.

Like link building, affiliate recruitment is an ongoing activity that takes hard work and some creativity. Do you have any methods to add to this list?