043: Affiliate Marketing: How to find new Affiliates with Chris Tradgett from Publisher Discovery

by April Buencamino-dy

Chris is the CMO of Publisher Discovery and has been in the affiliate industry for over 20 years, including being part of the team that launched the buy.at network. He’s also on the PMA Board of directors and is a highly respected voice in the industry – always trying to find ways to help retailers improve their affiliate marketing performance. It’s a pleasure to have him here on the show.

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About Chris

Chris got into affiliate marketing by accident. 

Back in the 90s, he worked for a design agency and got introduced to Dr. Steven Brown of Perfiliate, which provided online marketing and online fundraising.

He ended up working with Steve and became part of the launch team of buy at Affiliate Network, which sold to AOL, then Awin.

Chris then launched the Easyspace Hosting Affiliate program in 2010. Realizing how tough finding new affiliates was, he later on developed Publisher Discovery to make it easier for retailers to find their most relevant partners and improve affiliate marketing performance.

The Challenge of Looking for Affiliates

Chris’ advice is to think in terms of audiences and the type of audience you want to address.

Look at the different motivations and the way your audiences are being communicated to, and study how the message you want to convey is going to be put through.

Finding Affiliates on a Network

Most networks now have an internal recruitment system. This makes it easy and simple to search for an affiliate that will suit your program.

Look for affiliates on the network that match your brand and what you’re doing, and reach out to them.

Using a Cold Reach-out Process in Finding Affiliates

Nowadays, you can utilize available social media channels to talk about your program and reach out to potential affiliates:

Specifically, Chris mentions using Twitter for reaching out and engaging with prospective affiliate partners.

Is Google a Place for Finding Affiliates?

If you’re working on integrated campaigns, you can search Google for affiliates that are on your keywords. 

However, it is possible you might find yourself having to explain what affiliate marketing is to those who are not familiar with it.

Publisher Discovery can help with this.

Fast-tracking with Publisher Discovery

Using Publisher Discovery’s tool makes it easier and simpler to find affiliates who already understand what affiliate marketing is, and who will be a good match for you based on the filters you use to search.

The program also shows you the affiliate’s social media accounts and from there, you can begin engaging with your prospects.

This is important because as Chris explains, affiliate marketing is still about people and relationships, and this is where engagement becomes crucial.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Affiliate Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Chris says you have to remember that your affiliates are people and partnering with them is entering into a relationship. 

Understand what your affiliates are about, read their blog and their Tweets before you reach out to them. That way, you can engage with them about specific topics that interest them.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve affiliate marketing performance?

Two things Chris mentions to optimize: 

  1. If you’re finding types of affiliates that are doing good stuff, they’re great for your brand, and also great for sales — find that sweet spot and iterate on that.
  2. Look for similar publishers but don’t ignore underrepresented sectors in your affiliate mix, and include a coupon or voucher network.

If someone listening wants to learn more about affiliate marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Check out the list of recommended podcasts on Publisher Discovery that can help anyone new to affiliate management.

There are also several blogs that Chris mentions are notable resources for affiliate marketing:

  1. Jeb commerce
  2. AM Navigator
  3. Lynda which is now LinkedIn Learning
  4. Acceleration Partners

Lastly, Chris says join your Facebook and LinkedIn channels and listen to what other people are saying and doing, and ask your questions.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in affiliate marketing?

First, with the improvement in the technologies around tracking, attribution is becoming more doable.

Second, a lot of SMEs are now joining and starting up in affiliates.

Third, this is going to be a year of mergers and acquisitions in the agency land.

Interview Links

Chris on Social media:

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