If you want star affiliates in your market to join your affiliate and promote your products, you really have to go out and find them. You can certainly promote your affiliate program on your own website and to get people to sign up, but the best results come when you go out and find your own joint venture partners…and it sounds like you already understand that.
You can find potential partners by finding websites that:
- Have good website traffic
- Have decent sized email lists
- Target your buying audience
How do you find these people?
- Go to your favorite search engine and see which sites come up near the top for your target keywords.
- Check their ESTIMATED traffic ranking at Alexa.com – this site very roughly estimates how popular a site is based on traffic and page views. The lower the ranking number, the busier the site. This is not a foolproof method, but can be used as a guideline to compare websites in similar markets.
- See which sites link to your competition. Go to Google or Yahoo and type in the following: link:yourcompetitorsdomain.com. Just substitute "yourcompetitorsdomain.com" with your competitor’s actual domain name. The results that show up will be sites that link to your competitor. You will potentially find some good sites to partner with here.
- Check DMOZ.org and the Yahoo Directory for websites in an appropriate category for your market.
How do you approach these people?
The common method of many website owners is to send a mass email to entice the webmaster with the lure of commission. Of course, you should make every effort to get a first name to personalize the email and use your Autoresponder to automatically add their name into your email. Include information like their first name, their website URL and any other personal details you can include.
This method will get you the most partners for the least amount of time and effort. Of course, if there are some websites that you REALLY want to say yes, you will need a more personal touch. Realize that in competitive markets, these webmasters probably receive many joint venture requests and yours might be sent to the trash, along with the rest.
If you want to be taken seriously:
- Offer to send them your product for free so they can review it – or just mail it to them right away without any expectations. Even if they can’t promote your product now, if you treat them cordially, they might just promote your product down the line.
- Show them that you know something about their business and comment specifically on some of the projects they are working on or some of their products that you have purchased
- Do something for them first. List them as a recommended resource on your website, etc., and tell them about it.
- Pick up the phone and develop a relationship. Perhaps you can offer to promote his or her product first, instead of asking for a favor right away. Don’t be in a rush to get them to promote your product or you may just burn your bridges completely.
- Show them proven results of other affiliates or illustrate how well your website converts visitors to sales.
Overall, realize that you're probably going to get a lot of "Nos" before you get to the "Yesses". Don't take it personally because people are busy and they can't promote every product that comes their way. Just be open to developing relationships as that is the best long-term strategy in finding great JV partners.