August 17, 2023

How to Recruit Affiliates: Quick, Proven and Free Strategies

How to Recruit Affiliates: Quick, Proven and Free Strategies


As of this year, affiliate marketing has a market value of over $17 billion. This proves the growing demand for affiliate marketing and shows there is profit potential for businesses of all industries.

So, if you want to boost your sales this year, you need to implement an affiliate marketing strategy. To create and successfully run an affiliate marketing strategy, you must learn how to recruit affiliates, and how to do that continuously

Affiliate recruitment is the process of identifying and inviting potential partners to join your affiliate program. 

This process has three main parts: finding, reaching out, and activating affiliates.

After reaching out to 1M creators that promote affiliate links, we know what type of creators can influence purchasing decisions, and how to pitch a collaboration offer so they can’t say no. 

So we are sharing the secrets of successfully recruiting affiliates at scale, plus a completely free strategy to find and hire affiliates if you are a small business or you don’t have a large budget for your affiliate program.

So, keep reading and find out how to:

Finding affiliates: 6 most effective ways

Learning how to recruit affiliates starts by learning how to find affiliates that will successfully promote your brand and boost your sales

Below we are listing effective ways to find affiliates as well as the strategy we use to find affiliates that have experience promoting affiliate links and can boost your sales.

Use а creator intelligence tool

Creators have a relationship with their audience and have influence over their purchasing decisions. Besides that, they have excellent content-creation skills and you can benefit the long-term exposure from their YouTube videos or blog posts, as they get new traffic continuously. 

Compared to other tactics to recruit affiliates, this is the one that gives the most details about each creator both performance metrics and deep dive details like the links they promote, monetization status, past brand collaborations, etc. 

That enables you to precisely target creators from any niche, level of experience, authority, etc

You can use creator intelligence tools like Influencers Club, Upfluence, Modash, etc. to find creators in any niche, per any criteria. 

We at Influencers Club have a database with 1M creators (including their emails) that actively promote affiliate links. Plus, you can use 40+ filters to narrow down only to those affiliates who match your criteria.

Here’s how to do it:

First, select that you are looking for creators (not businesses) and choose a location.

Recruit affiliates using creator discovery dashboard

YouTube videos get viewers continuously, that’s why most companies tend to have YouTubers as their affiliates

Note: You can find great affiliates on Instagram and TikTok as well. We are choosing YouTube as an example.

So next, choose YouTubers and add any other criteria you have, such are topics, keywords used, and demographics.

How to find affiliates among social media influencers

Lastly, in the “Creator Deep Dive” section select Promote Affiliate Links and the dashboard will only list those creators that already promote affiliate links.

How to recruit affiliates that have experience promoting affiliate links

After your run a search, Influencers Club will provide you with a list of YouTubers that match your criteria. You can select and export the list of affiliates along with 40+ data points for each, including email addresses.

Other than these filters, you can go as deep as you want to find potential affiliates that are the best match. You can get a list of creators that use specific hashtags, have an above-average engagement rate, are selling merch, etc.

Ready to filter 1M affiliates?

Using Affiliate Network

Even if you have a solid base of affiliates who are driving sales for your business, you need to recruit affiliates continuously, otherwise, you can lead your affiliate marketing program to a slow death. 

Affiliate networks connect merchants and affiliates. You can list products and reach a large number of potential affiliates in many different niches. 

On the other hand, affiliate marketers are also using affiliate networks to find and apply to new affiliate programs. Hence, you will have potential affiliates self-select and reach out to you to become a part of your program. 

Some of the currently most popular affiliate networks you can use are ClickBank, Awin, ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, etc.

Leverage your existing customer base

Your satisfied customers can be your best affiliates because they already are familiar with, use, and even love your product. 

So, consider creating an affiliate program and inviting your loyal customers to join. They are probably recommending your products to their friends, so this will motivate them to go a step further as they will feel valued by getting a commission from each sale.

To find affiliates among your customers try some of these strategies:

Send emails to your subscribers

If you have email campaigns or newsletters you already sent to your subscribers regularly, just include an offer to join your affiliate program. 

If you don’t have such campaigns, you can always craft one email and explain more about your affiliate program. Make sure to be clear about what’s in for your potential affiliates, the percentage of commission per sale, and other collaboration details.

Reach out to customers who are tagging you on social media

Customers that post about your brand are already doing part of the job an affiliate marketer would do. Keep an eye on these profiles and analyze them to find ones that have the potential to boost your sales. 

Partnering with these customers might require more effort from your side in the beginning, since they are usually not experienced in promoting affiliate links. However, with proper guidance from your side, they can become strong advocates of your brand.

Find experienced affiliate marketers in your customer list

You can also go through your customer list and see if you recognize some influencers. Or upload your customer list to the Influencers Club dashboard and find unicorn influencers or content creators that already promote affiliate links. 

To do so, go to the dashboard and click Enrichment, and Add a new batch

Recruit affiliates from your customer list

Next, upload a CSV file with just one column of usernames, emails, or phone numbers and we will match your list with our 70M+ creator database to find creators. 

Additionally, for each creator, you will get 40+ data points so you can filter lists based on a location, niche, those who already promote affiliate links, etc.

Find affiliates among your customers

We’re inviting a select few to enjoy a free trial of our dashboard. Get access to our dashboard and find creators in your customer list.

Online forums and communities

Sites like Reddit, Quora, or niche forums are other good places to recruit affiliates. You can look for users who demonstrate a deep understanding of your niche and have a positive reputation in the community.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Search for niche-specific forums on Google (for example “tech forums”).
  2. Provide valuable content and information to build trust.
  3. Look for active, competent, and respected members.
  4. DM potential affiliates and be clear about your offer and its benefits. 
  5. Go to related subreddits or topics and repeat the process.

Remember to always be upfront about expectations and commission structure. Plus, most of these people never heard about your business before, so they might need more time to think about your offer. 

So, cultivate a good relationship even if they aren’t immediately interested and deliver value, both in your community contributions and in your affiliate partnerships.

Run Google Ads

Affiliate marketers are always looking for new partnership opportunities. For that purpose, some are working with affiliate marketing agencies, and some are part of affiliate networks, but all of them are still individually searching for new opportunities on Google.

Run Google Ads

Hence, running Google Ads for keywords such as “best affiliate programs”, “affiliate programs for moms”, “affiliate programs for travel bloggers”, etc is another effective way to recruit affiliates. 

Just create a landing page that will explain your affiliate program and that will resonate with your target audience, choose the right keywords and set your ads. Track, measure, and analyze your ad to make some improvements if it doesn’t bring conversions.

Affiliate recruitment agencies

If you don’t have the time to find affiliates on your own, consider working with an agency that specializes in recruiting affiliates. 

Affiliate recruitment agencies have the expertise and network to find the right affiliates for your program. They have access to a pool of potential affiliate partners and take care of the verification, negotiation, and management on your behalf.

If this strategy seems to be the best fit for your business, follow these steps:

  • Google “affiliate recruitment agencies” or ask for recommendations in the business network.
  • Contact a few of them, discuss your needs, and explore their expertise.
  • Choose an agency that fits your industry and goals.
  • Clearly communicate your expectations and desired outcomes.
  • They will find, screen, and refer you to potential affiliates.
  • Use their reports to identify successful partnerships and areas for improvement.

An agency provides a simple path to recruiting quality affiliates, avoiding common pitfalls. It’s an investment in expert knowledge that can boost your affiliate marketing efforts.

Reaching out to potential affiliates: 7 simple steps

The best way to reach out to potential affiliates is to send a personalized outreach email. In addition, you can send a direct message on social platforms, or even leave a comment on their posts or videos. 

Among the prominent social platforms, LinkedIn stands out as an excellent choice, providing a wealth of potential candidates to engage with directly. Utilizing a tool such as Linked Helper can greatly streamline your efforts by automating the process of sending invitations and messages to prospective affiliates you’re keen on bringing on board.

However, after reaching out to millions of creators, we’ve found that approaching creators via email is best. It’s most professional, you don’t have a character limit and you can present your brand and your affiliate program in detail.

To do affiliate outreach effectively you can:

  • Get a team of 40+ creator sales experts to recruit affiliates on your behalf
  • Craft an email copy and let our deliverability team send emails at scale

Follow our proven steps and recruit affiliates independently

Let us reach out to affiliates on your behalf

We have a team of 40+ creator sales experts that handle the creator outreach on behalf of hundreds of companies and can send 800k emails with a 36% reply rate.

If you have the time and resources to reach out to affiliates without assistance, here’s our step-by-step guide you can follow.

Considering you already know how to find the most suitable affiliates for your affiliate program, the next step is to:

1. Personalize your approach

Address all potential affiliates by their name and mention their content or background to show you’ve done your homework.

2. Write a clear and engaging subject line

The subject line is the first thing they will see, hence you need to make it attractive enough for them to open your email. 

To get the best subject line, you can do A/B testing and compare two versions to see which one performs better.

Here are some A/B testing ideas for subject lines:

  • Question vs. Statement: Compare “Ready for a deal?” with “Here’s a deal for you.”
  • Tone Variance: Evaluate formal against casual tones, e.g., “Exclusive offer” vs. “Got something cool for you!”

This way you will refine your subject line and ensure higher open rates, making your affiliate outreach campaigns more effective.

3. Highlight value proposition

Explain what makes your product/service unique. Highlight how can promoting your products benefit the audience of the potential affiliate and what commission can you offer.

Research your industry standard rates and consider offering slightly higher rates or bonuses to top performers.

4. Keep it short

Make your initial outreach short but impactful. Don’t go overboard with details in your first email. Once the potential affiliate partners show interest in your affiliate program, you can send an email with collaboration details or schedule a call to discuss your partnership.

5. Show proof of product success:

Share any metrics, testimonials, or case studies that can demonstrate the quality and market demand for your product/service.

6. Follow up

If you don’t get a response, send a follow-up after a week. However, avoid being too stubborn to the point of discomfort.

7. Open dialog box

Encourage them to ask questions or share their concerns. This can be a great way to clear any hesitation and build trust.

Affiliate activation: The most important segments

The final step of recruiting affiliates is making a connection, giving them the tools to succeed, and motivating them to actively promote your brand. 

When affiliates accept to become a part of your affiliate program, the key to having a successful affiliate program lies in activating affiliate partners. This is a process that motivates them to effectively promote your brand and increase their conversion rates.

This way you are building a group of passionate brand advocates ready to deliver impressive results. So take the time to create a comprehensive activation strategy and watch your brand reach new heights. Here’s how to do so.

Create a well-structured welcome email

Your first interaction with your affiliates will set the tone for your future relationship. Hence, a well-structured welcome email is your golden ticket to making a great first impression and kicking off the activation process.

Here’s a step-by-step process to follow if you want to craft a welcome email to do all that:

  • Engaging Subject Line: Capture attention and hint at the email’s content.
  • Personalized Greeting: Address affiliates by name to foster connection.
  • Appreciation Note: Express gratitude for their partnership.
  • Brand and Product Introduction: Briefly introduce your brand and the products to promote.
  • Commission Structure: Summarize your affiliate program’s compensation.
  • Resource Provision: Share essential promotional tools and resources.
  • Open Line of Communication: Encourage them to reach out with questions.
  • Call to Action: Conclude with a clear next step for the affiliate.

Signature: Sign off professionally with your name and contact details.

By sending them the products you want them to promote

If your affiliates know your products well, you can significantly improve their ability to sell. Therefore, sending them the products you want them to promote should be a part of your activation strategy. 

This approach not only gives affiliates first-hand experience with your product but also fuels their enthusiasm, leading to authentic and engaging promotions.

Automated drip email campaigns

Drip email campaigns are a powerful tool in the link activation arsenal. These automated emails are sent based on specific deadlines or user actions, providing timely and relevant content to engage your affiliates.

Setting up effective drip campaigns involves segmenting your affiliates based on criteria like their engagement or interests. You can then personalize content tailored to each segment, maximizing its relevance and effectiveness.

Share helpful resources with your affiliates

Affiliates are your success partners, and it’s mutually beneficial to share helpful resources and monetization tips with them. 

Whether it’s high-quality graphics, product information, sales tips, or an SEO strategy, these resources can empower affiliates to promote your brand more effectively, resulting in higher conversion rates.

Offer custom commission rates or performance-based rewards

For affiliates that need an extra boost, advanced activation tactics can come in handy. Exclusive offers, custom commission rates, or performance-based rewards are great strategies to incentivize your affiliates and drive them to give their best.

Bonus: How to recruit affiliates for free

While investing in your affiliate recruitment process gives maximum results, there are also effective ways to recruit affiliates without spending a dime. Keep in mind that these strategies can require more time and effort as you replace financial resources with practical methods. 

Follow this guide to find and reach out to affiliates free of charge, and then proceed with the process of activating affiliates following the segments above.

Guide for finding affiliates for free

You can recruit affiliates for free if you spend some time exploring the social media profiles of creators in your niche. Set criteria for your potential affiliates and follow these steps to find affiliates on a social media platform of your choice:

  • Identify relevant hashtags in your niche (e.g., #fitness, #workout, #healthylifestyle).
  • Explore top posts under those hashtags and visit and analyze the profiles of creators who have a significant following.
  • Look for promo codes, coupons, or mentions of any brand partnerships.
  • Check their bios to find any affiliate links they might promote.

Keep in mind that this strategy is very limited if you want to find affiliates at scale or if you are looking for affiliates in some less popular niche.

2 ways to successfully reach out to affiliates and get a reply

You can find emails of affiliates manually on their profiles on social media. 

For example, if you want to reach out to affiliates on Instagram, check their Instagram bio or their email button above the bio.

Find the email address of creators on Instagram

If you want to get in touch with affiliates on YouTube, check their “About” section, etc.

Find the email address of creators on YouTube

After you find their email address, you can use one of our best-performing influencer outreach email templates, or you can craft an email copy by following the proven steps we discussed above.


To have a successful affiliate program, look for affiliates who:

  • Can influence purchasing decisions
  • Have a similar audience to your target customers
  • Are relevant to your brand and niche
  • Align with your brand values and image
  • Are experienced in promoting products or services.

Commission rates depend on the affiliate program, the experience of the affiliate, the audience, etc. They usually vary between 5-30%, but to make sure you offer a fair commission, you must analyze what your competitors offer.

Offer competitive commissions, provide affiliates with high-quality brochures, and maintain open communication.

Use software or affiliate platforms that provide detailed tracking of clicks, conversions, commissions, and other relevant metrics.

  • Maintain open communication.
  • Respond to concerns quickly and fairly.
  • Establish clear instructions from the outset to minimize misunderstandings.

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