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Ask an Affiliate Manager: 5 Proven Outreach Strategies (+ Email Templates Included)

Rewardful Team

Before we dive in, here's some great news: there’s an eBook containing an extensive list of outreach strategies for your affiliate program available at the end of this article. Plus, it's completely free!

Outbound strategies are essential for expanding your affiliate program in a highly competitive field. Emmet Gibney, CEO of Rewardful, and Farzad Rashidi from Respona recently shared valuable insights on effective outbound affiliate recruitment strategies. This article summarizes their insights into the top five outreach strategies for affiliate marketing that can enhance your program's recruitment efforts.

Meet the Experts

Emmet Gibney - CEO at Rewardful

Emmet is the CEO of Rewardful, an affiliate tracking platform for SaaS and other online businesses. His extensive experience helps companies develop successful affiliate programs.

Farzad Rashidi - Lead Innovator at Respona
Farzad is the Lead Innovator at Respona, an affiliate recruitment software that automates finding the right contacts and running personalized outreach campaigns.

Table of Contents:

  • Outreach Strategy 1: Competitor Mentions
  • Outreach Strategy 2: Get Your Product Featured in Listicles
  • Outreach Strategy 3: Secure Product Reviews
  • Outreach Strategy 4: Target Product Alternatives
  • Outreach Strategy 5: Engaging with Bloggers

Watch the full webinar session here.

Outreach Strategy 1: Competitor Mentions

Identifying potential partners already engaged with your competitors can be a powerful strategy. Start by finding websites, blogs, or publications that mention your competitors, indicating they might be open to affiliate partnerships in your niche.

To locate these mentions, Farzad suggests using Google's advanced search operations.

These operations are specialized search techniques that help users narrow down and specify their search queries for more accurate results. They involve using operators such as quotes for exact phrases, site: for domain-specific searches, and filetype: for finding specific types of files, among others.

Using Advanced Google Search Operators

To find competitor mentions, use the following Google advanced search operators:

  • inurl:blog - finds pages with "blog" in the URL.
  • Intext:"competitor" returns pages that mention your competitor).
  • -site:competitor.com - excludes results from the competitor’s own site.

Here is the example query you can use for the selected competitor:

inurl:blog intext:"competitor" intext:(keyword) -site:competitor.com -site:yoursite.com -"yoursite"

Identifying Contact Information

Once you perform the search, you'll get a list of potential partners. Next, find the right person to contact. Start with the author of the article. Use LinkedIn to verify their connection to the company and locate their contact information.

If LinkedIn proves unhelpful, tools like SalesQL or Respona’s email finder can assist in retrieving email addresses.

Outreach Tip

Personalize your outreach by referencing the specific article and explaining how your affiliate program can offer additional value. Here is the example outreach template for you to use.

Subject: [Competitor name] mention

Hi John,

Just came across your article on affiliate marketing and noticed you mentioned [competitor name].

I’m wondering if you’ve heard of Rewardful?

We’re an affordable affiliate management software, used by over 20,000 SaaS businesses such as Baremetrics.

I'd love to set you up with a free account so you can give it a try. I’ll happily  invite you to join our partner program and explore co-marketing opportunities.

How does that sound?

Outreach Strategy 2: Get Your Product Featured in Listicles

This strategy focuses on finding websites that compile lists of top tools or software in your niche. Here’s how you can effectively use listicles to grow your affiliate network. 

Using Google Advanced Operators

Similar to the previous strategy, advanced search operators can help narrow down your search. Use operators like intitle:top or intitle:best combined with keywords relevant to your industry.

For example, your Google search query might look like this:

intitle:top OR intitle:best "keyword" -yoursite

This query will find pages with titles indicating a listicle format and relevant keywords, excluding pages that already mention your company.

Review the search results to find relevant listicles. Even if some results come from large review sites like G2 or Capterra, don’t hesitate to reach out.

These platforms can sometimes overlook products, and a polite request can get your product added to their lists.

Finding Contact Information

Identify the author or the person responsible for the listicle. Larger companies should look for a content manager or someone in the editorial or partnerships team. Use LinkedIn and email-finding tools like SalesQL or Respona’s email finder to get their contact details.

Crafting Outreach Emails

Customize your outreach email to the context of the listicle. Mention the specific list and how Rewardful would be a valuable addition. Offer to provide all necessary assets and even free access to your tool for a review.

Here’s a sample email template for listicle outreach:

Subject: You missed one

Hi John,

It seems like you missed Rewardful in your post on affiliate tools :(

Rewardful is a comprehensive affiliate marketing software that enables companies to set up affiliate and referral programs with Stripe & Paddle.

If you’re interested in including us, I’m happy to:

  1. Get you six months’ access to try it out on the house.
  2. I’ll provide all the assets you need to update the article (screenshots, custom descriptions, etc).
  3. Set you up with an invite to our affiliate program.

How does that sound?

Outreach Strategy 3: Secure Product Reviews

In the SaaS world, securing product reviews is a powerful tactic for boosting visibility and credibility. Reviews from trusted sources can significantly influence potential users' decisions.

By focusing on websites that review tools in the broader marketing and SaaS industry, you can reach an audience that is already interested in your niche.

Through advanced search operators and personalized outreach, you can establish a network of reviews that enhances your credibility and attracts more affiliates.

Identifying Relevant Review Sites

The first step in our strategy is to identify websites that publish reviews on products similar to ours. The key here is to look beyond direct competitors and consider tools that cater to our audience's broader interests.

For instance, if a site is reviewing ConvertKit, a popular email marketing tool, it indicates an interest in marketing and the creator economy, which aligns with Rewardful's target audience.

Using Google Advanced Operators

To find these review sites, we’ll use Google advanced search operators once again. These operators help us filter search results to find the most relevant pages.

In the title: use the operator intitle:review to find pages with "review" in their title.

Competitor mentions: combine it with a competitor’s name, such as intitle:competitor review.

Exclude irrelevant sites: use -site:competitor.com -site:yoursite.com to exclude the competitor's site and your own.

Example Outreach Email

Here’s a sample email template for reaching out to potential reviewers:

Subject: [Competitor] review

Hi John,

Loved the review you did on [Competitor name]. It’s very thorough and well-researched.

I’m wondering if you’re open to writing a review for Rewardful?

Rewardful is an affordable affiliate management solution used by over 20,000 SaaS businesses such as Baremetrics.

I’d love to have you in our affiliate program and provide you with all the assets needed to write the review.

How does that sound?

Strategy 4: Target Product Alternatives

Another powerful strategy for boosting your affiliate program’s visibility is targeting web pages that list product alternatives. This method leverages the same advanced operator techniques we used for product reviews but focuses on pages that discuss alternative options to competitors.

By identifying and reaching out to these pages, you can position your business as a viable alternative, gaining visibility among potential users actively seeking options in the affiliate marketing space.

Finding Relevant Pages

Using Google advanced operators, you can locate pages that mention alternatives to competitor products. Instead of just searching for reviews, we now look for web pages discussing alternatives. For instance, a search query might look like this:

intitle:"competitor" intitle:alternatives intext:(keyword) -"yoursite" -site:yoursite.com - site:competitor.com

Crafting Your Outreach Pitch

The pitch for these pages needs to be slightly different. Here, you’re addressing authors who have already acknowledged multiple products within the same space. While it might be a bit more challenging to secure a mention on these pages, especially if they are direct competitors, there’s still a valuable opportunity.

Here’s a sample outreach email:

Subject: [Competitor] alternatives

Hi John,

It seems like you missed Rewardful in your list of [Competitor] alternatives :(

Rewardful is an affordable affiliate management solution used by over 20,000 SaaS businesses such as Baremetrics.

I’d love to invite you to join our affiliate program and provide you with all the assets needed to update the article.

May I send you more info?

Outreach Strategy 5: Engaging with Bloggers

In addition to the strategies we've already discussed, blogger outreach is a versatile and highly effective method for expanding your affiliate program.

This strategy involves identifying and engaging with bloggers who are writing about topics related to your industry, fostering relationships that can lead to valuable collaborations and increased visibility for your brand.

Identifying Relevant Bloggers

To begin, use Google to search for blog content related to affiliate marketing and other relevant topics. One effective way to narrow down your search is by sorting results by date rather than relevance.

This approach helps you find the most recent content, ensuring you reach out to bloggers who are actively discussing topics pertinent to your niche.

Exploring Collaboration Opportunities

Blogger outreach is not limited to direct mentions or product reviews. There are numerous ways to collaborate with bloggers, including:

  • Guest posts: write a guest post for their blog, providing valuable content while subtly promoting your company.
  • Co-webinars: host a joint webinar where both parties can share insights and promote their respective tools.
  • Gated content: collaborate on creating eBooks, whitepapers, or other gated content that can be co-branded and distributed to both audiences.

Crafting Your Outreach Pitch

When reaching out to bloggers, tailor your pitch to highlight potential collaboration opportunities. Emphasize how partnering with your company can add value to their content and benefit their audience.

Subject: Regarding your affiliate marketing post

Hey John,

Stacy here, the Partnership Manager at Rewardful — the all-in-one affiliate management software for SaaS.

I was checking out a few posts on your blog; the one on affiliate marketing caught my attention.

Really liked how you mentioned that the best affiliates are the ones sourced externally.

I’m wondering if you’d be interested in learning more about Rewardful’s partnership program?

We’d love to find ways to collaborate together.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Final Thoughts

To grow your affiliate program, it's important to use a variety of strategies. This includes using advanced search operators, customizing your outreach, and forming authentic relationships with bloggers, reviewers, and website owners.

By combining these approaches, you can create a strong and diverse marketing strategy that will help maximize your reach and impact.

Ready to find your star affiliate?

Start your journey with Rewardful, the all-in-one affiliate management solution. Explore the advantages of Rewardful today!

Download Your eBook on Top Affiliate Outreach Strategies

In this eBook, you'll discover the most effective outreach strategies to find affiliates for your business—additional strategies we couldn't fully cover in this article. Enjoy!

Download your free eBook
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