It could be argued that an affiliate marketing program is only as good as its weakest affiliate. Though a solid affiliate strategy needs a few key players to work successfully, the affiliate — the influencer, blogger, or publisher — does a whole lot of the heavy lifting. They’ve already built up a body of engaged fans and followers and have worked hard to gain and maintain their trust along the way, and you can benefit from it if you’re picky about who you choose.

It’s the affiliate’s job to personally refer your business to their followers, so you need to make sure he or she is the right partner. Acting as representatives of your brand, new affiliates must promote and educate regarding your product or service — but how do you know if the affiliate is going to bring any value or not? Here are a few of our best tips for determining good partners before you sign any contracts:

  1. Use the Refersion Marketplace — Our marketplace is filled with individuals and enterprise affiliates who are actively looking to partner with merchants — over 5,000 of them, to be exact. From the marketplace, you can see key performance stats about an affiliate, such as their average earnings per click, coupled with links to their websites and social media pages. These stats can indicate how active and successful each affiliate has been with past campaigns.
  2. Scour Their Online Presence — It’s affiliate marketing 101: Only partner with influencers and publishers who have a positive online presence, with no controversy or criticism surrounding them. To gauge their reputation among the general public, look at comments and replies on social media. You’ll also want to work with affiliates who are engaged with their audience, so look for personas who tend to respond to their followers in the comments section.
  3. Look for Ethics Indicators — Pay attention to ethics indicators, such as disclosures on an affiliate’s website or social media posts. Though it may seem counterintuitive, affiliate marketing disclosures are actually good for business because they help build trust between the consumer and the promoter. Remember, affiliate marketing works because it serves as a personal referral, and personal referrals are only effective if there’s trust
    built into the relationship.
  4. Measure Their Communication — You can tell within the first couple of e-mails whether or not a person is going to be a good partner for your business or not. Don’t expect affiliates to respond immediately, but do pay attention to response time and engagement. Are they ready and willing to dive right in and get things done? Do they respond in a reasonably timely fashion — say, 72 hours? Trust your intuition when it comes to communication — it’s probably right!
  5. Look at the Quality of Their Content — The best affiliates are the ones who are producing high-quality, heavily trafficked content on their website, blog, and social media profiles. Look for original, well-written content featuring rich imagery and graphics. An extra bonus of affiliate marketing is that when a blogger or publisher works your product into their site, you may see a boost in search rankings, but this only works if the publisher is creating quality content that Google sees as valuable rather than spammy.
  6. Track Performance from Day One — Sometimes it’s okay to take a small risk and put an affiliate marketer on a trial to see how they do. Sometimes it’s the new, up-and-coming affiliates who surprise you the most, even if they don’t have a ton of data to show their success at the outset. As long as you’re using Refersion to track affiliate marketing stats, you can determine whether or not a given affiliate is bringing in value or not. The only way to truly measure value is to use in-depth analytics, and we can help with that!

Why Your Affiliates Are So Important

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, it may seem like choosing an affiliate partnership is no big deal. With affiliate marketing software and tools, it really isn’t. With that being said, you do need to be contentious about who you let represent your brand, as consumers see affiliates as an extension of it. On top of that, the right partners can save you a ton of time, stress, and effort in dealing with evasive or difficult people, so it’s well worth your while to spend the extra time finding the right ones.