I've tried ShareASale, ClixGalore, etc. but the massive amounts of "coupon" site affiliates is unreal.
I don't want to give up on affiliates as a growth channel, and I know if I network with the right affiliates this would definitely help my website grow but finding good affiliates is the hardest part.
First you have to know a bit about Affiliate marketing and realize that actually there are at least very different types of affiliates and they all serve different purposes in the sales cycle. Some help push value conscious consumers over the edge (ie, coupon based sites that you refer to), but others drive a totally different purpose.. They are more upper funnel (Loyalty, Content, Non-Profit publishers). I could help you create a plan and policies to effectively navigate the affiliate space. Good luck :)
Consider buying a membership to Klout and look for blogs/influencers that get a high score in your industry. From there, reach out to them about a possible affiliate deal.
Human emails are the best way. Try to keep it short and say what you do, why you like their blog and how you would love to start a program with them to promote your website.
The largest blogs will want to have a better deal than just put your name up, you will have to think of a campaign or something unique for them to promote. But at that point, you are getting high relevance shares.
You are correct - Recruiting affiliates *can* be difficult but not impossible.
I would recommend recruiting out of network. Just a few ideas for you:
- Look at who is promoting your competitors (Google Search, active running PPC campaigns, etc.).
- Find aligning sites in your industry that might not look like a standard affiliate relationship; there is not a single mold for an affiliate!
as a side note: Working with *certain* coupon affiliates that can still drive value (not just last click, biggest discount) can be a fruitful relationship. You just have manage it and give them perhaps separate terms to work off of.
Hope this helps! Happy to take a call if you have further questions or need more in-depth details.
Check out AffiliateLeads.net. You can purchase affiliate contact data and reach to attempt to recruit them, but they may only be interested if they think they can actually make money as your affiliate.