Are you focused on generating traffic to your website by spending money on ads?
Building an Affiliate Army for your eCommerce brand is probably the most underrated strategy you can leverage to generate organic traffic for your website. You probably have never even heard of “Build an Affiliate Army.” Still, if you implement this method in your growth plan, you will revolutionize how you get buyers to your store without spending any money on ads.
Sound interesting? Well, first, let’s get a high-level overview.
What is an Affiliate Army?
Simply put, it’s a group of affiliate marketers sending traffic from their sites to yours. And if visitors purchase on your site, they earn a small commission. The larger the army, the more referrals you get and the more traffic your store receives. This traffic is not cold traffic either. These are people actively researching products to make a buying decision. Just the right traffic your eCommerce store wants.
What is an Affiliate Marketer?
An affiliate marketer is someone that runs a website; they write about products in an attempt to send a reader to another website where they have an affiliate arrangement. We’ve all been on these websites. You only have to google a phrase like “best mattress for under $1000” or something to that effect.
You’ll quickly find page 1 of Google results full of websites with reviews and recommendations. These websites are often affiliates of Amazon or other prominent brands. Affiliate marketers are excellent partners for your eCommerce store.
Why is This Such a Good Strategy?
Organic traffic is the holy grail for profitability. Traffic is the lifeblood of your store, and most store owners spend thousands of dollars a month on ads to get potential customers. Still, rising ad costs and competition can make it challenging to remain profitable.
The long-term solution is free traffic, so ranking on page 1 of Google through helpful content and clever SEO techniques is a great idea. But even if you are an SEO rockstar and manage to rank well, Google will never give you more than two result spots on page 1 for a given search term. There are usually ten spots on page 1 (sometimes only 8 or 9). So even if you crush it with your own content, another eight results still compete for your keyword.
Now imagine some of those other results are your affiliates and are sending you their traffic. You gain more real estate on page 1 of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). And the beauty is that those buyers could have been going elsewhere but are now landing on your product pages.
Have I convinced you yet?
Imagine this; you rank in 2 spots on page 1 because you have a solid content strategy through SEO.
And 3 of your affiliates also rank on page 1. Instead of competing with the other rankings, you now own 50% of page 1 results. Plus, your competitors will be squeezed out of the organic rankings, and it won’t be evident to them what is happening.
It’s an instant traffic boost when you start because you already recruit affiliate marketers on page 1.
What You Need to Get Started
All you need is an affiliate program and an outreach strategy.
There are many programs to choose from. If you’re on Shopify, you can scan the app store for a program and add it to your store. It’s straightforward. The program will also add a page to your site that allows marketers to sign up for your program on their own, and they can log into their dashboard to see how many sales they are referred to you.
The strategy, however, requires a bit of elbow grease. It’s a simple process that can even be delegated to a VA or team member. It doesn’t require special skills. Just follow the process I have broken down below, and you’ll get free qualified traffic by the end of the week.
Building Your Affiliate Army – The Strategy
First off, you can use Excel or Google Sheets. Create a simple 4-column file. The four columns will be titled:
Website – Type – Email – Contacted Y/N
With these four columns, you’re ready to get started.
1) Go to Google and search for a Keyword you want to rank for.
Go through every result you find on Page 1 & Page 2 of the SERPs.
Click on every result and investigate what type of website it is. For example, if it’s an eCommerce store or big stores like Amazon or Walmart, they are no use. You will find sites that look like blogs that write about products you sell or, at the very least, about your niche.
2) Register and Classify your findings
When you find these sites, add the URL to column 1 (Website).
Look at the content these sites are creating and look for signs to understand if they are affiliate marketing sites or just passionate bloggers that love the products or niche. If they are linking to Amazon, they are affiliates of the Amazon program. If they link to another store’s product page, if the URL is strange, it’s likely an affiliate link; if they link to the page for reference, it’s just the simple product page URL.
Suppose you identify them as an affiliate, type “affiliate” in the second column (Type). If they don’t appear to be an affiliate marketer, type “blogger.” This distinction will help you with the type of outreach email you’ll send later.
3) Get contact information.
Look for a contact email or a contact page.
In the third column (Email), type the email you find, or type the URL for the “Contact Us” page if that’s the only way they like to be contacted.
The last column (Contacted Y/N) is just for your records, so you know whom you have already contacted.
And when you’re done, you will have a long list of affiliate marketers and passion bloggers to recruit. This process you just went through is a simple version of the Dream 100 method found on The ECOM SEO FORMULA course created by John Murphy.
4) Reach out to your potential affiliates!
You can now start contacting your list. Go through the list individually and send them an email outlining your program: the commission percentage and cookie duration. I generally offer 5%- and 30-day cookies, meaning the buyer can return within 30 days and purchase, and the affiliate will still get the 5% commission.
The better the commission, the more likely they are to join. Amazon offers pretty low commissions. Ranging from 3% to 8%, most products are in that 3%-5% range, and they only provide a 24-hour cookie window, so if you can improve the Amazon terms, you have a good chance of recruiting them.
If your Dream 100 list shows the website is already an affiliate of Amazon or another store, your outreach will focus on converting them to your program.
While if you found the site is just a passion blogger, you can highlight how they can monetize their existing content through your affiliate program.
Once you have a few sites signed up that are already ranking on page 1, you’ll see a spike in traffic without having spent a cent on ads.
5) Keep going.
This process isn’t a one-off exercise either. Whenever you see a new blog in the SERPs, check them out and try to recruit them. They could be an up-and-coming robust site that will rank well for years.
Before long, you could have dozens, if not hundreds, of sites all sending you traffic.
Wrapping It Up
Now that you’ve discovered the power of building your affiliate army: don’t sit on it! Do it before your competitor decides to recruit them first. And once you are comfortable with the process, you can delegate it to a team member so you can recruit them on autopilot.
The technique presented in this article on how to build an affiliate army is just one of the many that can be found in the ECOM SEO Formula course by John Murphy, where you will learn how to generate organic traffic for your website and stop overly relying on paid traffic. In his course, we learn how to use SEO to make our efforts cost-effective, have long-term results, a permanent ranking, and a reliable market share source. The strategies in the ECOM SEO Formula will also ensure that you get traffic from real targeted humans versus clicks from automated sources that will cost you money and have no actual conversion rate.
Remember, ad costs will only continue to increase, so give yourself the best chance for long-term growth through organic traffic. You’ll thank us later, we promise!