How to Find and Approach Influencers For Your Affiliate Program

Brittany Currieby Brittany Currie

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Guest post from Arlen Robinson, the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software.

Promoting an affiliate program by yourself can be quite difficult. If you have tried it, you may have probably put a link to your program in the front page and encouraged your customers to promote your products. The problem is that no one would like to do that unless they get something in return. Even if you offer them a handsome commission, they’ll still want a reward for the simple act of promotion.

If you are looking for people who can help you in the promotion of your affiliate program, try influencers. Influencer marketing is considered as the most effective type of promotion today. The reason is that people are now getting tired of constant business promotions everywhere. So if you are planning to put ads in locations where people most expect it, it is hardly effective.

It is better to have recommendations from influencers. These are people that customers know and trust. So if they make a recommendation, the customer is far more likely to take action. Companies such as Hunting Bow Lab have reported a 30% increase in sales after starting a referral program.

Now that you know the value of influencers in your business, you may be wondering how to find them. In this article, you’ll learn just how to do that.

STEP 1: Find Influencers

There are different ways to find influencers in your niche. While Google may be effective, it is not the only method. In this section, you’ll learn about the different ways on how you can find influencers for your business promotion.

Use Google

When it comes to finding something, Google is your friend. It is able to crawl the massive online database so that it can give you what you need. But there are two types of searching: normal searching and wise searching. Normal searching is when you put your main keyword in the search bar hoping to find influencers. But that rarely helps. For this, you’ll need wise searching. This is when you use specific search queries along with your keywords.

Here are some queries that you can use when searching for influencers on Google.

Inurl: blog



This helps you find influencer bloggers but also influencers in certain social media platforms such as Instagram and Youtube.

NOTE: It is important to take note of the follower count and the overall activity in the influencer’s social account. It should not stop with the follower count. You should also look at how their followers are reacting to their content. If their followers are not that engaged, you may want to skip that influencer.

Use a Social Analysis Tool

Another way to uncover influencers for your niche is to use a social analysis tool. Today, we have tools like BuzzSumo in uncovering highly shared pieces of content on social media. Since they uncover highly shared pieces, you’ll also get to see the influencers as well. It is quite common that the most shared pieces come from influencers in the niche.

What I like about BuzzSumo is that you don’t need to know the influencer to find their content. You can simply key in your main keyword and it will uncover all highly shared content that is related with that keyword. That’s pretty neat if you are looking for a quick way to find influencers.

Use a Link Analysis Tool

Another tool that you can use for influencer search is a link analysis tool. As for me, I love to use Ahrefs. It is a tool that allows you to not only uncover the backlinks of your competitor websites, it also allows you to see where these links are coming from and the characteristics of the said links. It is a very powerful tool and I have not seen a tool that is more powerful.

You can use a link analysis tool to search the background of an influencer. You’ll be able to see all the websites linking to them. Along the way, you may stumble upon other influencers in the niche. And if you are lucky, you may even find some micro influencers.

What are micro influencers? These are people with a small follower count (usually 2,000-5,000) but have a great impact on their followers. If you are planning to promote your affiliate program through influencers. It may be wise to ask multiple micro influencers than one big influencer. It will have more impact because you promote inside the niche’s circle.


Look at Who Your Followers are Following

Another technique that I use is to follow my followers. In Instagram, I do this by following some of my most influential followers and look at their following list. This allows me to uncover some influencers I may have missed in my search process above.

It helps to look at multiple influential followers at a time. You’ll find that they have some common pages that they follow. This is when you can look into these profiles to see if they are influencers.

Look at an Influencer’s Collab Friends and Link Lists

Many influencers have reached their current status because of networking. Networking can include reaching out to similar pages in the niche or it can include collaboration and link exchanges. As a business owner, this is a good thing for you. With this, you no longer have to dig into the search engines to find the influencers in the niche, you can simply look at an influencer’s collaboration content and link lists.

Collaboration content is when two or more influencers come together to create content. Often, they do this so that they can promote each other to their followers. Some influencers do this multiple times. These are the best influencers to follow if you are looking for people to promote your program.

Also, some influencers have blogs. They often link to their friends in there or they promote their friends in their posts. You should take note of this and visit the other influencer pages as well. This way, you’ll know if they are compatible with your brand.

Look for Influencer Mentions

Another way to find influencers is to analyze mentions. Mentions can be done on social media posts or blog posts. For this, you need to set up an alert for the influencer brand and go to where the noise is coming from. If someone mentions that influencer, you visit the site to see if it is another influencer that you can promote to.

Ask for Referrals

If you happen to have some connections with some influencers, it will help if you ask them for referrals. The good thing with having a connection with one influencer is that he or she can instantly connect you with other influencers in his or her circle. This will allow you to find more influencers that can promote your affiliate program.

So that’s how you find influencers for your affiliate program promotion. However, finding them is only the first part. You should also know how to approach them. In the next section, you’ll know how to do that.

STEP 2: Reach Out

An influencer list is nothing until you reach out. Many business owners are trapped in their own world. They would often run paid ads and see which converts. What they don’t see is that they are missing out on all the money that they can earn if they would have just reached out to an influencer. You’ll be surprised on how many influencers are open to promoting you if you only tried.

However, there is a right and wrong way of approaching an influencer. In this section, you’ll learn some tips on the right way of doing that.

Make Sure You Resonate with their Values

Influencers are respected for a reason. They have values. This varies from influencer to influencer. But unless you appeal to these, they would just ignore your offer.

You see, influencers want to know that you are not in business just to make money. They need to know that there is something more. You should have a value that you hold dearly or an advocacy you are fighting for. They want to hear your story.

For this, you’ll need a brand story. You need to review your mission and vision to know why you are in business in the first place. Then, create your story and tell that to the influencer. You’ll be surprised how many influencers will promote you even if you just do this.

Give Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

What’s in it for me?

That’s the common question that goes through an influencer’s mind when you ask them to promote you. Unless you are a big brand with enough recognition, they know that you’ll gain more if they promote you. Since you’ll be making sales, you have to give them an offer that they can’t refuse. This offer is more than just having excellent customer support to diminish shopping cart abandonment or having superior products and services. It should be tailored to the influencer you are talking to.

For influencers, it can be more than just money. Some influencers may be happy to collaborate with you on your products. This way, they will be able to leave a legacy and promote your products at the same time.

Ask Them to Review Your Product

Product reviews are quite common in influencer marketing. This is where you approach the influencer asking them if you can send some products. Then, you send them over and the influencer reviews them in their social account or blog.

There are some advantages and disadvantages for doing this.

The advantage is that you get a review without paying the influencer a cent. They just get the product for free.

The disadvantage is that the influencer may not review your product. And if they don’t like the product, they may even post a negative review. If that’s the case, you should approach the influencer for their suggestions.

This technique can be a hit or miss. But it helps you break that initial barrier and get to connect with the influencer a bit more.

Give Them an Exclusive Discount Code

Another way to get an influencer’s attention is to offer to use their brand name on a discount code. You can do this along with the other techniques above. Let’s say that you sent a free product to an influencer asking for their review. Then, you tell them that if they like your product and is willing to promote it, you’ll create an exclusive discount code with their brand on it.

This offer is often very attractive for it helps the influencer connect their brand to yours. This also solidifies their influencer status for it shows their followers that brands are asking them to promote certain products.

Give Them a Different Commission

If you are going to ask an influencer to be your affiliate, you can also set it up so that they get a different commission. Along with the discount code, they can also earn some money while promoting you. When you do this, you encourage them to promote more of your products on a regular basis.

Don’t be Afraid to Follow Up

Influencers are busy people. You will not get their attention unless you follow up. You may think that following up is irritating. But it actually helps. And it doesn’t stop with one follow up. Studies have shown that you have to follow up at least 6 times until your name sticks. If an influencer is seeing more emails from you, he or she will be more likely to reply.

Automate Your Outreach

If you are planning to reach out to multiple influencers at the same time, you may want to automate your outreach. This is where you create separate threads for influencers, and you see who replied and who needs follow-ups. There are tools that can help you do this.

As you can see, finding and approaching influencers for your affiliate program is not that hard. It is all about finding the right people and asking them to promote you in the right way. It doesn’t help to be aggressive. Show them your story. Show them that you resonate with their values and you have an amazing offer that they cannot refuse. When you do this, they will be far more likely to reply and promote your affiliate program.


Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software. He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.




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