How to Pitch Affiliates at Affiliate Summit (Networks & Merchants)

how to pitch affiliate at affiliate summit
By @Iqoncept / purchased from

Affiliate Summit is the best show for the performance marketing industry.  You can find affiliate partners that can bring you new customers as well as learn how to combat poaching and theft.  There are also sessions to help grow your business inlcuding SEO, Monetization, Email, Blog Optimization, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and more.

While you’re going around to learn from the speakers and network with more than 5,000+ people, you have to make the best use of your time.  That’s why many newcomers and some who have been to the show already ask themselves, “how do you effectively pick who is a good partner so you can spend time with them and also give an effective pitch so that they are interested, without wasting time”.

This post will help you to figure that out and develop the perfect pitch to evaluate a partner, see if they are a fit and deliver a perfect pitch to get them to want to work with you.

There are three types of people that will be pitching affiliates (for the most part).

  • Merchants – those with an ecommerce store or offer
  • Networks – tracking technology platforms that work to provide tracking solutions for affiliates and merchants
  • Other – Vendors, agencies, etc…

In this post I’m going to go over how a Merchant and a Network can effectively pitch an Affiliate and help to get them interested.

(Side note: If you already have meetings set up, especially with an SEO affiliate who you want to build a site out for you or dedicated pages, you may want to read this post with how to pitch an SEO affiliate.)

How to Recruit & Sign Up Affiliates at Affiliate Summit

There are a lot of similarities for networks and merchants to pitch affiliates.  This first section is all about how to start the conversation and find out if there is a fit for your company.  After this section you’ll find what to use and what to avoid saying when pitching a potential partner.

Optimize blog posts to make money
BY @iqoncept / purchased from

Networks & Merchants – How to Start a Conversation With Affiliates at Affiliate Summit

Remember, the beginning of the conversation is about them, not you.  You want their traffic, trust and loyalty and also need to find out if they are a good fit for you.  If they are, then you can start to talk about your company and program, as long as it is relevant to them and their audience.

1.  Start the conversation by asking about what type of website the partner has and how they promote affiliate programs/offers.

So what type of website do you have or how do you promote affiliate programs?

Once you know this you can now determine if their marketing methods are in line with what you are looking for, if they are allowed within your program/network and if their content or audience is in line with your own customer/user base.

2.  Find out who else they work with

What are some of the current programs or networks that you work with?

Now that you know they are a fit, ask about who they currently work with.  If you know the flaws and faults in your competitors programs, your pitch can become a lot stronger since you can compare why yours is better and demonstrate how your new potential partner can potentially make more with you.  (I go into how to do this later on in the post).

3.  Get their card and where they live

Now that you know there is a fit, ask for a business card (if you haven’t already) and look to see or ask where they live.  This is important because even if there is a fit, if they live in a state you cannot work with because of Nexus, you will waste your time.  With that said, you still want their card and to have a meeting with them in case the nexus law ever changes.  If it does then you can start the conversation again and keep the relationship going.

can affiliates hurt seo rankings
By @iqoncept / purchased from

Now It’s Time to Pitch the Affiliate

Now that we know they are a good fit for us, it’s time to develop our pitch and get them going.  Below you will find a list of things to and not to do with your pitch as a merchant and as a network.

how to recruit value adding SEO Affiliates
BY @vovan13 / purchased from


Things to avoid saying:

We have the best tracking – Unless you have full attribution, secondary and other systems in place to track and update the affiliate network; you have the same tracking as every other program on your network.  If you do have attribution which splits commissions, this could be something that is also a turn off for affiliates that add value (No one wants to share a commission with an adware or a partner that poaches the end of sale by ranking for url + coupon), so be cautious when talking about tracking as it could turn a new partner into someone that may not work with you.

We have a clean program – Unless you actively check for adware and toolbars, trademark bidders and give full credit to the actual referrer for sites that add value, do not say you have a clean program.  If the affiliate checks and finds out that you don’t, you have now caused the potential partner to not trust you as much.  With that said, there is a chance you could have missed a partner, an old affiliate adds a new toolbar and since they weren’t/aren’t active, you didn’t know about it.  This could happen and it can be easy to miss some of them (especially if they are inactive).

If Google updates one of their algorithms, new sites are ranking for url + coupons can start to show up before you can remove them.  All of these can and do happen so the trick is to make sure the affiliate knows and that you take action when you or they find it. You should also remember to thank the affiliate for letting you know about it and also send a follow up once the affiliate has been removed or a solution has be created to deal with them.  This can help build more trust and make the relationship stronger.

Do not pitch your product or service – This sounds weird, but instead of pitching your product or service, talk about how your products or services are a fit within their niche, type of site, or how it can work with their audience and marketing channel or how it has a natural tie in with their following.  Selling your product or service to the affiliate isn’t your goal, their website and traffic is.  Talk about how it will provide a solution for their readers, visitors or people that find their ads and then follow up with a few ideas to incorporate it to get their minds going on how they can make money with your program.

High conversion rates – This is actually something that could be good to say, but only if you know your real stats by types of partner and niche.  If you have affiliates ranking for url + coupons and trademark bidders, your conversion rate is going to be very high.  If you are pitching a content site, blogger, directory, social media influencer, etc… there is probably no way they will have a conversion near that.

What you could say instead of “we have a high conversion rate” is “our social media or our blogging partners have an X% conversion rate with this niche”.  Then you can go further and talk about how you can help with an initial test and measure the results.  From there you can take the data and help the potential partner optimize their efforts so that you can help to increase the conversion rates for their traffic specifically.  This is fairly easy to do regardless of what channel they are using if you can do conversion rate optimization.

Things you may want to say:

Program details – This is just an opinion, but the program details that are relevant for an elevator pitch are:

  • Commisions
  • Cookie life
  • Do you do custom creatives
  • Do you have a working and accurate datafeed
  • Do you work when they work (weekends, nighttime, etc…)
  • Network you are on
  • Tools you offer

There are other things you can talk about, but these are the basics that can matter most across the board.

Offering a bonus or incentive – If you can offer a bonus or incentive for signing up after or during the show, and activating within a specific time frame, that can add urgency and get the person ready to go.

Free samples, demos or trials of a product – If you can do a demo of your service or give a free sample or trial of it, this can also help get the person familiar with your company so they can better write about it.  Not every company can, but this can be a good way to get the partner’s contact information and have a follow up conversation after the show so you can do the demo and get them active.

Our program offers more, better, etc… – If you know which competing programs the potential partner already works with, and you know why your program is better, use that information in your pitch.  If you know your competitors weaknesses (adware, trademark bidders, leaks on their site, bad price points, barriers to conversions, lower commissions, etc…) complement their program and site first, then say why your program can be a better option because of XYZ.

Even if they don’t want to replace the competitor, explaining why you can provide better support to their referrals, have higher conversion rates and how they can potentially make more money with your program, you have now given a good reason why they should at least test your program with the other.

can social media affiliate help seo
BY @iqoncept / purchased from


Things to avoid saying:

That network sucks – Don’t bash other networks.  You never know when someone is a huge fan of the one you are bashing.  Blasting them with insults can cause them to lose interest in your network.  Instead, say something positive about them and then explain something complementary or how you do something better than they do.  Being professional can go a long way with pitching an affiliate.

Our network has a ton of affiliates in your niche (If pitching a merchant) – Tons of programs are looking for content sites and niche bloggers that can drive value adding sales, introduce new customers or re-introduce past customers who haven’t shopped in a long time.  If the new merchant launches on your network and you cannot produce these bloggers and content sites, you will lose their trust and faith.  Instead you can say something along the lines of what tradeshows you attend to recruit the partners they look for, you can talk about the recruitment options to reach the ones already inside your network as well as how you can help them to attract them into their programs.

We have the highest payouts and best offers – I have yet to find a network that can get me a better payout than if I go direct with the merchant or vendor.   I also hear a lot of networks saying that they have the best offers.  Unfortunately you can usually find the same offers on other networks as well so that network doesn’t actually have the best offers, they have the same offers, but maybe a couple of small twists or options.

Instead of using these generic pitches, try talking about how your landing pages and how you test them to help the offers convert.  You can talk about how the testing can help to increase your partners earnings and if possible, share a case study.  You can also talk about protecting the partners tracking ids, etc… from theft.  This helps to build your new partner’s confidence so that they have a better chance to keep their commissions and hopefully earn more with your network.   Even if you have a lower payout than a competitor, a higher conversion rate can mean more commissions which is better for the new partner and can help you get that affiliate’s loyalty.

Things you may want to say:

Here is how we can guarantee payment – Some networks offer solutions where merchants prepay so there is an escrow account.  This account can help to build trust and ensure the affiliate will get paid.   This is a huge selling point.

Here is our tracking capabilities to protect you – If your network offers multiple tracking solutions and the specific program’s tracking set up is visible to affiliates, they can then see what protections they will have to keep their commissions.  Sites ranking for url + coupons can see if they get paid and sites that send a new referral can see if they have to split a commission or lose it completely.  This is a huge value to the partners so they can feel confident they are choosing the programs that are best for them.

Here are some of the tools we built/partner with to help you make money – If you have datafeed tools, video tools, custom links and other things that the affiliate can use without paying for, you can help them make more or grow their business.  These extra tools and bonuses are things that can build loyalty and help get the partner excited to try new things and have new solutions for their websites to help them make money.

How long you’ve been around – There are a lot of networks that come and go quickly.  If you can show you’ve been around for a long time, this can add trust and credibility for the partner.  If you are new, you can talk about the funding you have or why you are going to last.  You may want to avoid saying you’re the best or will have the most, etc… That can sound fluffy and probably won’t work on experienced affiliates.

We have XYZ programs in your niche – Because you know what niche the person works in, talk about the programs or offers within their specific niche.  By letting them know they will have access to new and relevant merchants, you can help to show them why your network is one they should work with.

Affiliate Summit can be a great place to pick up new affiliates and merchants.  The trick is to know how to pitch them and to make your pitch relevant for them.  Instead of giving fluffy pitches, find out what the affiliate does and then modify your pitch specifically to their marketing strategies and show how they will benefit by working with you.  By having a relevant pitch that can benefit their audience or make them more money, and getting them to picture how to do it before your meeting is over is what can make the difference between someone activating and someone throwing your card away.

All images were purchased from DepositPhotos.

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