The Case Study

How Strategic Recruitment Generated Over 6,600 New Content Affiliates For Retailer

One of Acceleration Partners' top clients challenged us with recruiting 6,600 new high-quality content affiliates for their program in a very short timeframe. Not only did the AP team accomplish this goal, they beat it and helped the retailer increase their affiliate join rate by 127% over a five month period.


A combination of scalable mass outreach with individual one-to-one outreach and creative trial-and-error tactics proved successful, driving over 1,000 new content affiliates in just one month.

6,600new content affiliates

127% 6-month join rate increase

The Challenge

A longtime retail client of Acceleration Partners (AP) wanted their affiliate recruitment to focus more on content sites. The client presented our team with an attractive but formidable incentivized challenge: recruit 6,600+ new content affiliates by the end of their fiscal year and receive a substantial bonus. The AP team was cautiously optimistic, but up for the challenge.

Our Approach

Pinpointing Problems

The first obstacle AP’s team needed to address was finding a scalable approach to recruiting 6,600 new content affiliates into the program. The second was finding ways around the unpredictable situations that emerged along the way.

For example, our team leveraged multiple third-party technology platforms to find quality content affiliates and engage with them. When these technology platforms weren’t working at their full capacity – or broke down altogether – the team pivoted to ensure outreach and recruitment efforts were not derailed.

Segmenting Solutions

To solve for this, the team strategized on various scalable tactics and brainstormed about what one-on-one outreach and out-of-the-box tactics could be leveraged to drive conversions across a variety of content sites.

They recognized the need to execute a combination of mass outreach and one-on-one personalized communications to support the recruitment of long-tail publishers. Tactics included:

  • Cross-recruitment with existing affiliates
  • Mass recruitment via email platforms
  • Remarketing
  • Working with lead generation partners
  • Investigating affiliate forums
  • Leveraging affiliate network partners to reach content sites in key categories
  • Posting on content discovery platforms
  • Facebook ads
  • Conducting affiliate referral campaigns
  • Various recruitment tools
  • Posting the opportunity on social platforms
  • Working with BrandCycle to promote a join incentive in their blogger newsletter

Testing and Optimization

Throughout the process, testing was imperative. The team continuously refined their approach based on the incoming data – including A/B content and subject line testing and optimizing landing pages. They also leveraged existing industry relationships and introduced multiple incentives to drive conversions.

Mass outreach initiatives proved successful. However, the team wanted to ensure they were reaching the right audience – content bloggers. They were committed to taking a thoughtful approach and only bringing the right brand advocates into our client’s program. While AP wanted to reach this enticing incentive, we weren’t going to cut corners to do it.

This meant continual contact list scrubbing and audience updating – sometimes two to three times each week. The team also focused on ensuring that the content bloggers had legitimate email addresses (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc.) and stayed away from anyone with the word “domain” or “info” in their address.

In addition, our AP account team sought support from everyone at AP, not just those on our affiliate team. Team members from almost every department within AP shared our client’s recruitment opportunity on their social channels and brought in new ideas.

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