Affiliate Marketing Podcast, affiliate traffic, how to guide, affiliate program, affiliate managers

Unlocking New Affiliate Traffic in 2024: The Ultimate How To Grow Your Program Guide

This week on the Affiliate Marketing Podcast, Lee-Ann is joined by Wade Tonkin, Director of Global Affiliate Marketing at Fanatics, Inc. In this information-packed conversation, Wade shares insights on running successful affiliate programs. The conversation covers the importance of trust and education and data-led conversations to establish value. Lee-Ann and Wade also discuss the resilience of affiliate marketing during uncertain times, gaining trust and support from big brands, and moving away from traditional affiliate programs. Tune in now to gain all the takeaways you need to grow your affiliate program.

Listen in here for all of the insights:

How do you go from $6million to $100million in revenue?

Wade discussed his journey at Fanatics, “When I started at Fanatics, it’s just over 13 years now, I think I was managing three or four brands. I was pretty much on my own. I think we did like $6 million total in revenue during the first year. This year, we’re on pace for well over $100million in revenue.”

Lee-Ann asks Wade to explain the steps of how you get from $6million to $100 million by finding new traffic sources. Wade replies, “I think one of them is kind of scaling up the approach with technology and being able to get into additional resources, being able to kind of use different tech tools to be able to identify potential partners at scale. How can we make this programmatic? How can we reach out to a lot of people across a bunch of different topics and do that effectively at scale? That’s a piece of it for sure. The other piece that I would say is that as the profile of the program grows, you can definitely get yourself into bigger relationships and bigger partners, bigger potential partners that can move the needle a lot further.”

The Learning Journey

Lee-Ann asks Wade to tell us a little bit about his learning journey and what the mistakes were that he made, so that we can all learn from these. 

Wade replies, “Yeah, I think my biggie honestly, it’s thinking that I really understood, you know? Getting opinions that were too hard set about different types of partners. I mean, for example, we used to be really, really kind of dead set against working through sub networks. We were big kind of control freaks. We wanted to work with people independently and it frustrated me to no end that we would go out and each out to somebody that was running like an old school discussion board on a topic that was super key for us.Those are fantastic partners, by the way. If you can get to those, people still use them. They’re still trusted. They can still absolutely kick ass if you’ve got in kind of a niche product or service.”

10 actionable steps to grow your affiliate program

Lee-Ann says, “As you’ve been talking, I’ve been writing down almost like the 10 step guide of how to grow your affiliate program. From where it is now to superhero status. I just want to read this back to you and tell me if you agree:

  1. You need to get the right automation. So you need to get the right tools to help you to find the information and the data that you want.
  2. You need to double down on brand investment for your program so that you attract partners to you.
  3. You need to look at connections and ecosystems that will get you in front of your target customer and find out who those partners are within those subsidiary ecosystems so that you can leverage their traffic sources to actually get in front of the right customers.
  4. You need to go across platforms. So not like you just said, you’ve got a huge affiliate in X, but you’ve also got probably loads of SEO bloggers and PPC affiliates that are bringing you traffic. 
  5. You need to be segmenting your customers and understanding the niches. That was where you were talking about, you’ve got all of these sports fans, but actually, hey, there’s a whole segment of females that are hardcore sports fans too. How do we need to reach them and get in front of them?
  6. You need to be looking ahead at other peripheral trends and outside of your own industry. You mentioned looking at gambling and adult and all of those other industries, not to compare, but to just look at what other technologies and tools and strategies they’re doing that you can bring back into your own business. 
  7. You need to solve problems. Your most successful affiliate that drafted the most revenue, all he did was answer questions. So, if you can solve problems for your affiliates and for your partners, whether they’re online, offline, whatever it is. But if you can find a way to solve their problems and convert their customers and make them earn revenue, your program is naturally going to grow.
  8. You then said number eight is don’t discount or ignore any type of traffic. Look at how that traffic works for you. So cash back loyalty, whatever it is. Don’t say I’m not going to work with networks, find the right way to work with those networks.
  9. Then you said find people that are building first party data and community marketers and find out how you can leverage those into your business and create things and offers and campaigns that speak to those people in their community, streamers, whatever it is. 
  10. Let data be your guide. Let data be the guide on who and where and how you spend your budget to leverage that growth.


Lee-Ann summarises, “Honestly, I think that’s like gold. That’s 10 clear actionable steps that people can take away from this podcast this week.”

Listen to find out more about:

  • Working with Networks.
  • Segmenting and Niche Targeting.
  • Affiliate Marketing’s Resilience During Uncertain Times.

Key segments of this podcast and where you can tune in to go direct:

[11:15] Finding new traffic sources.

[24:00] Solving problems for affiliates.

[27:00] A time and a place for every kind of partner.

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