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The ultimate guide to affiliate recruitment for sports business

We’ve worked together on several affiliate recruitment projects, and you’ve got to know how to recruit potential affiliates in a variety of industries including beauty & health, fashion, and jewelry. This post will show you the ...

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We’ve worked together on several affiliate recruitment projects, and you’ve got to know how to recruit potential affiliates in a variety of industries including beauty & health, fashion, and jewelry. This post will show you the ultimate guide to finding affiliates for one of the most popular niches in the market: the sports industry.

I. The growth of the sports industry

From the perspective of an affiliate, the rising change of eCommerce, together with the change of attention and marketing resources toward the affiliate area, implies that publishers have substantial potential. Advertisers compete for affiliates with active and engaged audiences in the industry.

Thousands of sports affiliates compete for space in the search environment and a share of their viewers’ attention. Coupon and cashback affiliates have driven the majority of the volume in most affiliate programs for most of the industry.

As an advertiser, you are increasingly hunting for sports bloggers and content affiliates. So how could you find the potential affiliates for your brand in the affiliate growing market? The next part will reveal it.

II. Guide to affiliate sports recruitment

1. Speak to your existing clients

Do you know that your existing customers are one of the most trusted affiliates you could ever find?

Before approaching your current customers joining your affiliate program, you need to acknowledge whether they’re satisfied with your products/ service or not so that they would be most likely to support and promote your items.

There’re many tactics that you can apply to convert your customers into affiliates, like sending email campaigns with signing-up bonuses and incentives to encourage them to join. Or you can automatically turn them into affiliates with the UpPromote Post-Purchase Popup feature, an easy sport affiliate recruitment process.

In the UpPromote Dashboard, choose Grow affiliates tools > Convert customers to affiliates > Switch on Active and the feature is ready to go.

Moreover, you can customize the popup to appear once or many times and set up the customers to the suitable programs depending on your option.

2. Use Google to find sport (micro) influencers

Never ignore the power of this Search Engine to find potential influencers in your field. They offer more helpful customized search options than you could ever imagine such as regions change, special query search.

To power your search, before starting looking for them, you should list out a few keywords related to your industry and express your brand awareness and target.

Then go and check for the top influencers by:

  • Checking the top list of sports influencers on Google

By listing those keywords before, now you can easily conduct a Google search to check for the top sports influencers.

Depending on your location, Google will bring back suitable results with the most popular influencers in your region that may need your brand’s needs.

They can be influencers from Youtube, social media such as Instagram, or Facebook, depending on the research or the popularity of the platform that the influencers own in your areas. 

Checking the top list of sports influencers on Google

Protip: If you are targeting a specific region, you can change the location setting on your Google search by going to Settings (bottom-right corner of Google page) > Search Settings > Region Settings and choosing the region that you want.

  • Leverage search operators

Search operators of Google lend you a hand in narrowing down your search and spotting more targeted influencers in the field. Whether your niche products are cycling, sports eyewear, fitness, sports equipment, hunting, outdoors, etc

For example, if your online store is selling nutrition and healthy food for gymers, you can look for fitness influencers by customizing search operators like the table below:

Operator Purpose Example Search
“  ” Ensure that each result has the precise phrase (not just synonyms) inside the quote marks “fitness” influencers
OR (all caps) Show results for one or both search terms (these two operators are interchangeable) health OR fitness influencers
( ) Organize your search words into groups and manage how Google searches (health OR fitness) influencer
Remove it from the search if you don’t want to see results for a keyword with a dash before it Fitness influencers -Instagram
site: Only display search results from web pages hosted on a single website. site:instagram.com fitness influencers

The result is outstanding, for example, if you use the search query site:instagram.com fitness influencers. Then Google will filter Instagram accounts related to fitness in your region.

However, if you need those with several followers, such as 1000 followers, can you do that?

The answer is yes, by pasting this query on Google, site:instagram.com ‘k followers’ fitness influencer. This way, Google will filter Instagram accounts having more than 1000 followers.

To be specific, ‘k followers’ are how Google filters accounts that have more than 1000 followers, which helps narrow down your influencers’ followers range.

Otherwise, you can change ‘k followers’ to ‘100k followers’ when looking for those influencers who have more than 100.000 followers.


Conduct a special search string to find influencers

3. Spot influencers on Youtube

You can spot sports Youtube influencers by looking for the top list on Google as mentioned above, by searching Google for a specific YouTube influencers list that might point you in the proper direction.

Some search strings you can begin such as:

  • List of sports/ fitness influencers on YouTube
  • YouTube sports/ fitness
  • Sports/ fitness] influencers to follow on YouTube
  • Best sports/ fitness YouTubers to follow

Here’s what Google returns for one of these searches:

Spot influencers on Youtube

Most of these sites will provide you with a list of relevant sports/ fitness influencers, which you may narrow down depending on how closely they correspond with your objectives.

Don’t stop reading after the first page! To guarantee you don’t miss out on any good results, go through 4-6 pages for each search you make.

Just because some YouTubers didn’t make the first page listings doesn’t imply they shouldn’t be considered for your affiliate marketing campaign. They may even be in the early stages of their careers, making them an excellent candidate for a profitable YouTube partner collaboration.

Youtube search bar is not similar to Google search and it does not bring you the helpful accurate results that you may expect as Google does.

The YouTube search engine is guided by a complex algorithm considering several factors. When searching for a channel or creator relating to sports or fitness on YouTube, be as specific as possible by including keywords related to your sports brand, target audience, and industry.

There’re many videos suggesting sports influencers that you can follow, like this:

Or you’re better off performing searches for videos and channels.

You can try filters on Youtube like:

  • ‘Type: Video’ allows you to search for videos that have reached a specific level of success for the artist or have gone viral.
  • Filter ‘Type: Channel’ to search by the creator.
  • ‘Sort by: View count’ – skip the popular videos and channels, as they are most likely owned by high-profile influencers. Look for films and channels with hundreds to tens of thousands of views.

If your business is willing to spend some money, you can seek help from the influencer recruitment platform. These solutions allow you to spot Youtube influencers depending on your brand’s needs with their built-in search engine and analytic information, which saves your time and effort.

Some great tools that you can consider such as Social Blades, NeoReach, Klear.

4. Find sport and fitness influencers on Instagram

  • Sport affiliate recruitment – find influencers through Instagram hashtags

Do you know hashtags are one of the best ways that you can locate your prospective influencers? Many Instagram users and influencers use hashtags in their IG posts to increase engagement and obtain more likes, which is a great strategy to become more popular and have more people see their posts.

You may stumble on a few hashtags related to your sports niche, but it’s always better to have a complete file that includes all of the popular sports hashtags.

You can take a look at these most used sports/ fitness hashtags





















































Affiliate recruitment - find influencers through Instagram hashtags

If your niche is more specified, you can look for those influencers in such hashtags:

Football Cycling  Car 












































































  • Find influencers under the ‘Suggested’ field

If you have any niche influencers in mind, go to his/her Instagram, there is a section where Instagram suggests similar profiles for you to end up with a long list of potential affiliates.

#1 Go to the Instagram account of your desired influencer.

#2 Next to “Follow” or “Following,” click the “Arrow” button.

#3 Instagram will recommend profiles that are comparable to the profile of your ideal influencer. The suggested profiles may be seen above their Instagram post.

#4 Select “See All” to view all of Instagram’s suggested profiles.

Find influencers under the ‘Suggested’ field


  • Search influencers on the explorer pages (free; work on mobile)

“People go to the Explore page when they want to see photographs and videos from accounts they don’t currently follow linked to their interests.”

Instagram employs an algorithm to suggest items on Explore that you might be interested in based on your likes and visited pages. On their device, each individual sees a separate version of explorer pages.

As your niche is related to sports, Instagram will suggest you a list of profiles with good engagement here. You can go there and take a look, when finally making up your mind about the one to collaborate with, don’t forget to apply these influencers’ approach tactics.

Search influencers on the explorer pages (free; work on mobile)

5. UpPromote Marketplace

Many strong dedicated affiliate tools bring together many affiliate partners, making the affiliate recruiting process go faster.

The UpPromote Marketplace is where you can get help making things happen. All you need is a Shopify website and UpPromote installed on your store. Then you may go to the Marketplace to look for high-quality affiliates.

On UpPromote Marketplace, there are two ways to recruit affiliates for your sports brands:

Displaying your sports affiliate program on the Marketplace so that affiliates may see if they are eligible to join.

Another way is to proactively find your potential partners. In this way, you’ll be provided access to a list of affiliate profiles from which you can select the ideal affiliates to invite directly to join your affiliate program.

Go to UpPromote Marketplace > Find affiliates > Filter Industry. It will show a wide selection of potential partners related to the Sports and Entertainment Industry including their brief bios, industry involvement, language/ location, and social media outlets showcasing, for example, their Instagram or TikTok followers.

Sports influencers on UpPromote Marketplace

6. Your affiliate landing page

Including an affiliate page on your main website demonstrates that you are having an ongoing affiliate program and seeking appropriate affiliates. It should clearly explain how the program works, where they can apply, and what your terms and conditions are.

If you want to be more covert about growing their affiliate ties, you can construct a separate landing page just for the affiliate program.

You can establish a new look and feel to your usual brand with a unique landing page, and you can even investigate current affiliate program websites with powerful CTAs enticing affiliates to sign up.

It would be pointless without those affiliates to see your affiliate program. That’s why you should include them in a visible place such as your footer, header on your website for better sport affiliate recruitment.

Easily launching an affiliate registration page with UpPromote, which you can fully customize to showcase the program benefits, cookie length, and add up many fields you want, apart from required fields such as name, email, you can require your affiliates’ zip code, social media accounts, etc

Customize affiliate registration form

7. Work with an affiliate recruitment agency

Another efficient technique to get affiliates is to work with an affiliate recruitment service. These companies, unlike typical affiliate management businesses, are solely focused on finding and employing affiliates for your brands.

While you are in charge of the strategic aspects of your business, recruiting firms may assist you in making your offer and commission structure more enticing to potential partners.

There’re many agencies offering recruitment solutions connecting brands with a qualified partner team for scalable outreach campaigns and partner onboarding services like Grovia, Acceleration Partners, DMi Partners.

III. Final words

Are you ready to uncover the highest-quality affiliates for your sports brand? Remember to select affiliates with similar target audiences to yours, establish a thorough application procedure, and carefully screen each possible affiliate.

Some affiliate solutions also aid in the affiliate recruitment management of affiliates, allowing you to create a high-quality affiliate network. If you want to get started fast and easily, get started with UpPromote today.

With UpPromote, you can explore top-notch affiliates in all industries on UpPromote Marketplace, manage your affiliate team at your fingertips, track and analyze their performance easily. UpPromote – an all-in-one affiliate solution that you need.

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