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Choosing the Best Affiliate Program

When you join an affiliate program, your primary goal is to make commissions by recommending products. If you are just starting out, the first step is to decide which niche, or area of interest, you want to be in. If you’re already an established business owner or blogger, you should already have a niche selected.

Use the following tips to help you choose the best affiliate programs to promote. 

A niche of health is way too broad, so you need to niche it down further such as fitness, weight loss or alternative health topics. Always be selective when choosing products to promote. Products need to be relevant to your audience and high quality. 

Only work with merchants that have a good reputation, are honest and trustworthy. Search to see how many other affiliates are promoting their products. Read the testimonials on their site. 

Read the reviews. Using the search engine, type in the product name, company and the word ‘review’ to see what others are saying. If they sell through Amazon, read the reviews there.     

What are their commission payment terms? Do you have to meet a minimum amount before they pay you? Do they pay by check, PayPal, direct deposit or another form? When do they pay; weekly, monthly, quarterly?

When possible, take a product for a test run before you start promoting it. Ask for a sample or buy if it’s not too expensive. Talk to their customer support, even if it’s just a simple question to get a feel for response time and professionalism. Not only will you get a feel for the product, but also the company.

Watch for companies who have outrageous claims. If they are promising big commission checks overnight, skip them and find someone more trustworthy.

Make sure the merchant is transparent. You don’t want to work with people who hide from their customers and affiliates. If they don’t have a clear way to contact them. If they seem shady in any way, move on.

Three common commission models:

  1. Earnings/Pay Per Click (EPC/PPC): When someone clicks your affiliate link you are paid a flat rate whether they buy or not.
  2. Earnings/Pay Per Lead (EPL/PPL): You are paid a flat rate when someone uses your affiliate link and signs up, subscribers, or otherwise engages with the site in a specific way.
  3. Earnings/Pay Per Sale (EPS/PPS): When someone uses your affiliate link to visit a site and they buy a product/service. You are paid either a percentage of the sale or a flat rate. 

Conversion rates tell you how many clicks you need, on average, before someone will take the appropriate action (buy, subscribe, etc.). For example, if you told 1,000 people about a product and 50 people bought the product using your affiliate link, you would have a 5% conversion rate (50 divided by 1,000)

Conversion rates vary between programs, networks, niches, industries, products, and affiliates. But here are some stats you might want to know…

Average conversion rates for most affiliate program is somewhere between 2.5% and 5%. If you know your audience well and can offer them products or services that meet their needs, you might reach the higher end of that spectrum. On average though, you will, most likely, fall around 3-4%.

Choose affiliate programs with decent payouts. Some pay a flat dollar amount per click, lead or sale; others pay a percentage of the cost of the product. 

Ask yourself this, based on your audience, would it be easier to sell 5 copies a $500 product that pays $100 commission per sale or would you do better selling 20 copies of a $50 product that pays 50% commission on each sale? Both will earn you $500 in commissions but how hard will it be to sell each type?

How many sales do you generally make when you recommend something (your average conversion rate)? Do you see more sales if the product is low-priced, say, under $30? Does price impact their buying decision or are they happy to pay a lot more for a product that solves their problem? Knowing your subscribers purchasing habits helps a lot when determining which products and payment option will generate the biggest revenue with the least amount of work. 

Look for affiliate programs that offer a commission on future sales. For example, they may have a monthly membership and you would earn commissions each month that the people you refer stay a paying member. 

Companies that offer long-term ‘cookies’ also allow you to earn future commissions. For example, you refer a person to a company’s website. That person becomes a customer based on your referral. They come back in 3 months and buy something else from that company, you would earn commission on that sale as well because you have been ‘cookied’ (marked) as the original affiliate.

By Jezza

Jezza is the owner of SMBJ Virtual Solutions dedicated to helping businesses grow through outsourcing services and business support such as administration, research, data entry collection, social media management, and bookkeeping.

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