Crafty Content

Writing for QUALITY, not Quantity

Online affiliate programs are everywhere.  Really…

Since 1996 when affiliate programs were introduced to the Internet, a lot has changed.  In fact, everything has changed.  These days online affiliate programs drive many of the biggest fortune 500 companies online sales divisions.  This includes the likes of Zappos.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com…the list goes on and on.

Online Affiliate Programs - Example Companies

Even Google has their own affiliate network and affiliate program!  Affiliate programs are great for both the affiliate (YOU) and the merchant (the COMPANY).  You have the opportunity to earn money through the promotion of products and services you like and if you already have a website or blog, you have the opportunity to turn your traffic into a business.  I have written a post on the affiliate marketing business here:

Affiliate Marketing Business – Is there a PROPER methodology?

The company benefits in that they essentially have their very own online sales force.  Instead of them trying to promote their product to 100,000′s of people, they get 1,000′s of affiliates to do this…and they only have to reward them if they make a sale.    Having 1,000 people (or more) promoting your product is much better than you trying to do it yourself…and for the affiliate, having the opportunity to earn a good percentage of the commission also makes it VERY beneficial and profitable.

So where do you find affiliate programs?

There is an affiliate program for just about every company out there now.  If there is a product or a service for sale, chances are there is an associated affiliate program that people like you or I can sign-up to and promote.

The top place people go to find affiliate programs are “affiliate networks”.  These are networks of affiliate programs that require a single sign-up to access 1,000 and sometimes 10,000′s of programs, products, and services you can then promote.

There are also independent affiliate programs.  These are programs that decide to handle everything in house…that is, within their corporate structure.  This means they handle all credit card processing, support, refunds, and affiliate payments.

Both options are good and I recommend both, it really depends on what sort of products would tie in well with your target audience, your promotion, and your marketing agenda.

What makes a good affiliate program good?

There are four components to a good affiliate program.  I warn you that not all affiliate programs are good, and not all products are of equal quality, so you need to consider the following when choosing an affiliate program.

(1) The quality of the product.

As you know, not every brand or every product is created equally.  The same goes for programs online.  Some products are much better than others.  Some sales pages are better than others.  It is best to research a product before you become an affiliate of it as there may be negative reviews or the quality of the product may be low.

(2) Affiliate training and resources.

Many online affiliate programs offer resources and training for their affiliates.   This may include banners, tutorials, text ads, example emails, and keyword lists.   Although I prefer to get training elsewhere, sometimes this can be very helpful for newbies entering an niche they don’t know a heck of a lot about.   It can also save time.

(3) The affiliate support.

Often times affiliate programs come with an affiliate manager that you can personally work with to give you support with your campaigns.  Also, they may be able to offer you insight into the specific niche based on case studies they have performed within their company.  This data can speed up the research process and save you time.

(4) The Payout.

Yes, the payout is important.  If you are promoting a product that costs $100 and pays 1% you are going to have a very tough time turning a profit or making anything worth the time and effort.  Obviously you want to promote products of quality, but you also want to consider how much you are getting paid.  Digitail products typically pay the most (up to 75%) because the overhead is so low.   I suggest you aim for a minimum payout of $10 commissions.

Where to get Affiliate Program Training

It is important to know what you are doing and to stay if you are looking to become a top tier affiliate.  By this I mean, the Internet changes quickly for affiliates because of new regulations, new Google Adwords changes, new search engine marketing techniques, and new copywriting strategies.

If you are looking to get training, there are many affiliate marketing training facilities out there.  The one the stands out is Wealthy Affiliate University (WAU) and this offers elite training to affiliates on a wide range of topics including:

  • Pay Per Click
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Marketing
  • Article Marketing
  • Website Development Strategies
  • Back-linking
  • Copywriting
  • Blogging

This affiliate training also includes access to a nice suite of tools, training, and support to supplement your education and really offer you an opportunity to build an affiliate marketing business from ground zero. For more information about this school, click here.

The benefit of using Affiliate Networks

There are independent affiliate programs, and then there are affiliate networks.  An independent affiliate program is run, managed, and technically controlled by the company, whereas an affiliate networks is a 3rd party company that handles all the transactions, reporting, and payments for MANY affiliate programs.

For example, the largest digital affiliate network (e-books & software), Clickbank has over 12,000 products you can promote within a single network.  This can be beneficial for the affiliate as you only have to sign-up to the affiliate program ONCE and you have access to promote 10,000+ products.

There are many affiliate networks out there, with the top 10 affiliate networks being:

  1. Clickbank.comClickBank is the largest digital network online, that has recently introduced both recurring products and shipped products to their database of merchant offerings.
    Since the Clickbank affiliate network contains mostly digital products, it is very cheap and low overhead for the merchants.  Because of this, they average commission offering is usually over 50% of the total gross commission, often times 75%.  This can easily add up considering the average product price on clickbank is around $50 (you get $25-$37.50 per sale).

    There are tools and training specifically designed for the Clickbank network.  If you are interested in these, click here.

  2. Commission Junction Now owned by ValueClick, Commission Junction was one of the first affiliate networks. It is also one of the most important with many of the Top Fortune 500 companies listed here.CJ is an international network with excellent stats and tracking (some of the best you will find), along with regular monthly payments makes this the obvious first choice for anyone wishing to try affiliate marketing.
    For those new or old at affiliate marketing, CJ also holds regular seminars and training sessions.

    Most merchants offer pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale, one of the best features is the performance bonuses and incentives. As most experienced marketers will know, selling 50k to 100k each month for merchants will bring in the big incentives or bonuses.

    Commissions run as high as 50% but most are in 3% to 15% range. You have the option of direct deposit for your payments. One major plus, CJ will tell you which merchants
    and ads are earning the most revenue for affiliates so you can easily choose which merchants are worth promoting.

  3. Linkshare LinkShare is another excellent affiliate network. It is one of the oldest affiliate networks on the web. LinkShare was recently acquired by the Japanese Portal Rakuten, with a price tag of $425 million.Very good stats and reporting with their Synergy Analytics system. Many Top Fortune 500 companies are presented here so you will no trouble finding products and services to romote.
    LinkShare pays commissions as they receive them from merchants – monthly checks.
  4. ShareASaleThis is one of the most popular professional affiliate networks on the internet. It’s a very large too, with over 2000 quality advertisers you can choose from. Each of these merchants has a different type of product that they are selling.
  5. RegNowThis affiliate program has covered every possible niche within the segment of software – have a look at their product finder and you’ll understand what we’re talking about. Audio, Business & Finance, Games, Home & Education and Internet – you can find it all here, and some more to that.
  6. Flux AdsFlux Advertising can provide you with the best offers online so that not a single impression, email, pop, or pay-per-click action is wasted. As a Flux Affiliate you’ll have access to the ‘Net’s top performing offers and most competitive payouts.
  7. Clickbooth.com It’s an advanced affiliate network with many quality and popular advertisers. Guaranteed highest payouts in the industry for the publishers. Supports referral program where you can earn more money by referring users to this service.
  8. RevenueLoop.comProvides publishers access to thousands of online advertisers. All offers are tracked by a real-time, online accounting system, giving our publishers complete control over their campaign. RevenueLoop’s advertising network will help you to generate that sought after additional revenues.
  9. Affiliate WindowAffiliate Window is an UK based affiliate network which offers top brand companies and good commission rates. Pays once a month and has excellent stats.Savvy affiliate marketers know promoting in other countries can be much easier than promoting in the American market place. Mainly because these other countries haven’t become saturated with online marketers, little competition means more sales.
  10. CPA Empire.comGreat CPA (Cost Per Action) network especially if you do a lot of email marketing and promotions. Geared towards acquiring leads and sign-ups but does offer other merchants as well. Good stats and reporting.

A quick 2 step process to finding ah Affiliate Program for any product

Thousands of companies decide to run their affiliate programs “in house” because they either require or seek full control of their affiliate data and prefer to work with affiliates independently.

I first hand know that some of the top online affiliate programs out there are independent and you can truly miss out on many great affiliate programs if you rely solely on affiliate networks.  Because of this, I want to give you an easy 2 step process for finding ANY affiliate program within any niche just using a quick search in Google.

Step 1: Search using the following template:

affiliate program + YOUR_NICHE  …replacing YOUR_NICHE with, well, your niche.  An example of this in a pretty small niche would be for “dog food” programs.  Let’s have a look using the following search:

affiliate program + dog food

Here are the example results:

affiliate programs for dog food
As you can see, 3 of the first 4 results were related affiliate programs!  For dog food!!  This works for pretty much any niche imaginable, regardless of how obscure.

Step 2: Sign-up to affiliate program and grab your links

It is that easy to find affiliate programs…2 steps to online affiliate program success.

Now it is time to get some training, to get affiliate website created, and to get your affiliate campaigns rolling.

Take care and good luck,

Crafty

 

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