Top affiliate programs are key to success and generating income. In other words, they are the reason why we are doing all this.
Now that you’ve established your affiliate website, it’s time to scour for sources of income. One of these is the affiliate program.
With so many affiliate programs available online, there will surely be at least one for your chosen niche, but I’m certain you’ll find much, much more than that as you keep publishing those articles.
I mentioned in my previous post that one vital success factor of a niche marketer is content. Once you get the hang of writing loads of consistent, market-relevant, and valuable content, you’ll be able to expound more on your topic coverage. The more subpoints you cover, the more possible affiliate sites to be tapped for possible income.
Also, as you upload more and more of these articles, the greater the probability that traffic will increase in your site which, in turn, translates into increased probability for sale conversions.
These sales will uncover a whole world of possibilities for you to earn.
This, for me, is the exciting and exacting part of your journey.
To get you started, I will discuss about how to search for excellent affiliate programs and what makes them so. Also, I will give you advice on what to do when you encounter growing pains as a new affiliate marketer.
So, let’s go!
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Where do you start your search for top affiliate programs?
Good old internet is first.
Where else deserves the first spot but the internet? To most of you, Google is the key to unlock these internet sites where these affiliate programs are.
Just key in ‘your subject’ ‘plus sign’ ‘your targeted program’ on the search bar and you’ll be given a page-full of programs to choose from regarding your chosen niche.
Do not be afraid to click and go further into one of these sites as there’ll be more of these to discover, and you’ll find, given that you’ve not chosen a highly specialized niche, a good number of programs to choose from.
I, myself, conduct regular visits to the top-ranking affiliate programs and visit the huge marketplaces, as well, such as Amazon, ClickBank, WarriorPlus, and so on..
Reach out to specific companies.
As soon as you determine your niche and the specific market, you’ll already have an idea of what product or service related to it.
Reach out to the companies that promote it and ask if they have affiliate programs that you can tap.
Of course, just like in applying for a job, you must have your traffic portfolio to show before you will be considered, but if not, you can still try this option. Who knows? A newbie such as you might just be what they are looking for.
Top affiliate programs communities.
Not all affiliate programs have their own dedicated application to take care of their online marketing.
Most will rely on an organized network of affiliate marketers to manage their promotion. These are usually equipped with tools and systems to take care of payouts, support services, as well as, tracking links which I will discuss later on in this article.
How do you determine the right affiliate program for you?
Look into how much they offer.
Like any business, the ultimate goal is to earn. If not, then it’s not a business. Top affiliate programs give top commissions.
It may be an advocacy or some other cause-oriented enterprise or government entity, but even these organizations still need to have some form of financial inflow in order to operate. However, that is not our story to tell.
Ours is a business, and our ultimate goal is to generate income.
With that in mind, one of the characteristics that we should look for in an affiliate program is, then, the commission offer.
I’m not recommending that you blindly target those that pay the highest commissions. Certainly not!
In order to build trust with your target market, you must promote products that really help or cater to your market’s needs.
That being said, the commission provided by an affiliate program should still be one of your important considerations vis-à-vis the benefits or value that the program’s product offers to your market.
So, from hereon, let us assume that the affiliate programs we are talking about here are the legitimate and value-adding ones since these build credibility and trust in our niche.
One thing that you should learn about is that the bigger the commission rate, the bigger the marketing campaign, which means the more time and effort you should be investing in it. It’s not only logical, but reasonable as well, for you to generate more income.
In other words, if the commission offered to you is only USD 5 for every sale, you should not put up a mega promotion that takes up half a year. It does not make sense in any business.
On the other hand, if the affiliate program offers you an 80-100 percent commission, then you should be putting together a bombastic campaign in order to keep those high commissions coming.
In my experience, dealing with huge commercial affiliate programs, you not only have to look at the value of the commission but also on the price of the products.
Usually, the larger the value of the product you have to market, the larger the rate of commission, and the lesser number of conversions you need to target.
For instance, if you are offered by one program a 20 percent commission of every USD 200 product that you sell, the value of income that you generate here is less than what you will earn from another program, offering only a 10 percent commission for every USD 500 product sold. This is because the former will give you USD 40 commission while the latter will give you USD 50.
So, when you promote goods that sell for only USD 8 each, even if it offers a 50 percent commission, you will need to have a lot of sale conversions in order to earn substantially, but, if you sell a USD 1,500 product that gives you 5 percent commission. That’s USD 4 commission versus USD 75. Get it?
one time or recurring ?
Remember what I discussed about the relationship between conversion, visitor traffic, and content?
So, if you need more sales, this means you need to drive up more traffic into your affiliate website to increase the chances of conversions.
This further means that you need to write as many articles as you can to get as many visitors to purchase these products.
The more articles you need to write, the more time and resource you will need to invest in order to do this.
This, therefore, means that if you are not a prolific and excellent writer or someone who just loves writing as many articles as he or she can without much consideration for income, then I suggest that you choose the affiliate programs that provide substantial commission.
Understood? Let’s now go further into the quality of commission you need to be aware about.
Find one that provides continuous opportunity for income.
Some affiliate programs offer a one-time commission for a sold product. Usually, these are those products sold at commercial marketplaces such as Amazon.
After selling, for instance, one television, you earn a one-time commission for that particular sale.
There are other affiliate programs, however, that offer continuous income with every product sold.
An example is the when an affiliate program offers you continuous commission for every subscription you sell, let’s say an application. They may give you a three percent commission every time a subscriber renews his or her subscription with that affiliate program.
Now that is one of those programs to target! Why? You only get to sell one product, but the commission keeps coming as long as that sold product is renewed.
See if they have other income-generating offers.
Most affiliate programs are content with their basic commission offerings. This means they simply let you sell, and then compensate you for every conversion you make.
Your relationship with them is, therefore, as straightforward as that.
Other affiliate programs, on the other hand, nurture their relationship with you by offering more than just flat commissions.
I’ve worked with some of the affiliate programs that encourage me to continue marketing their products through a bonus campaign.
Remember those exclusive membership cards offered by department stores wherein you get rewards for every point that you generate through your purchases?
Well, it’s kind of like that, to describe it plainly. Other affiliate programs offer you a cumulative commission for a certain number of sales that you reach. There are even some who give you rewards and raffle tickets to win in their competitions.
One of these affiliate programs once provided me a check of more than 200 dollars as a bonus for my cumulative conversions. Another enabled me to win additional money after being one of the high-ranking sellers for a particular product.
So, you see, the more chances of earning commissions are offered by an affiliate program, the better for you.
Watch out for these companies!
Consider working with an affiliate manager.
Since most affiliate programs only offer flat commissions and do not really bother to reward the number of sales you generate, it may be a good idea to partner with an affiliate manager.
In my case, I’m not completely dependent on my affiliate manager because I prefer my own pace and independence to conduct my promotion. If you are also that type, you may skip this part, but it can be beneficial to your business at times especially if you have an proactive affiliate manager and you’ve developed a comfortable relationship with him or her.
If you’re lucky at finding one, he or she will prove to be advantageous to your business.
They can be a source of support especially in the initial stages of operation as they can inform you about what is going on in your targeted market.
Also, when you’re quite occupied with churning out those articles, you may not be able to have time to check out updates or browse through forums for more opportunities to earn or grow your niche and so on.
At times, some of these experts can provide you technical knowledge that may help you get mor clicks or even important information that can enrich the content of your blogs.
Basically, these managers are additional sources of valuable income-generating information and growth opportunities.
If you make a sale, they too earn from it. Knowing that you have another person on your side definitely increases your chances of earning.
Know if they provide content support.
Ask if the affiliate program you’re targeting arm you with support tools to use in your marketing campaign.
In my more than 10 years in affiliate marketing, I learned to value those programs that do not only offer you commissions but also provide you with content that you can use in your promotion campaign.
I’ve dealt with affiliate programs that do not even have their own marketing material that I had to figure it out for myself. Some would be slightly better by pointing you toward their website from which to obtain some content to use in your promotion.
In these cases, it will solely be up to you to put this content together and come up with your own marketing strategy to push their products. This takes much time and effort.
So, one thing that would ease you of this burden is to find out if these affiliate programs have their own marketing material that you can easily upload to your website. Usually, these are the bigger programs who have already partnered with many affiliate marketers and know what they want.
Also, these are the ones who take care of their brands that they are careful with the message that they communicate to the market, even including those that go through affiliate marketing websites.
Now that you’ve reached this stage, I’m sure you’re already familiar with what a niche is or what your subject is, more or less.
If you’ve read my article solely on niche selection, you’ll know that a good niche is something that stays relevant for a long time. This means that it’s not just one that’s here today and gone tomorrow.
It’s a niche that you can produce as many articles about and these still stay valuable and relevant to your targeted market for a long time.
For instance, most health topics are ever-relevant niches because they will never be unimportant to our human existence.
So, when choosing affiliate programs, opt for those that cater to these niches for sustained income.
Look out for those programs that enable you to track sales.
In the race to generate as many sale conversions as possible, it would be quite a challenge to track your sales, especially if you’ve been around for a while and are dealing with a lot of affiliate programs.
In this case, you may lose control on how many sales you’ve made or worse, where these originate. When this happens, it would be smart to employ a reliable tracking system. This comes in a form of a link.
Sometimes, in order to simplify and penny pinch, you will not perceive the need to have this tracking system but when it happens that a large sale disappears, you may not be able to easily track it especially when you’ve already got millions of products sold in your several months of operation as an affiliate marketer.
It would be so much hassle. Besides, the data from these tracking systems can be very valuable. For instance, if you general a considerable amount of sales for an affiliate program, you would most likely want to discover what particular accounted for this, wouldn’t you.
On the contrary, if your sales dip from a hundred to just one in a day, wouldn’t you also want to learn why this occurred and how?
There are affiliate programs out there that assign identification codes or numbers for every sale you make while others can provide you with the information of which advertising display accounted for your sale.
I’m sure these types of data would be very much valuable indeed in your sale management.
Think about it!
Will they be around for long?
During your time of toil, you will eventually discover that not all affiliate programs last. There will be many of these that will fade out in the market.
My advice, then, is to investigate if your targeted affiliate program is going to be around for the long haul or is it just like any of those that ride the trend.
I’ve experienced dealing with affiliate programs that ceased operations after only a very short period.
If that happens to you after all the resources you’ve invested in its promotion campaign, it would be unfortunate, most of all a huge opportunity loss!
So, I strongly advise that you first research about your targeted affiliate programs. Determine their number of operational years in the business, or at least, their potential of staying long enough for you to earn after investing your time and effort.
One way of doing this is to also read the reviews or comments about the program. Take care, however, not to discredit a program because of one irate customer that gave it bad reviews. You’ll have to do your own deliberation, then, whether the risk is worth the benefit.
Another important aspect that will determine an affiliate program’s reliability is its payment network and system.
Usually, those that are in for the long journey are those that have very dependable bank networks and payment systems linked to them.
An example would be ‘Paypal,’ which is a common enough payout option and a lot of affiliate programs offer this as their payout option.
Newer affiliate programs may offer very good commission schemes because they need marketers but there is a risk that they may withdraw these later on.
What is the product’s sales conversion score?
Yes, there is a way to determine what goods and services have high sales conversions and which are low.
What is it called? It’s referred to as ‘earnings per click’ or ‘EPC.’
EPC measures the good’s or service’s ability to convert through the number of clicks it generates in all its markets and programs.
You can therefore use this EPC score to find out which affiliate programs offer goods or services that can convert easily and thus generate commissions for you.
The higher the EPC, the more affiliate marketers are earning, while the lower the EPC, the lesser the number of profitable affiliate marketers. You should of course compare EPC scores as in an apple to apple kind of evaluation.
Like all statistics, EPC numbers are not absolute. They are data that you can use to manage your profitability and upon which you may base your decision for choosing which affiliate programs to tap. The more information you have about affiliate programs, the wiser your selection is.
Another thing, a good EPC score is not, all the time, a positive indicator.
There are instances when a score has just been tampered at one time or that there was just a spurt in the numbers due to a once every three years marketing bonanza and so on, which brings me to my next advice.
Do not just look at a particular EPC score once. Do it several times and on varying periods so you can have a more wholistic perspective of how a product or good is actually performing.
Lastly, if your bid is declined, here are some of the things that you can resort to:
Do not be discouraged if your marketing bid gets declined by an affiliate program. It happens to most beginners like you. It’s mostly because you are new and have not built authority in your niche yet.
Authority means that you’ve not driven up considerable traffic to your website or you’ve not yet built sales traction in any product at this stage. This clearly sends a message to the affiliate program that you’re a risky partner.
This means that content is essential, and that traffic is your ticket to bagging those really good affiliate programs. Sometimes, newbies such as you resort to paid traffic just so they can ramp up their traffic, but this will cost and there’s also a risk of being scammed.
So, if you are declined, get in touch with them. Find out first the reason for their decision. There are a number of possibilities that could explain why they did not accept your application.
There will be instances that they just wanted to test if you are not a machine-operated site and are, in fact, human. Yes, it happens!
If not, negotiate how to get accepted. Do not just take ‘no’ for an answer and waste the established connection. Besides, persistence may also be a good indicator to them that you will be equally passionate about marketing their product.
Evaluate your website.
If you fail to get accepted after all the negotiation, it’s time to evaluate your affiliate website.
If it’s visitor traffic that accounted for your rejection, then work on your blogs. Keep them coming and use your keywords wisely. As a last option, you can even try paid traffic in your early stages.
I’ve written in my previous article about how to drive traffic to your website. I suggest you read this as I’ve outlined strategies on how to bolster your website traffic and increase the authority of your affiliate website.
As soon as you’ve got the numbers to show, go back to that affiliate program and reapply.
Have a blast with advertising.
In the unlikely case that you are declined by all the affiliate programs you’ve applied for, there is always display advertising to earn from.
Remember those regular pop-outs in your screen that promotes a good or service. Sometimes they’re a bit annoying but at time they’re too enticing that you get sidetracked and click on it. Those are what I am referring to.
With enough visitor traffic in your affiliate website, you will be able to partner with companies into running their display ads, at the same time, accumulate visits to your site, especially if the product is a widely patronized one.
If, for instance, a display advertising contract provides you to earn USD 175 per day with your visitor traffic of 1,500 daily. If you achieve 4,500 visits, imagine how much more income you can generate in a month, for starters.
The lesson here is that there are other opportunities to earn besides affiliate programs especially when you’re just starting.
One you increase your website traffic, then your options become wider and your earning capability increases.
Consider the next best choice.
If your application gets rejected by your top-choice program or product, apply for another program that lets you sell the less popular product but still targeting the same niche.
Of course, this goes without saying that there should be some sort of research on which to base this selection.
Ask around. Read reviews. Consult the affiliate manager. Check the marketplaces for its performance. Check social media. There are so many ways to determine the program’s value.
Get as much data as you can to support your decision.