Guides

Affiliate Marketing Programs: How to Choose the Right Ones

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money online! Okay okay, that’s a bold statement. Making money online is not so easy always.

There is no push button. No silver bullet. No overnight success. Nothing like that, ever. There is hard work (errr – actuallysmart work) involved with making money online – just like making money with any other business.

It all builds up strategically. There is no magic; and there is no accident.

Affiliate Marketing Programs: How to Choose the Right Ones - image  on https://trunk.lyAffiliate marketing is however one of the easiest or much easier ways to make money online (compared to the other money making methods). Here’s why –

First, you don’t need to create a product. You know how painful it is to create a product. I’m NOT discouraging you to create your own product; but I hope you get the idea. I mean, you need not spend time and money in creating your own product. You have a product ready already, that you can promote. How cool is that?

Second, most of the marketing is already done. You just need to do the extra bit on your part.

Third, you don’t have to deal with painful, and time consuming support issues with the product. Everything is taken care of by the product owner.

Fourth, you earn a really good portion of commission. Most product owners offer something like 30-75% commission on product sales. On the higher end, sometimes, affiliate marketers earn more than the product owners themselves. How cool is that?

OK, but not all affiliate programs are good to make money. You know life is not that easy, even if there’s an easier way of doing things! You need to be careful in picking the products to promote – if you pick the wrong ones, you can get into various types of troubles!

Let’s see what kinda features you need to look for in the affiliate marketing programs/products you plan to promote.

The product – oh yes, this matters the most!

While you might think that affiliate marketing is about money, it is not. It is actually about building trust.

Promote a crappy product – break the trust – end of story!

While you might be hunting for products that pay 100% commission or whatever, you must have a clear knowledge about every product and make sure you promote only good quality products.

You are going to recommend something to your readers. It is not a one-time-sale kinda relationship. It should be a long term genuine relationship. So you need to personally make sure that the product is good AND relevant to your readers.

Either put your hands on the review copy, or get on the beta testers list, or better yet, purchase the product and use it for a reasonable amount of time before you make a recommendation or write a review.

If you neglect this step or take it lightly, you will fail with your affiliate marketing!

For the rest of the post, I am assuming that you look at the quality of the product first before taking anything else into consideration.

Commission value

Oh yes, the money. It matters a lot too. Go for affiliate marketing programs that give you a decent piece of the pie.

If it is a $20 product and if it offers a 5% commission, you know…you get the idea. But if it is a $1000 product and if it offers a 5% commission, you should go for it.

So basically you need to look at two things: The price of the product and the commission rate.

Do the math!

The type of commission

 One time commission – There are one-off sale products where you promote the product, make a sale and make a commission. And everything ends there. These are fine, you should go for them.

 Commission on all up-sells – There are also products where you refer a sale and make a commission. The product owner then takes the buyer to an up-sell and if it is successful, you get a commission on the up-sell as well.

Recurring commission – You make one sale and then get paid multiple times. My top affiliate product that earns me recurring commission is Aweber. I need to convince my reader only once, and I get a commission every month for as long as he/she stays as a paying customer.

Tiered commissions – You refer a sale and make a commission. And then, the person you referred becomes an affiliate of the product and he/she refers another person and he/she makes a commission. You make a commission on that sale as well. There are some affiliate marketing programs that offer up to 5 tier commissions!

Cookies

Cookies are the key elements that help track your affiliate code when you refer a sale. The product owner (or the affiliate program software) recognizes that indeed you have referred a particular sale by using cookies.

This is bit tricky and the duration of cookie tracking varies with various affiliate programs. There are programs that remember your cookies for only 24 hours – Example Amazon.

So if the person you refer bought anything from Amazon within 24 hours of clicking through your link, you get the commission. If he/she makes a purchase after 24 hours you won’t get the commission.

There are also affiliate marketing programs where cookies are active for up to a year!

The kind of sale

Let’s say you recommend a product to your reader and he/she clicks through your link and goes to the product site. There are sites that have more than one product. Example – Amazon.

Let’s say your reader was not happy with the price of the product (that you had referred originally) but checks out other products in the site and eventually buys another product (which you didn’t recommend at all) – you still make a commission because you managed to get the person to land on that site and make a purchase – it doesn’t matter if that person actually bought the product you referred or another product. You still get a commission!

Affiliate Marketing Programs: Takeaway

I’d like to emphasize again – it is not about making money but its about building trust.

So make a recommendation to a product ONLY if you have found out that the product is good.

Sometimes things change. A product that was good once may not be good now – if so, do not feel shy to “update” your recommendation on a particular affiliate maketing program.

I’ve done this before.

Your readers will LOVE you for your honesty and there’s no easier and robust way than this to build an affiliate marketing system that can make money in the long term.

If you are writing a review about a product, do not write a “buy-this-product-by-all-means” kinda review. Highlight both the good and bad aspects of the product. Don’t be shy to highlight the negative aspects in the review.