Affiliate programs (also called Referral Programs or Partnership Programs) are essentially commission-based income opportunities. With an affiliate program, you get paid for sending customers to other company’s websites. Affiliate programs are widely believed to be the easiest way to start making money online. Here’s how it works: When you sign up to become an affiliate for a company, you receive a special link with your own unique affiliate ID embedded into it to promote that company’s product(s). Example: AffiliateCompanyWebsite.com/YOUR-AFFILIATE-ID. Next, you simply add your new affiliate link to your website, newsletter or anywhere else. Then when people use your link to get to the other company’s website and subsequently buy a product from them, YOU earn a commission. You benefit from the commission earned and the affiliate company benefits from sales it would NOT have otherwise made without your promotional efforts. For example, if you’ve ever gone to a website and seen links to Amazon, those were affiliate links. If you click those links and end up buying the product on the next page, the webmaster whose website you originated at will earn a commission from Amazon.
Joining an Affiliate Program
As with any marketing venture, you need to be careful in the selection of an affiliate program. The benefit of an affiliate program is that it gives you another way to make money from your website visitors. Instead of selling them a product yourself, you send them to a partner and take a cut.
On the downside though, your affiliate ads will take the place of a different ad that you could have put in that same spot. You have to make sure that each advertising position on your site is bringing in the maximum revenue possible. If you’re not getting the most from your site, you’re throwing money away.
The key to success is to choose the right program, right from the beginning. Click here to learn about 5 affiliate programs I belong to who pay out big commissions every month to myself and many others. Now, a lot of commercial sites run affiliate programs. That’s because they know that they only have to pay a commission if a sale is actually made; it’s a proven way to generate revenue without risk. What that means for you is that when it comes to choosing an affiliate program, you’re going to have a huge range to choose from. What it all boils down to though is product and price. While it might be tempting to go for the program that pays the highest commissions, the program won’t pay you a penny if your visitors won’t go there or won’t buy once they get there. You have to be certain that the service you’re promoting is of genuine interest to the kind of visitors you get to your website, whether you’re buying them from search engines or anywhere else.
Sure, you can work backwards: You find a high-paying affiliate program and create a small site to send users to it, but do you know where to buy traffic for a program like that? You’re going to have to research the field, check out the most popular sites, and negotiate banner campaigns and link exchanges.
That’s fine if you want to invest the time and the effort. But it’s much easier to find an affiliate program operating in a field you’re familiar with, and use that program to earn extra cash. For example, suppose you had set up a dating site. You might make some money selling subscriptions, but you might make even more by joining Match.com’s affiliate program and referring your visitors to them. Unless you’re planning to be the Internet’s biggest
dating site, you’re not going to be able to compete directly and beat them, but you can help them — and make money doing it. Or rather than sell your users directly to a competitor, you can look for services that complement your own. Visitors to your dating site, for example, might be interested in buying flowers, books on relationships or tickets on singles cruises. Instead of selling just one product such as membership subscriptions, you’d be selling a whole range of different goods to the same people and increasing the sources of your income.
Here are some tips to selecting an affiliate program that is lucrative and right for you:
Don’t accept less than 25% commission. You can find affiliate programs with great payment structures and high percentages of the purchase price in just about every field. In fact, many affiliate programs pay out 50%-75% depending on the type of product. Look for comprehensive statistics pages that list the number of click-throughs, sales and earnings so you can see how you’re doing. The information should be broken down by month.
Look for programs that offer a wide variety of promotional tools to put on your web page, including text links, banners, articles, brandable ebooks, etc.
Find out how often you will be paid and make sure that the payment schedule meets your expectations. Some programs pay biweekly, many pay monthly, others quarterly; which is best for you? Look for examples of marketing methods that successful affiliates are using to get the best results. Make sure that top level support is given. If they can’t answer your questions promptly and intelligently, you don’t want to work with them.