10 Step’s to Choosing the Right Affiliate Program

Written By Ben Johnson on 21 February 2009 No Comments Yet

People often choose to promote affiliate programs with no prior research or consideration, you will often see internet marketers all jumping on the same bandwagon as soon as any old product comes out before they have actually even tried it themselves. For those of you who know me then you will know that when I talk about, promote or recommend any product it's because I've used it myself and had success with it or find it useful.

There are several things you need to ask yourself before joining and promoting any affiliate program. I use a ten step system when choosing who to affiliate with.

The 10 Step's to Choosing the Right Affiliate Program

  1. Is the affiliate program FREE to join?
  2. When will you recieve your payments?
  3. How many click through's do you need before you get paid a commission?
  4. What is the cookie life of the affiliate program?
  5. Do you have a range of affiliate stats to monitor your statistics?
  6. Will the affiliate program pay you for clicks and impressions along with the sales?
  7. Who is the retailer or seller you are about to promote and do they have an online presence?
  8. What tier system exists in their affiliate program
  9. If the product is a system or piece of software, have you had any success or used it yourself before?
  10. 10) How much commission will you earn?

Is the affiliate program FREE to join?

Most of the affiliate programs out there are completely FREE to join, if you are promoting someone's product for them why would you want to pay to join an affiliate program. I personally have never paid to join an affiliate program and I know that I never would.

When will you recieve your payments?

The majority of the affiliate programs tend to pay out at the end of the month and are usually 30 days behind, so if you earn a comission at the beginning of January then you will most likely get paid at the end of February. Of course this differs from program to program but its worth your time finding out. You should also find out how payment is issued to you, is it in the form of a check or direct deposit and do you have to have generated a minimum affiliate commission before you get paid?

How many click through's do you need before you get paid a commission?

This is something worth finding out, what is the hit per sale ratio? Basically all this means is how many hits on a particular link or banner does it take to generate a commission. Why is this important? This factor will give you an indication of how much traffic you may need in order to make a sale. This is particuarly relevant if you are promoting a product or program using any paid advertising such as google adwords. You will need to know an estimated cost of advertising before a sale is made to ensure that the product is going to be worth promoting financially.

What is the cookie life of the affiliate program?

You need to find out how referrals from an affiliate's site are tracked and for how long. The cookie life basically inidicates how long an affiliate referral is tracked after the person clicks through your banner or link. This is important because not all people will buy straight away. For example if we take the Amazon affiliate program and the Overstock affiliate program as two examples, Amazon have a 1 day cookie meaning that click through's will only be tracked for 1 day, so you only have 1 day to generate a commission from that potential customer. In contrast, the Overstock affiliate program has a 14 day cookie and so you have 14 days to generate a sale from that potential customer after they have clicked through. This is one of the reasons people are so adept to promoting the Overstock & eBay affiliate programs over the Amazon program because of the potential commission you can generate from returning customers.

Do you have a range of affiliate stats to monitor your statistics?

Does the affilite program offer any kind of statistical tracking system whereby you can see number of impressions and clicks. Both of these will give you an idea of how many times your banner/link has been viewed and how many times you have generated a click through.

Who is the retailer or seller you are about to promote and do they have an online presence?

Find out who you are going to be promoting, don't just promote them for the sake of it. Get to know the products they are selling and if it's a peice of software or an information product use it yourself & find out if it works before promoting it to other people. The more you know about the retailer and the product you are promoting then the more you will know if this affiliate program is really for you.

What tier system exists in their affiliate program?

A tiering system is a great way of generating extra income with an affiliate program. A single tier system will only allow you to generate affiliate earnings from sales which you have generated whereas a two teir or multiple tier program will pay you for your own generated sales and will also pay you a commission based on the sales of another affiliate who you sponsor in the program. Some affiliate programs, like the eBay affiliate program, will pay you a 'new user commission', eBay for example will pay you anything up to $40-50 per signup depending on campaign quality.

If the product is a system or piece of software, have you had any success or used it yourself before?

One thing I hate seeing is all the big so called guru's promoting new products when they are released into the market just so they can earn a 50% or higher affiliate commission from it. They are all too quick to tell you how great the product is and how it can change your life, have they tried it themeselves? I very much doubt it. If you are going to start promoting a product yourself, particularly software and info products, make sure you have read it or tried it for yourself first. Ask yourself a few questions:

- Does it do what is says on the 'tin'?
- Does it give value for money?
- Does it work?'
- Would you or have you used it yourself? If you haven't then in my opinion you shouldn't be promoting it, simple as that.

Treat your potential affiliate customers with respect and generally you will find they will trust you more for it.

How much commission will you earn?

This is the final thing you want to know, how much are you going to earn by promoting this product? Is it going to be worth your time? Many affiliate programs will pay at least 20% per sale nowadays and some pay anything up to 100%. Jus bear in mind the above 9 things before you make your decisision. Don't just choose to promote a program because it gives you a 75% return, this will only loose you trust with your potential affiliate customers and in the long run it will do you no favours.

Keep these 10 things in mind when chooisng the affiliate program to promote and you won't go far wrong. One last thing to remember, if your going to promote it, would you buy it?

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