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.
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.
Joining an affiliate program and promoting it on your site is an easy way to make extra money from the traffic you get to your site. But just as you can join someone else's affiliate program, so you can also set up your own program and invite webmasters to sign up as long as you have YOUR OWN product to sell.
What would that bring you? The same as what you bring your affiliate partners: sales. Every time someone sends you a visitor who buys your product or service, you give a portion of that money to your affiliate. It's an easy way to generate free traffic and earn extra cash.
And you don't need to be a programming genius to set up an affiliate program. There are a whole bunch of companies out there that offer entire affiliate kits right off the shelf.
AssocTRAC.com lets you run a fully featured affiliate program from your website. It integrates with virtually every payment method, awards down-line commissions, and can handle high-traffic websites. You can edit the sign-up form to match the "look and feel" of your site as well as delete some of the optional fields. The administration area allows you to edit affiliates and commissions, create printable reports of money due, export the data to a text file, view the traffic through your affiliate program, and much more. Your affiliates can log in at any time and see their traffic and commission statistics as well as change their information and get links banner codes and all other promotional materials you provide.
Once the program is set up you'll only need to log in once a month to print out a list of the affiliates, their addresses, and the money owed. You can do this quarterly if you wish. You can export the payments owed to a text file in PayPal's "mass pay" format and then just upload it to your PayPal account to pay everyone automatically.
Or, you can simply write your own checks. If you have to pay a lot of commissions, there is a check printing service called Qchex.com that works well. Simply upload the file and they'll print and mail your checks for a relatively small fee.
Alternatively, you can run your affiliate program without installing any software on your own server using powerful server-based affiliate tracking systems like 1ShoppingCart.com or ClickBank.com.
Any time you run a program where your affiliates rely on sending you visitors to make money, you will eventually have a problem with spam. One of your affiliates will inevitably get it into their head to blast the web with unwanted garbage.
When this happens you need to be ready to take action. Otherwise, it will cost you! Your website hosting company can boot you off your server and you can find yourself blacklisted. If you get an email from someone claiming they received spam with your URL, then take it as an early warning. I am not advising you to immediately terminate the affiliate's account, but be sure to contact them to follow up on the complaint. Let your affiliate know you received a complaint and advise them to remove this person from their list immediately.
If you only get one or two complaints, it's probably not spam. The complainants might simply have signed up for an email list and forgotten all about it. You will know when one of your affiliates is spamming, because you will get anywhere from 10 to 100 complaints in the same day all regarding the same URL. The best thing to do in this case is to immediately terminate or disable the account of the affiliate URL that has spammed.
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