There are literally thousands of affiliate programs that are available to join. Everywhere I look, there seems to be a new affiliate program starting up. Many of them claim that they can generate easy money and rewards. Often times, I look into these offers of instant success and they seem to be on the shady side of the law or some kind of pyramid scheme.
It can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I myself have joined dozens of affiliate programs only to find their products to be wholly unsatisfactory to my needs. However, I do take it upon myself to look into these programs and find the right one, both for myself and for all of you, my readers.
Why Participate in an Affiliate Program?
First off, if it’s so hard to find a good one, why participate in an affiliate program? It’s one of the few ways that you can earn residual income without the need to create your own product. Think of the simple formula of economics: supply and demand. A good affiliate program takes the problems of supply out of your hands. One half of that equation is solved for you. Now, all you have to do is generate the demand.
But first, you have to find the right program.
Chose the Right Affiliate Program
Over the course of time, I’ve developed a few characteristics that I look for in an affiliate program. These are just simple guidelines that I use to help me out when I’m choosing the right affiliate.
- Chose an affiliate program that produces something of interest to you. Having a genuine interest in a product makes it much easier to promotes. It gives you a foundation when you write and your readers can sense your familiarity with the product.
- Chose an affiliate program that offers a real product. It’s amazing how often I will go to the website of some affiliate program and try as I might, I can’t figure out what kind of product or service they provide. That’s a huge red flag that the method of making money that program employs is possibly a pyramid scheme or illegal. There’s no such thing as making money for nothing.
- Chose an affiliate program that is high quality. There are a few reliable affiliate networks that you can join that have build a name for themselves. If you are extra careful, you can stick within the few big names: clickbank, commission junction, and linkshare.
- Chose an affiliate program that pays out residual income or a higher percentage. Now, I balance the payout against the reliability of the program. Also, I do like programs that allow for subaffiliates. This is a good way to continue earning residual income in a win-win situation. Here are a couple of programs that pay out lifetime commissions on subaffiliates. adfly gives a lifetime 20% on subaffiliate earnings. If you like the local coupon niche, moolala is a new one that gives a lifetime 2% on all it’s sales, and goes 5 levels deep.
- Chose an affiliate program with a good analytics system. Check out the program’s analytics system. I hate when I join a program and they have no way for me to check on my statistics. If there’s no way to check on your clickthroughs and payouts, you are flying completely blind. Frankly, I think that’s a shady practice as you have no way to tell if the program is paying you honestly.
- Chose an affiliate program with a low payout threshold. Be careful about programs that have high payout thresholds. If a program requires a minimum quota or has an unreachable payout threshold, they might as well be creating a formula where you may never get paid. I personally don’t like the practice of having a payout threshold at all. My thought is I ought to get paid if I did some work for you and generated even $1. However, it’s become a standard in the industry to set these payment thresholds, so we live with them. I do try to select the programs that have the lowest thresholds. Here are a couple that I’ve found: Linkshare’s network pays out when you reach $1. Also, if you like advertising on twitter, Mylikes pays out every friday when you hit $2.
- Chose an affiliate program that has plenty of tools for you to advertise. While, you don’t have to stick to using just the banners and ads that they give you, it makes your job easier when they have a good selection. Coupon codes and incentives are always a good tool to look for in an affiliate program.
- Chose an affiliate program with good support. Affiliate support is a big bonus. I don’t always need to contact the program and ask for help, but there a few times I’ve run into glitches. At those times, you really want a program that has a quick and responsive support.
- Visit some forums and see how other people rate the affiliate program. Sometimes you will run across members who have had a bad experience with a program and you can learn from their experience. You’d be surprised at how many programs will simply just not pay out. Well, that’s not cool! You certainly don’t want to put in months of work before figuring out the program’s bad business practices. Find out early and you can save yourself some headaches later on.
These are a few tips that I’ve picked up over time working with various affiliate programs. Overall, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your business partnerships with the affiliate program. When it all boils down, this is a business partnership. Just as you wouldn’t jump blindly into a real world partnership, you should be just as careful when you chose an affiliate program.