Choosing an Affiliate Programme

By Andrea Beadle

Marketing products and services through the Internet is unquestionably easier and more rewarding compared to traditional marketing methods. With the millions of people worldwide getting online each day, there’s an enormous possibility for a merchant to sell his products and generate huge income.

Affiliate programmes provide a great opportunity to individuals as affiliate marketers. In affiliate marketing, you don’t need to have your own products and services to sell. All you need to do is to refer people to the merchant’s business site for them to buy the products and earn a commission.

The key to an affiliate marketer’s success is to choose a good affiliate program and to employ excellent marketing techniques in promoting or selling the products to consumers.

There is no “best affiliate marketing programme,” as one programme might make one affiliate a millionaire and the other a frustrated marketer. In other words, what works for me might not work for you.

For every individual business there is certainly a good affiliate marketing programme to start off with, the trick is finding the one that suits you.

Tips on selecting the right programme

It is helpful when if have already focused your search to a specific topic. This is most likely to be one that complements your own business and is probably going to be the theme of your website (See my article on building profitable websites).

This helps you to select a programme that really matches your needs, wants and resources. It is easier to eliminate options that are not suited to your business if you know what that is!

You can join affiliate forums and get tips and suggestions from experienced affiliate marketers. However, be wise enough to carefully consider their ideas before you buy into them.

Large Internet Affiliate marketing programmes are good places to look for early choices. See my page on Affiliate Programmes for some good examples. Merchants advertise their affiliate products and programmes and you are able to sign up for free. Good sites allow you to create a dedicated link that you can put on your site quickly and easily.

These are particularly helpful since they provide you with access to a large number of advertisers (merchandisers) simultaneously. Finding the top paying affiliate programmes on sites like ClickBank and CJ is easy as you can check their earnings-per-click rates and join those that convert the best.

Things to consider

In deciding which to join and which to reject, consider the quality of the products and services.

As an affiliate marketer your goal is not only to make visitors of your site click the link to the business site; but more importantly, to promote the product so they would buy it. If the customers are not convinced upon going to the business site, then you don’t earn. Think about why a customer might be visiting your site and give them what they want.

Make sure the products you are endorsing are saleable. Ask yourself: if I were the customer, would I buy it? Would I recommend it to my family or good friend? If you can’t convince yourself or your family and friends to buy it, take a look at your next option.

The Company’s history is also important. This is why some of the well established companies are so inviting. Look into their sales data, their proven and tested affiliate marketing systems and their partners’ experiences with them.

Although, success of the programme really depends on you, this one is still very important. The sales records don’t only show how good the affiliates are, but they speak about the products' reliability, market availability and the company or the merchandisers’ reputation as well. Moreover, look into and carefully study the company’s compensation plan. Your purpose for joining the programme is to earn, so make sure you’ll be paid for all your efforts fairly.

If you do not have much time to promote affiliate products by creating banners, graphics and articles, choose affiliate programmes that help you create these for your web site. If the company provides training on how to effectively market products online all the better. Remember that affiliate marketing is a partnership, so make sure your partner is able to support you as you help him promote his products and services.

Consider all the advantages and disadvantages of each programme you are considering so you can clearly see the difference among your options; then later, compare the advantages of the programmes with your own checklist. Take time to gather all the info you need to choose the right programme.

Remember an informed choice is the best choice.