When I initially started affiliate marketing, I knew nothing about which affiliate program to join. I just read somewhere that OfferVault is the best place to get information about several affiliate networks as well as several products. I must say, that OfferVault has really helped me a lot in my journey to Affiliate Marketing success. I am not a marketing superhero doing a six-figure business though. I would like you to understand a few basic points while selecting the affiliate program which suits you the best.
- First things first. Select your niche and while doing that, don’t forget to consider the scope of marketing it and the products available for you to promote. You can also take into account the percentage of commission that the products are offering. Prepare a list of affiliate programs which you think are lucrative.
- Secondly, while selecting the affiliate program do your part of researching through the pile of affiliate programs thoroughly. I have listed a number of points which will help you decide and understand what you will be achieving later on.
A short Checklist before joining any affiliate program:
- Joining fees/charges: This should be your first and foremost concern. Majority of the affiliate programs available today are free of any joining charges or annual charges. It does not make sense to pay for joining any affiliate program unless the charges are nominal and the program has got a very large ROI (return on investment).
- Payout Cycle and Mode of Payment: There are different modes of payment adopted by different Affiliate Networks. Some of them issue a Check, some allow wire-transfer (payment directly into your bank account) while some affiliate programs do payment through PayPal. All programs are different and their payout cycles are also different. Some affiliate programs issue checks every fortnight, some monthly and some issues checks quarterly. While issuing checks, the affiliate programs also take into account a minimum threshold amount in your account before the payment is done. If you select wire-transfer as your mode of payment, then generally they charge a small amount of fee for each transfer. So, you have to decide your mode of payment based on your convenience.
- Hit per sale ratio: This is another important deciding factor of selecting an affiliate program. What it means is the number of text link/banner hits required to do a sale. This simple ratio means a lot because you can easily estimate your earnings based on the number of hits that you can send to the product site. A high hit/sale ratio also means that the product is much in demand. On the other hand it also means that there are obviously numerous affiliate marketers who would be promoting the same product resulting in a higher competition.
- Referral tracking: A good affiliate program must have a good tracking system. You should have the confidence that the program will track hits referred by you properly. In fact this is the only way that you will be rewarded for any sale. Another important factor is to find out the period of time that a particular hit is tracked on their system. The reason for this is that most of the times people do not prefer to buy the product initially and may prefer to return at a later time to purchase the product. A good affiliate program should give you credit for a sale even if is done after a few days or months from a certain day the hit was generated. Most affiliate programs I came across usually retain your hit stats between the range of 45 to 60 days, though there are some programs which track referrals for as long as a year or even more.
- Kinds of Affiliate Stats Available: The affiliate program you choose should provide you detailed statistics about your referrals at ease. These stats are very important as you know how many impressions, hits and sales you generated. If you notice that a lot of impressions generated only a few clicks and out of the few hits, only few converted into sales, then that is a clear indication that your sales letter/other marketing strategies are not doing well. In such cases you should experiment with different marketing strategies.
- Does the Affiliate Program have PPV/PPC: PPV stands for “Pay per View” and PPC stands for “Pay per Click”. What it means is that you get paid for impressions and hits as well. It is best if you can find a program that allows both PPV and PPC or at least pays for PPC as that will add to your earnings from sales commission. But, keep in mind that affiliate programs which allow PPV or PPC generally offer lower sales commission than other programs.
- Brand value of the retailer: You should know which online retailer you’ll be dealing with – his brand value, his previous sales history, etc. Just go through the company profile, the products they are selling, the product feedback and the average sales they are achieving. This will help you decide if that program is really the right one for you and your site.
- Is the affiliate program one tier or two tier: The meaning of a single tier affiliate program is that it pays only for the business you generate yourself whereas a two tier program means that you get paid for sales you bring in plus a commission on the sales generated by your sub-affiliates. Some affiliate programs even pay you for bringing in new affiliates. In online marketing this recruitment fee generally goes down one level deep and can go down to multiple levels in case of offline marketing programs.
- Amount of Commission Paid: Lastly depending on the market you get into, you’ll notice that a commission of 5%-20% is fairly a good amount for each sale. On the other hand if you join any affiliate program which pays for PPC then the typical percentage varies between 0.01% to 0.05% for each hit. And in case of PPV affiliate programs, this commission rate is very negligible. With the figures above, I guess you can now easily understand the importance of the hit to sale ratio.
These are just some of the points that need to be considered first before you join an affiliate program. You should also become familiar with the many important aspects that your chosen program has before incorporating them into your marketing campaign and website.
To start with, I suggest you to select Digital Products as they are much easier to sell. For digital products, ClickBank is the best place to start. But if you are looking on a wider network, with lots of products (both physical and digital), my recommendation for one of the best Affiliate Program sites going is Commission Junction (CJ). They have a wide variety of both affiliate programs and payouts. CJ is certainly worth a look if you want to get serious about this type of Affiliate Marketing.