Affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Affiliate programs offer merchants the opportunity to employ vast armies of sales people who only get paid for the results they achieve. Many beginners to affiliate marketing can also enjoy the fact that they can start an internet business even if they only have a shoestring budget.
Just about every affiliate program I have been involved with and researched comes complete with a website all ready set up to take orders. They even come with sales letters and ads that you can use.
The rewards for affiliates are high also, and the skilled affiliate marketer can earn many thousands of dollars a month. This win-win situation has led to an explosion in the number of affiliate programs that are available to the would-be marketer. With this increase of opportunities has come many questions; how do you go about choosing the right opportunity for you? What qualities should you look for in a program and which gives you a good chance of making a sustainable income?
Below are some tips that will help you to evaluate merchants and their programs, and help you to avoid wasting time and money.
1. How Much Commission Does The Merchant Pay?
This may seem obvious, but it is very important that you know how much you can expect to earn from a sale. There is no point in spending time and money promoting a product that doesn't pay well. You could end up spending more on marketing than you are likely to make on sales. It is probably best to stick with marketing products with a high commission value, unless you have found a niche market where you can sell vast quantities of product, and make substantial commissions on your volume of sales.
I recommend sticking with programs that offer at least a 50% commission. Anything less and youíll be spending more on advertising than what youíll make
2. How Much Traffic is the Merchant's Website Getting?
Try to discover the amount of traffic the merchant's website is already receiving. Alexa.com could be a useful tool for doing this research. If the website is ranked in the top 100,000, the merchant is getting a good volume of traffic, and there may already be too many affiliates. If it is ranked below 500,000 it is either no good or it could just be a golden opportunity to make some real money! Always research a merchant's product if their website has a low traffic ranking. It may be a good idea to buy the product yourself if you can afford to. Otherwise you could do a search to find out if there are any adverse comments about it on the internet. If all is well and the product is good, you may have found a gold mine!
3. How Often Are Commissions Paid?
Some merchants pay commissions every week; some once a month, others only pay every quarter. It is important that you know how often you can expect a pay check if you are going to have financial control over your business. Do you have the financial resources to continue to market a product if you have to wait a long time before you get paid?
It would also be wise to find out the minimum commission that you have to earn before you get paid. Some affiliates donít send your money until you accumulate a certain amount. What I like are the affiliates that pay as soon as a sale is made. They are the only programs I promote and recommend. I donít like to wait for my money.
4. Does The Company Use Tracking Cookies?
5. Does The Merchant Pay On Subsequent Sales?
The best time to learn about affiliate marketing is before you're in the thick of things. Wise readers will keep reading to earn some valuable affiliate marketing experience while it's still free.
Some merchants will only pay commission on sales that come through customers visiting their site via a direct link from your site. They pay you nothing for any subsequent purchases that the customer makes if they visit the merchants site directly. It is important that you get paid no matter what route the customer returns by if you are to build a sustainable business.
6. What Promotional Resources Does The Merchant Offer?
Look at the type and quality of the promotional material that they provide for there affiliates Do they provide articles or content that you can use to promote them on your site or free guides, special offers or samples? If the promotional resources are good it is likely that the merchant will provide good support for their affiliates. I also like to write my own ads for the affiliates I promote.
Sometimes you will get a better response using your own ads. If the affiliate program you are marketing has been around a long time, itís likely all the ads that come with the program have been seen over and over again. Fresh ads will have your reader think itís a new product.
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative business and an excellent starting point for anyone new to internet marketing. Finding the right merchant can be a tricky business. The best advice is to do your own research. Use the above questions as an aid to finding a merchant that enables you to reach your financial goals. You never know - You could strike gold!
About the Author:
Ed Rizzo has been involved with Internet Marketing for 10 years and has written Internet Marketing Courses and articles related to internet marketing and Home Based Businesses
Written by: Edward Rizzo