4 Highly Profitable Affiliate-Marketing Programs

affiliate-marketing-programsSo, you’re considering an affiliate-marketing program as a means to monetize your blog or add another income stream to your e-commerce site. But which networks offer the most profitable, highest-quality products and present the best revenue opportunities? Good question.

Here’s a look at four leaders in the field:

  1. Amazon Associates — Amazon sells millions of products (books, music, electronics, toys, and more) that fit into virtually any niche, so its affiliate marketing program is a natural choice for almost anyone. Comparatively speaking, its payouts are generous, too: They vary based on product type and sales volume, but commission rates start at 4 percent and can reach up to 15 percent for specific product lines. However, note that Amazon’s program is now illegal in several states (although there are some work-arounds).
  2. Commission Junction — This site serves as a clearinghouse for thousands of companies and small businesses looking to get into the affiliate business. It offers myriad affiliate programs, but you must apply separately to each one. Payout rates vary wildly, up to 50 percent, and some commissions are based on leads or clicks vs. sales. Frustratingly, Commission Junction deducts $10 from your accrued earnings for every month in which you don’t actively earn commissions; if you let your account lapse, your income could get wiped out.
  3. LinkShare — Like Commission Junction, LinkShare provides access to affiliate-marketing opportunities from a variety of companies, including Buy.com. LinkShare’s site features an easy-to-read publisher dashboard that keeps you apprised of the latest offers from your merchant partners and gives you real-time access to your earning data. According to the site, commission rates typically reach up to 20 percent.
  4. ShareASale — ShareASale provides access to more than 3,300 separate merchant affiliate programs in many vertical markets, including food, apparel, and home and garden. The network has smaller brands than most of its competitors, but many affiliate partners offer high payouts: The stationary company Tinyprints offers 10% commission on sales, or $5 per lead; while PerkStreet Financial Commissions offers as much as $50 a sale. The Affluent Blogger’s Aiden Clinton speaks highly of ShareASale’s intuitive web interface, asserting that it is particularly convenient for companies that run multiple websites. ShareASale also offers referral bonuses for signing up new affiliate marketers.

Of course, when using any affiliate program, you’ll be most successful if you think about the needs and desires of your existing audience — and provide reviews of and links to products that you know will interest them. In a future post, we’ll cover exactly how to do that.

Avoid These Rookie Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

Avoid-Rookie-Affiliate-Marketing-Mistakes

When I first started in affiliate marketing, all I wanted was to just make money. Off I ran in every direction, trying everything, with no real idea of the mistakes I was making that could very well affect my chances at long term success.

Through my years of experience with both affiliate marketing and teaching other affiliate marketers, I have come to the conclusion that there are 7 big mistakes new affiliate marketers make.

Let’s talk about these mistakes in more detail:

1) Selling Rather Than Helping

Yes, the word “marketing” is part of the phrase affiliate marketing, but for the most part, our job as an affiliate is not to sell — that is the job of the sales page our affiliate links lead the reader to.

When I first started, my overwhelming (and totally naive) impulse was to fill my pages with words and links that screamed “BUY THIS NOW!”. I didn’t help the reader learn why they should have this product. I only wanted them to click a link which would hopefully lead to a commission for me.

People want to hear from other people when making a decision to buy a product or not — that’s why the reviews on Amazon products are so powerful. Those reviews are genuine feedback from people who (usually) have absolutely nothing to gain if someone buys that product or not.

When we talk more like an unbiased reviewer rather than a high-pressure salesperson, we will find we make more sales and people will come back for advice on other products in the future.

2) Too Many!

This is another big mistake I made when starting out — joining any and every affiliate program I came across. While I absolutely do believe in cultivating multiple streams of income when working online, there is a point where you have too much to deal with and it becomes unmanageable.

Choose your affiliate programs wisely and don’t overload yourself.

3) Not Testing

Whenever I choose to promote a Clickbank offer (for example), I put myself in the shoes of a potential customer and opt in to test the vendors’ follow up sequence.

I learned this the hard way.

Nothing breaks a reader’s trust more than being led to a promotion that will blow up their inbox. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and see what will happen if they follow your advice.

4) Not Tracking

This was a BIG mistake I made when I first started out. I began my affiliate marketing career using free-to-make web pages on a site called Squidoo (and I still do this to this day).

I am fond of promoting Amazon products on these pages, but would forget to use unique tracking affiliate links on each page.

Why is this a mistake? Very simple — when you make a sale, you want to know WHERE the sale came from. This enables you to know which pages are converting well so you can grow and scale that campaign.

Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.

Yes, making any commission is cool, but knowing where and how you made that commission is what makes you a better marketer. It lets you grow and scale your campaigns — as opposed to working blindly.

5) Not Comparing

One of the best converting tactics I use to sell affiliate products online (especially physical products from Amazon) is to compare the “main” product with two other similar products.

When people are in buying mode for a physical product, they tend to have their options narrowed down to 2 or 3 and need help making the choice that is best for them.

By comparing the “3 Best Widgets For _______”, I not only help my readers make a choice, but I also have my affiliate links there for THREE products instead on only one.

Over time, when I track that web page, I will be able to see which product is most interesting to readers and move the best converting product to the top of the page for better CTR.

Comparison web pages are not only very popular and helpful for readers, they are also very profitable for you.

6) Make Money Online Products

Perhaps you’ve seen this before. You’re in a “learn online marketing” type forum. A person publishes a post complaining that they can’t make a dime online. But in their signature line they have something along the lines of “I Made 50 Million Dollars with This” followed by their affiliate link.

It happens all the time. Please, don’t be that person.

If you’re new and you want to promote products in the Make Money Online arena, don’t make false claims that it made you money. In fact, don’t make false claims at all!

Sure, talk about the benefits of the product/training — maybe even why it sounds awesome to you — but don’t try to trick people. You will ruin your credibility.

 

7) “Oh Look! A Butterfly!”

This is the biggest downfall for any new affiliate marketer. In fact, it can cause really big issues for seasoned affiliate marketers as well.

It is all too common to be working on one thing when all of a sudden, something “shiny” comes through your inbox or is mentioned in a forum you frequent. Then off you go chasing some new idea to make money online.

Ignore the “butterflies” that are sure to fly by on a constant basis. They will just distract you from your project/campaign at hand. One completed and profitable campaign is worth so much more than 50 almost half-finished campaigns or projects.

Affiliate marketing is a business that requires self-motivation and focus. For many of us, these are learned skills. Once you are aware of the the mistakes that can cause a lack of profits and productivity, you will be better able to grow your business and be profitable long-term.

Best of luck!!

 

What is Affiliate Marketing

affiliate_marketingAffiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.

You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

  • You’re happy because you earned a commission…
  • The company is happy because they have a new sale from a customer that they might not have normally been able to reach…
  • And the customer is happy because they learned about a product from you that will hopefully fulfill a need or desire.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to invest the time and effort to create a product to sell. You can begin selling something as an affiliate as soon as you have a platform to sell it on.

Affiliate marketing at its very core is about relationships, a relationship between three parties:

affiliate-advertiser affiliate-publisher affiliate-consumer
In the world of affiliate marketing, an advertiser can be a company selling a product like electronics, airline tickets, clothing or car parts, or an advertiser could also be an insurance company selling policies. The most important thing to remember is that you are an advertiser if you are ready to pay other people to help you sell and promote your business. A publisher is an individual or company that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. Advertisers contractually agree to work with a publisher, then provide the publisher with creative – in the form of links, banner or text ads or even unique phone numbers – that the publisher incorporates into their website. The final component that completes the affiliate relationship triangle is the consumer. The consumer is the one who actually sees the ad and then makes an action (either by clicking a link or by submitting their information via a form) that takes them from the publisher’s website to the advertiser’s to complete the action, which we call a conversion.

Learn more about Affiliate marketing [wikipedia]