Want to make a ton of money selling products that you don’t own? While this may sound like some sort of criminal activity, it’s actually the entire basis of affiliate programs and affiliate marketing – a business model that countless website and blog owners use to turn their audience into profits.
In affiliate marketing, you are paid a commission each time a visitor to your website purchases a product that you direct them to. It’s an excellent way for those with an online audience (or those who are capable of building an online audience) to monetize their website without having to develop a product of their own.
While a lot goes into becoming a successful affiliate marketer, one of the most important keys to finding success in affiliate marketing is to choose the right product to market. With that said, here are our top four tips for choosing an affiliate program.
Choose a Product That You Personally Believe In
Affiliate marketing is not a passive endeavor. As nice as it would be to just choose a product and start taking a percentage of its sales, being successful at affiliate marketing is going to require you to go out and push the product with every bit as much gusto as an in-house marketer. With that being the case, one of the worst mistakes you can make as an affiliate marketer is to choose a product that you don’t personally believe in.
Being a good marketer takes a combination of both passion and knowledge. If you choose to market a product for reasons other than your personal belief in it, you certainly won’t have a passion for the product and you probably won’t have a lot of knowledge about it either. In short, if you yourself don’t have any interest in a product, you are going to have a hard time instilling interest in your audience.
On the other hand, marketing a product that you believe in and appreciate is going to come much easier. Take the time to thoroughly research products before you take the serious time commitment of marketing them and find a product that you understand, believe in, and feel has real potential.
Check Out the Payouts
Believing in a product is great, but at the end of the day, affiliate marketers are in it for the money. The range that affiliate marketing programs will pay, though, varies drastically. Some programs will pay a commission as low as 5% of the product’s cost while a rare selection of others will actually pay a commission higher than 100% of the product’s cost.
Why would any affiliate programs pay a commission that is more than the money they gross from the product’s sale? The answer is that the lifetime value of a new customer is most often worth much more than the cost of their initial purchase. For companies that are confident in their products and the value that they offer, setting up affiliate programs that offer commissions that are higher than the cost of the product being sold isn’t out of the question.
At Selz, for example, our affiliate program offers a 200% commission to affiliate marketers each time someone they refer purchases a plan. Whether you choose Selz or one of the many other affiliate programs that are available, be sure to check out the payouts that they are offering. A high payout combined with a product that you believe in can make for a powerful combination.
Find an Established Company
Everyone loves to see new companies succeed, and being a part of that success can certainly be a feel-good accomplishment. However, when it comes to searching for affiliate programs, it’s best to stick to companies that are already well-established.
The reason isn’t necessarily that more established companies have better products (though this is very often the case) but rather that they have better websites. As an affiliate marketer, all you can do is send visitors to a company’s website. Up to the point they click your link, you’re in control of the content they see. Once they click that link, though, you no longer control the content they are presented. It’s extremely important, therefore, that you are sending traffic to a website that is optimized to turn visitors into customers. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.
Building a website that will achieve the highest possible rate of conversions, though, isn’t something that can be done overnight. Rather, it takes countless hours of A/B testing and even more countless hours of using the results of that A/B testing to produce a website that functions like a well-oiled machine meant to turn visitors into paying customers. For companies that are just getting their feet in the water, chances are they won’t have had the time to go through this trial and error process. Put another way, even if a new company has a great product, they probably don’t yet have a website that is able to effectively sell it. Therefore, when choosing affiliate programs, it’s best to stick to companies that are already well-established.
Research the Competition for the Affiliate Programs You are Considering
The final step for validating affiliate programs is to check out the market for the type of product that they are selling. While you don’t want to enter a market that is absolutely saturated with other affiliate marketers, a little competition is actually a good sign.
Some types of products don’t work well for affiliate marketers, and the complete lack of any affiliate websites marketing a certain type of product is a red flag. Note that you need to look for the type of product rather than the exact product you are considering. While you might not be able to find any other affiliate marketers marketing baby strollers specifically produced by Company X, there are plenty of affiliate marketers who are successful at marketing baby strollers, and therefore so long as Company X checks out on all the other points they are still a good option to consider. However, if Company Y is selling red clown noses and a bit of searching reveals that no affiliate marketers are marketing clown noses, Company Y’s affiliate program is probably best avoided.
Start Making Money as an Affiliate
For affiliate marketers, choosing the right affiliate program is half the battle. By comparing the affiliate programs and the products they are selling to the points outlined above, you can choose an affiliate program that, when combined with plenty of hard work and dedication, will allow you to start making money selling products that you don’t even own…no thievery required.