If you look on the internet, there are literally millions of affiliate programs out there. If you’re just starting out, how can you tell which ones are good and which ones to avoid? This article will tell you some of the criteria that make a good affiliate program.
The first thing I would do when looking for a good affiliate program is to look at the company’s reputation online. What kind of reviews do they have? Are there a lot of five-star reviews and positive comments or is it mostly negative? If you can form a positive opinion of the company in the first few seconds, this is probably a good company to be an affiliate for. For example, Clickfunnels is a company with a great affiliate reputation.
However, beware of negative comments in the make-money niche. A negative comment might just be somebody who simply was unable to make money with their program. This doesn’t necessarily mean the company is not worth doing business with though. I single out the make money niche for this because that’s where it seems to happen the most. That niche for some reason attracts a lot of people looking to get rich quick and affiliate marketing simply isn’t the vehicle to do that.
Does The Company Provide a Valuable Service That Fits In With Your Audience?
This is probably the second most important thing when choosing a good affiliate program. Make sure the product you are trying to promote is relevant to your audience and fits in well with your branding and message. I don’t care how well The Weekend Tactical Weapons School pays, if your audience is into beauty products, they won’t buy it and you will lose credibility promoting it to them.
However, if your audience is into beauty products and there was a great cosmetology school that has an affiliate program, that might be something worth checking out. I personally am in the make money niche and GetResponse offers a great service (email autoresponder) that fits in with my audience.
How Well Do You Get Paid?
Yes, we initially got into this business to serve our customers, but ultimately we want to try to make a good living doing it too. There are three things to look for in a company’s compensation plan…
This is the first thing to look at when looking at a company’s compensation plan. A typical affiliate program for products other than physical goods (software and info products) will pay anywhere between 30% and 50%. These types of products tend to pay the most because there are very few hard costs associated with them and they have a near-zero fulfillment cost.
Physical products pay the lowest percentages. If you were to promote something on Amazon.com, for example, you can expect the commission to range anywhere from 5% to 10%. Physical products often have the lowest commission percentages because they have the smallest margins. This doesn’t mean they are bad programs to join, however it just means that you should not build your entire affiliate strategy around them.
This is a pretty simple point to define. Are commissions paid out one time at the point-of-sale or are they paid recurring on a subscription basis? I tend to gravitate towards recurring commission programs because they tend to pay out a lot more over a longer period of time. Also, once you build up a big book of recurring commissions, you have a guaranteed income stream every single month. Marketing Boost is a great example of a company that pays monthly recurring commissions at 40%.
If you build your affiliate strategy around one-time commissions, you are always relying on fresh business every single month. Some affiliates make a great living with this strategy, but I prefer something that I can step away from and take my foot off the gas for a little bit if I want to.
The last thing that I look for on a Compensation Plan is how often affiliate commissions are paid. I try to find programs that pay weekly. This means that there will always be money flowing into my account. Weekly payments tend to be the standard in the industry, but occasionally you may come across a program that pays monthly. I would only join a monthly payment program if I really really liked the product and they offered something truly unique.
To clarify monthly billing vs weekly commissions, on monthly recurring commission structures, you earn commissions the same day that somebody pays their monthly bill. If you have for instance 50 referred customers at a single company, you will probably have about 22 days in each month that someone has a bill due and you are earning a commission. Basically, a weekly commission payout will pay out commissions earned each week rather than waiting until the end of the month to pay out all of your commissions at once.
How Easy Is Content Created Around It?
Another thing that I look at when evaluating an affiliate program is how easy can content be created around the product. If I can come up with five different content ideas in about 10 minutes, that is a good affiliate program for me. This however is completely subjective and totally up to you. I generally will not promote a program that I have a hard time creating content around.
Can It Be Pitched By Email?
This also falls into the content question. I often ask myself if “Can I generate interest in this product with a single email?” If I can, I will promote the product and add it to my email sequence. If I can’t, but can still create content easily around it, I will create that content and place the product as a front-end offer as opposed to an email upsell.
The last thing I look at when deciding if something is a good affiliate program or not is whether or not the company provides promo materials. If they do, it tells me that they take their program seriously and they are pretty tight on their sales message. They want all of their Affiliates to promote a uniform message.
If the company does not provide any advertising materials, it can be a little bit of a red flag because the sales message can be wildly different from one affiliate to the next. However, I won’t totally discount an affiliate program if there is no company-provided promotional material.
“Done For You” Stuff
If a company is providing done-for-you materials to its affiliates, that is a sign that there is very strong competition in the affiliate market. This means that just about every affiliate will have the same materials and it will be that much harder to stand out among the crowd. I try to stay away from done-for-you programs unless I can really come up with something cool on my own.
As a side note, done-for-you programs typically attract a lot of beginners.
When looking for a good affiliate program, you should be looking at a few things. What is the company’s reputation like, how well do they pay their affiliates, how easily can you create content around the product, and does the company offer any kind of support in the form of promotional materials?
I like to look for a good reputation, monthly recurring commissions, easily created content, and some promotional materials but no done-for-you systems. If you are a total beginner and looking to get started in affiliate marketing, check out The Brambila Method. It will show you how to get started making money online without spending it.