Wednesday, February 07, 2007

12 Killer Rules for Choosing an Affiliate Product That Really Sells

by Ari Krizsan


The internet is flooded with affiliate programs that promise you high earnings with little effort. But is it really so? Can you really earn huge commissions regardless which affiliate products you choose to promote? Obviously, not. There are programs that can earn you fat checks every month and there are programs that won't even get you a little pocket money. So what makes the difference between affiliate programs and products that secure you a steady income and those that are merely a waste of time?

Here is a list of the key factors that will help you in how to choose the right affiliate product to promote.

1. Site related product:

It goes without saying that you should choose products or services that match your website's or blog's theme.

2. Commission rate:

Some vendors offer very high rates compared to other affiliate programs. If it is above 20% then you should give it a try.

3. Price:

Of course you should also know what the commission base is. If you promote a $19.95 ebook and get 75% you earn $14.96 for each book you sold. But if you promote a $156 software with 40% commission, you put $62.4 into your pocket after each sale.

4. Vendor's website:

Take a look at the vendor's website, sales letter and other promotional stuff there. If you were a potential customer would you want to buy what he is about to sell? Is the sales letter convincing? Does the layout of the website look professional, or is it cheap and amateurish? You should consider all these questions before you send visitors to a vendor's site because if you are not satisfied with what awaits you at the landing page, then how can you expect it from your visitors?

5. Reliability of the product:

If you have no personal experience with the product, go to message boards and read reviews or opinions of the product from people who have used it already. To locate related message boards search for 'message board' and 'the product's name' in search engines.

6. Reliability of payment:

With reputable affiliate networks reliability is not really an issue. Payment methods and periods are set in the general terms of service. With affiliate programs run by individual companies or with less known affiliate networks it can happen that they don't pay. Before joining any of these affiliate programs do your home work! Ask around on affiliate marketing message boards and find out about other webmasters' experiences with the company.

7. Demand for the product:

Do people buy this product? Is it a 'hot' niche? It is much more profitable to go for popular products than goods for which the target group is too narrow.

8. Two-tier and multi-tier affiliate programs:

Some vendors offer you to pay for sales that were made by you indirectly. That means if another webmaster signs up to the program through your affiliate link, you will be entitled to a commission after this person's sales, too. While some internet gurus advise you to choose two-tier (or multi-tier) programs if possible, experience shows that you won't earn much through these indirect sales. Unless you have a huge opt-in list and are considered a 'guru' or expert yourself in the subject area you operate in. Why is that? The problem with two-tier programs is that affiliates – especially newbies – will promote the program instead of the product. They will hope to make money through their 'sub-affiliates' and neglect to promote the product itself. And those who sign up through him will think similarly. So while there will be a long line of sub-affiliates, no one will really make a sale and no one will make money!

9. The lifetime of cookies:

The operating of affiliate programs are based on cookies. Cookies are simple scripts that track the visitor's path. They help in identifying through which affiliate ID a visitor came to a vendor's site and which affiliate should be paid a commission for after the visitor's purchase. At some sites cookies are set for 24 hours. This means the visitor has to make a purchase within 1 day starting from the moment he arrived at the vendor's website through your affiliate link. If he buys something 2 days later you lose commission for that sale. The longer period cookies are set for, the better. Some programs offer 30-day tracking periods, some a whole year, and there are even lifetime commission affiliate programs. That means if a visitor came through your affiliate link and bought a product or service at the vendor's site, this customer is yours forever. If he makes new purchases in the future, you will be paid after these sales, too.

10. Pay out minimum:

Usually there is a threshold that affiliates have to reach to be paid. (In most cases it is $100, but it's not a general rule.) If you don't reach this limit within a payment period, the sum will be held back and carried over to the next payment period as long as you don't earn the said amount.

11. Payment periods:

Affiliates are paid periodically. This can vary from a quarter to biweekly periods. The shorter the time span of payment is, the better for your cash flow. (People are happier if they get their earnings as soon as possible.)

12. Exclusivity:

Some vendors require exclusivity. It means if you decide to join their affiliate program and promote their products you are not allowed to advertise the competition's products. This severely limits your income opportunities.

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