Should You Join an 'Affiliate' Program? And what to look for
by: Anne Ahira
There sure are a lot of Affiliate Programs out there for you to choose from, aren't there?! If you have a busy site or a large newsletter, you can start earning money right away! Sounds good! But....you're going to need lots of traffic to do the 'earning right away' thing.
So, if you have a new site, a low traffic site, or are starting from scratch, you've got a long way to go! Be aware of that and don't get discouraged right off.
If you are brand new to Internet marketing you might be better off if you develop your own product. That takes time and energy but when you sell your own product you get to keep ALL the profit!....sell someone else's product and you only keep a portion of those profits.
Don't get me wrong! I'm not saying that someone just starting off should not join an Affiliate Program. When you don't have a good product or service to sell online, being an affiliate can be a great option!
Just keep in mind that it may take awhile to see a profit since you have to promote the program and build traffic to it just as you would if you had your own website. Just be sure you find an Affiliate Program that offers something you love and would feel good about marketing.
The great thing about Affiliate Programs is that they are "no-brainers"! What do I mean by that?
Well, if you already have the aforementioned 'lot's of traffic to your site', all you have to do is post a text link to another site, the affiliate program site, and earn a percentage for every sale which you generate.
And...best of all, the company takes care of all the administrative problems, the credit card charges, the shipping, the inventory....you get the idea. You just refer people to them, they take care of all the rest and cut you a nice hearty check every month. Sounds pretty great, doesn't it?!
Yes, it can be! But be careful! Getting involved with the "right" affiliate program is your key to making money. (More about that later.)
Making money with an affiliate program is playing the old-fashioned numbers game! Meaning, that out of the people who visit your site you may get a 1% to 20% click-through ratio (this range is so wide because it depends on the product interest, your link to them and the power of their slogans or banners). ...that's the number of people who click through the text link you have provided and actually visit the site you are recommending.
And of those people, only 1% to 2% will really buy. So... "numbers game"! Generating a good income from affiliates programs, requires a large number of visitors to your site or subscribers to your newsletter.
Example. Say you're getting 1,000 visitors to your site a month and you post your affiliate text link. Just for fun, lets say you get a click through of 5%, which is WAY high.
That means out of your 1,000 visitors, 50 of them go to the affiliate site by clicking through and out of these 50 people probably only ONE will buy...IF THAT! Just because you get 1,000 visitors to your site (that's YOUR site not the affiliate site you are promoting) that doesn't mean you will get $500 a month from your affiliate program.
Here's some more numbers for you. A company with a good affiliate program will have about a 0.5% to 1% visitor to sale ratio. It can sometimes be better than that (and often many time worse, especially if you hook up with the wrong company!), but that is the average. So for every 100 to 200 visitors you send them, only one will purchase.
Whoa! Doesn't look quite so great now!
That's okay, this is the reality and you have to be realistic about your online endeavors. If you think everything is just going to fall into your lap, you'll be easily disappointed and end up quitting before you even get close to succeeding.
You'll want to look for these things in any Affiliate Program you join:
An Affiliate Program that is successful at what they do.
An Affiliate Program which offers great value, a great product or service, and more importantly, GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!
Make sure the Affiliate Program has a great tracking mechanism so that you get credit for every sale.
Look for a Program, which tracks every sale in real time so you can see your results instantly.
Make sure the Affiliate Program has a good-looking website, which pleases customers, is easy to navigate, and offers great information to the visitor.
The Affiliate Site must be able to turn visitors into sales. You can send them all the visitors in the world, but if they don't convert visitors into sales, you don't make any money!
Before you decide to join any affiliate program, get the answers to the following questions:
1. How long has this Affiliate Program been in place?
2. What form of compensation is offered? In other words, are you getting actual cash , are you getting credits for your product, are you getting free AirMiles -- what are you actually getting?
3. Is there a set up fee? If so, how much?
4. What kind of associate tracking software is being used?
5. How are referrals tracked? Do you get credit for EVERY single sale you refer to them?
6. Do associates get credit for the sale after a visitor comes to the site and doesn't buy, then leaves and comes back to buy at a later date. How long is this in effect for?
7. Do you have to take special steps to get out of the agreement?
8. Does the legal agreement bind you to any other responsibilities?
9. Under what circumstances can the Program remove you as an associate?
If you take the time to gather all this information BEFORE you jump into an affiliate program, you'll find that GOOD Affiliate Programs are actually hard to find. Lucky for you! You don't have to go freaky every time a "new" affiliate comes online!
Chances are, once you look more deeply into the company, you'll find they can't pass your "test" and are not a company you would want to be "affiliated" with anyway.