04 Make Money Online with Affiliate Marketing

Choosing the Right Affiliate Programs

Many of the affiliate programs out there will accept just about any webmaster. Some are more selective, but they’re usually just looking for affiliates who own sites with lots of traffic. Most do not take the subject matter of your site into consideration. So it’s up to you to find programs that are a good fit.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing programs is whether they would appeal to your target market. Here’s an extreme example: If you run a website about knitting, joining an affiliate program for a car parts company probably wouldn’t be wise. Even becoming an affiliate for a company that sells supplies for other crafts might not make you much money. Stick close to the subject matter and become an affiliate for a yarn or pattern company.

If you plan to purchase pay per click ads to direct visitors straight to your affiliate link (or use other methods to do so), you’ll have a lot more leeway as far as choosing programs. But it’s still a good idea to stick with products you have at least some interest in. This will make it easier for you to write appealing ads, not to mention making your work more pleasant for you.

Commission isn’t the most important thing when selecting affiliate programs, but it should certainly be considered. But it’s best considered after you’ve found programs that are a good fit for your site and/or interests. Percentage is the first thing that most affiliates look at, but it’s also crucial to consider the terms regarding payment of commissions. If there are conditions that could significantly reduce your commissions or make receiving payment difficult, you might want to reconsider.

Just like any other moneymaking opportunity, there is the potential for scams in affiliate marketing. So it’s not a bad idea to do a little research before signing up with a company that you’re not particularly familiar with. You could also go through an affiliate marketplace, which acts as an intermediary between companies and their affiliates. Some good ones to consider are Commission Junction, LinkShare and Pepperjam.

Should I Join Lots of Affiliate Programs
or a Select Few?

A dilemma for many affiliate marketers is whether to go for quality or quantity in signing up for affiliate programs. On one hand, the more products you promote, the more potential income streams you have. On the other, signing up for just a few good programs allows you to concentrate more effort on promoting them.

For most affiliates, it’s best to find a happy medium. Signing up for every program coming and going will just leave you terribly confused. But it is good to have several different things to promote. It keeps you from sounding like a broken record, trying to sell the same products over and over again (especially if you’re promoting on a niche site or blog). And as long as you keep the numbers manageable, you’ll be able to get to know your products well enough to recommend them with confidence.

Even if you’re going the pay per click route, it’s best not to sign up for too many programs. You’ll have to spend some time writing ads and tracking your results for each one, and that’s more time consuming than you might think. But you’ll probably be able to handle more programs this way than you would if you were focusing exclusively on content-based promotion methods.

How to Get the Highest Possible Commission Rates

The commission rate determines how much money you make from each sale you generate. As stated before, it’s not a good idea to select programs based solely on commission rate. But there’s no denying that a high commission rate is more attractive than a low one.

The easiest way to get a high commission rate is to join an affiliate program that offers a high percentage to everyone who joins. But that’s not the only way to do it. Here are some tips for getting as much money as possible out of each sale.

Read the affiliate agreement carefully. You might just find an easy way to get bumped up to a higher commission rate, such as using a certain promotion method or selling a specific product. It’s certainly worth looking into.

Make as many sales as possible. You’ll make money from volume, and many merchants will also raise your commission rate if you reach a certain level of sales in a given amount of time. Some lay out the terms for such increases in their agreements, while others make adjustments on a case-by-case basis.

Recruit new affiliates. Some affiliate programs will pay you a commission for each sale your recruits make. And some will also raise commissions for your sales if you meet certain recruiting goals.

Pay attention to affiliate newsletters. They often announce affiliate contests in which the winners receive higher commissions or bonuses.

Email or call the affiliate manager and ask how you can get higher commissions. If you’re generating a fair amount of sales, he might offer to raise your commission just to keep you happy. Or he might be able to tell you ways to get higher commissions that you weren’t aware of. It never hurts to ask, as long as you do it nicely.

Do some comparison shopping. Look for programs similar to the ones you’re promoting and see if they offer higher commissions. If they do, you could use this to help negotiate higher commissions with the merchant. And if he doesn’t bite, you could consider switching to the other program. (Note: In order for this to work, you should already be generating a decent sales volume for the merchant you’re negotiating with.)

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that commission rates are set in stone. Quite often, they are not. Most merchants recognize the benefits of keeping productive affiliates happy, so by working hard to generate sales, you increase your chances of getting a higher rate.

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