Affiliate programs let you monetize your web traffic and earn a commission for promoting a product or brand. It offers flexible and versatile earning options for website owners, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. Here, we’ll discuss the ways to choose the right affiliate program to generate more revenue.
Affiliate programs have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. It started as a side hustle and has become a prominent income source for millions of people from around the globe. Brands have expanded into the affiliate market so much that 81% of businesses use these programs to enter new markets and increase their customer base. Global affiliate program is valued at more than $17 billion. In fact, it is a major income generation source for 31% of publishers (website owners).
But what is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is a mutual exchange program between a brand and a publisher, where the website owner (publisher) gets rewards for posting about a brand, referring and providing links to its products or services. It is a performance-based marketing channel that provides returns based on website traffic, click rate, subscription and purchase frequency.
For example, DataToBiz’s affiliate program offers exciting opportunities like an instant credit of $10 for generating a qualified lead and a flat 10% commission for each sales conversion. The company also offers recurring commissions and other incentives.
An affiliate program has four major parties involved in the process:
The working of an affiliate business program can be complex for newbies. However, it is a structured and well-established process followed by several businesses. Some variations occur depending on how the businesses plan the commission model, but the overall process is pretty much the same.
This commission amount will not be collected from the customer. It will be paid for by the company. Brands follow different payment models or structures based on various factors like the type of affiliate network, the number of affiliates, industry regulations, etc. However, the following are the three commonly used payment structures:
Over the years, affiliate companies have developed unique and attractive commission schemes to add more affiliates to their network and promote the brand. These include:
Google Trends shows that the search for ‘affiliate program’ doubled between 2015 and 2021. Moreover, 56% of advertisers and agencies have earned more revenue from affiliate programs since the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.
But how to find the right affiliate products to start growing your career as an affiliate marketer? Let’s find out.
Do a quick search on Google to see a list of the top products trending in the searches. Get data from Google Search Console and analyze it to shortlist products.
How are your competitors in your niche? How many of them are affiliated with different businesses? Make a list of such publishers and the brands they promote. This will give you an idea about which products have more affiliates. However, remember that their products may not always be suitable for your audience.
First, identify the channel where your target audience is active. Then go through the ads, posts, and hashtags on the platform to identify which products are currently hot sellers. Also, gather information about products they are struggling with so that you can provide a solution o an alternative.
Google Trends is a free tool that helps you collect data about the latest search trends on the internet. You can get data based on geographical locations, volume, duration, etc. Make note of recurring products and add them to your shortlist.
Conduct polls and surveys on your website and social media accounts to ask for the opinion of your audiences. You will have to analyze the feedback to gather the necessary insights. Ask genuine and open-ended questions to get a better response.
The product categories listed on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc., can provide an idea about the range of options available in your niche. You can go through blogs and articles that list online tools if you belong to the IT industry.
The easiest way to finalize products for an affiliate program is to choose from the ones you used. When you promote products you like, it becomes easier to convince others with your posts and experiences.
Check out the leading affiliate directories and networks in the market. Sort the products based on categories, commission rates, brand image, etc. It is not always a good idea to choose affiliate products with a higher commission. Other factors should also be considered before you make the final decision.
Choosing the right affiliate program requires time, energy, and research. You need to be 100% sure of the brand and products you want to promote as an affiliate.
The most important aspect is the niche and industry you belong to. It makes sense to choose businesses from your industry or relevant ones instead of something totally different. For example, a food blog specializing in baking and cake decorations should choose an affiliate program to sell baking equipment, electronics, gadgets, and items used to decorate baked goods.
Similarly, a website that explains artificial intelligence-based tools used in EdTech and training will find it beneficial to become an affiliate partner to an AI company from the niche. You can also promote other tools by the company as they are likely to be AI-based.
Another example is where a teacher can become an affiliate to sell online assessment tools like PrepAI, which allows students and their parents to create their own tests for practice.
Go through the lists of products available in your niche and the adjacent ones. You can start with a wider net and narrow it down as you get closer to finalizing the affiliate program. Here, many factors like product type, price, usage, limitations, etc., should be considered.
While some affiliates prefer to promote high-priced products, others opt for affordable products and work on attracting more customers to earn good commissions. There is no specific rule to follow. Do what works for you.
Many businesses offer the same product (unless you aim to promote a brand that offers exclusive products). So which brand should you contact and join as an affiliate? The brand image plays a vital role here. What kind of reputation does the business have in the market? Do your target audiences even know about it? Have they used the products of the company? Does the brand offer warranty and customer service?
Having clear answers to these questions will help you eliminate many brands from your list and retain the best ones. Do note that leading brands will already have a large affiliate network and may not offer high commissions. Amazon is a good example of this. It has a brand image and is highly popular globally. However, the commissions are relatively low.
Your earnings from the affiliate program will depend on the commission model. For example, the Pay-per-sale model offers around 5% and 30% commission on average. Some companies offer flat commissions. The payment methods also differ. While some companies pay soon after a lead generation or sale, a few others have a minimum threshold amount. The payments will be processed only after your earnings touch the payout amount. Some brands offer monthly payouts irrespective of the amount.
The cookie duration is a vital factor to consider when choosing an affiliate program. The cookie lifetime or duration is the period when a customer’s visit to the company website is tracked and added to the affiliate’s account.
For example, if a company has a cookie duration of 30 days, you will be eligible for a commission on the purchase made by the customer anytime during this period. A cookie is dropped on the customer’s browser when they visit the website for the first time. It continues to track their visits to the site for the next 30 days. This enables you to earn a commission for introducing the users to the brand. Always choose affiliate programs with higher cookie duration to increase your commission.
Affiliate programs that pay commissions are nothing new. However, brands are offering more than just commission payouts to their affiliates. Many businesses like Shopify offer additional marketing kits for free. This helps you in creating ad campaigns and increase website traffic to attract more leads.
That doesn’t mean you have to become an affiliate of a brand that offers additional tools. You can invest in affiliate business program tools of your choice to track, streamline, and promote your affiliate services. Many publishers tend to use a combination of tools for more accuracy and in-depth analytics.
Many companies these days offer upsells as an additional incentive to increase your commission. This is a process where the customer (end-user) gets add-on options along with the product they order. The offer is available only during the purchase period. If customers accept the offer, you will get a commission for the sale of the product and the add-ons. It increases your income without extra effort.
Affiliate Partner Program for Individuals run by various organizations is a good example of upsell commission model. As also run by DataToBiz, it provides a handsome commission and additional opportunities to affiliates to generate more earnings by bringing new leads and customers to their services and digital products.
Finding affiliate programs doesn’t have to be stressful if you know how to plan your research. Take time to choose the niche, products, and brands to become an affiliate. Optimize your website, posts, and ad campaigns to increase organic traffic. Any affiliate program will take some time to show results.
Persistence and consistency will go a long way in establishing you as a worthy affiliate for a business. Continue to network with others and grow your reach in the market. You can become an affiliate of more than one business. Explore the internet for endless opportunities and make the most of them.