Which Affiliate Program Should You Choose

With so many affiliate programs out there, which one should you choose?

The best place to start is by asking questions, before you join an affiliate program. Do a little research about the choices of program that you are interested in joining. (See below, “Who is the online retailer.”) Confirm that the service provider or product producer has positive feedback, or at least, no negative feedback. Ask questions like you were the client or customer, not the marketer.

  • If you have a need for this product or service, what would you expect or require for ‘best’ use or benefit?
  • Does the sales page reflect an accurate description or is it filled with fluff and hype?
  • What are the support options? FAQs, Tickets, Contact Form?
  • What is the average response turnaround for support?
  • Does the product’s website contact information match the information for the Domain owner? And is that information current and accurate?

Will it cost you anything to join?

A worthy affiliate program will be absolutely free of charge. Remember, you are basically acting as a promoter [sales person] for the product owner. However, you will most likely, incur expense related to the promotion of that product/service. Keep this in mind when considering what you choose to promote, according to the percentage of commissions being paid.

Many affiliate programs now offer the use of tools and other resources to assist you in your effort. Things such as – advertisements for email marketing, banners for website placement, scripts and widgets, among other options. Carefully read the terms and conditions. Non-compliance could cost you that commission you worked so hard to obtain.

When do they issue the commission checks?

Every program is different. Some issue their checks once a month, every quarter, etc. Select the one that is suited to your payment time choice. Many affiliate programs are setting a minimum earned commission amount that an affiliate must meet or exceed in order for their checks to be issued.

More and more digital product producers are moving towards ‘instant’ payments to select payment processing systems. On one hand, this is a great enticement; but, make sure you read their policy on charge backs. You don’t want to find yourself in a position of paying more in charge backs then you are in earnings from that product. This is where that research mentioned earlier comes in very handy.

What is a “hit per sale ratio?”

This is the average number of hits [to a banner or text link] it takes to generate a sale based on all affiliate statistics. This factor is extremely important, because this will tell you how much traffic you must generate before you can earn a commission from the sale.

How are referrals from an affiliate’s site tracked and for how long do they remain in the system?

Any legitimate program you join, will have some means of tracking sales. Again, you will need to read their documentation, most programs provide their affiliates with unique IDs. So it will be crucial you only use those unique ID links or URLs to receive credit for any sales you make.

The period of time that you stay in the system is also important. This is because some visitors do not buy initially, but may want to return later to make the purchase. Make sure the terms are clear and whether you will still get credit for the sale if it is done some months from a certain day – do links expire? are they rotated?

What kinds of affiliate stats are available?

Your choice of affiliate program should be capable of offering detailed stats. They should be available online anytime you decide to check them out. Constantly checking your individual stats is important to know how many impressions, hits and sales are already generated from your site. Impressions are the number of times the banner or text link was viewed by a visitor of your site. A hit is the one clicking on the banner or text links.

Does the affiliate program also pay for the hits and impressions besides the commissions on sales?

It is important if impressions and hits are also paid, as this will add to the earnings you get from the sales commission. This is especially important if the program you choose offers, those with low sales, the opportunity to receive compensation for their efforts via hit ratios. Most programs today, have moved away from this option for digital products. But, it never hurts to inquire if that is an option for the program you choose.

Who is the online retailer?

Find out whom you are doing business with to know if it is really a solid company. Know the products they are selling and the average amount they are achieving. The more you know about the retailer offering you the affiliate program, the easier it will be for you to know if that program is really for you and your site.

Is the affiliate a one tier or two tier program?

A single tier program pays you only for the business you yourself have generated. A two tier program pays you for the business, plus it also pays you a commission on the sales generated by any affiliate you sponsor in your program. Some two-tier programs are even paying small fees on each new affiliate you sponsor. More like a recruitment fee.

What is the amount of commission paid?

For physical products or service related industries, an average of 5% – 20% is the commission paid by most programs. Those who offer commissions on each hit usually pay .01% – .05% ‘value’ for each hit. If you find a program that also pays for impressions, the amount paid is not much at all. As you can see from the figures, you will now understand why the average sales amount and hit to sale ratio is important.

These are just some of the questions that need to asked, before you join an affiliate program. You should be familiar with the many important aspects that your chosen program should have, before incorporating them into your website. By addressing these issues prior to joining any particular program, you can select the right program(s) for your site or online business.

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