It can be really hard to start a blog. You have to find your niche, do plenty of research, then spend time ad energy building your site and adding high quality content. Once you’re established, you need to continue creating interactive posts and maintaining your user base. It can end up costing tons of money, especially if you don’t have a store full of your own merchandise to tell.
That’s why a lot of bloggers and social media influencers make their living through affiliate links. Using an affiliate link means that you can promote products on your page then link back to them using your unique affiliate link. When your users buy the product, you make commission.
This article is going to help you learn what to look for in a strong affiliate marketing program. A lot of users go through Amazon, but a lot of people know a lot about it so we will focus on other areas.
Some products tend to sell much easier than others online, and you want to establish yourself firmly in a niche where you are authoritative in order to have the best chance at success.
Qualities of Good Affiliate Programs
Sometimes affiliate programs can get a bad reputation. Their products are pricy, lower quality, and they don’t pay their affiliates enough to make it worth the effort. Here are some of the things that every good, reputable affiliate program should do.
Match Your Niche
Affiliate marketing should be a natural integration of products to your site’s established content. If you’re a fashion blog, it makes sense to be selling clothes ad makeup, but if you’re a tech blog you shouldn’t be selling those things. Look for an affiliate program that has products that are within your established market.
When your niche matches your products, you’ll find it easier and much more natural to promote their products. Instead of feeling like random and out of place advertisements that won’t see any traffic from your followers, your marketing will fit right into your other content and users will be far more likely to click through and purchase. For example, makeup tutorials are far more likely to get people to click through and buy the palates featured because the products are featured in the content without being the content.
Do you endorse the product?
Your reputation is on the line. Your users follow you because they trust you. If you sell them crappy stuff, they’re going to be angry and upset. If they can tell you don’t stand behind the products, they won’t buy them. They’ll start ditching your blog very quickly if they think you only see them as cash cows, or worse – if they think you don’t know what you’re talking about.
On the other hand, if it’s obvious that you genuinely love what you’re promoting they’ll appreciate that and be more likely to buy it themselves. No one will begrudge you commission on sales when they end up buying something fabulous that was a great recommendation. They’ll be more likely to send other people to your post, so you can gain followers who will also start using your link.
Trust Your Affiliate
You have control over your reputation when it comes to your content, but when it comes to the product itself your reputation is also in the hands of the business you’re promoting. Make sure that you trust the company you’re promoting to be ethical with both how they handle your business and how they handle your customers and referrals. If your followers have a terrible experience with this company, it will affect your reputation as well. After all, you’re the one who recommended them.
One of the easiest ways to test this is by checking their website. It should be very user friendly. If the site is easy to use and navigate, it will decrease the stress involved with online purchases and reassure your followers. Don’t let your people end up screaming at their computer screens because the site makes it impossible for them to buy something.
Make sure the products are high quality. This goes back to loving what you sell. If you’re selling people some low quality knock offs of name brand stuff that will fall apart quickly, they’re going to be really upset. Likewise, if the product is a dream but it doesn’t actually get delivered quickly or on time or without being damaged, it is a very frustrating experience – especially if their customer service isn’t as friendly as their site.
Product ID Tracking
If your affiliate program is good, it will have a way to track your referral links. Tracking your earnings is valuable to them and to your business. They’ll get more sales if you understand where your money is coming from so you can focus your marketing efforts on the things that work.
Every affiliate program works differently when it comes to payouts. If you’re just starting out, it will be difficult to make money quickly. You don’t want a program that holds your money until you make some really high, unattainable number because it could be years before you see any commissions. This is especially true if companies let your money expire if you don’t hit the withdrawal numbers by a certain time.
You want to know the payment agreement before you sign up for their affiliate program. If you’re just starting out, go for a $25 minimum program over a $100+ program. Your site should be able to generate enough traffic to meet your payout requirements.
Check the payout schedule, too. You will want a place that pays out monthly at a minimum. Some will pay more frequently, and with the best program s you get paid when you request payment. Others will automatically pay out when a specific dollar amount is reached I your balance.
Being honest about your blog’s numbers can help you decide which payout agreement is best for you. Err on the side of caution because at the end of the day it’s better to be paid something than to get overly ambitious and fail to meet minimums for getting paid. You can always change programs to the one you prefer once you build your site up enough to generate the revenue required for it.
Rates of Commission
Obviously, you want the highest commission rate possible. This will be really difficult to do as a beginner because the business doesn’t trust you to bring regular revenue, yet. Choose affiliate programs that offer a decent commission because otherwise you will be working your butt off for next to no money. If you have a choice between 2 commission rates, why settle?
Consider conversion rates, as well. If a smaller business is offering better commission but you will only make a fraction of the sales that a major, trusted retailer will earn you, then it may be best to take less commission for more likely sales.
Big Payouts Are Awesome!
There are zillions of great affiliate programs out there right now, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a great option for your niche. The thing to look for is great payout benefits.
You should always be smart about the things you choose to promote. If you could sell off brand sneakers or designer sneakers, then try to sell the higher ticket item. At the same commission rate, the designer product will earn you more money, right? The good news in today’s world is that people are willing to pay more for high quality, artisan products. Just give them a reason to know it’s worth the expense.
Subscription boxes make great products to sell through affiliate programs. Unlike most products, where your followers make a 1-time purchase and you make a 1-time commission, subscription boxes are continuous. You will earn residual commission for as long as your follower remains subscribed to that product. That’s a major win because you can start building a business with less effort involved.
Now you know what to look for in a great affiliate-linking program. Just remember that in this type of marketing, reputation is everything. Don’t let your affiliate program destroy your reputation, and don’t ruin your own reputation by pushing too hard. Your affiliate products should be seamlessly integrated.