Today, I’d like to share some of my best tips on how to evaluate an affiliate program. Before you join any affiliate program, you need to do your due diligence. Not all affiliate programs are worth your time.
Some affiliate programs are crap and are easy to spot. Others look good at first, but once you take a look under the hood you quickly discover the affiliate program isn’t as good as you thought it was.
I’ve been in the affiliate marketing business for about 10-years now, most of that full-time. I’ve evaluated hundreds of different affiliate programs. What you will find below are the things I BELIEVE you should evaluate before you join any affiliate program.
How to Evaluate an Affiliate Program
# 1 Company’s Reputation
Reputation is everything. I think so anyway.
Does the affiliate company have a good reputation online? What types of reviews can you find about them online? Do they pay their affiliates on time every month?
How are they ranked with the Better Business Bureau? How are they ranked on the different scam websites? How long have they been in business? Who’s running the program? What is that person’s reputation?
These are all questions you should ask yourself when you evaluate an affiliate program. You want to find a program that has been in business for a while, with trusted owners, and ethical business practices.
# 2 The Product or Service
Is the product or service a REAL VALUE for the person buying it? Does it do what it says it will do? Does it come with a strong money-back guarantee?
Is there a legitimate demand for the product? Would you buy the product to use yourself, even if you weren’t an affiliate?
The product doesn’t have to be the cheapest, or even the best, but it must provide VALUE. It must be priced competitively and do what it says it will do.
# 3 Recurring Commissions
This is how most affiliate programs make money. They pay you for the initial sale, but they get to keep the customer, and they don’t pay you on any future purchases that customer makes. You want to promote an affiliate program where you get paid on ALL future purchases the person you referred makes.
This gives you residual income! Many companies will gladly pay you 30 to 50 percent commissions on the initial sale, because they realize how expensive it is to find a new customer. Once they get the customer, they thank you for your time, and cut you off from future commissions.
Recurring commissions are vital. I pretty much only promote affiliate programs with residual and recurring commissions (other than Amazon). I like not having to start over at zero every single month.
This is one of the reasons I personally love network marketing so much. Not only do I get paid on my own referrals, but I also get paid on THEIR referrals, minimum 7 GENERATIONS of referrals. Personally, I’d rather have percent of 100 people’s sales than 100 percent of my own sales.
Check out my network marketing business. I’m currently the top recruiter and top rep.
# 4 Commission Percentages
If you’re promoting affiliate programs where you make 3 to 10 percent per sale, you are wasting your time (in most cases anyway). You want to promote affiliate programs that pay out at least 30 to 50 percent, if not more. And, you want affiliate programs where you can earn at least $20 to $100 per sale.
It’s hard work making sales, but it isn’t any harder to sell a $500 product than a $20 product. It’s also not any harder to sell a product you get paid 50 percent commissions on versus a product you only get paid 20 percent commissions on. Food for thought.
# 5 Available Affiliate Resources
What type of resources does the affiliate program have for its affiliates? Are there banner ads, text ads, and email copy you can use? Do they have a forum where you can ask questions and network with other affiliates? The more resources they offer you the better.
# 6 Tracking Cookie
Tracking cookies are very important. In case you don’t know what they are, here is a good definition I found online (the source is cited below it).
Tracking Cookies are a specific type of cookie that is distributed, shared, and read across two or more unrelated Web sites for the purpose of gathering information or potentially to present customized data to you. Not all cookies are tracking cookies.
Tracking cookies are not harmful like malware, worms, or viruses, but they can be a privacy concern. As an example, if you go to a Web site that hosts online advertising from a third-party vendor, the third-party vendor can place a cookie on your computer. If another Web site also has advertisements from the third-party vendor, then that vendor knows you have visited both Web sites. Nothing malicious has occurred, but the advertising company can determine indirectly all the sites you have been to if they have cookies present on those sites.
You want an affiliate program with a 30 or 60-day tracking cookie, so if the person you sent to the website through your affiliate link comes back and makes a purchase in the next 30 to 60-days, you get credit for it.
# 7 Number of Affiliates
How many affiliates are promoting the affiliate program? Is it saturated? Do a search on Google and see how many different “reviews” you can find for the affiliate program you are promoting, and each product. Ask the affiliate manager how many affiliates there are. This will give you some perspective.
# 8 Customer Service
How is the company’s customer service? Is it good for both customers and affiliates? Is there a good phone number you can call with your questions? Do they offer 24-hour customer support? Do they respond to messages and emails quickly? If the customer service sucks, tread lightly.
# 9 Sales Funnel
Does the affiliate company use an auto-responder to collect leads on the sales page you are promoting (your affiliate link)? If they do, are the leads that opt-in through your affiliate link tracked to you? If so, for how long?
What a lot of companies do is use affiliates to send traffic to their website, to build their email list, but the affiliate company keeps all of the leads. If the company you are considering does this, please look for a different affiliate company to work with.
# 10 Sales Letter
Is the sales letter effective? Does it make you want to BUY the product? Are there lots of testimonials of happy customers? Does the page look professional or does the website look like it was built in the 1980’s? Is it mobile friendly?
# 11 Payout Threshold
What is the payout threshold to get paid? What some affiliate companies do is set a high payout threshold, of say $500, knowing you will never make that much money. This lets them keep your money! Ideally, you want an affiliate program with a payout threshold of less than $20. The smaller the number the better.
# 12 How Often Do You Get Paid?
How often does the affiliate program pay its affiliates? Daily, weekly, monthly or immediately after you make the sale? What are the payment methods? I like affiliate programs that pay at least once per month. Weekly is even better.
There you have it folks. These are 10 of my best tips on how to evaluate an affiliate program. I hope you will follow my advice and take your time picking the right affiliate program for you.
What are your thoughts on how to evaluate an affiliate program? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
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