There are two distinctly different aspects of Affiliate Programs...
- Being in them, and
- Running your own
Let's look at these two distinctly different aspects separately.
Affiliate Programs - Being In Them.
When you join any affiliate program you effectively become a commissioned sales agent, who is paid AFTER you've made the sale.
As an affiliate you're responsible for your own promotional costs [even though reputable Affiliate programs provide you with the necessary tools to promote their products and services.]
You "pay" for this promotion with either your money, your time OR both... so, it's critical that you're very selective about the Affiliate Programs you join.
Things to consider BEFORE you join an Affiliate Program.
- RESIST the temptation to join everything that you come across.
Only FOCUS on programs which ADD VALUE to your site's purpose, and which are natural extensions of your site's theme.
REMEMBER... your affiliate associations reflect on your professional reputation and your online integrity. Choose wisely.
- FOCUS on QUALITY. If you wouldn't own the product or service yourself why even bother promoting it? In fact it's well known that successful Super Affiliates all have one thing in common... "they only promote those tools and services that they use themselves."
- LOOK for Two Tier and/ or residual payment programs. A Two Tier system means that you get payments from 2 levels, and a residual payment program means that you do the work once and you're paid every month for as long as your referral uses that particular service.
- ASSOCIATE with reputatable Affiliate programs. Remember... this is business so only do business with people you believe have your best interests at heart.
One way you can find this out is by EMAILING the Affiliate Manager or Webmaster to see if they actually respond in a friendly manner within 48 hours.
If they don't then that's the likely pattern of your association with that affiliate program.
Do you really want to be doing business with people who don't respect your efforts to promote their products or services? I don't think so.
- DO the math on the likely payment percentages.
Here's a formula to help you assess which affiliate programs to join...
1. [your] page views X 1% = Likely clickthrough ratio...
2. [your] clickhrough ratio X 1% = Likely purchase numbers...
3. [your] likely purchase numbers X $ per sale = Likely $return for effort.
NOW... this 'formula' is NOT ironclad nor cast in concrete. It is only a guide to help you assess the potential return from your efforts.
If you do better than a 1% CTR then that's very good. The 1% "Page Views-clickthroughs-sales conversions" is only a benchmark percentile with which to work.
Some two- tier affiliate programs like
continually performs well [averaging about 3.5% in conversions] because it's such a high quality in-demand product range supported by a dedicated team who are affiliate focused.
Residual, multitier programs like
are all professionally run, web business related affiliate programs.
Again, these programs continually score well because they're run by web professionals who offer QUALITY services needed by people working on the web.
All of these programs are highly recommended for these reasons.
ALTERNATIVELY... if you want a complete, integrated and configurable affiliate promotion system with numerous affiliate programs to 'hook into' then the
system is your best solution.
Affiliate Programs - Running your own.
NOW... if you want to be at the top of the food chain on the web then you need to have your own product, and run your own affiliate program.
There are a myriad of affiliate program solutions available, and these are some of the critical elements/ features you need to consider when choosing which affiliate program/ system to use.
- Does it have an established reputation?
Remember, this is peoples hard earned money here you're dealing with... so you'll want reliability, security and an established reputation.
- Do you need a single tier, multi tier and/ or residual system?
- What are the provider's chargeback percentage policies?
In other words "what percentage, and what period of time does the provider hold onto your money after a sale has been made?"
- How intuitive and user-friendly is the system?
Is the system 'KISS' [keep it simple stupid] for people who get into some trouble during the transaction process? Remember... this is peoples money we're talking about here.
People can get very anxious when all the transaction steps are not transparent throughout the entire transaction process.
Recommended eCommerce/ Affiliate system providers:
For pure simplicity, reliability, security and reputation then ...
[with its $50 Merchant start-up fee] is a good, strong contender here.
However Clickbank does have some limitations in the multi-tiered department.
If you're looking for a system that can facilitate residual payments then IBill would be the leading provider with its REVshare program. You'd use REVshare for memberships sites, where fees are renewed monthly.
ALTERNATIVELY... Sitesell with its
Site Build It!
system is about to enter the ecommerce/ affiliate system market with its SBI-E system.
SBI-E will be a fully featured, robust two-tiered affiliate system + an integrated ecommerce system. The ecommerce side of SBI-E will be run by
Surefire Premium Processing!
which is a MAJOR INTERNATIONAL PLAYER in providing secure ecommerce systems for the gambling industry. The SBI-E system will be very SECURE!
My Affiliate Program
AND... if you wish to design your own affiliate system then the main contender here... for its flexibility, power and reputation would be
My Affiliate Program.
Now, to wrap this up...
These above are some of the critical aspects of Affiliate Programs "being in them OR Running your own."
HOWEVER... it is just not possible to analyse and list every possible technique here. All new techniques will be discussed in-depth in The e*Analyst ezine.
If you haven't worked this out yet, you soon will. There's a LOT of NONsense zapping around in cyber space about doing business on the web.
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