There are a thousand ways to make money on the Internet.
And for every one of those ways, there are at least ten more ways to waste your time and money!
One of the best ways to make money online is to join an affiliate program. It’s how many people start online.
But the question often arises — which affiliate program should I join?
It’s a great question. The right affiliate program can make you a lot of money.
The wrong affiliate program will waste both your time and money.
Over the years I have discovered five things that will help you choose an affiliate program that fits you, is fun and should be profitable.
Starting as an affiliate makes perfect sense. As an affiliate all you do is promote and get paid. No product creation, no customer service, no building websites.
But we all know it’s not that easy!
Let’s look together at the basics of affiliate programs as well as some things to watch out for if you decide to affiliate.
First, what does the word ‘affiliate’ mean? Webster’s Dictionary defines the word this way…
Affiliate: [verb] To associate as a member <Example: She affiliates herself with the local club>
That’s exactly correct. When you become an affiliate you are associating with the product or service you will be selling. You are the front person for that product.
You are the first point of contact for a potential customer.
So this is a very important consideration …
When you promote an affiliate product everything the product owner does reflects on you.
So being an ‘affiliate’ is simply a fancy Internet way of saying that you are going to be a commissioned salesperson.
Just like your car insurance agent collects a percentage of your premium (a commission) when you pay your bill, so you too will be paid a commission when you sell someone’s product or service.
Now that we have that definition out of the way, here are five things to look for BEFORE you associate yourself with someone’s product or service.
1. Find a program that fits you
If your passion is fashion it’s going to be very difficult for you to succeed outside of the fashion world. But SO many people try. People who love cooking try to promote autoresponders, even when they don’t use or understand autoresponders.
The good news is this — you don’t have to go outside the area of your passion to succeed as an affiliate marketer!
Today almost all companies, big and small, have affiliate or “partner” programs.
If your passion is fashion, or genealogy, or cars, you can easily find an affiliate program to join.
By pursuing what you love your work will become less work than play.
Let’s explore that idea by sticking with the fashion example for a moment.
If your passion is fashion you will have fun …
- Writing about fashion ideas
- Reviewing new trends, fabrics and ideas in fashion
- Keeping up with trade shows, events and more
- Knowing who is wearing what at public gatherings
- Watching videos about fashion and fashion shows
- Researching accessories that go with various styles
- And more
Here’s the magic move —
Take all of those things (things you like to do anyway) and begin a curated blog about fashion.
Then find a few affiliate programs you love and display their ads on your blog.
Over time an audience of other fashion lovers will find your blog, become addicted to your great information and, yes, buy the products you recommend.
This is building a real business online, not just trying to make a few commissions.
Want to make money in markets where you don’t have a passion? No problem.
Stick with what you know at first and, once you learn how to promote on the Internet, move on to different products.
Here’s a truth many don’t share — once you learn how to promote one product successfully you will have the skill to promote ANY product successfully!
2. Don’t just jump in because it’s easy
How many times have you been told to “find a high gravity Clickbank product, run an ad and watch the cash roll in?”
You’ve probably heard that often. And I’m sure you know by now it doesn’t work.
If it was THAT easy everyone would be doing it!
So what does work?
- Aligning yourself with products you believe in
- Promoting products that pay well
- Making sure you will get paid on time
- Learning the process of marketing those products
- Repeating the process once you become successful
It takes time. It takes some money. And it takes work.
That’s why 99% of affiliates fail to make any real money. Or so we hear.
Ask yourself this question;
Is the product or service you are affiliating with something you would bring to your best friend?
If not, you may want to keep looking.
3. Look for appropriate support
What is “appropriate” support?
In my view it includes answering questions, providing materials and making suggestions.
While affiliate program owners won’t make sales for you they can and should do everything in their power to help you make sales easily.
After all, they get a share of every sale! You are driving customers TO them!
If you need something from an affiliate program owner, ask. If it’s reasonable and they don’t provide it, or don’t respond, move on.
One word of warning – Don’t believe everything you hear on affiliate forums.
The sad truth is that many people will say anything, including slandering a product owner, to avoid admitting their own failure.
Do your own homework and draw you own conclusions based on your interaction with any company and you will do well.
4. Think long term
Thinking long term involves two things.
- Your unwillingness to fail
- The type of product you will promote
Let’s look at each.
If you are unwilling to fail at affiliate marketing you will succeed. Others are succeeding and you can too.
But you can’t expect your first try to yield huge results.
Like all things this is learning process. By all means, learn all you can and emulate those you trust but know that everyone fails their way forward.
This is why limiting your ad buys is important. More on this in another article.
Now to the type of product:
There are many choices here but for this article let’s focus on one-time payment products and residual products.
If you promote a one-time payment you get paid a higher commission now but never paid again.
That can be fine, and fun.
But if you promote a residual product, one that is billed every month, you can get paid every month!
Now that’s thinking long term!
Doing the work once and getting paid many times is a cornerstone of what I teach.
And promoting residual affiliate programs is part of that process.
But hear me – I’m not saying to only promote residual programs. You really do want a mix.
Most of all, don’t give up.
Many people on the net are making excellent incomes with affiliate programs.
You can too.
5. Go for quality
Remember what I asked before about your best friend?
It’s important — if you are proud of what you do you will do it with all your heart.
Avoid all programs where you don’t really understand what they are doing but move ahead because they are so persuasive about you joining.
Here’s my advice …
Make a checklist of everything you want, find two who meet the criteria, and go all out with those two.
Regardless of the hyped up videos, guys driving in sports cars or other “rags to riches” stories, you probably won’t get rich in the next 3 days with affiliate programs.
But you CAN make huge money with affiliate programs once you learn the process, learn how to choose which products to promote and have some success under your belt.
Begin today to find the right two to start with and, in time, be making buckets full of money.
You can succeed as an affiliate!
When you do you will work when, where and IF you choose.
And when that happens you will have found a beautiful thing indeed!