How To Choose An Affiliate Program

How To Choose An Affiliate Program by Charlie Page

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.

  1. Your unwillingness to fail
  2. 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!

Charlie Page

 

 

    • Happily married for 40 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and owner of The Directory of Ezines, Follow Up Selling Systems, Common Sense Blog Blueprint and other membership sites.

      Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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      53 thoughts on “How To Choose An Affiliate Program

      1. Thanks a great deal Charlie for your profound article, which is a
        must to read for any new Affiliate, as I am.
        Many before me have expressed how much value you deliver in each of your
        articles and I totally agree. Further
        more, I would like to thank you for the very detailed explanation of a topic,
        as well as how easy it is to understand you.

      2. Just a mis-spelling in this article: At point number 4: Thinking long term involves to things.
        Thank you for this great article.
        MG

      3. I really appreciate your article. I’ve tried a couple of affiliate marketing programs and I’m not making any money as of yet. I’m sure it’s something I’m doing. Or not doing correctly! I’m interested in buying both of your products but I’m a little skeptical right now. Would appreciate any advice you could give.
        On a different note, I’ve been reading about affiliate programs like empower network and how people are making money hand over fist. It’s seems simple enough not sure what I’m doing wrong. Again, I’m willing to listen to anything you have to offer.

        • I couldn’t advise you well without knowing what your goals are, what your budget is and what your skill level (and time available) are.

          If you are skeptical then by all means don’t buy my products yet. My rule is this – never buy a product online unless you are 100% excited about it and feel certain it will be the answer (or a part of the answer) to what is holding you back from achieving your worthwhile goals.

          Charlie

      4. Hello Charlie,
        It funny because I did what you said above before I read this post. I believed in your product so much, that I became lifetime members to Total Freedom and DOE. Then I became an affiliate for your Total Freedom system just a couple of days ago and made a posting on my blog after I got the confirmation from Clickbank. You must have been reading my mind again!

        Thanks again for the posting and as always looking forward to more!

        Barry Selk

      5. Another excellent article with very good information and a way to proceed in doing this. Is there a particular theme you suggest in building a WordPress affiliate site???. Paul

        • I like the Canvas theme by Woo themes for most sites starting out. There are many great themes but Canvas is a great one to start with, and end up with too! My niche sites all start with Canvas, and most of them stay with it. It really depends on the approach of the site.

          All the blogs I build for Common Sense Blog Blueprint members start with Canvas.

          Hope this helps.

          Charlie

      6. Thanks Charlie, I always enjoy your articles, and this one was especially Interesting and as usual fabulously written. Thanks again Charlie.

      7. Hi Charlie awesome article as always valuable content
        that anyone can apply and take action on and see real results.

        Thanks
        Charles Grooms
        Owner @
        Can I make Money Online?
        G + Community

      8. We all have down moments as we learn affiliate marketing but you always seem to give a huge boost just when it’s needed!

        I love reading your articles Charlie they are so inspirational! Thank you.

      9. Pingback: You Deserve A "Check" Today - My IM Journey | My IM Journey
      10. Hi Charlie,

        Thank you so much for a wonderful outline in this article. As someone totally new to Internet Marketing and Affiliate Marketing I clearly understand the points you’ve made. As I said, I’m new at this and learning. I’m into health and I like juicing my fruits and vegetable as well as eating them. I don’t care so much pills, but I’m not beyond them if necessary. You given more insight of how to proceed in this arena a little better.

        Thank you ever so much again Charlie,

        Cr

      11. Hi Charlie, When i was reading this whole stuff i was feeling the same way what you have written in the article. You are right people leave hope to success. They stop working/fail when they actually about to get success. I am also struggling Beginner. Thanks. Adil

      12. Thank you for a really good article. It’s clear and and I see a lot of wisdom in it. Thank you for your honesty and integrity.

      13. What a lot of information I never knew about in the 10 Must Have Plugins….. My WordPress has had Akismet at the top of my WordPress for ages and tells me it is not complete. I did not know what to do so just left it not realising how important it is. Now I will definitely go to get it completed.
        Thanks Charlie

      14. Sometimes we become a affiliate of a product that we think is going to sell like hot cakes, only to find the buying public doesn’t share our excitement. Then it’s time to sit back and think on the “what they like” instead of on “what I like”.

        Great article, Charlie.

      15. I’ve been marketing as a hobby for quite a while and made some small profits here and there, but over all, never eniugh to even pay a bill or anything. After reading this, I think I can put this practical advice into action and finally begin to get somewhere. Thanks so much and I can’t wait to hear about the curation part.

        Also, glad you’re doing better. I sent some prayers to the Father for you.

      16. Hi Charlie,

        I’m a member of your DOE…and all I have to say is that I always look forward to getting your articles because they are just right on! Being doing this IM thing for a month now and I’ve learned so much with the information you’ve provided. I’m a beginner and I;ve had some really frustrating days and many times I’ve wanted to just throw in the towel and QUIT…but everytime I try too I get another great article from you not only full of information but also encouraging for me. Right now I’ve been in it for a month and a half and it’s a working progress. Building my site and just taking it one step at a time! But thank you for continue to write GREAT CONTENT. BTW are we able to repost them on our blog? of course all credits to you..but thought I’d ask. This one would go hand in hand with my website. Let me know!
        Thanks!
        KL

        • I’m so happy this was helpful to you.

          You are free to excerpt the article and link to it but not reprint the entire article. Doing this helps us all avoid duplicate content penalties. It would be best if you can write a few words of introduction before the article, in the spirit of true curation.

          Thanks!

          Charlie

      17. Great post, maybe the best one I’ve read that you have written. Very informative, fast and interesting. I would like to know more about the curating part of it, as I like the idea of being an affiliate and going through the strategy you wrote
        of here. Thank you as always, Charlie

        • Much more to come on curation soon. Now that my back injury is resolved I can get back to writing more. Curation is very near the top of my list.

          Charlie

      18. I would like to say that i had a get need in this type of advice when i first started online. I must say charlie really know how to lay it out for even a simpleton to understand to use. Charlie this is the best instructions for anyone to use to start their online business. Even a very good recap for us that have been in it for a time. I believe it is best said in laymen’s terms as you have done here, good work old chap.

        • Hi Rich,

          I’m sorry I can’t do a site review for you. I did visit and found the site clean looking but the content a little confusing.

          I would like pages to the images on your home page slider if it were my site. I think that might help people navigate. Also, the images seem to refer to chapters in a book but that was unclear as well.

          Hope this helps.

          Charlie

        • It’s very true. This is why I’m such a fan of a real goals program. A goals program helps you avoid the distractions. I use and recommend the goals program from Zig Ziglar.

          Thank you for your comment.

          Charlie

      19. Thanks for your article. I am about to start this business as an affiliate, and I’m glad I read this beforehand. I always thought this was the right way to make a choice, and now you have confirmed it.
        P.S. I think you are one of a few internet marketers who speak wisely and honestly. I appreciate that.

        • Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time and am so happy the article was helpful to you.

          Charlie

      20. Wow Charlie! You knock it out of the park with this article. This article has so much wisdom, truth, and integrity in it! Thank you for your leadership and your commitment to that integrity!

        • Thank you for your kind words. Leadership and commitment to integrity are my goals everyday. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

          Charlie