Have you struggled to make real money promoting affiliate products? I did too until I learned what you will learn in the next few minutes.
Most people do struggle, and many simply give up. That’s a shame because affiliate marketing can be both simple and very rewarding when done right.
One of the reasons I see for people struggling with affiliate marketing has to do with the decisions they make BEFORE they promote.
Let me explain.
There are eight simple factors that can you put you light years ahead in the affiliate marketing race.
If you consider these factors before you spend your time and money promoting a product you will save loads of heartache, disappointment … and cash.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
But first, a personal note.
- This is the checklist I used when I finally broke through and started earning a full-time income.
- It’s the same checklist I use today.
Because I have a successful online business, I am approached every week by people who want me to promote their product or do a joint venture with them.
This is the also checklist I use to evaluate those requests.
1. MAKE SURE THE PRODUCT YOU CHOOSE MATCHES YOU
It’s logical really — if your passion is embroidery, you probably won’t do too well selling exercise videos or spare parts for 18 wheeler trucks.
The key here is to follow your passion.
Even if you are a big-truck aficionado who lives to embroider, you’re better off pursuing your main passion first.
Once you learn how to promote on the Internet, move on to different products.
Learning the process of marketing will be easier, and more fun, if you are promoting something you know and love.
This is true for two reasons.
- If you promote something you know about you don’t have to learn BOTH the process of marketing and gain product knowledge at the same time.
- Being passionate about a product (or subject) means you will know automatically who will make a good customer and what their interests are — because they will be like you!
Here’s a bonus reason for you — it’s easier to stay motivated when you are promoting something you believe in.
Getting and staying motivated is a big key in any successful endeavor.
So let’s say you have found a product you want to promote.
2. CHECK IT OUT
The key now is to look for quality.
You see …
The quality of the products you promote matters greatly.
You are going to build a list of buyers of your product (yes, this can be done as an affiliate) and so those customers need to be happy with you AND the product.
If they are happy, they will buy again. And those sales will be the easiest you ever made in your life. Now you are a trusted friend, advising them about how they can benefit from your recommendation.
Ask yourself this question: is the product or service you are promoting something you would bring to your best friend?
- If yes, move ahead.
- If not, you may want to keep looking.
When it comes to products you can promote they are plenty of great products out there. The topic is so important that I have entire teachings about choosing profitable products inside my membership sites.
3. TALK TO THE PRODUCT OWNER
Here is a radical idea.
You should be able to talk via email to the person who owns the company BEFORE spending your hard earned money and precious time promoting their product.
And I’ll go one step further — that person should be helpful in their reply.
When you can contact the owner, or his or her staff, and get real help and answers you will have found a company that cares about affiliates.
And that is what you want.
So now you have chosen a product, feel confident about the quality and have had your questions answered by a real person.
The next step is vital – you need to know how well the product converts.
4. HOW WELL DO THEY SELL?
Conversion simply means that for every 100 people who visit the site a certain number buy something. It is usually expressed as a percentage like 5% or 15%.
So if 100 people visit the site and 5 of them buy that would be a 5% conversion.
You need to ask how well the product or service you will be promoting ‘converts’.
For most established products you will promote you can expect this number to range from .5% to about 10%. Anything higher or lower and you need to be careful about them telling you the truth.
Sadly, some product owners will misrepresent their conversion by cooking the books or just outright make it up.
There are MANY variables that affect conversion (I cover some of them here) and many ways for you to be lied to, so you need to be careful here.
5. WHAT IS THE COOKIE DURATION?
Most affiliate programs track using ‘cookies’ that are set on the visitor’s computer.
A cookie is simply a small file that is downloaded to the visitor’s computer. This cookie identifies you as the affiliate so you will be paid the commissions.
That’s one very important cookie!
You need to know two things about this cookie.
- How long does it last? (Cookies generally expire after X days)
- Can it be overwritten?
The reason this is important is that it will change how you market.
- For example, if a company has a short cookie duration then you want to focus on ads that make the sale now. Your advertising needs to focus completely on them buying now.
- If they have a longer cookie duration you can use other methods that are more passive and seem less intense and pressured.
For example, with a long-cookie-duration product, you can encourage people to get free information to learn more knowing that your affiliate cookie likely will not expire before a buying decision is made.
You also want to know if the cookie can be overwritten. This is called a “last affiliate” policy.
What that means is that the LAST link clicked will get the sale.
So if someone who first learned about product X from you clicks another person’s affiliate link to buy that person gets the commission, not you.
This is a common practice in affiliate marketing.
Neither of these factors is necessarily good or bad (Amazon has an incredibly short cookie but people still make fortunes as affiliates for them), but they are worth knowing.
6. DO YOU EARN ‘BACKEND’ COMMISSIONS?
“Backend” commissions mean you get paid when someone you refer buys a second product.
This is good if you can get it but it’s less common.
- The merchant will feel that he or she is doing the work for the second sale so they should not have to pay a commission.
- The affiliate will feel that the merchant would never have had that customer if not for them and so they earned the commission.
Both valid points.
Some people will not promote if this is not in place. Others look for a middle ground. You will ultimately have to decide what works best for you.
Some sites even promise “lifetime” commissions where you earn on every sale the customers you send ever make.
7. DO YOU EARN RENEWAL COMMISSIONS?
This is another hotly debated issue that deserves your attention.
While you can’t control many of these things, knowing about them gives you the knowledge you need to make wise choices.
The key question to ask is this – if you send someone to a site where they pay a monthly or quarterly fee, do you get paid every time or just once?
8. DO THEY SUPPORT YOU?
You should expect the program you join to provide marketing tools as well as some training on how to sell their products.
You should expect reasonable support from an affiliate program, just as you do when you buy a product.
What is reasonable support?
- Providing pre-written ad copy.
- Providing banners and other graphics.
- Providing email “swipes” you can send to your list.
What is unreasonable support?
- Them building an entire funnel for you at no cost.
- Them writing custom ads for you whenever you ask for it.
- Them paying you an above-normal commission before you have actually made any sales.
Most affiliate programs are designed to help you succeed. Use what they offer well and you will be able to ask for more (including higher commissions) and get it.
WHERE TO FIND GOOD AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
There are many ways to find affiliate programs.
One of the best is to think about a product you love and visit their site to look for an affiliate program link.
Another option is to visit affiliate program portals like the following. You will find many products that can earn you commissions ranging from 5% to 100%!
Forums are excellent resources to learn what really works because you can often communicate with people promoting a particular product right now.
To find a forum in your niche just Google your main keyword and the word forum with both words in quotes.
- For golf, it would be “golf forum”
- For knitting, it would be “knitting forum”
You can even drill down a bit if you like. Let’s say you are interested in dogs and especially dachshunds. For that you would search for “dachshund forum”.
POWER TIP: Forums are a great place to find products to sell AND to find prospects for your products as well. Be sure to always follow their promotion rules and all will be well.
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
The best way to start is to think about the programs or products you have been promoting or want to promote and see if they qualify for your involvement by using the criteria above.
If they do, jump in with your whole heart.
When you find products you love, and you can make money sharing information about those products with other people, your work becomes play.
Your days are filled with passion as you think up new and better ways to help people succeed, as you have, with your favorite products.
You make money by helping people get what they want in life.
And that’s a beautiful way to make a living online.