Anyone in affiliate marketing is always looking for a profitable affiliate program, but it can save a lot of time and potential problems if you know how to weed out the better programs.
We have already looked at a few aspects of a company’s site that may throw up red flags, payments and terms and conditions were covered. Many companies such as Commission Junction offer affiliate programs with companies who will automatically accept you into their program. There are also other companies that will check you and your site out first. They may ask questions about the volume of traffic to your website for example, and this is understandable. Prestigious companies do not want to be associated with small-time low-traffic affiliate sites, which may “cheapen” the perceived value of their product.
The form that you fill in initially when you join a company like Commission Junction will include a number of questions that may be asked by these affiliate companies who prescreen you before acceptance into their program. You’ll have to provide all your basic information, including tax information, so make sure that you’re entering this sensitive information into a part of the site that includes a secure socket layer (SSL), you can tell by looking at the URL, it will start with https, not http. Don’t ever enter personal information into a site that is not secure.
You will be asked for the URL of your site, your e-mail address, the currency in which you’d like to be paid, how you will accept payment (some programs charge a small fee if a check has to be issued and there is often a long delay), your name and address and possibly a telephone number.
An affiliate agreement will always contain terms and conditions that nobody ever reads. Nonetheless reading and understanding the terms and conditions is for your own peace of mind, because once you’ve electronically accepted and signed your affiliate agreement, you can’t say “but I didn’t know that”. It’s unlikely that there will be anything major in the terms and conditions but it’s always good to know.
If the company offers free training and education about products, grab it and participate. The more you know about an affiliate product, especially if you don’t own it, the better it will be for you when you come to write content about the product.
Read all the e-mails you get from the affiliate company, very often they include changes in terms and conditions that may be beneficial to you (or otherwise), changes in commission structure and special offers that you can add to your website. Many companies also offer seasonal banners and links, which are very useful as we move towards the holiday season.
Knowing your product thoroughly is the best way to promote it honestly. If you can own the product or at least use it for a short length of time it is going to be considerably easier to write about it and produce useful content for your readers.
Independent affiliate programs can offer advantages over more well-known programs. You may be able to find unique products that are under-promoted which can give you an edge. Just be sure to check them out thoroughly before you sign up.
Do you tend to promote one of the thousands of products offered by one company such as Linkshare.com or do use independent affiliate programs and why? Please leave a comment and let us know.