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Affiliate Marketing Programs

Affiliate Marketing Programs

If you're looking to turn your website's traffic into revenue, you will need to either sell products and services directly and/or get advertisers. Affiliate networks helps you find advertisers for your site. However, not all afffiliate systems offer the same services and advertiser inventory. Use this guide to help you pick out the right kind of network which can deliver the advertisers that best fit your website's traffic and niche.

Affiliate Marketing Programs Explained

8 results - showing 1 - 8
 
 
Details Ratings
November 01, 2011    

Cleverbridge is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Cleverbridge AG.

 
5.0 (1)
September 29, 2011    

oneNetworkDirect is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Digital River, Inc.

 
4.5 (1)
September 24, 2011    

Commission Junction is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Commission Junction, Inc.

 
4.5 (1)
October 18, 2011    

ClickBank is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Click Sales, Inc.

 
4.3 (3)
October 03, 2011    

LinkShare is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by LinkShare Corporation Division of Rakuten, Inc.

 
4.3 (1)
October 04, 2011    

ShareASale is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by ShareASale.com, Inc a Privately Held Company.

 
4.0 (2)
September 29, 2011    

regNow is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Digital River, Inc.

 
2.5 (1)
September 30, 2011    

Avangate is an Affiliate Marketing Program for Affiliates, Webmasters, Web Publishers and maintained by Avangate, Inc.

 
1.0 (1)
8 results - showing 1 - 8
 
 

Affiliate Marketing Programs

Affiliate Marketing Programs Resource & Information

Affiliate Guide for Prospective Web Publishers

The first thought that surely came to your mind when you were building your website was how you were going to make money from it. This practical question is nothing to be embarrassed about. Given the hard economic times, it is definitely better if you have a hobby that pays for itself. Also, due to the tough employment picture in the US, many people are considering online publishing or affiliate programs as a major source of income. Thus, whether you are a part-time blogger, a work-at-home mom, or an occasional site builder, you will have to study affiliate programs and pick the right one for your situation in order for it to satisfy your needs.

What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program is a “middle man” that brings together publishers and advertisers together. The role of the publisher is to create blogs and build websites, while that of the advertiser is to advertise products or services on those blogs and websites. When a visitor goes to your site, clicks on the ad hosted by the affiliate, and buys something from the publisher’s webpage, the affiliate gives you a commission. Alternative actions that visitors can make are leaving an email, filling out a short form, or giving their zip code.

Affiliate programs also allow advertisers and publishers to monitor their campaigns. Advertisers and publishers, also called affiliates, can check campaign statistics, ROI, and other matters about their campaign using the tools provided by the affiliate program. Although affiliate programs operate using the basic middle-man model, they vary subtly in terms of features, extra services, and benefits provided to affiliates.

Why do you need an affiliate program?

There are quite a few reasons why you need an affiliate program. One often overlooked reason is that affiliate programs are made for websites that do not generate massive traffic. Usually, if you have a lot of traffic interested advertisers and possible business opportunites comes to you instead. These programs help you chase down advertisers by letting them sign up for you, which is unnecessary if you constantly have a lot of traffic for your websites or network of websites. Affiliate programs eliminate the hassle of researching potential advertisers, contacting them, negotiating a deal with them, setting up campaign trackers, and support services for advertisers. These programs bundle all these services for you so that you can focus on building up your traffic and increasing your income.

Affiliate Programs Offer Diverse Revenue Streams

Contacting several affiliate programs offer a much diverse revenue stream for you. Your current advertising revenue source, or conversion, is somehow affected by traffic fluctuation and blended demographics hitting your website. A diverse revenue stream allows you to convert from one program to another, from one advertiser to another, and between different product mixes to offer. Additionally, you can try various affiliate models offered by these advertising networks: CPA, PPC, and CPM.

The key in succeeding in being an affiliate is to pick the right monetization model for the type of website and traffic you have. Since traffic behavior differs greatly based on demographics—some may want to buy, some may just leave a lead, and some may prefer other forms of engagement on your webpage—you really have to study the particular one that can give you the most benefits.

Considerations in Shopping for Affiliate Programs

Publishers and affiliates are different from one another depending on their traffic source, content, and other specifications. This means that, compared with your competition, you also have a different content strategy and editorial model when it comes to attracting visitors. Due to these differences, you should consider that there are criteria you need to use when choosing an affiliate program for your situation.

As an affiliate, you should shoot for a win-win-win situation between you as the publisher, the advertiser, and the visitors of your site. The advertiser wins because of correct demographic mix, and the visitor wins because they get products and services they actually need. Consequently, you win because of generated income. This situation can only be achieved by choosing the right affiliate program, running the right campaigns, and tweaking the products you advertise. All these factors, when achieved, will lead to a website that your users enjoy, your advertisers value, and where you can gain income from.

Therefore, keep the following questions in mind when picking out a program in order to get the right one for your specific needs.

How many differing affiliate models does the program support?

There are many different affiliate models. An affiliate model is the action you have to perform for the advertiser for you to get paid. The three major affiliate models are CPA, CPC and CPM.

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

Cost Per Acquisition, or Cost Per Action, suggests that there is an actual action needed for payment to be made. For this, you need to place an advertiser’s ad on your webpage, have a visitor click on the ad, have the visitor go to the advertiser’s site and buy something. Every successful action earns you a commission.

Cost Per Lead, a variation of CPA, requires email addresses. You put up the ad code from the affiliate program, a collection form shows up, and the visitor clicks or enter his or her email. You get paid once the email is collected and verified that it is a valid email.

Another variation of this model is Cost Per Event, wherein visitors are redirected to the advertiser’s page and they do a certain action. The visitor may just need to leave an email (Cost Per Lead), buy something (Cost Per Sale), or click on an ad (Cost Per Click). The great thing about CPE is that the publisher has many ways to earn from the same visitor.

The advantage of the CPA model is that you get a better payout the harder the acquisition is. CPA is preferred by many advertisers because of its promise for a higher pay check. On the other hand, you need to do serious webpage targeting, traffic monitoring, and traffic fine-tuning in order to get more leads or sales.

CPC (Cost Per Click)

This straightforward model requires you to place the advertiser’s ad on your webpage, have the visitor see the ad, and make him or her end up at the advertiser’s website. The commission is paid for every successful click made by the visitor. The key advantage of this model to affiliates is that they only need to optimize their pages, such as arranging contents and strategically merging ads with contents, in order to get leads or sales. However, this model is open for affiliate fraud, making affiliate networks to utilize stringent anti-fraud mechanisms to discount fraudulent clicks.

CPM (Cost Per Impression)

CPM originally stood for Cost Per Mil, where “Mil” means one thousand. This model requires you to put the advertiser’s code on your site, and for every one thousand appearances of the ad, you get paid a set rate. This is one of the oldest models, but more advertisers opt for paying for clicks or actions rather than impressions. However, there are still advertisers that look to brand than sell their products, so this method still has a market.

CPM is a really good way to fill up your pages with ads and soak up your excess advertising inventory. However, the downside is that CPM rates are usually very low, so if you have massive traffic but low-value demographic to advertisers, your earnings per impression will be low. Hence, publishers use CPM as filler for webpage areas they could not monetize otherwise.

A great affiliate program supports as many differing affiliate models as possible. This is a criterion you should look for so that you can test each model for efficiency by just switching from one model to another. Testing allows you to tweak your website in order for you to identify the best affiliate program, determine the advertiser that generates that most income for you, and identify the affiliate model that generates the most income. The key here is to pick the best configuration that gives you the most income for your site that and best value for your website visitors.

How robust is the tracking system?

The tracking system is the lifeline of an affiliate program. If the tracking system is problematic, it will be unable to count traffic accurately and track sales correctly, so it is similar to being cheated. The key here is to look for an affiliate program with a trusted and dependable tracking system. Luckily, you can get insights about tracking systems of affiliate programs by reading blogs, message boards, and forums. In any way, avoid affiliate programs receiving many complaints about their tracking system.

What you should consider when studying an affiliate program’s tracking system is the ability to track pages sending hits, visitors, and time range of the report. These are very crucial factors because you need information to be able to optimize your content, your website’s architecture, and your individual webpages. Without this valuable information, you will not be able to maximize your income and get a bigger pay check.

How can you send traffic?

You must study an affiliate program’s approved ways of sending traffic, since there are many ways to do this, including sending through a deep link or a redirection of traffic. Additionally, you should ask yourself, “Where can you send the traffic to?” Advertisers may want you to send traffic to a landing page or to a homepage. Here, you should make sure that your homepage and landing page are tested and designed to convert your type of traffic, or else, you will just be wasting money and time.

You should also know if the program allows you to send traffic to actual internal pages of the advertiser’s site. This way, you can reorganize your content so that your visitors can blend right in to the content of the advertiser’s page. In turn, you can expect for higher sales, leads collected, and click throughs from your visitors.

One very important factor you should remember is that the affiliate program should be able to track using cookies, which are small text files that the visitor’s browser generates. If this is not the case, you must look for another affiliate program to sign up to. Cookies are the standard way programs use in tracking visitors from your site to the advertiser’s website. Cookies allow the affiliate program’s software to track the visitor’s movement while on the advertiser’s site.

More importantly, you also get credit when the visitor comes back to make a purchase after a first trip to the advertiser’s site. If there is no cookie, you will not be able to get credit for that sale. This is the reason why affiliates insist on an adequate cookie-tracing system for an affiliate program.

What are the types of links supported by the program?

In order to maximize your income, you should look for an affiliate program that supports links that your website’s visitors prefer. Website visitors may prefer HTML links, JavaScript, text links, banners, widgets, flash object links, and product page links. Not all programs support these types.

Some website visitors prefer HTML links. Links that you put up on your site, Javascript, text links, banners, widgets, links played in flash objects which are videos of flash games and product page links. These are the types that most affiliate programs offer. Not all of them offer this complete list, so pay attention what type of links they support.

If you run mostly flash based websites, you obviously would want a program that supports flash links. Also, if your website is very detailed and you have a very selective audience, you may need to send them to direct product page links. Not all affiliate programs offer this type of links. The bottom line when it comes to considering the links supported by a program, make sure that there is tight fit between those link types and how your content is positioned and your visitors’ link-clicking behavior patterns.

How easy is it to find advertisers and products?

Affiliate programs offer many different advertisers that offer different products and services. Choose a program that is well organized, allowing you to easily type in a category and retrieve both advertisers and products they offer. So, when joining these affiliate programs, play around with their advertiser search, product search, and offer search mechanisms. First, the system should be easy to use, and second, the products of these advertisers should fit closely with the content and traffic of your blog or website.

What payment options are offered?

This very important factor behooves you to scrutinize the payment options and payment schedule very closely. If you live overseas and need a fairly rapid payment system, you should choose a program that has a shorter timeframe for the payout. Some program pay 30 or 60 days after the payout period, which means that you will only get paid 60 or 90 days after you started sending traffic.

Because of the competitive nature of affiliate programs, more are implementing shorter payout timeframes, but there are still few that may not be acceptable for you. You want a program that pays you when you want to get paid, and you also have to pay attention to payment methods and fees.

Most programs offer checks, while some offer Western Union, PayPal, and others. When it comes to fees, you should take careful consideration. For instance, PayPal requires you to pay three fees if you live overseas: the affiliate program payment, the currency conversion payment, and the direct deposit payment. Further, some banks charge a fee for withdrawing from your bank account. If you are in this particular situation, PayPal may not be the way to go. Hence, you should choose well the program to sign up to.

How fast is the approval system?

Many affiliate programs are very choosy regarding the publishers that they let into the program. First, check out the FAQ section of the programs if you fit the profile of the publishers they are looking for. Some are stringent when it comes to the size of website, country of origin, and other kinds of preferences. So, carefully read the FAQ for provisions that weed you out.

Also, see if there is an appeal system. Sometimes, you may not get approved for the first time, but if there is an appeal system, you can still try for another time. Finally, search affiliate program forums, message boards, and blogs to see if there is a pattern of rejection for certain types of affiliates. All this research and leg work will really go a long way in saving you a lot of time and effort. Do not waste money and time applying for a program that just keep on turning you down.

The Bottom Line

Monetizing your website or blog is not as simple as posting up some HTML code and letting it run. It is a very involved process. Not only that you have to keep tweaking, refining, and fine tuning your website or blog in order to get ad clicks from your visitors that earn you money, but you would also have to spend a lot of time studying different affiliate programs. Once you’ve joined them, you have to study the differing offers that they have and then fine tune your website to fit the offer. This might sound like a lot of work—and it is. However, this kind of work is handsomely rewarded because the tighter the fit between the advertising, your content and your traffic, the higher the chance of making a decent or even greater income from your website.