This page is part of a 3-page series outlining how to choose an an awesome affiliate program. In this series I will outline 3 things.
Part 1: How to find an affiliate program that works for you
Part 2: 6 qualities of a great affiliate program
Part 3: A real example of a great affiliate program
In part one I will cover some of the things you need to consider before enrolling in affiliate program. There are three things you need to ask yourself before you sign up for a program, and knowing the answers will help you narrow down your choices from the thousands of programs that are out there.
Part two will be a detailed look at what you should look for when choosing a company and products/services to promote. There are six qualities outlined, including commissions, affiliate managers, and market potential.
Finally, in part three I want to show you an example of an excellent affiliate program. I show you how it relates to the qualities outlined in part two, and actually give you the name of the program so you can sign up if you want to. Details include how much money you make, what products/services they offer, and potential audiences to share these products/services with.
Part 1: Which Affiliate Program is The Best For You?
A question I get asked a lot: Which affiliate program is best? To an experience marketer, that may seem like a silly question to ask, but I see it asked often enough that I can't really consider it a ‘dumb' question, but something that needs to be addressed in full. One thing I like to do with my website is make ‘reference pages' that I can refer people to often, so this is the idea behind this page.
I want to go through a few concepts to help you out if this is your question. Hopefully, but the end of the article, you'll know which affiliate program is best for you.
Pt 1. Table of Contents
Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start
1) Which Niche Will You Be In?
Part of finding a good affiliate program is knowing what to look for! There are literally THOUSANDS of programs out there, and to narrow your search, you need to know what your website will be about. Will it be about fashion or healthy living? Is it about coffee or motorcycles? Are you going to blog about retirement or travel?
You need to think of an idea of what your niche-market will be. This is going to be who your audience is, and who will be reading your blog. Think of yourself and your personal interests first. Think of your potential market next. Then choose a niche, and find an affiliate program to match. Starting with a company based solely on how much they pay you, and building your website around it may mean that you have awesome products to sell but are not interested in writing about them.
That's a recipe for burnout and failure.
Here is a video on choosing a good niche.
Note: This is just ONE video I've made. There are a million other resources out there on how to pick an appropriate niche for yourself, some of which can be found here.
2) What Kind of Products Do you Want to Promote?
After you have an idea of what niche you want to go into, and have selected a few programs to choose from, you probably want to start with just one company. It's actually possible to join several programs and promote their products and services side by site, but lets keep it simple to start, and expand from there.
One thing to consider is whether or not you want to promote products and services you actually use or have tried. Most of us have some limitations with regards to how much ‘stuff' we actually have, so reviewing and discussing actual things we own or have tried gives us a limited pool of what to promote. However, many people feel uncomfortable (or don't know how) to write about things they have never used.
A great way to start is look for an ‘area' where you consider yourself an expert, or want to be an expert. For example, if you really like playing with your iPad, you could potentially be in an iPad game niche, or iPad accessory niche. That doesn't mean you have to try every single version of the iPad, or own every single accessory out there. As long as you are interested in it, and would like to read more about it, it's a good choice.
Taking it a step further, you would be surprised how much you know about some things just by being interested in it. I've known a few people who could rattle off all kinds of stats about Ferraris and lamborghinis but didn't actually own one. I bet they could make a pretty cool website about these cars, and have a convincing sales-pitch for a potential buyer.
Look for some products and services you are interested in, and see if there's an affiliate program to match. Chances are, if you like Product A, B, and C, it'll be pretty easy to expand your site to include material on Product X, Y, and Z.
3) What's The Status of Your Website?
When signing up for affiliate program, it's important to consider that most programs require you to have a website. Some even require you to have traffic, and have quality guidelines.
But don't worry, not all do, and you might not need to apply right now.
If you don't have a website right now, setting one up is pretty easy, and you can even set up a free website to test the waters before you jump into a niche. (Not all programs allow free sites, but some do). Please, don't let a fear of setting up a website be the thing that holds you back from applying to an affiliate program. Website creation can be done with the push of a button, which you can see if the video below.
You now need to look into the qualifications required to be accepted into the program. The details will be in your affiliate program application. Some are very strict. When they say you need something, it better be there or you will get rejected. Some are very lax. They say you need ‘this and that', but they really don't check. It will depend on the program.
The next thing you need to do is just sign up! Getting rejected doesn't mean you can't reapply later. And if you find a program you really like but get rejected, work on your site for a while before you apply again. Ask for details about why you were rejected so you can make improvements. No sensible program is going to reject someone that tries! Also, sometimes a new website can rank faster and better if you don't use any affiliate links. Build your site, get traffic, then apply again.
I wouldn't bank your entire campaign on one program though. Make sure there are a few to choose from. Maybe find a less interesting or less lucrative one to start out with if they are less picky about their affiliates, and apply to your favorite one a 2nd time at a later date when you can meet their guidelines.
Here is a short video on this topic I made as part of a video series on YouTube called The Beginner's Guide To Building a Profitable Website Online For Free.
Now that you know know how to choose a program based on your niche and your skill level as an affiliate marketer, it's time for Part Two: 6 Qualities of an Exceptional Affiliate Program
Or you can skip ahead to Part Three: An Example of an Awesome Affiliate Program