Friday, February 11, 2011

Essential Tips For Choosing An Affiliate Program To Promote

by Ian Basford

There are several basic questions you should ask yourself before joining an affiliate program. Doing a little research about any program you intend to join will benefit you greatly in the mid- to long-term.

It is a good idea for anyone new to affiliate marketing to join a marketplace, such as Clickbank or PayDotCom, as a starting point for their business, then gradually expand into other affiliate opportunities that abound on the internet.

I have answered some of the most important questions that you should ask yourself before committing to an affiliate program.

Is the affiliate program free to join?

Most affiliate programs being offered today are absolutely free of charge. Any affiliate program that charges a fee upfront to join should be avoided. After all, why should you have to pay to sell someone elses product?

When are the commission payments issued?

Every affiliate program is different. Some affiliate merchants make their payments once a month or every quarter. Many affiliate merchants only make a payment when a minimum sales figure has been reached, and some even issue a payment after every sale (once the guarantee period has elapsed). Select the one that is suited to your payment needs.

What is the hit-per-sale ratio?

This is the average number of hits to a banner or text link it takes to generate a sale, based on the statistics of all affiliates. This factor is extremely important because it will tell you roughly how much traffic you must generate before you can expect to make a sale.

What are the kinds of affiliate statistics available?

Any affiliate program you join should be capable of offering detailed statistics. Statistics should be available online any time you decide to view them. Constantly checking your individual statistics is important because you need to know how many impressions, hits and sales are being generated from your affiliate links. Impressions are the number of times the banner or text link was viewed by a visitor of your website. A hit is when the banner or text link has been clicked.

How are referrals from an affiliate's website tracked, and how long do they remain in the system?

You need to be confident that the program will track people you refer from your affiliate link. This is the only way you can get credit for a sale. The period of time that those people stay in the system is also important. This is because some visitors do not initially buy the product, but may wish to return later to make a purchase. You should be aware whether you will still get credit for the sale if it is done some months from the customer's first visit.

Does the affiliate program also pay for impressions and hits as well as commissions on sales?

It is important that impressions and hits are also paid, as this will add to the earnings you get from any program you promote. This is especially important if the affiliate program has a low conversion rate. A low conversion rate simply means that the number of people buying from a sales page is low, which probably has more to do with how good the sales page is than how good the product is.

Who is the online retailer?

Find out with whom you are doing business, to know if it is a good company. Know the products they are selling and the average sales volume they are achieving. The more you know about the merchant offering the affiliate program, the easier it will be for you to know if that program is really for you and your particular website.

Is the affiliate a one-tier or two-tier program?

A one-tier program pays you only for the sales you have generated. A two-tier program pays you for the sales, and it also pays you a commission on the sales generated by any affiliate you sponsor in your program. Some two-tier programs are even paying small fees on each new affiliate you sponsor.

What is the amount of commission paid?

5% - 20% is the commission paid by most programs..01% -.05% is the amount paid for each hit. If you find a program that also pays for impressions, the commission paid is not very much at all.

These are just some of the questions that need answering before you join an affiliate program. You should be familiar with the many important aspects your chosen program should have before incorporating it into your website. Asking these questions can help you select the right affiliate program for your website from the many available.

As a final thought, it's always best to continue your education by reading as much information as you can find. There are many ways to increase your profits with affiliate marketing, which can be incorporated into any campaign to make it more profitable.

About the Author

For more helpful advice on affiliate programs, affiliate marketing and other online business tips and tricks, please visit my blog at http://www.online-marketing-review.info. Take a look at my FREE ebooks while you're there.