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What Are The Best Practices Of A Profitable Affiliate Marketing Program?

Nov 20, 2007
Before you spend valuable time and money endorsing a product that pays an affiliate commission, it's wise to do a little research first. It is very important to find out how many affiliate program best practices the product owner is offering to affiliates who choose to endorse that merchant's products.

Below is a list of best practices every affiliate marketer should look for when considering expending their energy and money promoting an affiliate program product. Some best practices will seem obvious, while others will not.

Here is an obvious one. Does the merchant's affiliate program offer a high commission rate? Many programs will offer as high as 75 per cent commission. The higher the better. Don't waste your time promoting a product that offers below 20 per cent commission.

Is the product a terrific product that you would be proud to promote? Another way to look at it, does the product do what the merchant claims it will do?

Does the product sales copy make you say to yourself, "I've just gotta have this!?" If you want it that much, there's a very good chance other buyers in your chosen targeted audience will feel the same way.

Has the product achieved a high conversion rate? Is it selling well?

Does the merchant give affiliates access to real-time affiliate sales statistics to help assure an accurate sales count and commission amounts?

The best practices above are the most important. If all of those program features are offered, it's really helpful and profitable when the following affiliate program best practices are also included.

If "lifetime commissions" are offered, this means you will continue to earn commissions from all of the buyers you send to the merchant every time those buyers purchase another product or service. Nice!

One of the most lucrative types of affiliate program is one that pays residual income. Residual income is another way of saying "monthly income." Programs that will pay you a steady monthly commission from one initial sale are the ones that generate a more reliable income for affiliate marketers. You'll earn commissions even while you're on vacation. Promote as many of these types of programs as you can. I guess that's pretty obvious.

Another type of program that earns money while you're on vacation is the two-tier commission structure program. A two-tier program means you will earn commissions from affiliates who join a program through your affiliate link. When your affiliates make a sale, you get a commission. Very nice!

Does the merchant offer multiple types of popular products or services for you to promote? Lots of popular products from the same reliable merchant will mean more opportunities to make a sale.

Is there a proven need for the product? In other words, will it be obvious to your targeted audience that this product fills a familiar need in a helpful way? Does the product offer a helpful solution to a familiar problem? If it does, it's much easier for you to promote.

Is the market for this affiliate product easy to identify? There is an old saying, "If you want to catch fish, drop your line where the fish are swimming." You need to know who would want this product so you can find them online to tell them about it. Is the target audience for the product easy to identify?

Does the merchant offer lots of promotional products that affiliates can use to get the word out? Promotional products such as re-brandable, viral ebooks with your affiliate link embedded inside, pre-written email messages, solo ads for ezines, banners, video, pay-per-click campaign copy, articles to edit and submit to article directories, and the list goes on. The more promotional items you have at your disposal the better.

One thing I like to do before I promote a product is sign up to receive the merchant's newsletter to find out if their ezine sales copy is compelling. A well-written ezine that promotes the product with enticing sales copy will also help to increase your affiliate sales.

Here's something to consider. Has the merchant made the buying process easy to complete, or is the buying process unnecessarily complex and time consuming? Shopping cart abandonment is common, and if buyers balk during the purchase process, affiliates will lose commissions.

And finally, is the merchant easy to contact? Product owners who make their contact page easy to find and provide timely, helpful answers to a potential buyer's questions will increase your affiliate sales.

So, before you promote an affiliate program sign up for the merchant's ezine, and ask him a question. See what happens.

Now when someone asks you to tell them what features make a really good affiliate program, you will be able to give them a detailed answer. And when you locate programs to promote in your chosen niche with all of the features listed above, life as an affiliate marketer can be really sweet.
About the Author
Jefferson Hennessy is a feature article journalist and Webmaster who enjoys article marketing and newsletter marketing: http://www.ezinemarketer.com. Don't miss out on the hottest new list building business model online - the 7 dollar strategy: http://jeffersonhennessy.com/7dollarstrategy.htm
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