How to Choose an Affiliate Marketing Program (Network)
Whether you want to start off small or get your product seen on the mega-affiliates, there is a wide range of programs that can help you find more sales and improve your profit margins. As a company looking for the right affiliate, there are few things you need to be looking out for as you search. Of course, affiliate marketing has very little risk for the company, as you do not have to pay for the advertising unless action is taken by the customer, but you still want to see returns on your time, as well as your monetary, investment.
Finding the right balance of commission versus price can be difficult, especially for companies that are just starting in affiliate marketing. Of course, the marketers need to be compensated for advertising and promoting your product, but be wary of affiliates that demand more than 60% commission per sale. Unless you are already planning to spend 60% or more of your budget on marketing, this is simply not a fair price for you as a company. You still deserve to make money off of the products you offer. After all, it is you, not the affiliate that has to expend money in research, development, and production of your products.
As prices of products go up, the commission percentage should come down. For expensive items—over $150—commissions should start dropping to 40% or lower. Just because the item is more expensive doesn’t mean it is any harder to sell. As a company, your prices are based off of production costs and market demands. Affiliates should be aware of this and not expect 70% of your price every time they make a sale.
A High Rating
If you are looking through a database of affiliates (like ClickBank), make sure that you know how to tell a great marketer from one that just looks great. A good number to focus on, and one all affiliates should provide, is the number of conversions a week. Be a little wary, however. Many affiliates get lucky with a great product and are given the opportunity to give it at a great discount, meaning their conversions that week are going to be much higher than they might be dealing with any other product. See if the database offers you the option of looking at each affiliate’s rating history.
As affiliates develop and see more traffic, their rating will natural climb. Beware of affiliates that jump up and down the scale. You have no way of predicting where on that scale you are going to fall. Just because an affiliate is having a great week doesn’t mean that next week, when they start pushing your product, that they might not see the kind of traffic or give it the kind of effort you need to really see an increase in sales.
Most affiliates will provide examples of their previous promotions, meaning you can get an idea of what kind of advertisement they will craft for your product. If you don’t like their style, it is best to walk away. Affiliates have a lot of freedom do hock your product however they see fit, so if you think they have been disrespectful with previous items, or just don’t provide what you’re looking for, don’t bother setting them up with your product, even if they have a great track record.
As with any kind of marketing, you have to be concerned about the public face of your company, and what kind of advertising you want out there in the world. If an affiliate’s style just isn’t right for the culture of your company, there’s no reason to invest your time in that affiliate.
Also, if you are searching a database, look at how each affiliate markets themselves, especially if they do not provide examples readily. Affiliates who enthusiastically market their business are more likely to be enthusiastic as they market your business.
Cost per Acquisition
Some companies do not necessarily need an affiliate to market a specific product or service, but instead want more emails for their mailing list or just more organic traffic to their website. There is a realm of affiliate marketing called cost per acquisition (CPA), which pays the affiliate every time one of their site visitors clicks on an embedded link through to your company page. It can be modified to pay only when they provide their phone number, zip code, or email address, as well.
These programs are best for companies looking for more hype. Plus, sometimes all you need is someone to see your website and your great products for a sale to be made. CPA affiliates usually make $1 per click, though some will even make as little as $.25 per click.
Consider whether you need a CPA program or a commission-centric, product-based program carefully, as each has its strengths and weaknesses. Which you choose will depend on the needs of your company, and what you ultimate hope to accomplish through your affiliate. CPA gives both you and affiliates more freedom, and the cost is much lower. However, the affiliate may, depending on your agreement, receive payment whether or not the click results in a sale, making the conversion rate lower. The advertisement is more general, though, not stuck on one specific product. However, if there is a specific product or service you need to promote, a commission program would be more appropriate.
Terms of Agreement
Whichever program you ultimately choose, make sure you have the degree of control over the result affiliate advertisement that you need or want. You may be perfectly happy to give your affiliate all the information they need and let them run with their ideas. Or you may want to even write your own blog post and just have them put it up on their blog with your encoded link. Before jumping in with both feet, make sure the terms of the contract between you and the affiliate will fully meet your needs. Videos may work for some products, but not others, in the same way that blog posts are great for some things, but not others. And again, never let an affiliate, just because of their “style,” take your advertisement in a direction that you believe to be wrong for your company.