Best Affiliate Marketing Programs that Pay

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs that Pay

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Whoever said that affiliate marketing was an easy way to make money online must’ve had an affiliate marketing course they wanted to sell to you.

If it was that easy, there would be many more successful online entrepreneurs happily making full-time income from the comfort of their homes.

However, it’s not rocket science either.

The cornerstone of any effective affiliate marketing promotion is picking the right affiliate programs and products to promote.

Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls

The problem with learning affiliate marketing from “gurus” and top affiliate marketers is that what works for them won’t necessarily work for you and me.

Chances are we don’t have a huge list of 100K+ subscribers and an unlimited budget to offer great bonuses for any given product launch.

So how are we supposed to compete with them?

We can’t and we shouldn’t.

Truth is we need to work smarter and look for the best affiliate programs that:

You think I am looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Then read on.

 Affiliate Marketing Programs Overview

How do you pick which affiliate marketing offers you are going to promote?

What really matters?

Price point?

But why would you want to promote a $2K affiliate program that doesn’t convert?

Conversion rate?

But can you rely on the vendor to provide accurate numbers?

Here are some of the

Factors I look for when researching the best affiliate programs

1.   Long-term Income Potential

This is a very obvious factor.

Wouldn’t we all rather “sell” once and keep collecting the affiliate paycheck on a monthly basis?

However, just because you become an affiliate for a vendor with a recurring fee structure, doesn’t mean that you’ll be getting recurring commissions for it.

Good example: Hostgator.com.

Even though it’s a monthly service, their affiliate commission structure is based upon the number of sign-ups you drive to them and you’ll be paid a flat fee for each sign-up.

On the other hand, Aweber.com does offer 30% of the monthly fee your referral pays for their services.

2.   Cookie duration

How long does the affiliate cookie last?

Follow-up products make additional commissions, IF the cookie is being tracked.

Take Amazon.com, for instance. They’ll pay you commission for ANY product your referral buys from them; HOWEVER, your cookie will last for 24 hours only!

3.   Follow-up/Backend products

How good is the backend promotion?

Is it going to increase your bottom line?

4.   Refund Rate

Before you promote any offer, ask them what the refund rate is.

5.   One Product vs ANY Products

If your referral doesn’t buy the product you are promoting, but buys a different product from the same vendor, do you still get commission?

6.   Conversion Rate

How well does the traffic you send to the affiliate program sales page convert into buyers? If the conversion rate is too low, is the sales copy not so great? Is the price too high?

7.   Immediate Payment

How long does it take for you to get paid?

The best affiliate marketing programs offer immediate payments for each sale.

8.   Second Tier Commissions

Not easy to find, but definitely pays to look for affiliate programs that offer to pay you 2nd tier commissions for each of your referred customers.

It’s almost like creating an affiliate network of your own and getting paid for the work your “affiliates” do.

learn more about affiliate marketing from affilorama

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs that Pay

This seems to be a good place to distinguish between affiliate marketing programs and affiliate products that you actually promote on your site.

You can pick the best possible affiliate platform there is, BUT if it doesn’t offer any products that are relevant to your niche, it’s useless.

On the other hand, if you found an excellent product to promote on your site, but the product owner uses an off-the-beaten-path affiliate marketing program you’ve never heard of, should you not promote that product?

Absolutely not.

The quality and relevancy of the product itself definitely trumps what affiliate program powers the sales process.

So keep that in mind when looking into signing up for different programs.

Note: I am currently researching more affiliate marketing opportunities and will be adding them as I find and test them.

The ones below got my stamp of approval.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs: The Big Three

Clickbank.com

Sooner or later, you’ll run into a product that’s powered by Clickbank.

It’s one of the largest players on the market and for a reason: it makes it fairly easy for both sellers and affiliate marketers to make money.

Several products I recommend to Traffic Generation Café readers are hosted by Clickbank, and so far I’ve had nothing but:

  • timely payments;
  • great customer service through emails;
  • good experience all around from an affiliate marketer’s point of view.

Commission Junction (cj.com)

Yet another big player used by various retailers and online businesses in a variety of different niches.

ShareASale.com

Yet another “behemoth” affiliate marketing platform I’ve been using for a long time.

With over 2,500 merchants to choose from, real-time stats, and on-time payments, I have no complaints.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs: The “Up and Comers”

The following two platforms are mostly used by information product creators.

You can definitely find a few great products there, but you might have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince.

JVZoo.com 

My favorite affiliate feature of JVZoo.com is instant payments. As in, “I sell it today, I get paid today“.

You still have to be approved by every individual seller, but once you are approved by them, you can market any product they offer.

Read my full review of JVZoo or just sign up as an affiliate here.

DigiResults.com

Very similar to JVZoo.com

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs: The Conglomerates

I call “conglomerates” affiliate marketing platforms that bring multiple affiliate programs under one roof.

So instead of keeping track of several affiliate programs, making sure the tracking is accurate, you get paid on time, etc, you can choose to use a “conglomerate” affiliate platform to do that for you.

A platform like that will automatically convert your non-affiliate links into affiliate links or even convert certain keyword phrases within your content into affiliate links.

Could be pretty handy.

Of course, there’s a price to pay for convenience: these platforms will take a small chunk out of your commission for being your “middle man”.

Skimlinks.com

Skimlinks.com is a great alternative to Amazon.com.

  • Includes thousands of merchants – including the ones that you and I would never otherwise qualify for like NordstromMacy’sCanonHPSketchersTargetBebe; you name it.
  • Includes Amazon.com - if you live in one of those states where Amazon affiliate program is not available, you can still use it through Skimlinks.
  • Streamlines all your commissions.
  • Easy to use – just link to merchants in your posts and Skimlinks will do the rest. Or they’ll even do it for you – like I am sure they’ll do in this post; those are called “Skimwords”.

Read my full review of Skimlinks.

VigLink.com

VigLink.com  is another conglomerate similar to Skimlinks.com.

Stay in the Know: Affiliate Product Launches

Knowing about upcoming affiliate launches is a must when building an affiliate marketing driven business.

Here are a few suggestions:

JVNotifyPro.com - a great resource to look through upcoming launches.

jvlaunchcalendar.com – various launches, including WarriorForum, JVZoo, Clickbank, and others.

WarriorPlus.com - WarriorForum launches

Each affiliate marketing platform has its own marketplace as well.

What’s Next?

affiliate marketing with affiloblueprintIf you want to know more about affiliate marketing and how to make a great passive income by becoming a supre affiliate, I strongly recommend you check out AffiloBlueprint.

Not only you’ll get to look over the shoulder of someone who HAS built multiple profitable affiliate websites (Mark Ling), but also:

  • learn how to build gorgeous looking affilate sites without any technical knowledge;
  • optimize those sites for first-page rankings;
  • how to “Google-prove” them;
  • how to drive targeted traffic;
  • the exact follow-up email sequence you can use;
  • and more.

Click Here to get all the tools you need to become a successful affiliate marketer

I also suggest you join:

Affilorama – web’s largest affiliate marketing community.

Marketing Takeaway

Affiliate marketing is not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.

Find the best affiliate marketing programs that pay and you are about a quarter of the way there.

The rest will come down to how smart you are about choosing quality products relevant to your specific niche.

Do you know of any great affiliate programs? Do share in comments.

traffic generation cafe

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

166 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Sam Bussey

    Ana,
    Thank you for confirming my suspicions about Empower Network. Your site has given me confidence that I can do it myself. May take a little longer, but at least I won’t have that nagging feeling I’m being screwed.

  2. Ana,
    Great site, very impressed with all I have read, great freebie book too with good content. This will help me get my blog up and running. Interesting article on empower network as well.

    Thank you,

    Barry

  3. Affiliate programs not working in my website. I got 5000 UV per day and hundred clicks, but big ZERO order, strange isn’t ?

    • Ana Hoffman

      It usually means that your aff products are not very well-matched with your content, Rudy.

      After visiting your site, I see exactly that: in your post about what men want to hear from women, I see Amazon ads for things like a kitchen mat.

  4. Hi Ana,
    This is a great post. So many useful information you have shared. Thank you.

    I have been with affiliate market for a while but only made very little income. The reason is I didn’t stay focus, I didn’t constantly work on my sites. But I knew some of my friends made great success already, that’s why I decide to start over again.

  5. A point of note here is Amazon’s affiliate commission. Not only does its cookie expires in 24 hours but its commission rate of 4% in itself is so small. Better to have other affiliate programs with higher commission rate around and have it on the side as it is difficult for small sites to earn big by relying on Amazon as the main cash cow.

    • The trick with Amazon is to go for big ticket items ($200+). Also, if you can get at least 7 sales per month, the rate goes up to 6%. If you get another 15 sales that month, you get a ‘whopping’ 6.5%. It applies to all previous orders that month as well.

      I regularly sell quite a few power tools through amazon, so it’s a decent addition to other affiliate stuff.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Nice to hear that at least someone is successful with Amazon, Tim; thanks for the tips.

  6. Dave Thomas

    Great stuff! A productive affiliate marketing program takes enough time to build, but with a section of effort it has the capacity to increase your Internet marketing noticeably.

  7. Hi, Ana!
    For any affiliate to work you must have a huge traffic so that the probability of conversion increases.

    Please do a case study on number of clicks vs sales, I have a few amazon links here and there but they never convert.

    • Ana Hoffman

      More targeted traffic is always a plus, Rohan.

      I don’t really talk too much about aff marketing at Traffic Generation Café since it’s not my primary topic, but sounds like an interesting topic to explore.

      • Kathleen

        Hi Anna,
        Can you give me a ballpark figure of how much an average marketer might make in a week? Also, do you know anything about the Andrew Morrison program? Is there anything you can tell me before I go ahead and buy this program?

        • Ana Hoffman

          I don’t think there’s such a thing as an “average” income figure, Kathleen, and no, I don’t know anything about the programs you mentioned.

  8. There are some really good tips on affiliate marketing in this article and comments. I’d like to earn some income through affiliate marketing as I found a product subcription I like and found out it is an affiliate marketing product. I’ve started to search for other affiliate marketing opportunities because I like the concept and need to learn more how to startup. I appreciate all the comments on what to look for.

    Are there other training sites in addition to what you mentioned to check out?

    • Ana Hoffman

      Glad to hear you found a great product to promote, Denis, and it does look interesting.

  9. I love learning about new programs.I have learned over the past year that making passive income is not as easy a I first thought.I tried clickbank and I was confused at first it takes awhile.And I have recently been working with amazon .I have never made an in dept look into what I want from an affiliate company and this has made me stop and think thanks

    • Ana Hoffman

      Amazon definitely works better with several websites or one very high-trafficked site, Marty. Considering their very low payout, it might be tough to make any real income for an average blog with Amazon.

  10. Nitish

    Anna you have posted a great post but i am thinking from last two years to start affiliate marketing for my blog but couldn’t find a proper way how to start can you please suggest me how can i proceed any help is highly appreciated !!
    My site is this seokurukshetra.blogspot.com

    • Ana Hoffman

      You pretty much just do it, Nitish. Find products to market that go well with your blog and start suggesting them to your readers.

  11. Marlon

    Hello Anna, i stumbled on your website today by accident but am really impressed by the quality of the information you share on here.
    My best success so far is with JVZoo where i sign up as a JV partner with those successful Internet marketers when they have product launches.Sometimes i make over $100 and up commissions per sale.
    I think Clickbank although popular was the hardest affiliate program to make money. There seems to be high refund percentage on there, most people just buy the digital products, download it and just ask for a refund which i think is ridiculous. There were weeks where i saw a few sales only to see it reversed in the following month due to refund. I have given up on them

    • Ana Hoffman

      Glad to hear JVZoo is working for you, Marlon, and yes, it makes sense about Clickbank.

  12. Hi Ana,

    Very impressive work and great article. very indept too. i am working towards that direction now . just trying to make the right choice. i am having a pretty good start at moment so it looking good.

    Thanks
    umxy

  13. Hey Ana, I do like Mark Ling’s work! He definitely knows what he is doing and I even wrote a blog post about him! He is really good!
    Much better than the majority of those big names who are just hype, hypey, hype and hypey! :)
    I am really involved with affiliate marketing so we have to know who we are going to listen to. I am really glad we are sort of influenced for the same people. That is really cool!!
    Nice article Ana!
    See you!!

  14. daniel

    Hi Ana

    Great post, very in-depth and informative.

    Re-occurring commissions is definitely what i look for when choosing a product to promote.

    I always offer commissions to my affiliates every step of the way. up-sells, down-sells and thank you page offers. I find they will promote my products over others much more readily.

  15. Awesome list! and great tips. Except one thing… There are a few products that Amazon won’t pay you commissions on, mostly electronics. there’s a list they have somewhere outlining them. They aren’t very many on the list but they are some of the hottest products in the market now. I think Amazon’s affiliate program gets worse every year. But luckily there are other options out there.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Amazon would definitely be the last one on my list, Oscar. And yes, it gets worse and worse for both affiliates and sellers, but what can we do – their playground, their rules.

  16. Awesome article, I found paydotcom were a good site when I was starting out as they pay direct to paypal, so instant payments!! Although I have to admit its not the most user friendly site in the world!

  17. Hey Ana,

    Well I would have to agree with you about these programs. The only one I don’t use and haven’t had much luck with is Amazon. Of course I’m not using their site to specifically promote affiliate products but when I have someone who has a product there I will support them. Yep, we’re not talking big bucks here at all.

    I agree, stick with the ones that will convert or you’ll just be wasting your time. Been there and done that more then I care to admit. Big lesson indeed.

    Thanks for this update and I know people are eager to find out which ones you suggest.

    ~Adrienne

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think Amazon is all about volume, Adrienne; hard to do well with it with a few clicks here and there.

      Thanks for coming by!

  18. Thanks for such a great roundup Anna. I got noticed about the immediate payment. That is true, some product like hosting mostly need to wait about 60 days to get me paid.

    While on my experience other products like e-book or theme will pay me as soon as there is a referred customer.

    And thanks again about the advise to choose a product that is not too mainstream :)

  19. From many weeks, I have thought to start affiliate marketing for my blog but then I realize that I don’t have even 10,000 subscribers to my list. So, for now I am working to increase my subscribers than I would jump right in affiliate marketing. And if you would ask my one question which is, Should I start affiliate marketing even though I don’t have a good e-mail list?

    Thanks for the post.
    Regards,
    Anurag.

    • Ana Hoffman

      10K is a hefty goal, Anurag; if you have quality followers and readers who trust you, you should be able to start aff marketing without a problem even with a handful of them.

  20. It can be so difficult to find a good affiliate program to endorse. The problem is, if it’s a good product (great front end conversions and upsells), then everyone in your niche ends up promoting it. It’s definitely a challenge to find something that converts that other affiliates aren’t paying a lot of attention to.

    I find that I can use a few products as affiliate offers and make some nice income, but I have to supplement it with my own products. That’s really been the difference for me.

    :-)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very good point, Susan – ideally, we want products that are not too well-known so that everyone and their dogs aren’t promoting them, but well-known enough so that there’s some sort of name recognition.

      I suppose it’s too much to ask… lol

  21. Hi Ana, the blog placement from my right to left is a good change. I remember your blog on JVZoo.com it was very descriptive and had good insight. Aweber is what works best for me too. Thanks for the guidelines and the links.

  22. David

    Hey Ana:

    I agree with you that one of the best and well known autoresponders out there is Aweber, but its price is not cheap. Considering that, have you ever tried E-response? this autoresponder is far cheaper than aweber and the other well known autoresponders, but I wanted to have your opinion about it. Is it worth giving this autoresponder a try? thanks in advance.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I don’t have any personal experience with E-response, David. I choose Aweber because of their stats, constant development of new/better features, etc.

      Paying the price for it is well worth it in my book. Plus, it’s comparable to the vast majority of their competitors.

  23. hey Ana
    great tips specially for me. i really found this post helpful. and i want to share that i didn’t know about the immediate payment’s importance. but you make me realize this. and yeah affiliate marketing is actually about working smarter.
    Thanks.
    Matt

  24. Affiliate marketing is not so easy task. It takes time and perfection in work. I am too in this affiliate field and trying to generate some good amount. I am using viglink too and hope it would be good for me.

  25. Ana,

    I totally love your blog and your writing style. Thanks for the list above. I noticed it doesn’t include some of the ones I would have thought might be obvious. When I saw Kristi Hines here I definitely had to subscribe to your list. If you’re friends, remember to buy her a cup of coffee.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Yes, Tyronne – from what I remember if they buy within 24 hours, then it can be anything. Once that window passes, they are fair game for other affiliates.

  26. Hey Ana,

    Nice post. Just to clarify something about Amazon’s affiliate program – although the cookie only lasts 24 hours, if the visitor adds a product to their cart during that time you still get a commission for it, provided they buy it within the next 90 days.

    Also, it’s worth remembering the commission % goes up the more you sell in the month, starting at 4% and up to a maximum of 8.5%.

    Especially this time of the year, people tend to go a bit mad so those commissions can really start to add up.

  27. Russell stewart

    The guys at Affilorama are a great bunch, very supportive and no bs. Six figure mentors is an affiliate program, but top end investment and monthly fees apply. A bit Guru focused IMO, interested what others think

  28. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for your message! Much appreciated. I understand you have always been on the affiliate side of the fence, but that’s why I am hoping you can recommend a good affiliate program. As far as I am concerned I am looking for one that treats its affiliates well.
    Happy affiliates = happy merchants right?
    Hope you have good experiences with some (any?) as reviews I have been reading are a bit daunting really!
    Thanks for your time again.

    Cheers,
    Jude

    • Ana Hoffman

      I know some of my blogger friends use Ejunkie and say it’s both merchant and affiliate friendly.

      I also saw Andy Bailey of CommentLuv start using JVZoo; not sure how I like it so far, but it’s an option.

  29. I read your article and enjoyed reading it. I am on the opposite side of the fence though: trying to find an affiliate marketing program / company to go with so I can get people like you to promote my products. To be honest I am a bit at a loss for words. It seems like this industry is full of sharks that not just affiliates want to avoid, but also people like me (merchants?).

    I am hoping you can recommend a company for me to sign up with so I am not associated with any of those malpractices you and lots of your readers mention!

    I do want to pay the commission somebody deserves, I do want to provide support, I do hope people think my product will be worth ‘selling’ to their friends and members and I am happy to set a long cookie time as I think it is only fair that if somebody comes through a referral that they get paid for it! Without them I wouldn’t have made the sale in the first place!!

    So, in short, could you recommend a program where I can sign up so people like you know I am legit and don’t want to hold out because of minimum payment rules and stupid things like that?

    Thanks,
    Jude

    (PS I specifically don’t mention my product as I am not sure about rules for promoting myself on this post, but if anybody i s interested to hear more please tell them to contact me at jude @ pix2print . com . au)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I wish I could help, Jude; I’ve never been on the merchant end of any affiliate program.

      I do know though that when it comes down to recruiting good affiliates, most of it is about authority in your niche. Might be hard to do it if no one has ever heard of you…

  30. Bellaisa

    I obviously think that a good price point and lifelong cookies are ideal, but I also think that the product has to be really valuable – really offer the person I’m sending something that they can use and will be happy with. I personally remember the people who point me to valuable products, and I trust them more for future products. It’s not just a matter of ethics (although that’s a big part of it) but it’s also a matter of future sales!

  31. Hey Ana,

    By the way for number 2 Cookie duration, does it only apply upon signing up or for Aweber for example, the cookie must be there every month for them to pay you the recurring fee?

    In other words once you sign someone up from you affiliate link, do you need the cookie present to earn recurring income every month from services that do offer that or its enough to just sign them up under your link.

    Thanks.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Once someone signs up through your aff link, Sayed, you’ll be getting the referral commission every month.

      Cookie duration only applies to leads who visit the site through your aff link, but don’t buy right away.

  32. Thank you Ana for this informative post about affiliate marketing. Internet is about trust and there are so many affiliate programs out there. Seldom do we find an affiliate product that we can trust to help us monetize our blog and your tips are something I should read on again when looking for the best affiliate marketing programs out there. I know every internet marketer has affiliate programs and this post will best help us to scrutinize the programs better.

    Thanks again and more power!

  33. Anna, great post. thanks so much. i’m surprised you don’t have 100k subscribers yet. you are definitely a guru in my book. and thanks again for this post. these key points will definitely help me when looking at what’s available. i think i’ve got a buck97 somewhere.

  34. Hey Ana,

    Never heard of the RAMOS report before, it does looks promising just from the comment thread and I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about JVNotifyPro.

    Do you have a basic or a paid account with them? (JVNotifyPro)

    Sergio

  35. Chad

    Ana,

    Thanks for the informative post. I spent way to much time on Josh’s site. Regarding the link in your article “the RAMOS report”. I click it and it goes to a page “http://nanacast.com/vp/98152/79222/” But the screen is just white with no content.

    Thanks

  36. I feel like the greatest products to promote are the essentials to your niche.

    IE, the classic products that never go out of style in the niche you are writing in.

    If we are talking the classic marketing/blogging niche (MMO), then solid webhosting products, theme frameworks (assuming WordPress is used), email marketing services, and keyword research software like Market Samurai are the go-to tools to promote.

    Also, promoting things you actively use (and can show yourself using, especially in video) adds to legitimacy and will in the long run increase your sales as you build trust.

  37. Great tips Ana,
    I would add one more, that the program does not have a minimum payout level. Many a time I have been annoyed when I promoted something just as much as the guys with big lists, but because my sales came to $97 commission I missed out on payment because they have a minimum $100 payout level.

    I have my own affiliate products and to me this sucks, just ripping off the smaller marketers – payments are just a click of a button, there is no justification for having a minimum payout.

    I offer my affiliates lifetime cookies, free gifts to give to their subscribers, that are cookied to them so if their referral buys anything in the future – even products not online yet – they will always get commission. I also have a second level commission on some products.

    If any of your readers are interested in parenting affiliate products they can read more about my affiliate program here: http://www.law-of-attraction-parenting.com/parenting-affiliate-programs.html

    Or I am very happy to answer any questions. My affiliates get personal support from me.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Such a good point, Annie – I’ve had that happen to me before.

      Thanks for mentioning your affiliate program; I always have readers who ask me about niche-specific programs and I’ll keep yours in mind.

      • I’ve had an experience with Clickbank some years ago where I earned money from a small number of recurring commissions over time with an affiliate promotion. If I remember correctly Clickbank wouldn’t let me withdraw funds because they were below their minimum payout level, and they kept charging me for keeping hold of my balance; therefore I ended up never accumulating enough money and losing the lot to the tune of over $200. I was furious and have steered clear of Clickbank ever since.

          • I had that happen to me as well, HOWEVER, as a result of this comment I checked into what the current rules are and while the default payout threshold is $100 for all accounts, you can now change that to as low as $10. You will incurr a $2.50 for pay period charge for each payment if receiving payment by check, but it looks like if you setup direct deposit there is no charge. That is good news and something I wasn’t aware of.

            Unfortunately, they still do have a dormant account fee, but at least now if you drop your payment threshold to $10, that is the most you would lose for any given sale: Accounts with a positive balance but no earnings for an extended period of time are considered dormant. Dormant accounts are subject to a charge of $1 per pay period after 90 days of no earnings, $5 per pay period after 180 days of no earnings, and $50 per pay period after 365 days of no earnings. Dormant account fees are only assessed on accounts with a positive balance.

            • Ana Hoffman

              Thanks so much for checking into it, Chris – amazing how simple it is to get the facts instead of just making guesses. :)

  38. Great topic, Ana.

    I am currently looking into Affiliates(Along with other methods, systems) this mainly came about due to my realizing that Adsense is not worth using. It just takes up space on a website(Blog) that could be put to better use.

    I am sure that for much larger sites(More established sites with huge traffic) Adsense would work wonders.

    What you said about the Amazon cookie expiring in such a short time frame, is something I hear a fair few people lamenting.

    Also, the issue of whether the particular Affiliate program is offering a tiered system, upon further referrals.

    Some I noticed offer a decreasing % as the number of new referrals increases(Some of those % decreases are quite large). Unless I read the terms incorrectly.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very true, Daniel – you don’t need to have a huge site to succeed with affiliate marketing.

      I think what you are referring to with tiered aff programs is the fact that you get much smaller referral fee % for your second tier. This is very normal – consider the fact that this is pretty much free money that you don’t have to work for.

  39. Ana I may have missed this, but I didn’t see anything regarding ClickBank. Perhaps ClickBank wouldn’t be considered an affiliate marketing program as such, but rather an affiliate management program. At any rate ClickBank has both an enormous amount of programs to promote and an enormous amount of affiliates. This might seem to be a positive on its face but in fact trying to promote a product through ClickBank feels a lot like a little fish big pond scenario. Tough to stand out in the crowd. I am presently trying to help a site find affiliates for their ClickBank product. Not sure if this is kosher but here’s their link: http://hooponoponohelp.com/hooponopono-help-affiliate-program . And if it’s not kosher then remove the above link and please accept my apologies.

    • Ana Hoffman

      No problem with the link at all, Thomas.

      I don’t personally like Clickbank too much, Thomas – it’s very easily abused and also attracts a fair number of unscrupulous vendors.

  40. I’m actually thinking about getting some affiliates to help me sell my e-books. I’m still looking into it, but I’m a small time blogger and don’t know much about the technical side of things.

    If you have any information about this I’d be indebted to you forever :-)

    Thanks for a really enlightening post about affiliates.

    It says in the comment box that I’ve made 0 approved comments so far. I’m sure I have at least 4! :-(

    • Ana Hoffman

      I’ve never personally started an affiliate program before, Anne, but I know of some of my blogger friends who use Ejunkie for this.

      I’ll check into my CL settings regarding it saying that you have 0 comments approved. If you hover over the red heart right after your CL link, it shows that you have 8 comments approved and which posts you commented on.

  41. Ana Hoffman

    I suppose it depends on the product and the marketing materials. There will always be some negative experiences, but we must keep a look out for companies that have predominantly positive feedback.

  42. Hi Ana,

    Great post! :-)

    The sentence I liked most in your post was “Affiliate marketing is not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.”.

    As you mention, picking the right products and affiliate programs is half of the euqation. The other half is making the most of your promotions.

    This is where a little creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and common sense make a huge difference, too.

    For example, one thing I see a lot of “smaller” affiliates do is promote the newest product launch of the day. But if you only have a small audience to start with (i.e. few blog readers or few subscribers), there are only so and so many sales you can make from a launch, even if the product converts really well.

    So the commissions from the launch will only last a short time, and then these affiliates need to promote the next launch. And the next.

    All the while, they hardly have time to build up a more stable, long-term income.

    Picking affiliate programs with lifetime commissions definitely helps in that.

    But what also makes a big difference as affiliate is whether you build up your own assets with your affiliate promotions. E.g. by writing blog posts or articles about products which will be available for a while (not being taken offline right after a launch).

    This is stuff which can be leveraged into creating even more assets. E.g. by turning “old” product review posts into emails for an autoresponder sequence for new subcribers.

    Things like that adds up over time, and it really doesn’t take more than some thinking of your own, and a feeling for your audience, to come up with such assets and promotional opportunities.

    Regine

    • Ana Hoffman

      Hi Regine

      Thanks for sharing your insights. Lifetime commissions make for passive income – you don’t have to keep working to keep earning.

      I also like your ideas for repurposing old content and you are right, the efforts add up and eventually the momentum brings results.

  43. Agreed Anna. Way too many people unfortunately get swayed too easily by the grand promises of many affiliate marketers that claim they make millions easily and how easy it is. In reality, it is not at all easy and definitely requires a good deal of work, correct decisions every step of the way and some luck also, to make good money. It is important for each person to find what methods work best for them and go at it that way.

    -Jean

  44. This is a comprehensive guide Ana.

    As always, I learned a few new things reading your post. Although i make most of my money from affiliate products (mostly CPA offer), asking for refund rate never even crossed my mind.

    I guess that’s why I keep coming back to your blog for more besides the fact that you are a great person). Thank you very much Ana.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Glad I could give you something valuable to take away from this post, Satrap. Thanks for the kind words.

  45. Hi Ana,

    The report sounds awesome. I’ve been thinking about doing all my affiliate marketing via Amazon, because they offer amazing products and because they offer commissions on everything that “my” customers are buying. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about focusing on a few products that I’m currently using. What I’m trying to say is that affiliate marketing is hard, and that finding the right products is actually harder than promoting them.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this report.

    • Ana Hoffman

      That’s often the case, Jens. You sometimes have to really sift through quite a lot of products / companies to find the right ones.

  46. Affiliate marketing is great way to make good amount to huge money. But you need to find out what’s your audience like most and does your affiliate product suits your niche.

    You can also create niche affiliate site to promote a particular affiliate product where you think you’re going to receive huge profit in long term.

  47. Hey Ana,

    Very well said! Finding a good affiliate program can be a challenge these days, since there is so much crap out there that people are trying to sell.

    I always go by this rule. Never promote anything that you would not recommend to your family, and always buy the products, before you promote them. How can you promote something that you are not willing to spend the money on, you shouldn’t, period!

    Thanks for sharing Ana and have a great day!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Ian, you’re an expert in the field and I trust your judgment.

      Regarding the tips you give – absolutely. If you use the product, it gives instant credibility.

      Keep well!

  48. I often optimize the site under some keywords and enlist the site in organic searches. According to me it is the best way to increase the sale.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Getting listed for the product name is definitely one of the best ways to get affiliate sales, Maja.

  49. Ana Hoffman

    Haha! Nice compliment, Mark. :)

    I felt I had to talk about it, because we miss out on so many sales when referring someone who doesn’t buy right away.

  50. Hi Ana,

    Thanks for mentioning my ebook on your post. Those two sentences managed to get me some sales. I’m impressed!

    For choosing affiliate products, I normally look for products on RAP Bank and also the WSO section of the Warrior Forum.

    These two sections alone are enough to keep me occupied.

    I like RAP Bank because of the instant commissions. Normally if a product has a lot of good reviews, I will see if I can find it on RAP Bank and then promote it. Nothing beats instant commissions!

    However, do make sure that you do the research first. Some of the products there are really awful.

    As for the WSO section, I promote the ones that have a lot of positive replies. Since the feedback is good and the product has sold well, it should convert pretty well if you send decent traffic to it.

    Plus if you’re a member of the WSO Pro, you can check the stats of how well the product has sold such as number of sales, EPC and refund rates.

    As for promoting products, one of the methods I like to use is to sell by story telling.

    For example, if I was to promote a product on graphics for Facebook Fan Pages, I would talk about how one can use Fan Pages to build a list and how important graphics are in getting people’s attention. Then I would give a link to the graphic package.

    This works well since you are delivering content to your readers and offering them a solution.

    I learned this by reading Daniel Levis’ emails. He does this really well. But then again, he’s a great copywriter.

    • Ana Hoffman

      You’re most welcome, Alan.

      Thanks for sharing your tips with us. Warrior Forum is a great networking hub for many people – I should use it more.

    • Hi Alan,

      Great tips.

      While I like RAP, there is the (dis-?)advantage that the commission payments go directly to the affiliate. In some niches, that can be confusing for the customers.

      Probably not that much of an issue in Internet Marketing, but for non-techie customers, or for people who don’t know how “internet marketing” works, it’s not self-evident why a different “vendor name” shows up on the paypal screen. Just one more thing to consider…

      Regine

  51. Oz

    Hi Ana,

    Josh pointed me in the direction of this post. Thanks for the mention. :)

    I must say that you have a very useful and well put together blog here, and one that people can actually learn from. Please keep up the good work, Ana.

    Oz.

  52. I was actually thinking about Amazon for a while now. I see people talking about it quite often. But, if it is really only a 24 hour cookie I’m not so sure that I want to waste my time with it after all. You think they could do at least a 7 day cookie or even a 30 day for that matter.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Definitely. After all, they get business from affiliates which they might not have got without us.

  53. Allan

    Hi Anna
    Another great tip i really appreciate your down to earth no BS approach. It is what keeps me coming back to your site. I’ll definitely be checking out that Warrior Forum report as well.

    Regards
    Allan

  54. As usual Ana, you are out there on the frontier digging out what works and sharing it with us. You are a gold prospector! I have a couple of affiliates that haven’t made my site dime one. They are getting clicks, though. One of these days . . . . Or maybe one of these days I’ll get serious and get some affiliate links that your tips lead me to.

  55. Hi Ana,
    I have had some success with affiliate marketing, especially HostGator. I get more sales from Amazon than anything else. Too bad their commission is only 4%. :(

    I will check out Lifetime Commissions and JV Notify Pro. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I haven’t been promoting Hostgator that much. Not sure if I want to just yet.

      I can imagine it’s not too difficult to generate sales with Amazon. As you said though, Justin – you’d have to generate A LOT of them to make a decent income.

  56. Dr. Bob Clarke

    Hi Ana,

    You wouldn’t believe how often I get this very same question — “how are we supposed to compete with the top marketers in Affiliate sales.” As you said, the answer is “you shouldn’t”.

    My advice to these people is this — find the affiliate products that make sense for you, that you can stand behind 100% without reservation and look for ways to add more value to your offer that others may not, such as coaching or sharing your experiences with the product.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very good point, Bob.

      Affiliate marketing is largely about trust you develop with your audience, so it definitely pays to recommend products you are sure of.

  57. Good solid advice as usual from you Ana. I gave you “Like” and a tweet, and now I’m even following you. :0) Anyway, keep up the great work Ana!

    P.S. As I stated in one of my blog posts on BN, members should helping other members more by “sharing”, “liking”, and “re-tweeting” content from others that they think might be of value to their followers.

    Heck, that’s what BN should be more about, working together, for the good of the BN community. I do my part and my best to share content through all my Social Media channels on a regular basis if I think it’s worth a mention to my followers, even if the person, or persons are in direct competition with me as most are.

    No biggy fries, because if everybody thought the same, the content would get “pushed” out, and be much more viral for all on the site to benefit from.

  58. Hi Ana

    Thank for the advises and tips how to find good affiliate marketing programs even it is too early for me to think about it because I need to build more my blog and make it bigger, but it is still good to learn about it. I bookmarked this article, I know I am going to need those tips oneday

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are so welcome, Salah.

      You never know – you might get there much sooner than you think. Took me by surprise…

  59. Hi Ana,

    If you are not comfortable sharing this I understand but I thought it would not hurt to ask. What are your top revenue driving affiliate programs that you support?

    • Ana Hoffman

      I have no reservations about sharing this kind of info, Chris.

      I don’t have a clear winner.

      Out of long-term products, Market Samurai is one of my leaders.

      For recent product launches, CommentLuv Premium has been a winner.

      I haven’t been focusing on my affiliate marketing as much as I should; I am planning on changing that and this post is my jump start.

      I’ll let you know how it goes.

  60. Another excellent post Ana. Affiliate marketing is very much like commission selling offline. In both cases it pays to do your homework and carefully choose whose products you will promote. Some vendors are great, others are best avoided and there’s thousands in between those two poles. These two sites “www.affiliateprograms.com” and “www.associateprograms.com” are worth checking out for guidance. There are others but this is a comment section not a blog post. Another site worth check out is “jiffyarticles.com” for those who need help writing articles.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Offline strategies do often work for online businesses, don’t they, Jonathon?

      Thanks for the site additions; I’ll check them out.

  61. Debbie

    This is another great place Ana, you are becoming a guru for me.

    I am right at the beginning of my affiliate marketing journey, but plan to do it right from the word go. Thank you so much for the tips

  62. Ana Hoffman

    I am with you, Vijay – I don’t ever browse through their offers; who has the time!

    The only time I end up purchasing their products is through recommendations of other bloggers I know.

  63. Great post to start the week. I have been an affiliate with my web host for a few years and earn commissions sharing the services. The same man owns a fitness program and I am a founding member there also. Both programs are less than $10 a month so you need to build a large team and help that team duplicate to earn commissions that will let you work full time from home.

  64. Excellent advice, Ana!

    I just happen to be looking for some Affiliate Programs for a new niche I’m working on and got your email about this. Perfect timing is awesome!

    Thanks again,
    Jeff

  65. I think few of the most important factors that we must take in mind while searching for a good affiliate program to promote is that the product is priced not too high and not less so that we can get atleast a decent amount as commission. Also it is important to note the commission percentage, I think 50% and above is the best. We also should take notice that the product that we are thinking of promoting actually is related to our niche. Lifetime Cookie duration is also a must. Those are the most important factors that I search for when I try to search for a product but after reading this post I came to know about a few more stuffs that I should take notice of. Also, thanks a lot for including that additional resources, quite helpful. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Relativity is definitely a great factor to think about, Shiva – I should’ve included it in the post.

      There’s a good reason I don’t promote most ebooks; $10-$15 take is just not worth the trouble.

  66. Dave Doolin

    You will be at 100k before you know it, just keep on doing what you’re doing now, and it’s inevitable.

  67. Thanks for the post Ana.

    Although I’m not in the internet marketing niche i learned a thing or two about affiliate programs and marketing.

    In the fitness niche it’s difficult to find quality recurring products – oh well, I will just have to make one myself :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are certainly right, Kasper; every niche is different and some are much harder than others.

      Harder doesn’t mean impossible though!

  68. Another great post as always Ana:) And so true, if affiliate marketing was so easy, everyone would be doing it (and making money from it).

    You’ve answered a great question and one I often ask myself. I’m always looking out for a new product I can promote that isn’t saturated and converts well.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Not too many bloggers do any research into WHY market a certain affiliate product, Lilach, but it’s so important to know.

      Good to see you!

  69. Thanks for the good advice Ana. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was easy to find affiliate programs that you want to introduce your loyal subscribers to, will generate good conversion, and have good payouts?

  70. Essential tips for any affiliate marketer, even though I promote both aweber and hostgator, I believe that aweber has better service offerings. They are customer driven company.

    • Ana Hoffman

      It’s nice to promote some main stream products like that, Eddie, but the competition is fierce and making any decent income is nearly impossible.

      That’s why I am digging deeper – much deeper.

      • Its really good to see you get in detail about affiliate marketing. I am working on some basic guides to give away for free. However, I am also working on a more comprehensive book that I am looking to publish next year. Looking forward to it. Looking forward to a more distinct view on affiliate marketing from you Ana.

  71. Josh Kotsay

    Love the post Ana and thanks for the mention!

    James Schramko from InternetMarketingSpeed.com also has a similar lifetime commissions affiliate program you might want to check out as well.

  72. It’s just a business, like any other. You have to still do the math to decide if your efforts are profitable and worth it. Plus you really have to test, because not all website traffic responds in exactly the same way.

    Nice post, Ana :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Test, test, test – you are so right, Darren.

      What works for one blog or niche, might not work for another. The only way to truly know is to track YOUR OWN stats.

  73. Ana,

    Whoever said that affiliate marketing was an easy way to make money online must’ve had an affiliate marketing course they wanted to sell to you.

    Truer words have never been spoken! While you can make a living off of affiliate marketing (I do), it is not something that is easy, simple or quick. Not at all.

    Like you say, the program you choose really does matter. Sure some people can sell Ice to Eskimos, but I would much rather try to sell Ice to Bediouns.

    A good affiliate program will help to sell itself…simply because it has inherent value and quality.

    Picking a affiliate marketing product can sometimes seem like picking stocks. You have your bluechips, like aweber and hostgator. They are great products and sell themselves. But literally ever person on the net’ it seems markets those, so they can be hard to rank.

    Unknown products have great upside, but they may never get traction.

    Again like stocks a good affiliate marketer will have a mix of both kinds. but the important thing is to make sure all of these are products you actually have some respect for.

    Only after that should you start looking at the “meat” of the sales details offered here. A marketer who continuously affiliates for crappy products is treading on a slippery slope.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Interesting you put together picking stocks and picking the right programs, Steve. The guy who wrote the RAMOS report I recommended in the post is very much into stock market and that’s the comparison he makes in his report as well.

      Can’t help but agree.

      The right affiliate programs and solid online reputation is where affiliate marketing success starts.

  74. One thing that I look for in an affiliate program is a good transparent analytics system. I want to be able to see the clicks and transactions, so that I can track my stats. Otherwise, I get a little nervous about the legitimacy of the program. Other things to look for is to see how transparent they are when answering questions and how the responsiveness of the affiliate manager.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Definitely great point, Richard – there are way too many programs out there that don’t credit their affiliates for all the sale.

      This kind of transparency is one way to make sure it doesn’t happen.

  75. Awesome- informative post Ana!

    After having recently shifted to WordPress- I have been wondering about what kinds of affiliates to place on the blog as there are so many out there- it does get very confusing about which ones to pick out!

    I love your last few lines- Affiliate marketing is not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.- guess need to follow that and go more deep within how to work my way about affiliates.

    Thanks for all the information and links- would surely be checking them out :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are very welcome, Harleena.

      Another thing I didn’t mention in the post (I think I need to go back and talk about it) is how important it is to pick products that pertain to YOUR niche and YOUR readers.

      Something many bloggers don’t concern themselves with enough…

  76. Great guide to find good affiliate products to promote. Promoting just any product is not a good strategy. It’s wasting time.
    I don’t know Josh Kotsay but I’m going to check his site right now.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Affiliate marketing is definitely great, Christina; we just need to find a better way to adapt it to our businesses.

      Say hello to Josh for me!

  77. Well said Ana. Affiliate marketing is more about working smarter and not trying to “imitate” whatever the gurus are doing. Sure you can “pick” some tips from them but as you said, they are working on an entirely different level from the majority of us, specially those in the beginning.

    JVNotifyPro is a great resource and I have been using it for wuite a while now. For an affiliate marketer, it is a good site to be associated with as you get first hand notification of upcoming products and as you know, sometimes, being an early adopter can work wonders :) Anyway, the key is indeed “finding the right” affiliate program and stick to it for a little while :) Great advise

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks, Francisco.

      Affiliate marketing is certainly a great way to make money – IF you know what you are doing.

      Unfortunately, most bloggers out there just do what everyone else does and jumping on a band wagon doesn’t always work here.