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Affiliate Programs – Your 10 point check list
It is amazing to think how popular affiliate programs have become in recent years. Today nearly every ecommerce website has an affiliate program.
Although it is normally very quick and easy to join an affiliate program for free, you can save yourself a lot of time and money in the long-term by making sure that you start of with the right company.
I normally always base my decision on joining an affiliate program on the following 10 factors:
1. Product (or Service) - Must be a high quality product that is useful and can help people. You must be able to create a need for the product, at least in your own mind.
2. Company - You should have a positive feeling about the company. If something bothers you then rather walk away.
3. Price - The more affordable the price the more products will be sold through your referrals / promotions. Remember that the cheaper the price the larger your target market will be. Do not waste your time promoting a product that costs thousands of dollars. Rather focus on products that retail for between and 0. That is where the money is.
4. Commission - I would never agree to promote a product or service for under 20% in commission. There are many companies out there with great products and systems that will pay their affiliates 30% and even up to 50% commission. Why settle for 10% when you can earn 50%. Chances are the amount of time you need to put in will be the same.
5. Training and Tools - All good companies will offer their affiliates free training programs on how they can make more money with the program. They will also offer free tools such as banners that the affiliate can put on his own website or they will give the affiliate his own affiliate website. The better the training and tools you receive the better the company.
6. Support - You often need to make quick decisions or revert back to a potential client as soon as possible with an answer to his question. In order to succeed you need great support. You should be able to contact the company any time of the day or night by phone, online messaging or e-mail and get a reply back without delay. A company that does not take the time to reply to my enquiry within at least 24 hours is a company I would rather not work with.
7. No obligation to purchase - You should never have to buy a product before you can become an affiliate. Don't get me wrong, it makes a lot of sense to buy and use the product yourself before recommending it to others but I have never come across a good program that insists its members must buy the product first. I do suggest you seriously consider buying the product once you have checked out the affiliate program as well as the training and support you will receive and made up your mind that you really want to participate.
8. Earnings visibility - Don't waste your time with a company that cannot offer you the online tools of monitoring your referrals and commissions. It should be totally automated and accessible with the click of a button 24 hours a day.
9. Protecting affiliates earnings - Any good company should do their best to look after the financial wellbeing of affiliates and this means ensuring that affiliates receive credit and by implication commission on all referrals that result in sales. As an affiliate you will normally receive a special affiliate code when you join the affiliate program. Lets assume the company's website address is www.abc.com and your affiliate code is 123. You will normally receive your own url to refer people to. In this case the url can be www.abc.com/123. Problem is that some people will think you are a middleman and that by excluding you they will get a better price (which is generally not the case). They will recognize your affiliate code as 123. They may use your url to visit the site but will often try to
sign up by re-typing the url without your code. Many companies protect their affiliates from this practise by having systems in place that will recognize the IP address of a computer and associate it with your affiliate code. Even if the potential customer visits their website weeks afterwards it will still
credit you with any sale that takes place. The time period varies but most good companies will protect the income of their affiliates for between 6 months and even 3 years from being "stolen" by other individuals.
10. Payment - In the end you have to be physically paid. Chances are that 10 companies will have 10 different ways of paying affiliates. It is normal that companies will only pay commission once the amount reaches a certain minimum. Remember that processing commissions cost money and it does not make sense to, for example, make a wire transfer for a commission of only . Make sure you fully understand how and when commissions are paid before you start promoting the program. Most companies will not change the way in which they pay commissions only to make you happy.
You may want to add additional factors to personalize exactly what you are looking for in an affiliate program. Do not compromise on your criteria. The old saying that goes: “There is a lot of fish in the sea”, also applies to affiliate programs. By taking your time and being patient you will find program(s) that will help you to become a money maker and grow your own home based business.
About the Author: Francois du Toit is the owner of http://www.money-maker-advice.com, a website designed to help new entrepreneurs succeed by offering free advice, help and guidance on how to become a successful money maker with the right business opportunity or opportunities while working from the comfort of your own home. Visit http://www.money-maker-advice.com to subscribe to the FREE Newsletter and receive a FREE copy of The Affiliate Masters Course, and 10 Powerful Secrets to Make Money with Adsense in 2007.