January 18, 2006Volume 5 Number 03 Issue 90
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Make Good Money from Affiliate Programs

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Leveraging the work of others can pay handsomely. In this article I will point out how it is possible to make good money with affiliate or joint venture programs.

Affiliate programs (also called Joint Ventures, Referral Programs or Partnership Programs) are essentially commission-based sales schemes. You recommend a site or product to your readers and visitors and pick up a percentage of any sales those folks generate. You benefit from the commission and the site benefits from sales it wouldn't otherwise have made. If you've ever gone to a web site and seen links to Amazon, those were affiliate links.

Affiliate programs work two ways: you can join them to make money from someone elseís product, or you can run one to get others to sell your product.

Running An Affiliate Program

You can run an affiliate program from a site you've already set up, or create a site specially to promote a product or service. As long as it brings in more cash than you spend on building it and buying traffic, you're laughing.

Joining An Affiliate Program

As with any marketing venture, you need to be careful in the selection of an affiliate program. The benefit of an affiliate program is that it gives you another way to make money from your readers and visitors. Instead of selling them a product yourself, you send them to a partner and take a cut.

On the downside though, your affiliate ads will take the place of your own ads that you could have put in that same spot. You have to make sure that each advertising position on your site is bringing in the maximum revenue possible. If you're not getting the most from your site, you're tossing money away.

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The key to success is to choose the right program, right from the beginning. Clickbank has one of the largest, if not the largest selection of affiliate programs on the web. You can view potential affiliate programs under a variety of headings, listed by dollar volume.

Many commercial sites (Amazon.com, TigerDirect.com) run affiliate programs. Thatís because they know that they only have to pay a commission if a sale is actually made; itís a proven way to generate revenue without risk. What that means for you is that when it comes to choosing an affiliate program, you're going to have a huge range to choose from. What it all boils down to though is product quality and price point.

While it might be tempting to go for the program that pays the highest commissions, the program won't pay you a penny if your readers and visitors won't go there or don't buy once they get there. You have to be certain that the service you're promoting is of genuine interest to the kind of readers and visitors you generate, whether you're receiving or buying them from search engines, banner campaigns , link exchanges or any other traffic scheme.

Sure, you can work backwards: You find a high-paying affiliate program and create a small site to send visitors to it, but do you know where to buy visitors for a program like that? You're going to have to research the field, check out the most popular sites, and negotiate banner campaigns and link exchanges.

Thatís fine if you want to invest the time and the effort. But itís much easier to find an affiliate program operating in a field you're familiar with, and use that program to earn extra cash.

For example, suppose you had set up a dating site. You might make bit of money selling subscriptions, but you might make even more by joining Match.comís affiliate program and selling them your visitors. Unless you're planning to be the Internetís biggest dating site, you're not going to be able to compete directly and beat them, but you can join them ó and earn money.

Or rather than sell your visitors directly to a Ďcompetitorí, you can look for affiliate programs that sell services that complement your own. Visitors to your dating site, for example, might be interested in buying flowers, books on relationships or tickets on singles cruises. Instead of selling just one product ó membership subscriptions ó you'd be selling a whole range of different goods to the same people, and increasing the sources of your income.

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Here are some tips to selecting an affiliate program that is lucrative and right for you:

  • Don't accept less than 25% commission. You can find affiliate programs with great payment structures and high percentages of the purchase price in just about every field. But also be wary of any site that offers too high a commission. There must be a reason the owner is willing to part with so much of the profit!

  • Look for comprehensive statistics pages that list the number of click-throughs, sales and earnings so you can see how you're doing. The information should be broken down by month.

  • Look for programs that offer a wide variety of promotional tools to put on your Web page, including text links, banners and graphics.

  • Find out how often you will be paid and make sure that the payment schedule meets your expectations. Some programs pay monthly or bimonthly, others quarterly; which is best for you?

  • Look for examples of marketing methods that successful affiliates are using to get the best results.

  • Make sure that top level support is given. If they can't answer your questions promptly and intelligently, you don't want to work with them.

Affiliate programs or Joint Ventures offer a viable solution to competing against larger competitors while still affording you the opportunity to make money. As the saying goes, if you can't beat them, Joint Venture them!

Talk to you soon!

warmly,
Jim Green

P.S. I have included a bonus article on Affiliate Programs. Click Here to read it.

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