Tips and Hints

The best affiliate program/product/network/service

It depends. What works for my site isn’t necessarily going to work for your site unless they are similar in scope, design and demographics. In fact most sites will find success with a combination of PPC advertising, affiliate sales and direct advertising sales (text links, banners and other media). If you have a ton of traffic and a site that attracts an easily quantified demographic you’ll probably have some bulk banner ad serving running as well, with payments per thousand impressions.

The same goes for affiliate networks. Some specialize in consumer-targeted ads, and some concentrate on business. Check out Affiliate Network Profiles for examples.

So how do you find the right programs? Here’s are some characteristics of the best programs:

1. It is appealing to the demographics and characteristics of the visitors to your site. There are enough affiliate networks and independent program sites out there for you to search. Do your homework and find the products and services that will appeal to your visitors. Go peek at your competitors and see what they are selling on their sites. And test, test test. Rotate banners and text ads and buttons on your site to see which program, offer and media pull the best.

The more unique the offers you have on your site, the better chance you will have of success.

2. It is easy to presell on your site. I plan to write a more in-depth about preselling next week, but it is basically just getting your visitors in a buying mood. Your job is to extol the virtues of the product or service without overselling it. It’s an art, and you need to pick a product or service that integrates with and compliments your content perfectly. If it doesn’t the copy will be awkward and the program will not appeal to your visitors (if it doesn’t fit with the content then it won’t appeal to your visitor, since they are at your site for the content).

3. It pays well. You’re looking for a high base payout and a high Earnings Per Click (EPC) number. As you probably remember, EPC is a rough indicator of how well the media sells the product. The higher the better usually.

But you also shouldn’t sacrifice quality for quantity — if a program that fits your visitor profile better pays less than another, give priority to the better fit, but try them both.

4. You own the customer for a long time, ideally forever. The amount of time between your visitor clicking from your site to the merchant and the sale is called the Tracking Gap. During the Tracking Gap time period (30, 60, 90 days or more), if the customer returns to the merchant site and makes a sale or other action, you get the credit and the commission.

I believe that since you did the work to get the visitor to the merchant site, the Tracking Gap should be forever. It is typically between 30 and 120 days, but could be more and could be forever.

5. It has products and services that you can endorse. Your visitors are relying on your endorsement (either tacit or shouted loudly) of the products and services on your site. You need to try them or at least review them and make sure you can honestly and sincerely endorse them because that’s what you’re doing.

(The above is from my post The Best Affiliate Program.

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