Getting Rich with Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs (also called Referral Programs or Associate or
Partnership Programs) are essentially commission-based sales schemes.
They are used for selling of both physical and digital products. The mother
of digital products affiliate program is Clickbank.
You recommend a site to your users and pick up a percentage of any
sales those users 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 website and seen links to Amazon, those were affiliate links.
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. Affiliate ads work two ways: you can join them to
make money, or you can run one to attract users.
You can see an example here.
How to join 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 users. 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 a
different ad 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. The key to success is to choose the
right program, right from the beginning.
Now, a lot of commercial sites run affiliate programs. That’s because
they know that they only have to pay a commission if a sale is
actually made; it’s 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 and price.
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 users won’t go
there or won’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
users you buy, whether you’re buying them from search engines or
anywhere else. Sure, you can work backwards: You find a high-paying
affiliate program and create a small site to send users to it, but do you k
now where to buy users 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.
That’s fine if you want to invest the time and the effort. But it’s
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.com’s affiliate program and selling them your users.
Unless you’re planning to be the Internet’s biggest dating site,
you’re not going to be able to compete directly and beat them, but you
can join them—and earn money.
Or rather than sell your users directly to a ‘competitor’, you can
look for 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—membership subscriptions—you’d be selling a whole range of
different goods to the same people, and increasing the sources of your
income.
Here are some concrete 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.
* Look for comprehensive statistics pages that list the number of
   click-throughs, sales and earnings so you can see how you’re doing.
* 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, 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.

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