Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thoughts on affiliate programs

I've been marketing affiliate programs for quite a while now. I have had success with a few programs. But it is tricky finding the ones that sell well. You just have to go through a process of elimination, unfortunately.

Unless you're getting squillions of highly targeted hits, my advice would be to look for programs that have wide appeal and substantial payouts. Then you only have to make a few sales before you get your first payment. Needless to say, that's a great confidence booster.

Also, try to find programs related to niches that you have genuine enthusiasm for. You'll find it very hard to build sites or blog about stuff you're not really interested in.

It's also important that you believe in the quality of the product. Even if you make good money out of something, you'll start to feel dirty if you know that it's substandard, or even a scam.


  1. I have a lot to say about this particular post.

    Firstly, affiliate marketing is a dirty business. It's really filled with products that are scammy, free trial continuity offers, and products designed to draw in "suckers".

    It's difficult to justify participation in these programs for some people, I understand. I also understand that there is a population out there that is hungry to spend their money on the latest weight loss fad, penis enlargement and resveratrol. Affiliate marketers are making millions on these things.

    When I personally choose a product to promote, the very first step that I take is keyword research. If the market is completely saturated (ringtones, resveratrol, etc) then there is no way that I can possibly get enough traffic via SEO OR PPC to make a decent amount of money on the offer. However, using long-tail keywords and researching to make sure that I'll be easily able to rank in the SERPS, that's what really matters. I used to use Google's external keyword tool, then search for competing sites in the search engines, then check the top ranking sites for backlinks to determine if it was a decent keyword. Now I use Micro Niche Finder (of which I'm not an affiliate, or I'd be posting my link here - man I need to get on THAT bandwagon, lol), and it's so much easier, faster and more effective.

    I'm in love with natural traffic...I'd much rather have loads of that then ppc. My husband, however is a PPC guru, so a lot of the traffic that we get to our sites is paid. We've only recently really started implementing SEO and I'm enjoying the challenge of it.

    I agree that it's beneficial to choose programs to promote that you are interested in. If you find it difficult to write articles on dry subjects, then this is definately a requirement if you're looking to make any kind of living with SEO. I don't have a problem writing articles for dry subjects or things I'm not interested in (look, I can write a novel of a comment on blogs that I AM interested in, lol), so it doesn't really matter what products we're currently promoting, I'll go to town with backlinks, articles, etc.

    I think it boils down to doing what you're comfortable with, and having a balance between your desire to make a living and your ability to be diligent given the subject matter of the products you choose.

    P.S. I second Aji - great blog. I look forward to watching it grow, and reading about your exploits. You don't by chance have a twitter account??? If you do, you can find me at @JaneenBrown on Twitter.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful and informative comment. And sorry it took so long to reply. I didn't see it until fairly recently.

    Re Twitter: Not yet. No time. But I might get into it eventually ...