Choosing The Right Affiliate

Most of the times I have to answer merchant questions such as “How many sales are done through Affiliates?” or “How many active affiliates do you have?”. These are true and valid questions, but in essence they come from the other side of the business: the affiliate marketer’s ability to chose, promote and sell products.

Affiliate marketing is really a 90/10 business – only 10% of the affiliates do actually sell something. The reasons behind are very complex and too difficult to discuss here, but the most common reason is because affiliates sign-up for “getting rich” programs, or (and this is the better alternative) for generic and non-targeted products.

So here we are, at Chose the Right Program to join. If you work as Sales for a company, well, you have to sell its products, good or bad. Affiliate Marketing really gives you the chance to promote and sell the best products on the market.

While it might not be the ideal process for every affiliate, there are several generic steps that can be followed:

1. Make a list of products you own or at least, use

I can almost see that you wonder what this is. Let’s see. Open your browser, Google for “affiliate programs”. See what I mean? You can’t really decide what product to promote and sell. Now, if you have the “own/used” list, you can at least have an idea about some products you could talk from real experience.

And that’s far better than just randomly browsing and choosing a product you’ve never heard about. You can go ahead and make some products categories. I’m sure I don’t have to talk about product quality (you only buy best quality, or at least best value for the money, right?).

2. Choose your “Expert category”

From the “own/used” list, what products do you really love? Or which you master the best? What makes you an expert? I bet that you have some excellent products which you use every day or purchased and used with enjoyment. Not many, only a few. This will shrink your list a little, so don’t cut everything else, just make an “Expert category”

3. Look for the affiliate programs for the products in your list

Now that you have the own/used list of products and the “Expert category”, you can start finding out if they are sold through Affiliates. Chances are that many of the products will make it, while the others should go to the recycle bin for later.

Once you find affiliate programs for the products, look for the conditions they offer: commissions, payment date, conditions to join and problems. Take out the products in “nasty programs”, you now have the own/used/not nasty products and the Expert/not nasty categories.

4. Affiliate competition, demand and conversion rate

We have several filters that we can further apply:
– affiliate competition (just Google to see how many other affiliates are promoting the selected products, and how good they are)
– demand (searches made, general interest in them)
– conversion rate (that would be based on some assumptions regarding how many of the visitors will actually buy something)
Great, we have own/used/not nasty/low competition/great demand & sales products and the Expert/not nasty/ low competition/great demand & sales products categories. These would make the “Right programs to join”. I advice you to start with the “Expert category”, but whatever you do, don’t make affiliate mistakes.

We’ll also talk about a lot of tools to analyze keywords, search terms, conversion calculators and more or less all software tools known to affiliate marketers these days. That would be another article, so tune up your RSS reader for the articles to come.

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