Affiliate programs marketing artikelen



Affiliate programs also known as associate programs, referral programs and partner programs among others things are Internet sales systems whereby a website which sells products or services can have hundreds and even thousands of other websites helping them sell their inventory.

door: David Callan

Affiliate programs frequently asked questions.


The webmaster of the helping website is called an affiliate and the website which runs the affiliate program is usually called the merchant.

The affiliates help the merchant by exposing the merchants products and services to visitors of their web site. This is done by the careful placement of banners and links, sometimes merchants even provide an actual page on their own server for their affiliates to promote.

Why would anyone want to promote someone else's product on the Internet? Well it's what the merchant offers in return to affiliates which makes affiliate programs attractive to webmasters. In return for promoting the merchants products and services the affiliate receives a percentage of sales that they've referred.

Imagine for example someone visits xyz.com and clicks on a link to abc.com and then buys product X on abc.com for $100. The webmaster of abc.com has in this case just created a sale for xyz.com and will receive anything from around $10 to $60 for creating it.

The percentages of commission that affiliates receive varies widely and depends on the price of the product and how much profit the merchant is willing to share with his or her affiliates.

There are two main types of affiliate programs, these are one tier and two tier. One tier programs allow only the direct referring affiliate to make a commission based on sales referred, whereas with a two tier affiliate program you as an affiliate receive a percentage of sales from any affiliates who join the affiliate program through you.

Affiliate programs are great if you've a medium to high traffic website but you don't have your own product. Nearly all products are catered for by affiliate programs so you can easily find one which your websites visitors will be interested in.

How do affiliate programs work?

In order for affiliate programs to work the merchant has to have specialized scripts installed on the same server that his website is hosted on, or use a third party service like clickbank. Both the scripts and services provide each affiliate with an affiliate id which is unique to them, they then direct a new affiliate to a webpage or email them the HTML they need to place on their page, this HTML will contain the affiliates ID.

Whenever a visitor clicks on an affiliate link be it a text link or an image link they're immediately taken to the merchant's website. The merchant tracks where the visitor comes from by using cookies. If that visitor then buys from the merchant then the affiliate will receive a referral fee. Usually every month the merchant will send all his affiliates who referred sales a check for all the commission they've made. The merchant is not losing money by sharing profits because without his affiliates he would not have made profits in the first place.

Can affiliate programs make me rich?

The simple answer if your an affiliate is no, you'd have to run a mega traffic website to expect to get rich through affiliate programs. You can however create a very healthy income through them if you've a medium to high traffic website. It's not uncommon for knowledgeable webmasters with 10,000+ visitors a month to make around $2000-$3000+ a month. In most cases however a $500 fee would be a successful month for any affiliate. It's a different story altogether however if you're the merchant, in this case they can make you rich. Imagine 200 high-traffic sites recommending your product. Your bound to make hundreds of sales each month, this is hundreds more sales than you would have on your own. Next you give your affiliates their cut and you take the rest. It's a win-win situation.

What to look for in an affiliate program?

Affiliate programs have quickly become the most popular way for webmasters to use traffic to their sites to make money. The amount of money however an affiliate earns depends on three main factors:
1. Level of traffic to the affiliate site.
2. Where / how the affiliate promotes the program on his site

In this article I'll be dealing with point number 3 - "The quality of the affiliate program itself" and going through what you need to look for in a program before joining it. Remember if you join a poor program you mightn't be getting all the commission you deserve. You should look for the following qualities when joining an affiliate program, nearly all good programs have these qualities.

Make sure the website has an established presence online. It's advised that you look for websites which have been online a while and are trusted before you join their program. This is vital as you want to be paid what your owed and paid on time. Many webmasters have signed up to untrustworthy programs because of promises the programs made and have waited months for checks which never arrived.

Next you'll want to check out an affiliate programs product line. Each of its products should be a quality high-value one which you'd use yourself. Don't ever join a program if its products are bad because it pays high commission. It'll damage your image greatly if you do and you'll not be able to recommend other products ever again because people won't value your opinion. Be sure also that the programs product list is regularly growing, this will enable you to update your visitors on new products which they might be interested in. It's vital that the affiliate program has a good commission rate for all its products, if it doesn't you could be making much more elsewhere. What is a good commission? Well the answer to that is tough but generally 20% to 25% of the product price is what's expected of good programs. I know of programs offering up to 65% but programs such as these are rare.

Many good programs operate what's called a two-tier system, this means that you can create an extra stream of income without doing anything for the life of the program. It works like this, every time you refer another webmaster to the program and that webmaster joins he or she will be constantly acting like a sales rep for you. This means that every time that webmaster makes a sale you get what's called a sub-refferal commission because you were the one that recommended that person to the affiliate program in the first place. The more they sell the more sub-referral commission you get. With this in mind I recommend trying to look for programs with two tiers. Keep in mind however that the bulk of your affiliate fees will always come from your own direct referrals, having two tiers is merely an advantage, it's not something that's vital.

Above we've discussed qualities such as the website running the program, the product line, the commissions and two-tier programs, but none of the above will matter if the program hasn't got excellent tracking. All good programs have excellent tracking systems, you want programs that track visitors to their site using both CGI and cookies so you always get accredited with sales that originate from your site.

You also want to be able to check your stats in real time, this will allow you to see what method of promoting your affiliate link is working best. Another point that you might want to check out regarding a programs tracking before signing up is this, how long do they track visitors for? Some affiliate programs like Amazon will track the visitor from your site only once and if they leave then come back the next day and then buy you don't get a penny even though your site was were the sale originated. Try to look for programs that track for 30 days or more.

Other things you might want to check out include: how often do they send checks out and do you've to earn a certain amount before a check will be sent out. Well there you have it, if a program has all or most of these qualities then your on to a winner and it's worth putting effort into it. If it has few of them then don't bother, the chances are good that your going to be ripped of.

Increase your affiliate check.

You've got a decent amount of traffic to your site and your signed up with some affiliate programs hence you want to know how you can make the most money from with these programs, right?. Well there are a number of ways in which you can increase your affiliate check at the end of the month, this article will try and educate you on these ways. First I'm going to make sure your doing the most important thing necessary to being successful as an affiliate. That thing is of course to target your market. This means that you only join and promote products from affiliate programs that are related to the theme of your website and which your visitors are likely to buy.

If you sell teddy bears and promote an Internet marketing course you're not going to be successful because few if any of your visitors would be interested in the course. The moral of the story therefore is to always pick programs that fit into your site, this way visitors to your site will be interested in the products from the affiliate program and will be more inclined to buy them. Most webmasters already knew that but I just had to make sure.

To start off then, don't just use banners. You've slapped that big banner across your main page and you wait for the money to roll it, but little or none does. This is because the Internet is saturated with banners and people tend to ignore them resulting in very low click-through rates and of course very low or no commission from sales. I'm not saying don't use banners, by all means do but don't rely on them alone because results are generally poor. When you use banners to promote products always have them above the fold, either at the top of the screen or the middle, these are the places where people will see them most. The fold for those of you that don't know is the point on a webpage whereby you have to start scrolling to continue reading.

The banners which always get a higher click-through are ones that appear as though they're part of the website, these banners are commonly known as 'fake banners'. People think they're clicking on links to other parts of your website because either the banner graphic looks like a link with blue underlined text and the text has the words click here or the banner looks like a drop down navigation menu of the site, but in fact both are banners with a link to your affiliate URL. Below is an example of the fake drop down

The other banner type thing you could use to get click-through's to your affiliate URL is what's referred to as the HTML banner but in fact it's not actually a banner. It's a real drop down menu except every link goes to the same place, your affiliate URL. These work the best because people really do think they're just going to another part of your site, they've no idea it's an ad. That covers the banner ad bit, don't however forget about simple text links as these guys pull in a lot more visitors than banner ads any day of the week. You may have a textual menu on your site, if you do simply add a link to your affiliate URL at the end, make the link sound as interesting as you can.

Other ways to integrate your affiliate URL into your site with text links include writing an article related to the industry of the product which your affiliate URL promotes and have links to your affiliate URL throughout the article. Don't forget about your links page, make sure you've your affiliate URL at the top of the bunch with a nice description of it too. However the most powerful way to use simple text links is to put them in personal recommendations. Various Internet marketing professionals suggest that personal recommendations can increase click-through's to an affiliate URL by 400%, this in turns means a massive increase in commission.

It's best if you actually own and love the product your recommending yourself, this way your recommendation will seem more genuine. If you've a quality site with lots of valuable information people will value your opinion and check the product out. If you've an Ezine be sure to place a personal recommendation in that too. Imagine having 10,000+ subscribers all seeing the recommendation around the same time, your commission would surely skyrocket.

Another method which you can use on your website is the pop up window. Pop up windows are very powerful as they catch your visitors eye just as they're leaving your web site. In the pop up window you could place your recommendation of the product or a simple text link. Beware however that some people don't like pop up windows, so if you decide to use this method be sure to use it sparingly. Most of the above methods can be done through either your website or Ezine, well except for the banner and pop up window bits as Ezines are just emails, but there's another method just for your Ezine or opt in list, it's the classified ad.

Classified ads are an easy but extremely profitable way to promote your affiliate URL in your Ezine this is because users value and trust you as the publisher of your Ezine and know that you won't allow poor products to be advertised in it. If you had an Ezine with 10,000 subscribers you could make hundreds of dollars just from that one ad. Another excellent way to gradually increase your affiliate check is to place these banners, text links and personal recommendations in free ebooks that you give away. Allow other webmasters to give your ebooks away also and list it in all the ebook directories you can find.

The better the ebook the more people will download it. 10,000+ people could download your free ebook giving you almost unlimited free exposure of your affiliate URL. This of course will increase your commission check greatly, however it takes much more time to see the results of a campaign like this than to see the results from a new banner ad or recommendation you have put up. A method that has brought some people success is one that uses pay per click engines like Google Adwords, Overture.com and Findwhat.com. Most PPC engines won't allow you to link directly to an affiliate URL, but you can easily get around this by having a landing page which links to the affiliate URL. I know you've to pay for visitors from these type of engines but they can be highly targeted and that means the people that click-through are highly likely to buy.

This strategy works best if your commission rate is high or very high. If you earn around $50+ a sale it's well worth experimenting with. Let's say for example you bid $.10 cents on some detailed keyphrase related to the product your promoting which eventually takes the visitor to your affiliate URL, because it's very detailed your likely to make a sale from every 50 click-through's or so. Now imagine you made $65 commission each time you made a sale. $.10 multiplied by 50 equals $5, this is what it costs to make a sale and $65 minus $5 equals $60. This $60 is profit, so in other words it costs $5 to make $60 in this case anyhow. The above figures are just general examples but they do illustrate what can be done with pay per click engines.

Remember to concentrate on affiliate programs that pay high commissions per sale. This will allow you to afford more clicks or higher bids while still keeping the majority of your commission per sale. More tips on using PPC engines to your advantage can be read in my article entitled Pay per click search engine guide. The final method you could try to increase your check is time consuming. It involves posting in newsgroups and forums with your affiliate URL in your SIG file. You'll also want to watch out for posts where people are looking for others to recommend a good product or posts which give you a chance to direct others to your affiliate URL. Never spam newsgroups or forums though as other posters will report you and you'll be banned from your affiliate program for life, many programs will even withhold your current commission balance.

That brings to an end this article, in it you've learned what you can do to increase your income from affiliate programs with techniques such as fake banners and using pay per click search engines. I hope you can put these techniques into practice successfully.

Starting your own affiliate program

Utilizing affiliate programs is the most powerful way to market a product online. All the top marketing professionals agree with this and most of them have used affiliate programs to make hundreds of thousands of dollars online in a very short time. Simply put, affiliate programs are one of the few things in life that can make you get rich quick. Affiliate programs are the ultimate online joint venture. You joint venture with other webmasters and only pay them when you make a profit so you never have to pay for advertising that doesn't work and you never have to pay anything up front.

If your product has a medium to high profit margin then you can be assured starting an affiliate program for it will make it much more successful and will in turn make you much more profit. The beauty behind affiliate programs is that they allow you to build an army of sales reps, all these sales reps have their own websites, visitors and opt-in lists. These sales reps are your affiliates and they use their visitors and opt-in lists to advertise your product. You don't have to pay them a penny until they make a profit for you.

Imagine having 250+ high traffic sites all advertising your product via banners, text links, recommendations in their Ezine and on their website, through ebooks they write and freely distribute and all of the other available methods. If your product is good and you have decent sales copy your sales are going to go through the roof, you could be making $30,000+ a month within six or seven months with your own affiliate program. It's easy to recruit new affiliates, especially if you run an affiliate program that operates on two-tiers. A two-tier program is a program whereby affiliates earn commission when someone they referred to the program makes a sale. This encourages webmasters to find other people to join your affiliate program so your affiliate base quickly multiplies itself and continues to grow all the time.

I know of an affiliate program which uses a two-tier system that has 50,000+ affiliates all promoting the programs products. You can imagine the profits that 50,000 affiliates can make you, can't you? To be honest it's very rare any program will ever get as big as to have 50,000 affiliates but 5,000 is much more achievable, after that the quality of your program will determine it's growth. Here's a few numbers to get your temperatures rising. First imagine you've loads of affiliates, now say that after you give your affiliates their commission you make $20 a sale, the below figures are what you could earn. The more affiliates that join the more money you make, it's generally as simple as that.

Automated advertising campaign.

An affiliate program is an automated advertising campaign. Today's affiliate software allows you to advertise your products and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all automatically. Even new affiliate sign ups and stats generation is all done automatically. Remember with modern systems having 100,000 affiliates is just a easy as having 10.

You only pay for results.

Unlike traditional banner or classified advertising where you've to pay up front and wait to see if you've made any money afterwards affiliate programs require you to pay only when someone makes a sale. This means you only pay when someone makes you profit. You won't ever have to buy advertising that doesn't work ever again because you can test your ad copy and banners on your affiliates sites for free.

Unlimited growth potential.

Affiliate programs give your business unlimited growth potential especially if you start a two-tier program which encourages your affiliates to recruit other affiliates by rewarding them with commission every time someone below them makes a sale. If you've a good quality program then more and more people will want to join.

Extra benefits of affiliate programs.

Having an affiliate program for your products and services brings a number of other benefits too. The first being the amount of traffic you get, it's going to be a lot. You can use this traffic for free because even if visitors don't buy they might subscribe to your Ezine or opt-in list and then you could follow up with offers of your product or recommend other products via an affiliate program that your a member of. You could also use the traffic to attract advertisers and then sell banner space on your site at a premium rate. The third and final extra benefit you'll get from starting your own affiliate program is better search engine rankings. This is because nowadays link popularity is a big factor among many of the major search engines, since affiliates have to link to your site to earn commission you can easily have thousands of links pointing your way.

You simply can't lose with affiliate programs, you invest nothing up front except the cost of the software which in most cases is ridiculously low, usually you can make the cost of the software back within a very short time and you don't have to pay for advertising unless you make money first!

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