Choosing an Affiliate Program
Friday, November 7, 2003; 2:30pm EST
What should you consider
when choosing an affiliate program? You need to think about two key
things: what business are you in and what can the affiliate program
provide to your customers.
No matter what
business you are in, the largest investment you make will be customer
acquisition. If you have your own product, and have acquired a base of
satisfied customers, then single product affiliate programs could work
very well for you.
However, if your
business is acquiring customers for other businesses, that is, purely
affiliate programs, then a better choice for you could be affiliate
programs with multiple products or services. This will help you to
capitalize on your investment in customer acquisition.
The key to choosing
successfully is to ensure that the affiliate program offers products
that meet the needs of your potential customers. Coupled with this is
the need for the products to be high quality and for the supplier to
provide excellent customer service. Remember, your credibility is on
the line every time you refer someone to buy through your affiliate
Some of the other
factors I consider when evaluating affiliate programs include:
Is the affiliate
program a reputable business? You can check out a business you are
considering a relationship with in variety of ways. Talk to the
Better Business Bureau in your local area or a similar body. In
addition, I find web sites that monitor affiliate programs to be
worth looking at. The best I have found is Associate Programs
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com. Allan Gardyne pulls no punches and
tells it as it is.
Does the program
enable you to share in the lifetime value of the customer? Great
programs will give you commissions on all future purchases of the
customers you introduce. This is where the real profits are. These
types of programs, in effect, allow you to partner with the
Does the program
reward you for introducing other affiliates? This type of program is
commonly referred to as a two-tier program. Often your customer may
become an affiliate also and you will be rewarded for this.
Is the supplier
interested in your success as an affiliate? The top affiliate
programs engage in a process of coaching or information sharing to
help you succeed. Affiliates are provided with regular newsletters
outlining what is working for successful affiliates and providing
updates and details on new products.
Is the commission
reasonable? Commission rates on commodity products such as books and
CDs are low. This is because there is very little margin in the
products due to competition. Look for products that have a
commission rate of 15% or more that are not commodities - that way
you will be better able to recoup your customer acquisition
provided? The higher the level of statistics provided, the better
off you are. This will enable you to measure the success of your
marketing efforts and to determine the best places to invest your
marketing dollars. Insufficient statistics is a sign that the
affiliate program is not sufficiently interested in your success.
Are new products
being developed regularly? To get the full value from lifetime
commissions, new products need to be introduced on a regular basis.
Without this, lifetime commissions can be worthless. Also, look for
consistent high quality in new products introduced.
How frequently are
commissions paid? The more frequently commissions are paid, the
better off you are. Good quality affiliate programs will pay you
monthly. In some situations, commissions are not paid until a
certain level is reached. If the program you are considering has
this requirement, check how many sales need to be made before the
level is reached.
Have you read the
affiliate agreement? This is a key area that you should look at.
Some affiliate agreements are totally in favour of the supplier.
Others are more balanced. Some agreements restrict your ability to
promote similar products from other suppliers. Most agreements have
anti-spam provisions. Look for agreements that are fair and that do
not stack everything against you as the affiliate.
While there are other
factors that can be considered when choosing an affiliate program,
following the suggestions above will help you to make superior
business choices that will lead to long-term success.
Source of Article
Article by Kevin Sinclair, CPA, of Be Successful! Business &
Personal Success Resources (http://www.ksinclair.com/).
He is the author of 2 free ebooks: "Success Secrets" & "How To Choose
A Home Based Business". Kevin is also the publisher of "Be Successful
News" - a free ezine dedicated to your online business success - to