This is a guest post by Francesca StaAna from the AdMedia an online advertising network.
Participating in affiliate programs isn’t just a good way to earn passive income; it also gives you the opportunity to spread the word about great products and services. Affiliate programs allow bloggers to earn commissions by promoting certain products or services through affiliate links. Whenever someone clicks on an affiliate link and buys the promoted product, the publisher that posted the link will get their cut.
The affiliate program that’s right for you will depend on the nature of your website and the industry that you’re in. It’s important to note that affiliate programs aren’t created equally and there isn’t a “one size fits all” type, so choose wisely.
Get to know your readers
You’ve probably heard the cliché about how people should look within themselves in order to find answers. Believe it or not, the same holds true for selecting the right affiliate marketing program. Before diving into the sea of affiliate programs on the web (there are hundreds of thousands of them out there) it’s best to do a little online self-examination first.
Ask yourself what your website is really about and determine who your most engaged visitors are. After all, you’ll be posting affiliate links hoping that these people would take action, so it’s best to get to know them thoroughly so that you can post links that appeal to them.
Do a lot of research on your visitors. Find out their interests, demographics, and the other websites that they visit. How much money do they make? What kind of smartphones do they have? Are they college educated? Getting the answers to all these questions is crucial, as they’ll be the very things that will help you decide on which affiliate programs to participate in.
Additionally, pay attention to where your visitors are coming from. If you have a lot of visitors outside the US, then be sure to select affiliate links for products that are also available overseas. Ebooks, apps, and software would probably be your best options if you find that a lot of your readers reside outside the States.
Once you’ve done your audience research and gathered enough data about your visitors, it’s time to use that information to select your affiliate programs. It’s best to start with doing an Internet search for affiliate programs by their industries. For instance, if you run a tech blog and find out that your most active readers are twenty-something men who are Apple fanatics, then you may want to look into affiliate programs for Apple products, iPhone apps, and the like.
Find out how the affiliate program works
Found some affiliate programs that you’re interested in? Great. Now it’s time to narrow down that list and determine which ones to sign up for. Below are some of the must-ask questions that can help you decide if an affiliate program is right for you:
1. How much will you earn? – Commissions vary, depending on the products and services that you need to promote. Most programs offer 4-5% commission, while others provide as much as 20%.
2. How will you get paid? – Be sure to read about the payment processes of the affiliate programs. Do they issue checks or have direct deposit? Also ask about the amount of time before you get paid. There’s often a 60-90 day lag from the time of transaction to affiliate payout. Some affiliate programs withhold payments until a certain amount is reached, while others send out checks on regular basis.
3. How can you track your affiliate stats? – It’s important to know how your links are doing, so find out exactly how you’ll be able to access your affiliate data.
Build relationships and trust
Of course, earning money through affiliate programs goes beyond simply posting some links on your blog. People that find success in affiliate links do so because people actually benefit from the content of their site. Work on your content first and use your blog and other online channels to connect with users. Once you build a relationship and earn the trust of your readers, then you’ll find that getting them to share your posts, follow your advice, and even click on your affiliate links will be a piece of cake.
Image credit: M4D GROUP on Flickr
Author Bio: Francesca StaAna is from AdMedia, an online advertising network that connects advertisers to consumers through a number of innovative products including ad remarketing, affiliate programs, pay per click advertising, and more.