Affiliate programs are best for merchants because they only pay for results. Only bloggers who can actually convert their traffic into sales will benefit from them. That means the blogger is in control of what drives their income and can directly increase it.
How an affiliate program is structured affects which sales will be attributed to your traffic – and only those will generate commissions. How repeat visitors are tracked will have a definite impact on your potential earnings.
- Cookies have an expiration date. They are only good for a limited period of time with 60 days being the most common time period I’ve noticed in affiliate programs.
- Cookies are specific to a particular computer. If your potential buyer clicks on your affiliate link while they’re at work and then buy from a different PC you won’t get credit for the sale.
- Cookies can be deleted by PC users. Some have their PCs set up to delete them whenever they close their browser or shut down their PCs. Others delete them manually or have software that deletes cookies – usually spyware programs.
- Cookies can be overwritten. What happens if someone visits an online store by clicking on your affiliate link and then visits it again later using another affiliate link elsewhere? Which affiliate gets credit for the sale?
- Some online retailers ask if someone referred the buyer. If the buyer names one person and the cookie indicates another who gets credit for the sale?
When selecting an affiliate program these are the factors to keep in mind:
- Who tracks the sales and sends payment? Many prefer to use a third party service so they only have to meet one minimum amount and can rely on that service to collect their earnings and send them payment.
- How often do they pay? Most third party affiliate management companies pay monthly when you reach a payout amount which is often $25 but can be higher. Some affiliate programs only pay quarterly and most pay only after you reach a minimum amount.
- The length of time before the cookies expire. The longer the cookie persists the more likely you will be credited with future purchases. Sixty days is fairly standard and some last as long as a year.
- What happens if the buyer visits another affiliate between clicking on your link and making a purchase? This is the most challenging information to obtain as it is not always readily available.
- What percentage of each sale you earn. This can be only 5% at Amazon (although that page says up to 15% it primarily pays out only 5%). I recommend focusing on programs that pay at least 10%. The Executive Gift Shoppe affiliate program pays 12% and you can make up to 30% for magazines to 65% or even 100% for ebooks.
- How dependable is the seller? Your reputation is affected if you’re recommending them so do some research and make sure. Search for reviews, testimonials, and complaints before you start promoting.
- Are their prices competitive? This is more important in some niches than others. You can use product price comparison sites to find out how easy it is to compare prices. If the products are easily researched and their prices are much higher your sales will be lower than normal.
Long time readers of GrowMap know that a friend of ours owns Executive Gift Shoppe, an online gift store that offers an affiliate program. Since almost any blog could offer gifts I’ll use their program in future posts containing tips on using images and how to pre-sell affiliate offerings.
Be sure to read about pre-selling in my next post in this series as it is the most important difference between those who make money with affiliate programs and those who do not.
If you’re already familiar with affiliate programs I can strongly recommend the high quality personalized and engraved gifts ExecutiveGiftShoppe offers as well worth promoting. Visit the next link for all the reasons I recommend their business, personal and groomsmen gifts.
Here is a win/win for bloggers. Join their affiliate program, write a creative post about their store or any of their products, and enter it in their Blogging Contest. Even if you aren’t a $50 gift certificate winner your blog will receive traffic from other entrants and be heavily promoted by us. Any blogger who enters will be linked from this blog too AND many will be featured in specific posts and recommended at Twitter and FriendFeed.
This is one of the chances to maximize your visibility and online exposure by participating when someone else wants to promote your links for you. Now is the perfect time to learn how to monetize your blog with affiliate products because we will personally assist you. Ask any questions you have in the comments of this post or contact us at Twitter.
There are NO dumb questions. Not sure how to insert an image? Need assistance finding an angle that fits your niche? Want to know more about pre-selling? Not sure how to use an affiliate link? No matter how inexperienced you are we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity for free personal assistance to take your skills to the next level and start earning money in your blog.
AFFILIATE MARKETING RESOURCES:
- Top Ways to Increase Success with Affiliate Marketing
AFFILIATE PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Derek Semmler (Twitter) How the Bridaluxe Wedding Affiliate Program Hits the Affiliate Network Nail on the Head
- Weddex (Twitter) Bridaluxe: Wedding Affiliate Program for Wedding Pros
- GrowMap (Twitter) How to Evaluate a Gift Affiliate Program
- ExecGiftsBlog (ExecGifts) Executive Gift Shoppe Gift Affiliate Program
AFFILIATE MARKETING for AFFILIATES:
- Derek Semmler (Twitter) Case Study: Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
- AffiliateXFiles (Ron Cripps) How to Become an Affiliate Marketer
- AffiliateXFiles (Ron Cripps) How to Create a Product Review Site That Sells
- Derek Semmler (Twitter) Building Affiliate Stores
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) How to Pick Merchants to Promote
- Derek Semmler (Twitter)How to Add Affiliate Products to Your Site
- AffiliateXFiles (Ron Cripps) Affiliate Marketing Tips For Long Term Results
- AffiliateXFiles (Ron Cripps) Affiliate Marketing FAQs – Ask your questions here and get answers from successful affiliate with 9+ years experience
AFFILIATE MARKETING FOR MERCHANTS:
- Murray Newlands (Twitter) Affiliate Marketing for Merchants
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) What You Should Expect from your Affiliate Management Company aka OPM
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) Common Mistakes When Hiring an Affiliate Manager
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) How to Select an Affiliate Management Company
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) How Small Businesses Can Compete for Affiliates
- Adam Riemer (Rollerblader) Why Merchants Should Offer Affiliate Commissions on Gift Certificates
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- Wedding Boom Predicted for Next 22 Years (growmap.com)
- How to Evaluate a Merchant Gift Affiliate Program (growmap.com)
- How to Attract Affiliates to Your Program (marketersdaily.com)
- The Way I See It: State of Affiliate Marketing Part 1 (revenews.com)