Thanks to sites that will promote anything for a buck and sneaky offers that hide recurring credit card charges in the fine print, affiliate marketing has a bad reputation in many circles BUT it doesn’t have to be that way.
There ARE ethical ways to offer affiliate links on your Web site or blog and there are merchants whose products and services are worth sharing. While we generally focus on shareasale.com because they have a reputation for running the cleanest, most ethical affiliate marketing network, another network worth considering is Commission Junction.
It is less expensive for merchants to get started on ShareASale or Promote Your Online Store so you can find more small businesses there. Commission Junction is one of the highest priced ways for businesses to offer an affiliate program (but they weren’t always), so they have many big brands and older, very established programs.
The first thing new affiliates need to know about Commission Junction is that if you don’t stay active and make at least one sale every six months it will cost you. From their site:
“A $10 fee is charged to accounts that do not earn a commission in 6 months. You are required to earn a commission every 6 consecutive months in order to remain active within our system. After six months without having made a sale, your account will be deactivated due to dormancy. If you have funds within your account, they will be deducted $10 per month on the 1st until the balance is $0, at which time the account will be deactivated.”
And as you can see from that wording, if you don’t make a sale before you run out of money in your account you lose your account. This is the penalty for dabbling in affiliate marketing but not making it a priority.
We know about this because we (my JV partners and I) have a Commission Junction account but haven’t been actively promoting merchants there. We usually focus on ShareASale. That said, it would be best not to let this CJ account go – and we are probably not the ONLY affiliates to run into this issue – so let’s brainstorm.
Tomorrow we have an awesome guest post from @SunshineTricia on Why Bloggers Should Care About Affiliate Marketing so this is a good lead in to get us all thinking about how affiliate marketing can benefit us.
What merchants, products and services do you feel are worthwhile? I will start sharing some merchant programs I’ve joined but not promoted that I would LOVE to have feedback on. I will also share tips on what has generated the most money and invite other bloggers and affiliates to do the same.
My number one TOP PICK for affiliate programs is one that will work for just about any site: magazines. Magazine subscriptions and now the new digital magazines are the easiest affiliate programs to promote because:
- They have very high commissions of usually 20-35%.
- There are quality magazines related to almost any niche.
- They make great gifts because the recipient can enjoy them all year long.
- You don’t have to explain anything for your readers and visitors to understand what you’re offering.
- Reviewing your favorite magazines makes for strong content for your blog or Web site.
MAGAZINE AFFILIATE PROGRAMS:
I’m putting magazines first because back in the early days of the Internet before blogs they were my top seller. Magazines are the “gift that keeps on giving” so they’re perfect for gifts because there are magazines for just about every interest (which also means for just about ANY blogging niche).
Here are some examples of magazine affiliate programs and creatives sorted by commissions offered*:
*Note that simply choosing the merchant offering the highest commission will NOT necessarily generate the highest income for you. Watch for future posts on why that is true and that explain how to evaluate affiliate programs.
35% Commission + Performance Incentives
This is a 300×250 medium rectangle ad block – a popular size in blogs and you’ll see that many blogs including this one position a 300×250 ad block near the top of their right sidebar (a sidebar simply means column) above the fold.
Another popular size for ads is 468×60 (shown below) – popular because it fits easily into a blog post and can be used at the top, bottom or anywhere in the middle of a post. I was recently reminded by a comment in my post about CommentLuv Premium that it can be wise to use more than one banner in a post that is offering a product or service.
Zinio offers 20% commissions on digital magazines.
Here is an example of a canned affiliate text link for MagMall:
Huge Magazine Subscription Savings of up to 85% off Retail Prices
MagMall also pays 20% and is experimenting with advanced text links that allow you to link to a specific type of magazine or specific magazines. Note that most affiliate programs offer a variety of banner sizes and text links.
SHAREASALE MAGAZINE AFFILIATE PROGRAMS:
There are a TON of magazine affiliate programs. Those mentioned above are all on Commission Junction. Here are some on ShareASale:
- Magazine Agent 40-45% commissions, 90 days: Black Friday Deals – $5.00 Magazine Subscription Deals
- Subscription Agent 30% commissions, cookie never expires:
- Education Magazines
- Home & Garden Magazines
- Parenting Magazines
- Sports Magazines
- (Many other text links available.)
- MagazinesUSA 25%, 30 days
- MagazineDiscountCenter 30-60%, 90 days
Some magazines are even cutting out the middle man and offering their own affiliate programs:
- Women’s Happiness Magazine 70% 60 days – more of an online forum than a magazine
Unfortunately, most affiliate managers must not be as familiar with blogs as you might expect because many of them – especially the ones on Commission Junction – do not offer 125×125 ad blocks which are very popular on blogs.
You can request affiliate managers to provide additional specific sizes and some programs but not all allow you to create your own deep links. Those are excellent strategies so I’ll work on future posts on how to create affiliate links to specific pages for Commission Junction merchants similar to a previous post on How to Deep Link ShareASale.
I only want to promote worthy businesses and products
with an emphasis on small business.
It is far easier to find big brands to promote than
small businesses, but I encourage bloggers to make that effort.
I’ll be writing more blog posts about types of affiliate programs that will work for most niches and invite bloggers to contact me if they would like to do a guest post on their most successful affiliate offers.
Anyone willing to share which affiliate programs work best for you in a guest post OR in the comments of this post? We’d love to hear from you.
Are You a Blogger?
Take this 3-minute survey on how bloggers monetize content.
You’ll be making a difference for many bloggers and Vernessa and I thank you.
More conclusions to follow to increase YOUR income, too!
DISCLOSURE: Just in case anyone isn’t totally clear on this concept, YES those ARE affiliate links in this post and YES if you happen to buy something after you click on one of them YES we might – if everything works right and you haven’t click on some other affiliate cookie leaving link – be paid a commission.
AFFILIATE MARKETING TIPS:
- Making Money with Your Blog – Part 1 – Understanding Affiliate Programs
- Affiliate Tips Tuesday: Holiday Promotions
- Merchant Affiliate Management Tips
- Recommended Wedding Affiliate Program: Bridaluxe
- Gift Affiliate Programs Make Dollars and Sense
- How to Evaluate a Merchant Gift Affiliate Program
AFFILIATE MARKETING BLOGS:
- Shawn Collins Affiliate Tips
- AdamRiemer.me Affiliate Marketing Management Tips
- Tricia.me Affiliate Marketing Introduction for Newbies
- Deborah Carney’s Affiliate ABCs Blog