Affiliate marketing can be a very daunting endeavor to take on. You will need simple steps to take to make it easier!
One of the biggest tasks you’ll face when starting out on your affiliate marketing journey is identifying the right affiliate products or programs to promote.
After all, there are tens of thousands of individual programs to choose from.
Choosing the wrong program could potentially set you back several months, where identifying the right one could help you generate your first affiliate dollars long before your website is even “finished”.
This is a question we get asked all the time, and we are going to spend some time here looking into some of the best affiliate programs for the Newbie (industry slang for beginners).
And we’ll try to give you a far more balanced view of why signing up for affiliate networks sometimes makes more sense than an in-house affiliate program, and vice versa.
Let’s get started:
The Best affiliate programs For Beginners
ClickBank Affiliate Program
Etsy Affiliate Program
Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Program
eBay Partner Network Affiliate Program
The Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
CJ Affiliate Program
Share-A-Sale Affiliate Program
Fiverr Affiliate Program
first mental hurdle you have to cross is the difference between in-house affiliate marketing programs (merchants) and affiliate networks.
Some beginners treat these terms as if they’re interchangeable – they’re not.
Far from it.
Let’s say you build an authority site around outdoor sporting equipment, promoting products like trampolines, water slides, lawn sports, etc.
You’d then have the choice of either signing up to several (or dozens!) of affiliate programs for different manufacturers and suppliers.
Or you could simply sign up to an affiliate network that can connect you with the majority of the product suppliers you want to work with.
The sensible route for somebody new to affiliate marketing is to simply sign up with affiliate networks and go from there.
But affiliate networks aren’t some kind of panacea.
In fact, there are some affiliate programs that only exist outside of affiliate networks, so you’d have to sign up to them individually.
But first — what exactly is an affiliate program?
What is an Affiliate Program?
Simply put, an affiliate program is an agreement in which a business pays another business or influencer (“the affiliate”) a commission for sending traffic and/or sales their way.
This can be achieved through web content, social media, or a product integration. The affiliate gets a unique link (an “affiliate link”) from which clicks can be tracked — typically using cookies.
You will often come across the terms “cookie length” or “cookie life”, which simply define how long the cookie will be tracking the user’s online activity.
For example, if a cookie has a 30-day life, your referral needs to make a purchase within 30-days of clicking your affiliate link in order for you to get paid — otherwise the lead will no longer be trackable.
A B2B audience can be particularly valuable, since they are the same customers who are willing to drop hundreds of dollars for a product or service that will help them make money. How could you not capitalize on that?
Types of affiliate programs
If you’re looking to promote your products or services, there are a few affiliate programs you can consider. When choosing an affiliate program, you’ll want to keep in-mind the avenues or platforms your audience spends the majority of their time — for instance, does your buyer persona typically read blog posts, scroll Facebook, or use search engines when researching new products?
Alternatively, is your buyer persona someone who’s always looking for a good deal, and would appreciate a link on a coupon site? Or are they more interested in doing tons of research before purchasing, making your promotion efforts more worthwhile on a review site?
While those are questions you’ll have to consider for yourself, let’s take a look at some general types of affiliate programs so you can begin brainstorming potential avenues for your own marketing efforts:
Search affiliates: With this program, you’ll have freelancers or entrepreneurs pay their own money to promote your offer on search results or other online advertising platforms like Facebook Advertising. While you’ll want to ensure your partner is following search and advertising guidelines, this could work in your favor if your partner has an SEO background and wants to A/B test to see which ads result in the most referrals for you — and most ROI for them.
If there are impressive bloggers or social media influencers in your industry who engage with your ideal buyer persona on a regular basis, you might consider partnering with them. For instance, if you sell kitchen appliances, it might be good to reach out to bloggers or YouTube influencers who post recipes, and ask if they’d feature your product as a “recommended tool” in their next recipe post. Ideally, this would result in your target audience taking a look at your website, and if they like the products you offer, could provide additional revenue for the influencer.
Review sites: If you offer a product or service that is more expensive or niche, it’s likely that most of your buyers need to conduct research on that topic before purchasing — if that’s the case, it might be a good idea to research the top review sites related to your product or service, and reach out to the business or writer who published the piece, asking whether they’d be interested in providing an affiliate link to your product or service in the text.
Coupon sites: If you’re offering a new product or service that isn’t popular in the marketplace, you might try creating an affiliate partnership with a coupon site for a limited time. While you don’t want to lose money by giving your product away at a discount, it could be effective at getting some first-time buyers to check out your website and become brand advocates.
Email marketing: This is best in small doses. You don’t want any partners sending out bulk emails to customers who aren’t interested in your products or services, but with proper consideration for who’s receiving the email, this could be an effective method. For instance, if you sell design tools, you might reach out to marketing agencies and ask, if they’re working with a specific client on a design project, whether they might consider sending a URL from your site within the body of the email. This could help their clients leverage your tools to create higher-quality content, while giving agencies an added source of income.
sales, referrals, payouts, etc. at a single place.