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Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs (sometimes referred to as associate programs), have emerged as one of the main revenue streams on the internet. There's plenty of money to be made selling other people's products and services, or having other people selling yours.


Don't shoot yourself in the foot before you even get going!

Make sure you read all the fine print on the Terms and Conditions (or Affiliate Agreement or whatever) which you normally will have to agree to before being accepted into an affiliate program. It's usually a tightly woven mass of legalese that only a lawyer could grow to love, but you still need to make the effort if you are serious about making your affiliation a success.

Check for instance whether the program demands exclusivity: one condition may be that you only feature one bookseller (or one music vendor or one widget manufacturer) on your site. Get carried away and link to two or more and the site running the affiliate program with the offending clause in the contract is perfectly justified in denying you payment.

Check also whether you are obliged to use the links (graphical or text) provided or whether you can "Roll your own". Again, you don't want to leave the door open for your revenue to be denied.


Offer value-added links

If you are going to link to an affiliate program, you will have much more success if you put a bit of thought and effort into the way you link to it. Just like a positive mention or review in a magazine is worth a lot more (in promotional terms) than paying for a glossy full-page ad (people tend to believe journalists), the same applies to your site as well.

For example, if you are going to partner a site that sells books, you could start including short reviews of specific books on your site, along with the other content already there. That way, your visitors know what to expect; they trust you to pick good books for them based on the trust you have already gained from the rest of your site.


Make it clear when you are selling something

If you run a site about an actor, for instance, and you decide that you'd like to earn a little money through an affiliate program, then be upfront about it. Include a link on your site "Buy the movies" and link it to a page that lists each movie the actor has starred in, together with details of the role played by the actor, any other interesting anecdotes, and a text link or graphical button saying "Buy It!". People don't mind a little honest capitalism; it's when you "trick" them by not labelling your links, so that they suddenly find themselves confronted with a form asking for credit card details, that they will lose faith in you.


5 General Rules to Making Money
with Affiliate Programs

  1. More Than A Link: Go beyond a simple link and create a section of your site that is dedicated to the product or service you are promoting. Include some related content on that page, or simply create a new site that acts as a gateway into your associate site.

  2. Put Your Link Everywhere: Submit your new affiliate pages to all of the major search engines. In addition, don't forget the specialized link pages for your type of site.

  3. Be Creative: Try alternative marketing methods, such as email advertising (not spam!), flyers, direct mail, or even word of mouth. Remember there is a whole world outside of the Internet.

  4. Cross-Promote When Possible: Cross-promote heavily on your existing sites whenever possible. Make use of your existing customers. Make use of banner ad space, if you choose to use banners, to promote your associate pages.

  5. Stay Informed: Most affiliate programs put out newsletters to their affiliates in order to keep them informed of changes in their program. Read them and stay informed. Often these newsletter will even tell you how their top money-makers have set up their websites to make the most of the program. Take the opportunity to learn from the top sites so that you can make your site better.


Must Reading:

  • How To Set Up A Powerful Affiliate Program
    Affiliate programs are an opportunity for you to get hundreds, even thousands of web sites all driving traffic to your site and making sales for you...

  • 10 Ways to Easily Sell Expensive Products as an Affiliate
    One of the quickest ways to boost your affiliate income is to offer high ticket products. Overcome buyer resistance with these 10 techniques for skyrocketing conversion rates on higher-priced products and lucrative upsells...

  • Online Affiliate Programs Take Away The Risk
    The future of E-commerce looks bright as thousands of companies in hundreds of established industries flock to a new kind of pay-for-performance marketing...

  • How to Promote Associate Programs With Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
    For many products, pay-per-click search engines can be very good. The idea is that you decide what you're willing to pay per click through to your web site. It all comes down to knowing your numbers. What marketers call your metrix...

  • How to Easily Set Up Your Own Associate Program - 7 Parts
    Corey Rudl's Internet Marketing Center uses the power of affiliate programs to achieve sales of more than $5,000,000 a year. I reckon that in itself qualifies his advice as well worth reading. This series of "7 Articles" is from his affiliate support database and is your blueprint to success! (Highly recommended)

  • Finding Affiliate Programs, Merchants, Solution Providers
    What everyone keeps asking me lately, is everything affiliate related. How can I join the same affiliate programs as Michael Campbell? Where can I find merchants that offer affiliate programs? Where can I get a solution provider or affiliate program software to sell my own product? How does Michael Campbell's affiliate program work? You asked for it, so here it is, the complete list of affiliate programs that I've joined, the affiliate software and solution providers that I recommend, links to join them and sources to find merchants. It's all here.

  • Affiliate Programs
    An in-depth review of affiliate programs by Elena Fawkner, what they are, the different types, the benefits, the disadvantages, how to choose the right program for your business and how to make serious money from them.

  • SIM's Affiliate Program
    Now you can profit from an entire arsenal of high-demand infoproducts. You will earn a whopping 50% commission on the hottest new products online. You get an instant way to start earning immediate profits using our turn-key remote control system with our complete setup and support.

  • "Top 10" Associate Programs
    Although this is, in part, a directory of only proven affiliate programs, out of all I've investigated, I consider the top programs listed here "the best of the best." So far, they have performed best for my target market (entrepreneurs, Internet businesses, etc.).

  • Growing Your Own Associate Program
    Robert Smith has some excellent advise for all of us in this article.Every new product you sell should fit into your niche. They should all be related in some important ways. Your first front end products should target a wider audience; they can have the smallest profit margin. Your high profit products should be your back-end products or after sale products, they are very narrowly targeted.

  • The Truth About Associate Programs
    There are so many opportunities with Associate Programs on the Net today. But let's be fair, and put this in the proper perspective. A lot of people start a Home Business and fail. The same way that a lot of people sign up with an associate or affiliate program and never make any money. (July/2000)

  • Secrets of Advertising 'In Context'
    There is a dramatic change happening in affiliate programs, and it all involves selling items within the context of the affiliate's website. Affiliate programs are changing from the original "place my banner ad on your site" branding approach to a new, integrated advertising effort. It is more important to place your content within their website, to empower them to sell, than to simply drive people to your website. (July/2000)

  • Diversify to Survive
    Protect yourself in this dynamic and volatile dot-com environment by diversifying your product and service offerings to generate multiple streams of income. - Apr, 2001

  • Affiliate Masters Course
    Ken Evoy is so far ahead of the competition, that his techniques represent the future of internet marketing, which is exactly where you need to be!  He is clearly one of the best in his field.  This course has just recently been updated, refreshed and reformatted into a printer-and-eye-friendly PDF e-BOOK.

    Nothing is held back. From brainstorming and researching profitable keywords, to building "SE-sexy" Keyword-Focused Web pages, to mounting huge and profitable Pay-Per-Click Search Engine campaigns, the course provides all the information needed for anyone to build a successful affiliate business. This is the best book at succeeding at the affiliate game at any price... and it's free!

    I guarantee that you’ll refer to this course over and over again as you build (or rebuild) your affiliate business. The Affiliate Masters Course is for EVERYONE.


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SIM's "Top 10" Associate Programs
Updated February 5th, 2005


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