Finding Affiliate Programs That Work
Your best efforts in niche and keyword research will fall flat if you choose a product that nobody is buying! In this article, I will discuss the most popular options for affiliate networks, and how they can help you find affiliate programs that work, and enter your niche with confidence!
Networks or No Networks
Affiliate networks are by all means, not the only way to find affiliate programs. You can do a Google search, for example, on "dog food affiliate programs", and find armloads of affiliate programs for dog food, dog food recipe ebooks, and maybe dog care information or products. However, unless you are a seasoned internet marketer, how do you tell the good, "sellable" products from the bad? For the IM beginner, affiliate networks are a great way to start out - the networks not only provide a "one-stop shop" for multiple programs, but most also provide performance data for each product, giving you the information you need to choose products that convert - affiliate programs that work!
There are a number of affiliate networks and directories online, and some are worth looking into, especially if you're just starting out in affiliate marketing. These networks provide a great service - they take care of the tedious task of managing your commissions and keeping track of your sales, and provide a convenient place to research THOUSANDS of companies with affiliate programs (Clickbank alone has over 10,000 listings). These networks are great for veteran IM'ers and novices alike. Many experienced marketers promote ONLY products from affiliate networks.
Finding Affiliate Programs That Work: What to Look For?
There are large, reputable companies that have their own in-house affiliate programs. Amazon and eBay are the two most well-known. Amazon's affiliate program was the first, or one of the first depending on who you ask, and you can promote everything from books and CD's to cameras and iPods. If you're going to start out with an in-house affiliate program, try either Amazon or eBay - they're a safe bet. If a smaller company has financial problems, it can go out of business without paying your commissions.
Whether you choose to use an affiliate network or find your own product, try to find one that offers their own affiliate resources - banners, sample articles, content, etc. In short, find a company that wants you to succeed with their product, offering resources to help make that happen.
So, without further delay, here are my picks for some of the best affiliate networks:
We'll start out with my #1 pick - it's probably the most popular of all affiliate networks. They've been at it for a long time, and it shows. With over 10,000 affiliate programs and growing, it's the largest affiliate network out there. They provide the sales data you need to choose products that sell.
Clickbank only sells digital products (ebooks, software, etc.), so their commissions commonly range from 50 - 75% (no physical product, no inventory or overhead to eat up profits).
Commission Junction (www.cj.com)
Commission Junction used to manage eBay's affiliate program. What they offer that Clickbank doesn't is physical products. Much like Amazon, you can market not only ebooks and software, but also many physical items like laptops, cellphones, cameras - even shoes! Affiliate programs for services are also available at Commission Junction.
Not as well-known as Clickbank, LinkShare still has it's share of big players: Delta Airlines, iTunes, Macy's.. even Avon! As with Commission Junction, LinkShare is a great place to find physical products to market as well as digital products.
Brainchild of affiliate marketing pioneer Brian Littleton, ShareASale has over 2,600 small-to-medium-sized merchants. It has been in business since 2000, and is a favorite of many affiliate marketers.
These are but a few of the affiliate networks available, but they are some of the favorites of the internet marketing community. You'll find things you like and dislike about each - choose one (or preferably, two or three) that you are most comfortable with, do your research, and you'll find affiliate programs that work!