It's best to ask questions before you settle for promoting an affiliate program. Do some research about the choices of the program you intend joining and get the positive answers you are looking for because none of us want unpleasant surprises along the way.
What is the cost to join?
Most affiliate programs are free of charge. You will probably be spending your hard earned money on the promotion of this program so why pay up front money to join.
When do they Pay us Affiliates?
This depends on the program you are promoting. If you choose a program from Clickbank, you would be paid twice a month by Clickbank however, some other programs issue checks monthly or quarterly so you can see the importance of understanding this aspect from the get go. Some affiliate programs also have set a minimum earned commission amount prior to issuing a check.
What is the hit per sale ratio?
This statistic is very important. It is the number of hits on average it takes to generate a sale. From this the affiliate can approximately figure out the amount of traffic needed before a commission is realized.
How are referrals from an affiliates site tracked and for how long do they remain in the system?
When the affiliate marketer joins an affiliate program, he is issued an i.d. number. This number is added to the programs URL so purchases that are generated using your i.d. will be credited to you. When your prospect visits the programs website, a cookie is generated and credited to you so if no initial purchase is made but they return sometime later to make a purchase, you would still get credit. You need to know the term of the cookie. They do vary from program to program but aproximately a 3 month duration.
What are the kinds of affiliate stats available?
The affiliate program that you are researching should be able and willing to supply these stats. They are generally available to the affiliate after logging into the members area. These stats should be constantly checked by the affiliate to know the amount of impressions, hits and sales generated from your site. Impressions show the number of times a banner or text link was viewed whereas a hit is clicking the banner or text.
Does the affiliate program also pay for the hits and impressions besides the commissions on sales?
This depends on what goods the program sells. If it is an e-book for example where the commission is generally 50 to 60%, then do not expect to get paid for your hits and impressions generated from your site. If the program sells tangible goods generally they offer much lower percentage commissions and hits and impressions could also be paid.
Who is the online retailer?
It is very important to know who you, the affiliate, are representing in business. You should know the products you are representing, you should also be aware of how good the retailers customer relations is and also check out the endorsements that generally appear on the sales page. Your name and reputation could be blemished if the program and the principal of that program do not meet the advertised jargon.
Is the affiliate a one tier or two tier program?
A single tier program pays only for the business you yourself have generated whereas a two tier program pays you for your business plus it pays you a commission on the sales generated by any affiliate you sponsor into the program. There is another important aspect that many programs are now implementing, namely One Time Offers. This is a page that is displayed after the initial transaction is complete and generally offers an upgrade for X amount of $s. This is a bonus for the affiliate marketer because it could be 2 commissions earnt from one client. Sometimes the commissions vary from the initial sale to the O.T.O., for example, 60% for the initial sale and 50% for the O.T.O.
Lastly, what is the amount of commission paid?
Depending on the program the range can be anywhere from 5% - 70%. If you are an affiliate who represents a program who only sell digital products your commissions are generally in the 50 to 60% range. The reason for this is because product cost is very minimal due to instant downloads. For tangible items, the wholesale cost of the product plus the shipping and handling costs involved must be deducted from the
retail price so the affiliate marketers commission would only be based on the retailers mark-up.
These are some of the questions affiliate marketers should get answers to prior to getting involved with any affiliate program. There are many, many programs for you to choose to represent, but look at individual programs the same way as you would any conventional business that would require a front end investment. Remember, representing any affiliate program will certainly cost you time and generally promotional money so be sure to do your due diligence at the outset.