Some things to consider with affiliate marketing associate programs are the commission rates, cookie duration, incentives and promotions, and conversion rate.
Merchant advertisers appreciate the amount of business driven to them by the thousands of online publishers who have placed product links on their sites. These publishers have become vital to the success and competitiveness of many of these online companies.
In order to attract more publishers and to keep the ones they have, the best merchants will offer an attractive package in their affiliates program. You'll need to check out these packages to see which are worth your time and effort.
Check the Details Carefully
So the first question is which affiliate marketing associate programs are most suitable for your website(s)? Before you sign up to promote a merchant you'll need to read the fine print. If the program is worthwhile, the details they list might look something like this:
Sales Commission: 20%
Lead Commission: .00
Tracking cookie: 60 days
High conversion rate
High average EPC (earnings per click)
100% parasite resistant
Average order around 0
Ongoing incentives and bonuses
Real time reporting and tracking
As a rule of thumb, try to stay clear of affiliate marketing associate programs that offer less than 15% sale commission. Anything less than that is a losing program. That being said, there's always an exception, isn't there? In this case, that would be Amazon which offers an average of 4% to 6% to publishers but has a high conversion rate on sales so the rate structure is fair. They also have special monthly campaigns that can run as high as 20%.
A Look at One Advertiser's In-House Program
Let's say for example that you love motorcycles but can't afford to buy or sell them. You want to give people tips and information but also want to make money with all the work you do on your website. So you decide to become an eBay affiliate.
When you link customers to EBay's expensive or big ticket items -- such as motorcycles or parts -- the commission can run into hundreds of dollars. Even with 250 million members, affiliates are making incredible money by bringing in new memberships and sales. And if you know a bit about RSS data feeds, you can put eBay's feed on your website and have a constantly updated stream of items (such as motorcycles or parts) for auction or direct purchase.
It was reported that the top 50 eBay affiliates, are all making over a million dollars a year. Makes you want to head over to eBay and check out the details, doesn't it?
Or You Can Join the Network Service Providers
You don't have to go to individual website such as eBay or Amazon and sign up for the in-house affiliate marketing associate programs; you can also join a CPA network provider. These networks act as a middleman and handle all the administrative tasks so that merchants (advertisers) and affiliate partners (called publishers) can concentrate on ad creatives and sales strategies.
Some of the networks are quite large: the behemoth ValueClick is just one example. Its brands include Commission Junction, ValueClick Media, Mediaplex, PriceRunner, Smarter and CouponMountain.
Other popular networks offering affiliate marketing associate programs include Linkshare, Clickbank, Shareasale, ClixGalore, AvantLink, and AzoogleAds. There are hundreds more (too many to list here) but when you visit these networks pay close attention to which merchants are signed with which networks. Some have exclusive contracts with only one: for example, if you want to promote Lands' End or Office Depot products, you'll need to join Linkshare.
They Can Convert But Can You Drive the Sales?
The conversion rate is a key factor when considering which merchant program you'll want to work join. EBay converts about 15% on average (according to a March 2008 report on InternetRetailer.com) while the industry norm is probably around 2.5% for a typical online retailer.
By joining the affiliate marketing associate programs of brand name retailers, you'll likely experience better conversion rates than if you try to promote new companies which are not well known. But to get those commissions you need to get traffic to your site. If you can combine the right set of keywords with good unique content, and "pre-sell" the product, you can position yourself to be the go-between between the consumer and the merchant. And when you do, you'll be generating consistent monthly income from your website.
Johan Krost is an expert on affiliate marketing and work at vaga de empregos. Discover severals ways to succeed at affiliate marketing on vaga de empregos