Affiliate marketing is a proven way to monetize a blog. The mechanism of affiliate marketing is simple. You find a someone’s product, join their affiliate program and promote that product on your blog. If someone buys through your affiliate link, you’ll get a commission. That’s simple.
While joining an affiliate program is easy and free, it takes a lot of efforts, dedications, hard work and resources for promoting affiliate products.
You need to make sure you are getting paid for your hard works and efforts. That’s why you need to check several things before joining any affiliate programs.
7 Must-Know Things Before Joining Any Affiliate Program
There are several ways to join an affiliate program. You can either join an affiliate program through the product’s in-house affiliate program or you can join an affiliate program via affiliate networks.
Joining an affiliate program via affiliate network is more reliable than joining an affiliate program directly (in-house affiliate program).
Whichever method you use for joining an affiliate program, no matter, you need to make sure on time payment for your marketing efforts. If you check the following seven things before joining any affiliate program, you can be assured that you’ll get paid.
1. Payment Method
You need to make sure that you have access the payment methods offering the affiliate program you are going to join.
For example, many affiliate programs pay you via PayPal. But some countries like Bangladesh don’t have access to PayPal. So, when you are joining an affiliate program, make sure they have alternate payment methods available. Otherwise, you won’t get paid for your affiliate marketing efforts.
Some affiliate program offers direct bank deposit. But they sometimes exclude some countries. In that case, make sure your country isn’t on their excluded list.
Some of the common payment methods offered by affiliate programs are –
- Direct bank deposit
- Wire transfer,
- Cheque etc.
2. Payment Threshold
Payment threshold is a minimum required amount to get paid. If you don’t earn that minimum amount, you’ll never get paid.
As a new affiliate marketer, you need to pay attention to this thing. For example, you’ve joined an affiliate program which payment threshold is 200$. You’ll never get paid if you are not able to earn that amount through your affiliate marketing efforts. So, it is better for a new affiliate marketer to join affiliate programs which minimum payout threshold is less.
Different affiliate programs have different payment threshold. It is normally 10$ to 100$ with some exception.
When you are joining an individual affiliate program, look for minimum payout is below 50$. When you are joining an affiliate program through an affiliate network look for minimum payout is below 100$.
3. Cookie Length
It is not that people buy instantly after clicking on your affiliate links. They take time to make their buying decision. It can be several days.
So, when people go to merchant’s website through your affiliate link and don’t buy instantly, you still can get paid if they buy after several days. This is possible because of a cookie.
A cookie is a script that runs on the backend to track your affiliate sales. The duration of a cookie can be 30 days to 90 days.
So, when people click on your affiliate links and buy within the cookie duration, you’ll get paid.
During joining an affiliate program, check the cookie length. So that you can get paid for your hard works if people buy later after clicking on your affiliate links.
The more the cookie length the better. But, some reputed affiliate program can have the less cookie duration. It won’t hurt your earning because of their good reputation.
For example, Amazon associate has only 24 hours cookie duration. But people trust Amazon and buy instantly from them. So, you can ignore the short cookie length in this respect.
4. Individual Affiliate Program vs Affiliate Network
Some companies run an in-house affiliate program, some runs through affiliate networks and some companies run both in-house and through an affiliate network.
I prefer individual affiliate programs. Because there is no middleman like affiliate networks. But there is some advantage to join an affiliate program through affiliate networks. Such as –
- If the minimum payout of an in-house affiliate program is high then it’ll take longer to get paid and you can be disappointed. It is better to join the affiliate program through an affiliate network.
- If you are not sure you’ll promote the product in future, you should join the program through affiliate networks.
- If the product is new and not reputable you should become their affiliate through affiliate networks.
5. The reputation of The Affiliate Program/Networks
Always check the reputation of an affiliate program or networks. Because unreputed affiliate programs or networks don’t have anything to lose if they don’t pay you the commission. Since they don’t care some bad reviews.
But reputed affiliate programs always tend to keep their business reputation. They will pay you for your hard affiliate marketing efforts.
If you want to promote an unreputed affiliate product which you really love, try to join their affiliate program through a reputed affiliate network.
Some of the well known and reputed affiliate networks are –
6. Commission Rate
Beginner affiliate marketers always have a tendency to promote products with high commission rate.
Suppose, an affiliate product is offering 80% commission for a product which value is 100$. If you can’t make a sale for the product you won’t get anything.
On the other hand, a product is offering low commission rate for their product and you can make some sales because of the product’s high demand and reputation, you can make some money.
That is the reason people prefer to become an affiliate of Amazon associates even for their low commission rate which is somewhere 4%.
Keep in mind that digital products often offer high commission rate than the physical products.
So, before joining an affiliate program, consider the type of products and their commission rate.
7. Affiliate Terms and Condition
We often don’t read terms and conditions of an affiliate program before joining. But we should do. Otherwise, we can be banned. The things you should look in the affiliate terms and conditions are –
- Can you buy the product through your own affiliate link? Some affiliate programs don’t allow this. If you do so, you can be banned.
- Can you promote the product through your social networks? Some affiliate programs strictly against social promotion.
- Can you promote the product to your email list? Some affiliate programs will ban you for doing so.
- Can you use any advertising channel to increase your affiliate sales? Some companies will allow you do so with some restriction. Such as not using their main keyword for advertising, etc.
So what we got. As affiliate marketing is a lucrative way to make money blogging, we always have a tendency to join as many affiliate programs as possible quickly and start promoting them through our marketing channels.
I’m against it. What I want you to do is start with the product you love or use personally. Check the things – payment method, minimum payout, cookie length, commission rate, product’s reputation, and their term and conditions – before joining their affiliate program.
From there, become an affiliate for other products one after another.
Did I miss anything? What do you want to include in the list of things to check before joining an affiliate program? Please share in the comments below…