In the last few years, I’ve signed up for different affiliate programs as a digital marketer. Promoting my affiliate links through my blog and other means.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes some of which have to do with factors I didn’t consider before signing up for these affiliate programs. The fact is that affiliate marketing is a lucrative way to make money online.
You don’t need to create your own product rather you promote someone else’s product and earn a certain percentage of the sale as a commission.
A lot of beginner affiliate marketers want to have their cut of this booming industry that’s expected to reach $8.2 billion in spending in the US in 2022. That’s fine, you want to earn passive income online. But there are factors you need to consider before you join any affiliate program.
This is to ensure that you avoid any regrets, and make the time and resources you invest in promoting a product worth it. That’s what I will discuss with you in this piece.
Before we dive in, let’s look at the basics.
What is affiliate marketing?
Simply put, it is the process by which an affiliate promotes someone else’s product and in turn, earns a percentage of a sale made through the affiliate link as a commission.
Here the affiliate identifies a product they want to promote. This product can be physical or digital. They sign up for it and use different methods to convince their audience to make a purchase through their affiliate links.
Who is affiliate marketing for?
Affiliate marketing is for anyone who feels they have a strategy to convince an audience to make a purchase. However, most people who engage in affiliate marketing are Bloggers, YouTubers, Social Media Influencers, and Podcasters.
This is because these creators command the attention of a large audience through their blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts.
Having said that, let’s dive into the main point.
Here are 8 factors you should consider as a beginner before you sign up for an affiliate program.
1. How suitable is the affiliate program to your niche?
Before you join an affiliate program, make sure you research to find out if the product you want to promote is ideal for your audience.
Any product you want your audience to purchase must be in line with what they care for and what your niche is all about. For instance, if your niche is Health & Fitness, it will be counter-productive to promote credit cards to your audience.
You can’t compare it to when you pitch a supplement to them. They are more likely to engage with the latter than the former.
One thing you should keep in mind is that presenting the wrong product to your audience diminishes your authority in that niche.
Why? Some of them will have the impression that you don’t know exactly what their problems are. Plus how best to help them.
2. Methods to promote your affiliate link
After you have identified a suitable product for your niche. The next factor to consider is how best to promote your affiliate link.
All products are not the same. Also, ways to promote them are different. The promotion method that works for a product in the Parenting niche may not work for the Marketing niche.
Some affiliate programs limit you to methods through which you can promote their products. This they state in their terms. There are cases where you are not allowed to run a campaign on Google targeting some keywords, for example.
As an affiliate marketer, it’s left for you to figure out the method that will guarantee results without going against the terms of such an affiliate program.
Blog posts, YouTube videos, email campaigns, and social media posts are some of the more popular methods affiliates use to promote their links.
3. Payment methods for commission earned
The main reason you promote someone else’s product is to earn a commission.
That’s the reward for the time and energy you invest in convincing your audience to make a purchase through your affiliate links.
That’s why you should pay serious attention to the payment method of any affiliate program you want to join.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than earning huge commissions only to realize that you can’t be paid.
Why? because the payment methods of that affiliate program are not supported in your country. Many affiliate programs use PayPal as their payment method. An example here is ActiveCampaign’s Affiliate Program that pays commission only through PayPal.
This service is not available in some developing countries. Even some of its alternatives may have hitches that you may not be comfortable with.
The idea is to take your time and review the payment methods to see if it is possible for you to get paid for the commissions you earn.
Most affiliate programs state their payment methods in their terms and agreement. And you must agree with them before submitting your application for such an affiliate program.
4. Cookie life
When your audience click on your affiliate link, there is a duration for them to make a purchase after clicking for the commission to accrue.
If a purchase is made outside such duration, the commission doesn’t count. This is what cookie life simply means.
Always check for the cookie life of affiliate links for any affiliate program you want to join.
Again you can see this in their terms. Cookie life impacts the amount you can make in commissions.
It’s better to have a longer cookie life so as to give enough time for the affiliate link to count for you.
Some affiliate programs have cookie life of 30, 45, 60, 90, and even 120 days. For example, GetResponse’s affiliate program has a cookie life of 120-days.
5. Terms & conditions
These are rules, guidelines, and restrictions that you must adhere to as you join an affiliate program.
Some of these terms and conditions may not be in your favor. That’s why you need to take time and if possible get a legal expert to interpret them for you if you can’t.
They involve promotion methods allowed, payment methods, commission, termination, fraud, etc.
You should keep these terms in mind, abide by them so as to continue to be active on any affiliate program, and also earn your commissions.
6. Commission rate
The commission rate these affiliate programs pay should matter to you. It is because of this that you invest your time, energy, and resources in promoting their products.
While some affiliate programs have high commission rates, others have low rates. Although it all depends on the product or service, you must make wise choices in this aspect.
Some affiliate programs have commission rate tiers which are one-time and recurring. An example is GetResponse that pays $100 one-time commission or $33 monthly recurring commission.
Some are also based on the number of customers who subscribe to their service using your affiliate link.
The idea here is to examine the commission rate and decide if signing up for an affiliate program is worth it.
7. Payment threshold
Before you can withdraw your commission, and receive payment, it must reach a certain amount. This is not the case with all affiliate programs as some don’t have any minimum threshold.
Some affiliates won’t have the patience to wait for their commission to reach a specific amount before they can withdraw it. They prefer to withdraw it immediately as they earn it.
This minimum payment varies per affiliate program. Some have theirs of $50, $100, $200, etc. For example, if you sign up for the Clickfunnels affiliate program, you have to earn at least $100 in commission before you can get paid.
Whereas on ConvertKit, there is no minimum payout. Once a commission is approved, you get paid immediately.
8. Affiliate kit and support
To effectively promote a product or service, you must be provided with an affiliate kit. By this, I mean different tools you need.
Examples are email swipe copy, videos, written reviews, different sizes of banners, images, etc.
You have to check for all these before you submit an application for any affiliate program. Some affiliate programs disclose this in their terms.
You can also see them in your dashboard when you are approved as an affiliate with them. Another is support. There is no way you won’t need the assistance of an insider of an affiliate program you join.
There are days you will encounter challenges and you’ll need help. That’s why some of these companies assign you an affiliate manager who will assist you and also be your guide.
Affiliate marketing is a cool way to make money online. But you have to bear in mind things that matter before you sign up to promote any product or service. Otherwise, you may waste your time, energy, and resources promoting a product that in the end won’t be worth it.
I trust that the tips in this article will be your guide the next time you want to join an affiliate program.
Guest author: Chuks Chukwuemeka is a Content Creator, Blogger and Digital Marketer and also the founder of Depreneurdigest.com, an online business blog. He specializes in helping small businesses grow their online presence through blogging. Connect with him on LinkedIn.