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Choosing Affiliate Programs, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
by: Adrian Ryder
Copyright 2009 Adrian Ryder

For many people who would like to get involved with e commerce, the thought of finding a product, creating a website, organizing payment systems and marketing that website is just too much of a challenge to start with. The good news is that there is an alternative choice, which takes care of at least three out of these four challenges for you, and that alternative is to join an affiliate program.

So, just what is an affiliate program? Itís a program offered by an established website owner/operator,whereby he distributes copies of his site to affiliates, enabling them to sell his product line for a commission. In most cases, the affiliates only responsibility is to market the site, everything else is handled by the website owner. The beauty of an affiliate program, is that it allows anyone who owns or has access to a computer, the opportunity to have their own online business, fully operational, literally in a matter of minutes and in many cases, completely free of charge.

The temptation for many people when they realise the wealth of free affiliates programs on the internet is to jump in with both feet, and join programs left right and centre, lured by the promises of wealth made by program operators. Whilst this wont do any harm, a far better plan of action is to choose one or two quality programs, and concentrate on building an income from these before adding more programs to your portfolio.

So, just how do you choose a good affiliate program, what criteria do you look for?
Here are a few suggestions to get you started, which I will expand on later in this article.

1/ First and foremost, a good quality in demand product.

2/ A good quality, visually stimulating easy to navigate site.

3/ A fair compensation plan.

4/ A responsive company contact / support system

5/ Good affiliate marketing info and advice

6/ Testimonials from other affiliates.

7/ Cost

1/ There are a huge array of products and services looking for affiliates, so you have plenty of choice. If you have a passion shared by others you may like to choose products within that category, or you may have a particular area of expertise. There are a number of excellent tools available on the internet to access info on product popularity and viability.
Affiliates Alert, is an excellent system which enables you to view product rankings in the Clickbank marketplace [ whats hot and whats not based on sales made through the Clickbank marketplace] A Alert also allows you to do a keyword search for a particular product or product group. At time of writing you can pick up a free version of this program at http://affiliatesalert.com . Another excellent keyword search tool based on the number of searches for a product or product type on the net over the preceding month is available at www.overture.com . Its called the keyword selector tool. Using either or both of these tools should give you a good picture of current demand for affiliate products which appeal to you.

2/ A good quality site which catches the eye, and is easy to navigate and purchase from is a must. Have a good look around a potential affiliate site yourself If you have problems navigating round the site so will others. Do the products look appealing,are product descriptions clear and accurate, would you buy from this site? Check for FAQ [ frequently asked questions] links, and ensure that there is a clear Contact the Company link.

3/ Obviously a fair compensation plan is essential. There is no hard and fast rule with this. Downloadable info products often offer a higher commission rate than physical products [ in many cases 50%] Often with physical products, your compensation is the difference between wholesale and retail. Many affiliate programs offer a two tier compensation system, where you too can recruit affiliates, and earn income from their efforts, well worth exploring as it gives you two streams of income from one source.

4/ Good company support is an important factor for the new affiliate. Check out the quality and timeliness of the company support system yourself. A rapid quality response is a sign that the company is organized and efficient [ 24- 48 hrs is reasonably acceptable] . If your still waiting after 3-4 business days, donít get involved.

5/ A good company will offer you specific advice and tools to assist you in your marketing efforts, check out whats on offer before making your decision. The better affiliate programs often offer online advice tools and tips, and downloadable e books on marketing free of charge.

6/ Testimonials cost nothing, and are a very powerful sales tool. The more testimonials on site both on the products and the affiliate program the better. If contact details are available, donít hesitate to e mail testimonial providers personally, and ask them questions abut the opportunity

7/ Many good quality affiliate programs are available completely free of charge, so do think seriously before spending anything more than $100-200 dollars to buy an affiliate site. Some affiliate programs do offer to actively market your site on your behalf, and some few even offer income guarantees. It may be worth paying a higher price for a quality site, if the company is making this commitment to its affiliates, but only after your research has shown the opportunity to be legitimate.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of considerations, but bearing these in mind, should enable you to choose a program with a saleable product, and reasonable income potential. To end on a note of warning, there are still a few programs out there that are the internet equivalent of the chain letter, no product, deposit $10 in xyz acct to join, and soon you will have hundreds of people giving you $10 each. Yeah right!!! , the majority of people have heard it all before { like those e mails telling you that have just won the Peruvian $10 million dollar lottery which you didnít even enter } and will give programs like this a wide berth, and so should you.
About the author:

Adrians affiliate site at http://nzpom007.freestoreclub.comoffers a free affiliate website and the opportunity to participate in a two tier program


 



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