How To Make The Most Money From Affiliate Programs


It's amazing - if you sat two eBiz entrepreneurs beside each other and gave them each one web page, 1000 internet visitors, and access to any and all affiliate programs they wanted to use, the smarter eBiz entrepreneur might make 10, 50, or even 100 times more profits than the other.

With these following tips, you will be able to maximize your results from affiliate programs:

  • Only Use Relevant Affiliate Programs - eToys may be a great site, but if your web site isn't geared towards parents or gift-givers or something else related to buying toys, you will be cluttering up your site with these links. Every inch of every page of your web site is valuable real estate. You are lucky to be getting your visitors' attention, don't waste it.

You might think, "what does it hurt to add a link to eToys? The worst thing that can happen is I won't make that many sales, so what." Actually, it can hurt much more than that. It might make your site look foolish or amateurish for having such unrelated links. This might prevent a visitor from ever making a repeat visit. Plus, you could've put a relevant affiliate link in that exact spot which would've made you money.

  • Universally Appealing Affiliate Programs: Some products and services are of interest to almost every internet user no matter what you think your niche audience to be. For example, internet service providers, pay-to-surf programs, and free stuff are intriguing to most of your visitors.

You could have a small text link at the bottom of your home page that reads, "Looking For A Better ISP." Then have it link to a page that has links to AOL and any free internet service provider with respective recommendations "For full-service ISP" and "For free ISP." Both of these have affiliate programs through the most popular affiliate administrators. Or put a small text-link at the bottom of a page that reads, "Get Paid To Surf The Internet." Then have this link directly to AllAdvantage. Or a small text link could read, "Free Stuff" and link to FreeShop which is run by the affiliate administrator LinkShare.

  • Text Links Have Power - By now, most internet surfers are used to the barrage of advertisements they are presented with on every web page they visit. They often completely ignore any banner ad or button that blinks, flashes, or shines in every color of the rainbow. Text links, however, do not immediately register as advertisements. Studies have shown that affiliate links in the form of text perform much better than banner or button ads.

One other type of affiliate link that might also be considered where offered is storefronts. Because these are so well designed, they can also perform almost as well as links.

  • Higher Pay Scales Do Not Always Mean More Money - As an example, let's imagine an eBiz that is a web site for a local dog groomer. This dog groomer smartly realizes that an affiliate link to an internet pet store would be profitable as it is compatible with the site and its visitors' interests. So far so good.

The dog groomer then finds two internet pet stores with affiliate programs; pet store "A" pays 20% commission per sale, while "B" pays 10%. Without another thought, he signs up for "A." However, "B" actually has a much better pet food selection. Plus this store's site is easier to navigate, looks more professional, and has a more streamlined sales process. These attributes could easily cause store "B" to convert-to-sale at over twice the rate of store "A." So even with less commissions per sale, the dog groomer will make more overall with store "B."

  • Less Is More - Many eBiz entrepreneurs get carried away when they discover affiliate programs. They may have a site designed for electrical engineers and yet they'll put an affiliate link to eToys in one corner, a banner ad for Priceline in the middle, and a button ad for on the side. Obviously this is an extreme example, but be very careful in this regard.

Try to limit yourself to one banner ad at most per page, and only 1-4 buttons depending on the size. If four affiliate bookstores are primarily the same, just link to the best one instead of having a sea of links everywhere. Write a short paragraph endorsing one certain product or business and then have an affiliate text link at the end. This will make you much more money than ten banner ads for various companies. If an affiliate link makes your site look sloppy, reconsider how to best integrate it. There is probably a better way if you put more thought into it.

  • Don't Sell Out Your Visitors - Just because an affiliate program pays nicely and fits the theme of your site doesn't mean you should promote it. Only tout companies that provide your visitors a real value. For example, on this very site, we would never link to a company that we did not believe in. It will backfire on you in the long run. Imagine if we had a link to some junky web hosting company just because they paid us a bundle per customer we referred. If you signed up for this junky web host you would soon learn that it was a horrible referral by us. You would never trust us nor return to our site ever again.

Even if you are only in business for the quick buck (a very short-sighted business strategy that we strongly discourage), you will be surprised at how astutely your visitors will see through your intentions. They can easily smell a site that does not have their best interests in mind and is trying to sell them on crappy internet companies and deals.

  • You Need Content For Repeat Visits - Many eBiz entrepreneurs design their web sites to be nothing but affiliate links. This is potentially profitable if your pages are well designed and they help your visitors to cut through the clutter on the internet with a well organized group of links geared to your target audience's interests.

The one drawback to this type of site though is that it is less likely to encourage many repeat visits or word-of-mouth referrals. Adding a little bit of original content, however inconsequential, will help entice visitors to bookmark your site for return visits. Give them a reason to remember you besides remembering, "what a great organized list of links."

  • Pre-Sell Your Affiliate Link - Adding some context to your link will always increase your click-through rate and conversion-to-sale rate (if the program pays by sales commission structure). Because your site is not actually owned by the affiliate company you are promoting, you have a lot of credibility as an independent entity. In a short paragraph or sentence, you can explain the great value that an internet company or product offers and then add a text or small button link.
  • Analyze Statistics - It is impossible to determine which affiliate programs are working best for you without having accurate statistics at your disposal. Many affiliate administrators provide comprehensive stats in this regard. You may also need to check your own site statistics to see how many times a certain page on your site was visited and then how many times an affiliate link was clicked on and how often this resulted in a sale if you are getting paid on a sales commission basis.
  • Experiment - It is impossible to determine with absolute certainty which affiliate program is going to be most lucrative for you without experimenting a bit. Try out one affiliate link for two weeks and then try another for the next two weeks. Or try placing links in different portions of your pages or in a different context, maybe with a recommendation by you. Keep in mind that you will need a decent sampling of traffic before determining which ways work best. You cannot place an affiliate link on a page that only gets two visitors a month and then decide to switch because you haven't made any money yet.
  • Don't Over Analyze And Experiment - Despite the previous two recommendations, don't overdo it. Many eBiz entrepreneurs get so excited by the results of their affiliate links that they constantly check their results and tinker with them in one way or another. This is fine if we all had unlimited time every day. But in reality, every minute you spend checking on your results is another minute you could have spent on marketing efforts to drive more traffic to your site. Additional marketing efforts will make you much more money than checking your statistics every other minute.
  • Use Commission Junction's Affiliate Programs Whenever Appropriate - Commission-Junction has a great feature in that they pool all your earnings together from all the affiliate programs that they represent. This is very important, especially if you are using multiple affiliate programs. Let's say you use 6 different affiliate programs that each have $50 payment minimum thresholds. It will be frustrating if at the end of a pay period you realize that you have earned $45 on each program. Although, you have earned $270, you will not receive a penny. At least not yet. Of course, these accrued earnings will roll over into the next pay periods, but that could be three months later until you get another chance at a check.

Also, sometimes you might try out an affiliate program only to realize you don't like it. What if you have already earned $8 though? If this affiliate program's payments are not pooled like they are by Commission Junction, you're out of luck. You either have to keep promoting this link until you exceed the payment threshold or kiss the $8 goodbye.

ClickXChange, OnResponse, and WebSponsors also pool their respective affiliate commissions.

  • Do You Have A Log Out Or Confirmation Page: Many kinds of eBiz sites have special password sections or private security sections where users end their visit by logging out. Also, many retail sites conclude the sale with a confirmation page. These log out and/or confirmation pages are basically like leaving your visitors on an empty porch with the door closed behind them. They are going to visit unrelated internet sites now anyway, why not give them some leads.

Your log out page could say, "Thank you for visiting us. Please come back again." Then below it, "INTERNET GUIDE: Shopping:, Travel: Travelocity, Free Stuff: FreeShop, Search Engine:, etc." It will appear that you are just trying to give them a helping hand as they head back into their internet surfing. Actually, you will be making additional money that takes practically no effort on your part.

  • Offer Free E-mail Newsletter - Another great way to maximize your opportunities from affiliate programs is to promote these links in an e-mail newsletter to your loyal visitors. Almost all affiliate programs have special links that will work in an e-mail message. Let's say you have an eBiz geared to pet owners. You could add a link in your newsletter recommending when they are having a 25% pet food deal.