Monday, 2 April 2012

How to Choose Products & Affiliate Programs

chooseCourse How to Choose Products & Affiliate Programs

This is the most important aspect of the process. There’s no point in examining affiliate program details until you find a product that you know your visitors will love. Here are five things to consider before you place a product link on your site.

1.   Is the product or service relevant to your site or page? Dating service banners on a cooking site look out of place. I’ve ‘extended’ the range of services on my niche sites a few times, and it has been a mistake each and every time. Those ‘added features’ serve only to detract from your site’s main focus.

2.  Is the company’s site attractive and functional? Would you buy from a site that looked unprofessional, had broken links or was a hassle to navigate? Don’t send your visitors to tacky sites. Your reputation is at stake.

3.  Is it a quality product at a reasonable price? Would YOU buy the product you plan to sell? To sell effectively, you must believe in the products and services you carry. Listing products you aren’t enthusiastic about shows in what you say about them.

4.  Have you bought and tested the product? I’ve purchased most of the products I promote. Having first-hand knowledge about an item gives me an edge over other affiliates selling the same product. If the commission is 50%, you will only need to make 2 sales to get your money back.

5.  Does the company provide excellent customer service? This is essential. I occasionally get email from affiliate program customers because the company is not responding to them. Unfortunately, there is usually very little I can do, except use the contact number or email address given only to affiliates, and pass the request along.

If you are successful in getting their concerns resolved, Bravo! That reflects well on you.

Once you are confident that you’ve found an excellent product or service, you need to confirm that the affiliate program is also excellent. You’ll learn how to do just that in the next section.

I am amazed by the number of Internet merchants who haven’t yet taken advantage of affiliate marketing to promote their products online.

If you find a great product that doesn’t appear to be supported by an affiliate program, it’s time to put your knowledge of affiliate marketing to work.

Phone or email the merchant, tell them how much you love their product and ask if they have an affiliate program. If they say that they don’t, or don’t know what affiliate programs are, you’ll have to explain the concept and process to them.

Here are some sample emails. Feel free to adjust the wording to your needs.

Dear Merchant Name,

I just visited and think that The Wine Store’s embroidered wine bags are absolutely fabulous! I would love the opportunity to sell them at my wine accessories site.

I wasn’t able to find affiliate program information at The Wine Store, however. Is there one in place?

If not, would you be interested in an affiliate partnership withThe Wine Supply – Our site receives

5,000 unique visitors a day; all of them interested in wine- related goods. I know they’d also love The Wine Store’s exquisite

wine bags.

If you are interested, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how to start an affiliate program for The

Wine Store. I have personal experience in with affiliate programs and can help save you time and money in the set-up.

Thanks kindly for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, Rosalind


Rosalind Gardner

The Wine Supply

If the good people at The Wine Store don’t have an affiliate program, and respond that they are interested in a partnership, you might consider sending them another email similar to the one below.

Dear Merchant Name,

I am SO pleased that you’re interested in an affiliate alliance with The Wine Supply to promote The Wine Store’s products. I know you’ll be thrilled with how affiliate marketing will increase your sales.

There are 3 different ways to set up an affiliate program.

1) Join an affiliate network that handles almost all of the work associated with the program, including processing orders and affiliate payments.

2) Sign up with a shopping cart service that includes affiliate- tracking software.

3) Buy and install affiliate program software on your own server.

Each method has its benefits and disadvantages.

The affiliate network option is perhaps the most costly, but requires the least effort. Signing up with a large affiliate network will also put ‘The Wine Store’ in front of thousands of affiliates, who will be eager to sell your product. Although less expensive, the second option is slightly more work in that you’ll need to advertise the program to gain more affiliates. The third option is the least expensive with a one-time purchase of software, but the most time-consuming to administer in terms of keeping track of affiliate sales and payment handling.

I recommend that you take a look at the following options to compare service and prices.

Commission Junction – An affiliate network.

1ShoppingCart – eCommerce package with affiliate interface.

Aff Manager – Software.

If after reviewing those sites you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

I look forward to working with you! Sincerely,



Rosalind Gardner

The Wine Supply

Enter your own affiliate ID codes into the links for the sites you recommend.

A note about placing affiliate links in email messages - I used ‘cloaking links’ in the sample emails above because the affiliate links given by 1ShoppingCart and MyAffiliateProgram are so long that they may be ‘broken’ by the time they get to the recipient.

For example, my ‘1ShoppingCart’ affiliate link is:

Some email programs may wrap the line and the link ends up looking like this:

The recipient clicks on the first part of the link and gets a ‘Page Cannot be Found’ error, which diminishes their trust in you immediately. It also loses the sale for you. So invest in link cloaking software to shorten up those long affiliate links. It’ll also help protect your commissions. I use, and personally recommend, Affiliate Link Cloaker.

Learn more about Affiliate Link Cloaker at:

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