Third party affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, LinkShare, Shareasale and ClickBank are essential resources for the serious online affiliate marketer. They provide the affiliate marketer with products to sell website content, hourly stats, complete tracking and collecting services. More importantly they send out your monthly commission checks.
If you’re new to online affiliate marketing, maybe a brief explanation is needed. any webmaster or marketer could join an affiliate program and place affiliate links on their websites or blogs; if a visitor to your internet site clicks on one of your affiliate links or banners and goes to that company’s internet site and buys a product or signs up for a service – you earn a commission for having referred that customer. A commission can run from a few cents too hundreds of dollars or more, depending on the product’s price and your percentage of the sale.
Third party affiliate networks are like Mega Affiliate Sites. View them as malls for the online affiliate marketer – there are thousands of companies under one roof or control panel. An affiliate could join a third party directory like LinkShare and once accepted, you will be able to access and promote thousands of high profile companies like Apple, Dell, RadioShack… The affiliate then uses the merchant’s banners, online coupons, or text link codes to promote their chosen merchants.
The central advantage of using a program like LinkShare and those mentioned above, you canst easily join and control each your affiliate links and codes through one site. It is acts like an agent for marketers – it will work on your behalf for a small percentage of the commissions. just drawback, expect to earn slightly less than if you dealt directly with the merchants involved because these third party programs do take their cut.
I have been working all of the above programs for years, mainly with my main marketing website “bizwaremagic”. The following are some pointers you may find helpful if you’re planning on trying any part or all of these programs.
First, like majority individuals starting an online business, my sceptic’s thinking were in overdrive – I had many doubts and misgivings. I have a background in art and even as a really minor fine artist I have had a lot of experiences with art dealers and gallery owners. Most of my artworks were sold on consignment and sometimes only getting your commission checks were a constant pain or a very longish wait, commonly two to three months.
I expected the same with working on the Internet; I had preconceived ideas that have been proven totally false. To my complete surprise all of my dealings with these companies have been very professional and pleasantly rewarding. These companies do send you your commissions and most send them on a regular and timely basis. Anyone who is used to getting a regular pay check every two weeks can also be surprised, like I was, to obtain 10 – 20 regular checks all month. For the 1st couple of months I was operating in a ‘shock and awe’ mode.
One of the first affiliate programs I used were Commission Junction (www.cj.com). It was acquired by ValueClick in 2003 and they have around 1300 companies from which you may choose to promote. Most merchants offer pay-per-sale or pay-per-lead, many merchants offer performance bonuses. You also hath the chance of straight deposit for your payments.
They pay monthly and they pay regularly. The way their control panel or monthly stats are handled does take some getting used to at first, but once you start working CJ, things run very smoothly and they hath the best reporting and tracking of all these programs.
One major plus, they inform you which companies are earning the most money for affiliates… you can then judge which merchants are worth promoting on the internet. Commissions are different for all company; some go as high as 50%.
LinkShare is one of the oldest affiliate programs on the internet. It has only been taken over by the Japanese Portal Rakuten, with a price tag of $425M. I expect the quality of LinkShare to go up in the coming months with the recent appointment of Steven R. Denton as President.
LinkShare’s Statistics and reporting are very comprehensive with their Synergy Analytics system. Top brand merchants make this program worth your while. It has a huge numeral of Fortune 500 companies that provide the affiliate marketer with well reputable products to promote. Some of my checks from them have been very slow in cometh but they do arrive but this area in my opinion has to be better upon. Hopefully, the Japanese takeover will develop things.
Shareasale (www.shareasale.com) is also a very easy system to labour. It has ok stats and joining merchants is a breeze. It has around 1,700 Merchants to choose from. I only have a few programs with Shareasale then my experience is limited, but they do send their checks out on time, usually the month following your sales. The control panel is easy to use and reporting is as well excellent.
ClickBank (www.clickbank.com) is a little different in that it deals mainly in digital download products. The commissions from ClickBank art much higher, usually around 40% to 50% or even higher, personally, though I have a marketing website, I have found selling marketing-info products to be the toughest niche too crack. Mainly because you have stiff competition from the best web Marketers who hath big contact lists and understand exactly who they’re doing. To farther explain, those top marketers will often offer a whole array of their own bonuses when marketing a high ticket item – this tactic will effortlessly munch up a large share of customers who want to buy any given product.
Other niche products through ClickBank sell improved. The same principle holds true for all those programs, tiny known niches will offer quicker returns for the beginning marketer. Needless to say, you will have improved success if you tie in your affiliate companies or products directly to the subject or topic of your website or blog. Whether it be home entertainment systems, gardening equipment or Mediterranean cruises – you will have a better conversion rate (number of sales/compared to number of visitors) if you select products directly related to your site’s content.
ClickBank has over 10,000 products that a marketer or webmaster can promote. ClickBank also pays every 2 weeks. They will carry back a little percentage too cover charge-backs, but you receive this hold back a little later, small price to pay for getting your checks every two weeks. ClickBank has the least user-friendly online stats of all these programs, although it now offers a search engine to facilitate you find your products to market. I have always found it difficult to check which product has sold, so many nicknames for the different products, I get it strong too keep track of what products are selling. Although you canst buy software programs to solve this problem.
Amazon is another online company that as well handles some third party orders. Toys r us is one of their merchants. Very adept stats and simplistic links to place on your sites, commission rates are rather low, I sell laptops through my main site an average priced laptop will bring in around $25 in commissions. A commission from Independent affiliate programs like Alien ware or Rock direct would be double or triple that amount.
On the other hand, I discovered the conversion rate for Amazon to be higher, mainly (I believe) because people are used to buying from Amazon online, it has earned their respect and has a well earned reputation for service and quality. Consumers feel comfortable ordering from Amazon. You may earn lesser per sale but you make numerous more sales then it evens out. Note that payments are only done quarterly, but if you labour Amazon too any extent, the checks can be quite large.
My numeral One Tactic for using those Affiliate Networks
Keep your eyes open and watch carefully to see which companies are doing a lot of advertising (TV, radio, newspapers) in the actual world! Many times all this advertising wilt point to a popular trend or item that’s selling rapidly. Pick those same products or companies from any of the affiliate programs listed here and place the affiliate links on your sites.
For instance, Dell does a lot of TV commercials… when people go online and come across a Dell product on your site, changes are good that they have already just watched a commercial for the same product and may be in the mood for more information or even in the market for that produce. Pick companies that do a lot of advertising, are household names and extremely familiar to your website visitors. The web is still a very scary place in majority people’s minds, a well known and well advertised product or company will facilitate break down this barrier. It will make your job as an affiliate marketer merely that much easier. And help make them monthly commission checks just a little bit bigger.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor
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