**** BWMagic's Internet Marketing Tips

How To Choose The Right Affiliate Programs & Products

  • Copyright © 2010 Titus Hoskins
  • As a full-time affiliate marketer, I am often asked:

    How do you pick your affiliate products and networks?

    First, I must admit, in my early years online, well over ten years ago now... I did a lot of trial and error before I finally succeeded at making that first sale. These days my methods are somewhat more calculated and much more predictable.

    Basically, it all boils down to doing a little research before I promote any product or service. Since I do keyword search engine marketing - checking out the competition is crucial if I want to succeed. For a very preliminary check I use Google search and the Firefox SeoQuake toolbar to give me a quick reference on the number of sites promoting a particular product... I check their traffic numbers, rankings, keyword search traffic worth if you had to buy it, site's age, check site owner or company to see if they have numerous sites promoting the same product or service.

    When I am starting a new site or entering a new niche for the first time, I use professional Keyword Research Software such as Brad Callen's Keyword Elite and SEO Elite.

    All this will give me some indication of the competition I will be facing... next I use Google's External Keyword Tool to give me some idea of the traffic the major keywords related to the product receives in a month. This tool will also give me some indication of the competition. Over years of experience, I have found Google's accounting of the keyword searches to be little inaccurate but you will get some feel for how viable your keywords are.

    Affiliate Networks

    Now, maybe I should have mentioned before, I have certain affiliate networks which I use to find the products or services I promote. I work with Commission Junction, LinkShare.com,Amazon and Shareasale.

    My major affiliate network is Commission Junction because I have been using it for years and have had great success with it. Other marketers will probably give you other views, but we can only go on our own experiences. Another major one of mine is ClickBank and comes highly recommended especially when you consider the higher than normal (30% to 60% or more) commission rates.

    The major reason I like CJ is because of all the marketing information they give to their affiliates. They tell their affiliates which companies and products are earning the most revenue from their network. They have a five bar rating system that lets you know which company is giving the biggest returns. Plus, the 3 Month EPC and 7 Day EPC - or the amount of earnings per 100 clicks.

    CJ even goes further and tells you which "banners" & "text ads" are bringing in the best EPC - so really all this marketing is done for you and it is a big help.

    To make my marketing more effective (ie. get more sales) there are several things I do check before promoting any product.

    1. Lenght of the cookie associated with the product or service. If I refer someone, how long is that customer marked as mine? Some companies have 30, 60 or 90 day cookies... if a referred customer (one who has clicked my affiliate link) buys a product in the next 90 days - I get the sale!

    Don't ignore this factor, it will have a big effect on your sales. Some companies will even give you life-time cookies, but those are very rare.

    2. Commission rates - what are the commission rates associated with the products? I find the rates with CJ rather low when compared to the Clickbank example above, but your rates do go up when you go over different levels of sales each month. I also find many of the companies in CJ do give lucrative incentives if you bring in the sales or clients.

    3. Can the product or service ONLY be purchased online? If the customer can only get the product online, your sales will obviously be higher than a product which they can purchase in any store down the street. I find custom configed products like high-end electronic laptops or computers to be a very good example.

    4. What kind of online discounts or coupons does the company offer? How frequent and are they exclusive to online affiliates? How large are these discounts and the perceived value of such discounts? All important questions which will affect your sales.

    5. How popular is the product? Is it trending? I sometimes use Google Trends but it is mostly a matter of keeping your eyes open to see which products everyone is buying. How much TV, Newspaper and Radio advertising is the product receiving? Again, a popular in-demand product is much easier to sell.

    6. Test-drive the product or service yourself. It is often very worthwhile to purchase the product or service you're promoting... your marketing and writing will just ring more true to the reader or potential customer. Of course, this can get expensive, so I only selectively use this method with my major products or services.

    Here's My Most Important Affiliate Tip

    Actually, this one is so obvious but I didn't learn it until I was several years into my online marketing. Pick products or companies with RESIDUAL INCOME. Make one sale and get paid for years down the line... I am still earning revenue on sales I made over 5 years ago.

    Web hosting services, email services, telephone services, cable services... many of these products will have residual income connected with them.

    Another helpful tip is to regularly examine your products, networks and sales. Check for patterns and trends in your sales numbers. For example, Amazon has very low commission rates, but I find my Amazon links get the highest conversion rates of any product or company which I have promoted. (Not counting product launches in the IM field, which usually convert because of the nature of the beast.)

    Online customers trust Amazon and will quickly buy the product offered. And some of my most profitable sites offer very low-end products through Amazon. What many beginning marketers don't realize, once a customer is on the Amazon site, they end up buying many more products than the one being promoted. Sort of an online version of the loss-leader marketing strategy. This can be especially lucrative around the holiday season.

    Hope these tips have proven helpful. If you want more, simply visit our Affiliate Marketing Guide here.


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    Titus Hoskins My name is and I am an artist, writer and webmaster. I am also a former art teacher who has been a full-time Online Professional Marketer for the last 10 years.

    Bizwaremagic.com is my main website, but I have many more. You can follow me on Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.


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