Affiliate programs aren’t hard to find on the Internet. You can find them in almost every corner. But not all affiliate programs are made the same. As a good and honest marketer, you should be able to find affiliate offers that are good for you and your audience.
In this post, we’ll talk about some ways to find and evaluate affiliate offers that are both good for your audience and good for you and your site visitors.
How to Find a Good Affiliate Offer and Why It’s Important
It can be hard to find good affiliate programs that are good for both your readers and your business. There are many things to choose from, and no affiliate program is ever a sure thing. But there are a few things you can look out for and steps you can take to make sure you’re making the right choice.
Affiliate marketing, at least the good kind, depends on you being able to build trust with your visitors. If you choose an affiliate program that makes money for you but doesn’t help your audience, you’ll quickly lose the trust you worked so hard to build.
Getting good affiliate offers is more important than ever because you have to balance your needs with those of your audience.
So how do you find the best affiliate programs, and what makes the good ones different from the bad ones?
How to Choose a Product to Promote
Even though there are many places to find affiliate offers, one of the best ways to avoid problems is to stick with the larger, more well-known affiliate programs.
Some of these, like Amazon’s, may be run by the company itself, while others may be run by a third-party affiliate network (like CJ Affiliate). When judging affiliate offers, you should think about the following:
Does the company or network of affiliates seem stable?
Does the business or affiliate network have a track record of paying affiliates?
Will you be able to follow their rules and requirements?
If everything on this list seems to fit, you’re good to go. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket. No affiliate offer is sure to last forever, and sometimes it’s a good idea to find more than one affiliate program for the same kind of product or service (although not always possible).
Using Affiliate Networks
Most of the big brands, if not all of them, use a large affiliate network. This includes stores like Zulily as well as companies like Adidas that make things. Some of the most well-known affiliate networks are:
- CJ Affiliate
- eBay Enterprise
Usually, joining an affiliate network involves filling out an application and sometimes talking to an account rep over the phone. Affiliate networks are good for both affiliates and advertisers because they act as a third party. Among these benefits are:
A large number of affiliate offers are available to you. At the time this article was written, ShareASale’s database had 3,995 affiliate programs.
A simple way to track and combine payouts from a lot of affiliate programs.
A way for advertisers to keep the quality of their brands. If you don’t follow the rules, you could be kicked out of the whole affiliate network.
Affiliate networks can also make it easier to find offers that your audience would be interested in. With the bigger networks, you’ll find that you can look for deals based on categories, keywords, seasons, and more.
Even though there are benefits to using an affiliate network, some companies decide to run their own affiliate program. Even though it doesn’t happen often, you should always be careful when working with small or independent affiliate programs. Your safety and reputation depend on it, after all.
Here are the most important things to think about when choosing an affiliate program:
Rate the quality of each advertiser you work with as a whole. Would you buy from them yourself? Have you? How would you rate your experience with the store or the product they sell?
If you like their product or service and want to tell other people about it, will they pay you enough to do so? Don’t only look at the rate of commission. You need to look at the big picture, including things like earnings per click (EPC), average order value, average commission, and the tracking gap (the longer your cookie lasts, the better).
Think about how often they change orders. How often do people change their minds about orders? This can also be a great sign of how happy a customer is.
Are there banner ads or display ads (also called “creatives”) that fit with how your website looks and feels as a whole?
How to Find Out What People Want to Buy
Theoretically, it should be easy to figure out what your visitors want to buy. I’m going to assume that you are actively working on your website.
Before we start looking for affiliate programs, let’s talk about how to choose which products or services to promote.
Start with where you live.
Since you work hard on your site, it’s likely that you are also interested in the subject you are promoting. Promote the products and services you use every day to take advantage of your personal interest.
Also, if you’ve built a community through blog comments, Facebook, or a forum, pay attention to what people are talking about. By finding out what people’s most common problems and challenges are, you’ll be able to come up with ways to solve them.
Do some research instead of just coming up with a solution to sell. Talk to people, find out what they think, test your products or services, and check out what the competition is doing. This is how you can give your audience real value and gain their trust.
Doing Product Research
Sometimes, you have to do research to find products and affiliate offers that are worth promoting. That means you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some good old-fashioned hard work.
Amazon.com is a good place to start looking for things you can hold in your hands. Amazon, which made just under $90 billion in sales in 2014, is as good a place as any to learn about consumer trends. As if you didn’t already know, Amazon also runs what is probably the largest independent affiliate network.
You can go to Amazon and start looking for products that are right for your audience in a matter of seconds. If you think Amazon’s affiliate program is one of your best options, you might also look into Terapeak, which is software made by a third party. Terapeak has an easier-to-use interface and gives you better information about trends in your target market. It also makes it much easier to look for things on Amazon.
You can also use Google to find affiliate offers that fit your needs. When I typed “affiliate programs pet insurance” into Google, I got a whole page of results. Same thing happens when you look up “affiliate programs BBQ supplies.” You can find a variety of offers for almost any niche with a little bit of work.
Sites for businesses
If your audience trusts your knowledge, you probably have a few products or services that you use every day. When you start your search, these companies are a great place to start. Most websites have a simple link in the footer that says something like “affiliates,” “promote XYZ,” or “join us.”
Finding the best affiliate offers for the people you want to reach will take a little detective work. Most of the time, it’s easier to start with the websites of companies you already know and work your way up until you’re looking through the databases of large affiliate networks.
When you find an affiliate offer you like, try to find 1-3 others that you can use to compare it to. Compare the different offers and decide which one will work best for you and your audience.
Remember that being honest and loyal to your audience is the most important thing you can do. Without them, you can’t sell anything.
What are some of your favorite places to look for affiliate opportunities? How do you decide what will work for your audience and what won’t? Please tell us what you think and ask questions in the section below.
If you liked this article, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, either.