Earn Money Online: Evaluate Affiliate Marketing Programs for Profitability

When you set out to earn money online, you’ll want to choose affiliate marketing programs that boost profit potential. While there isn’t a magic formula, the following considerations all add up to opportunities that will help you make money working online.

Do You Have to Pay to Join an Affiliate Marketing Program?

Ninety-nine percent of affiliate Internet marketing programs are free to join. If the program does charge a fee, then it’s usually an MLM plan rather than an affiliate Internet marketing program.

Earn Money Online: Some Tips About Affiliate Marketing Programs

Lead Generation With this method, the affiliate will often be collecting their customers’ names and email addresses, but the affiliate will rarely know who bought the product.

Product Fulfillment If you were part of an MLM plan or an independent reseller, you would have to stock your own inventory, process orders, and ship the products to your customers. Not so with affiliate marketing programs! With affiliate marketing programs, the supplier will handle all of the shipping, processing, and stocking. This makes it easy for you to earn money online without the hassle of dealing with actual products.

Product Pricing With affiliate marketing programs, all affiliates sell the product(s) for the same price.

Payment Scheme When you earn money online using affiliate marketing programs, you will earn a percentage of the sale price of the item. This is different from resellers, who typically keep all of the income from their sales.

Tiered Programs Some affiliate marketing programs give you the chance to earn money online in the “second tier.” How does this work? Some work by charging a fee for affiliates, while others charge a small percentage of their second tier affiliate’s earnings. Still other affiliate marketing programs pay you in both of these situations. This sounds a lot like an MLM plan, but it is different, because it is not necessary for you to buy and sell products in order to earn money from your “downline.” There is more about multiple tier affiliate marketing programs later in this article.

Earn Money Online: Know What Type of Affiliate Internet Marketing Program It Is

There are three basic types of affiliate marketing programs: Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Pay-Per-Sale, and Pay-Per-Lead.

Pay-Per-Click programs are a lot like Pay-Per-Lead (see below). Basically, you get paid every time a visitor clicks on the affiliate link and ends up on the program’s site. Since both Pay-Per-Lead and Pay-Per-Click methods must have enormous traffic volumes in order to generate any significant income, Pay-Per-Sale programs are probably a better option for a site with less traffic. Doing business through an affiliate program is all about giving your visitors good information about the products so they can make a wise choice. What you don’t want to do is sign up for affiliate programs only to drive large volumes of traffic to the merchant site so they can collect email addresses. This won’t benefit you at all.

Pay-Per-Sale programs can also be called Partnership and Percentage Partners. This kind of affiliate Internet marketing program either pays a set amount, or they pay you a percentage of the sales that are made through your links.

Pay-Per-Lead programs pay you a fixed amount of money whenever a customer answers a questionnaire, or requests information.

What is the Commission Rate with This Affiliate Marketing Program?

To earn money online, you must understand the pay structure of affiliate marketing programs so that you can compare programs and decide which one is the best to use for your site. The commission rate of the affiliate program will affect which products you promote, and how much you promote them.

Promoting the products is essential, as this is what helps you earn money online.

For example: Say you have a travel site on Chicago that includes information about hotels in the Windy City. You sign up for one of the many affiliate marketing programs for hotels, and earn a commission every time a visitor makes a hotel reservation via the link on your site. The first thing you’d want to do would be to find an affiliate program to sign up for. Search Commission Junction and Affiliates Combined to find a good program. There is such a huge variety between just these two websites that you will not have a problem finding the perfect program for you.

What is a Cookie and How Long Does It Last?

What’s a cookie and what does it have to do with affiliate marketing programs? We’re not talking about the chocolate chip kind here! A cookie is a code of information. It’s stored on a computer and it identifies the computer while the person is visiting your website. A cookie is only a file of text, so you never need to worry that it will cause a virus on your computer.

Perhaps you have heard that customers need to be exposed to a product several times before they will want to buy it from you. So if a visitor clicks into the affiliates’ site but they don’t buy anything for a week, what happens? Will you get commissioned for the sale? Whether or not you get paid for the sale depends on how long it is until the cookie expires.

Example: When you visit this website, www.masteringwebsitemarketing.com and then you click through to an affiliate, such as www.sitesell.com, the cookie will be something like this: myname@sitesell.com.txt

Cookies are coded so that they will only last for a set amount of time, after which they will expire. If the affiliate marketing program codes their cookies to last 30 days, you will get a commission if the customer comes back and buys the product within 30 days. However, if the customer comes back after 40 days, the cookie will have expired and you will not get a commission for that sale. So when you are looking for the perfect affiliate Internet marketing program, look for one with long lasting cookies.

Earn Money Online: Look for Commission for Repeat Sales

What will happen if you stop trying to promote the affiliate? Generally, you would just stop earning commissions from the affiliate Internet marketing program. You would no longer receive checks from that affiliate program. If you want to continue to earn money online, you have to keep promoting the product, or your income will come to a screeching halt.

What if your customer buys the product, likes it, and buys more later? You won’t get credit for the second sale. You only earn commission from the first sale, but the merchant of the product is still benefiting from your promotion of the product.

That doesn’t sound so fair, does it? Your intention, after all, is to make money working online.

But there are affiliate marketing programs that will pay you a commission for repeat sales. If a customer who originally bought the product through your site continues to order the product, you will continue to get commissions from the sales.

If the affiliate marketing program does not pay commissions for repeat sales, you’re getting short-changed. So be sure to check the affiliate marketing program’s policy on this, to be sure that you are getting as much out of the deal as possible.

Does the Affiliate Internet Marketing Program Pay Lifetime Commissions?

What’s the difference between repeat commissions and lifetime commissions? A program that offers repeat, or ‘residual’ commissions will pay you each time a visitor buys more of the product, or signs up for a repeat subscription.

A program that offers lifetime commissions will pay you (the affiliate) a commission for every item that the customer buys, even if they buy a different product.

Example: A customer clicks an affiliate link on your site to Books.com. They purchase a book about dog training. Since Books.com offers lifetime commissions, when that same customer later purchases a book about cooking, you will get a commission from that sale as well. And on and on as long as the customer buys from that site.

Joining affiliate marketing programs that pay lifetime commissions is a great way to earn money online, receiving commissions without doing so much sales work.

The best affiliate Internet marketing program for lifetime commissions is SiteSell. SiteSell’s products include ebooks, such as Make Your Site Sell; Make Your Knowledge Sell; and of course, Site Build It, which is their excellent package that teaches you how to build your own website.

What is the Tier Structure of the Program? Is it Two-Tier or Multiple Tiers?

What are the differences between two-tier and multiple tier programs? Two-tier programs offer you the opportunity to earn commissions two different ways: the first,by driving traffic to the site in order to make sales, and the second, where you are paid when new affiliates sign up under YOUR affiliates for the program.

Two-tier programs are where you earn commissions from conversions and referrals or sign-ups. Think of commissions from the second tier as a nice little bonus to your income.

When discussing two-tier programs, many people often confuse these with MLM schemes. Just know that two-tier affiliate programs are not the same as MLM.

Your biggest concern should be whether or not the affiliate Internet marketing program offers real products that will benefit people. If it does, then you can promote it with peace of mind.

With a two-tier program or a multi-tier program (two tiers or more), the first tier is the same as any normal affiliate program. The difference is in the other tiers, where you earn a percentage of sales made by people who have been referred by you; or you earn a fee when a new affiliate signs up under your affiliate. Be sure to read the “fine print” and figure out if second tier commissions are figured as percentages (i.e., the % of revenue made by “A”) or a percentage of a percentage (% of earnings made by “A”), or if you are being paid a flat fee. The latter is an excellent way to earn money online, as you will see next.

In theory, affiliate marketing programs can have an unlimited amount of tiers, but practically, there are limits. Programs with more tiers tend to draw people who want to earn money from other people’s work without having to do much of their own. The best way to earn money online from any affiliate program is to do the hard work that it takes. Be sure that you advertise and promote the product you are trying to sell, rather than the program you are using. This distinction is important.

How Do You Choose Which Program to Use?

Having a hard time deciding between some similar affiliate marketing programs? It can be a difficult decision, especially when comparing commissions and products!

If everything except the commission is equal in your mind, choose the affiliate Internet marketing program that offers the highest commission.

Comparing commissions can be difficult when the structures of the programs are only slightly different. How can you decide?

  • Compare the prices of the products
  • Check the commission rates
  • Don’t forget to read the “fine print”! You might find that you can earn a commission bonus up to 50% if you make 20 sales or more in a month. This could raise the rate of the commission to 60-70%.
Be sure to take the brand name of the product into consideration. Is it a reputable brand that customers are likely to trust? If it is a well-known brand, people are more likely to buy from you since they will already know and trust that brand.

Earn Money Online: Compare Commission Options

Some affiliate marketing programs give you only one commission plan, but others will let you choose from a selection of commission plans. For example, affiliate program ABC gives affiliates four options for their commission scheme:

Pay-Per-Click For each visitor that you send to the company, you will get paid up to $2. Visitors are determined by looking at the IP address.

Pay-Per-Profile You can earn up to $5 for each profile that is registered on the program's site.

Pay-Per-Signup If you want to earn money online quickly, a pay-per-signup program might be the best for you. You can earn up to $50 for every visitor who signs up for a membership. No matter how long they are a member, you will still earn a commission.

Rev Share With this option you can earn commissions for life. Every time a visitor joins any of the site's affiliate programs, you earn up to 50% of the money that is made from the membership fee.

Choosing an option greatly relies on how much traffic you get on your website. If you get large quantities of un-targeted traffic (i.e., visitors who are not looking for what you have to offer), then Pay-Per-Click may be the best for you. But a caveat is in order here. Many of these programs are abused by scam artist affiliates, and the merchant often aborts the program for this reason.

If you have smaller amounts of targeted traffic, (i.e., the visitors were looking for what you have to offer), then Rev Share is probably your best bet.

What if people who visit your site are looking for free giveaways? Then Pay-Per-Profile will probably be the most profitable for you.

Run percentage programs, which often give high payouts. But to figure out which program will be the most profitable for you, you must know your conversion ratio.

Analyze and experiment with your site’s traffic to figure your conversion ratios.

When you put these tips into practice, you can't help but choose good affiliate programs and earn money online!

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