Want one more golden rule story? Several years ago we were working with an affiliate network called MarketLeverage and an advertiser stiffed them on a big invoice. We had been promoting the advertiser and MarketLeverage owed us $xx,xxx. MarketLeverage paid us our commissions even though they themselves didn’t get paid. We continued working with them and went on to become their number two affiliate in terms of gross conversions.
But to go back and answer your question as far as typical ROI, I would just say roughly if a business implements a referral program, you've got to keep in mind that typically you're not paying these affiliates any upfront fee. You just paying a percentage commission for a referred transaction, whether it's a dollar amount, whether it's a percentage of their order total.
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.

You have a range of options for hosting affiliate deals on your website. You might want to run these on the sidebar of your blog (like Heidi Cohen) or at the bottom of a piece of content (if you’re a mom blogger like 3 Boys and a Dog. If you’re running a B2B organization, you could have a portion of your site devoted to partner offers).Test different placements of your affiliate offers rather than confining them to one area of your website.
Of course, there is no prescriptive recipe you can follow that guarantees success. To me, the best marketers are those that can simply build experiments, test assumptions, and iterate over their ideas quickly. Affiliate marketing is really no exception. Here are just a few tips and heuristics I’ve picked up through my experiences that should be helpful!

And you don't want them to forget about you. That's the main thing. As I mentioned earlier, everybody is split doing a million things. So you've got to remind them, because maybe they just forgot they're an affiliate. Maybe they're saying, "Okay, that's right, I forgot. I can get on the ball. I've got some friends that could utilize this product or service."
Affiliate marketing also is a very broad term; under this umbrella there are several different strategies that can be employed to generate affiliate revenue. The most appropriate and lucrative method (or methods) can depend on a number of factors, including your site’s niche and characteristics of your audience. Below is an overview of some of the most popular affiliate marketing implementations, along with examples of each. Click here to read more about the proven affiliate marketing strategies.
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