So you are ready to take the affiliate world by storm. The first big hurdle is to decide what you are going to pay your affiliates. Affiliates who refer sales to you get a commission once a sale (or a different conversion action) is completed. Payments can be either (a) a flat amount (in whatever currency you operate) or (b) a percentage of the total sale (exclusive of taxes and shipping). So, how do you determine what your affiliate program commission rate should be?
Some of the most common forms of email marketing include newsletters, blog emails, nurture emails, retention emails, and promotional emails with special offers. Marketing is all about getting people to know and trust your brand, and email is one of the most effective ways to do that. Mailgun’s suite of solutions is designed to help large and small businesses optimize their email marketing automation with deliverability tools and reputation-focused products.
Writing product reviews are an excellent way to enhance your credibility as an affiliate marketer. This is especially easy with information products like e-books which are relatively inexpensive. After establishing some steady income it may even be worth buying higher-end products, provided you get in touch with the product creator to work out a strategic marketing plan that takes you to the next level.
Super affiliates who have their own product to sell can become affiliate managers, they can invite other people to promote on their behalf and pay them commissions. This is where having products like e-books and online tools work well. You can afford to pay high commissions – 50% to 75% – because it’s still pure profit when it doesn’t cost anything. You can afford to give others a high incentive to promote on your behalf. Most important, you can give other super affiliates exclusive access to sell your product during its introductory period.
At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
Special Links may be created by you or made available to you by us. If we inform you that your Site does not qualify to use certain types of links, you must cease displaying those types of links on your Site. You are solely responsible for the content, style, and placement of each link that you place on your Site and for ensuring that Special Links (whether created by you or made available to you by us) include the appropriate formatting necessary for us to properly track referrals of our customers from your Site. You must not encourage customers to bookmark your Special Links. All Special Links must be accessed directly from your Site. For example, you must include your Associates ID or “tag” (appearing as XXXXX-20, or such other format as we may designate) as a parameter in the URL of each link you place on your Site to an Amazon Site.
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.
In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over Amazon.com sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon. The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.
There’s no limits to the number of affiliate programs you sign up for so applying for one today will not prevent you from picking another one later on. In fact, being a member of more affiliate programs simply gives you more options in terms of products to promote plus they’re pretty much all free to join. You can always leave a program if it’s not working out for you or there are no products you want to promote.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular monetization techniques for niche publishers in 2014, being used by hundreds of thousands of sites in a wide variety of verticals. Affiliate marketing is popular for a number of reasons, including the potential for success with a relatively small audience and the deep pool of affiliate partners willing to pay to acquire new customers.
The network is, again, contested by some as to whether it’s truly a part of the affiliate marketing conglomerate. But for good measure, we’ll discuss it. The network is essentially the middle man used to manage this exchange. The network helps accomplish such tasks as payment processing, tracking technology, reporting solutions, and can serve as a repository of available affiliates.
Affiliates can also help your company tap into new audiences and reposition inventory so that it is relevant to them. For example, perhaps your site is entirely in English, with no exposure to the Hispanic market. One of your affiliates may translate your copy into Spanish and target that market, thus bringing new customers to you. Such a tactic — translating text — would be expensive and time consuming. So increased commissions for those new customers would help offset the affiliate’s initial investment.
What do you want to earn? Is this just a little bit of side income on your hobby blog or are you trying to replace your full time income? If you’re trying to go big then you’re going to want to focus on more high-quality products with big commissions. Maybe you will be building your site or blog around the specific product you want to promote, like a product review or comparison site.
For sites looking to monetize their existing traffic through affiliate marketing, a major determinant of success is picking the right offers to run. The difference in earnings from a bad offer and a good one can be enormous. Unfortunately, finding the “right” offer isn’t exactly easy; if you’re using an affiliate marketing network such as Commission Junction (now part of Conversant), SharesASale, or LinkShare, you will have literally thousands of affiliate offers available to you.
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!
Arlen: Yeah, there definitely are models like that. And I've dealt with a lot of different customers of our that are in the organic food space actually. And this is something, I don't know if it's something that's customary in that space that are selling organic super foods and a variety of different, kind of niche products that they have a distinctive presence online.