10 Questions to Ask Before Joining an Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra money or even a living online. It’s fast and affordable to get started because you don’t need to create products or services. With the growth of social media, it’s not even necessary to have a website.
However, not all affiliate programs are created equal. Some have products or services that aren’t great or don’t sell well. Others run out of money and don’t pay you or have to close down. Here are some questions you should answer before joining and promoting an affiliate program.
1) Is the product or service a good fit for your website or blog?
If you have a site you’re monetizing, your affiliate promotions should fit the topic of your site. For example, a website about tulip gardening shouldn’t run affiliate ads for automotive parts. If you’re using social media, such as a Twitter feed or Facebook Fan page, the same rules apply. Your promotions should fit the topic of your social group.
2) Is the company that produces the product or service reputable?
Part of what makes affiliate marketing work is that people trust you when you endorse or recommend the product. If the product isn’t any good, you’ll lose that trust and people won’t come to you as a resource anymore.
3) Does the company have a professional looking website?
The sales page doesn’t need to be overly fancy or filled with bells and whistles, but it should be organized and clear, with persuasive copy to encourage the sale.
4) Is the product or service priced right?
Would you buy it? If you’re not willing to invest in it, you might have a hard time selling it.
5) Does the company provide great customer service?
It’s not uncommon for customers to go to the affiliate (you) if they can’t get help from the company. If your referrals are mistreated or don’t get the help they need, it will reflect badly on you since you referred them.
6) Have you used or tested the product or service?
It can get expensive to buy everything you want to promote, but having personal experience allows you speak with authority and credibility about the product or service. Some affiliate programs will let you test or give you a sample so you don’t always have to buy it.
7) What are the terms of the affiliate agreement?
Many programs have rules and restrictions you need to adhere to. For example, some won’t allow you to buy pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using certain keywords. If PPC ads are part of your marketing plan, that could be a problem. Others have policies around emailing your list regarding products and services. It’s a long document with fine print, but affiliate agreements are important, so don’t skip reading them.
8) How are referrals tracked?
9) How, when and for what do you get paid?
Affiliate programs vary on what they pay for. Some will pay you a flat fee while others pay a commission on a sale. Some pay per action or lead. How affiliate programs pay varies, as well. Some will send payment through PayPal, while other mail a check or direct deposit into your bank. When you get paid may depend on whether or not there is a threshold — an amount you need to earn before payment is made. Some pay once a month and others weekly.
10) Are there marketing tools?
I’m often surprised when I find an affiliate program that has nothing but a link for affiliates to use in marketing the product or service. The best affiliate programs offer many tools from marketing tips, ad banners and graphics and sometimes even sample blog or social media posts. Although you can come up with marketing materials yourself, you’ll get started faster if the affiliate program has tools you can use.