Affiliate marketing is a great way to have your visitors find quality products that are related to your product. It is ideal to find products related or complementary to yours, as these products are more likely the ones your visitors will be interested in. This does not necessarily have to be the case as you have the ability (with a little work) to target the correct audience for those products.
This is also a great way to monetize your blog, especially if you are not selling any products or services. Joining affiliate programs can get you exclusive access to new products while getting special deals for your visitors. Not to mention, you will also make money.
Before we dive into which affiliate programs are best, let’s define what an affiliate program actually is.
What is an Affiliate Marketing Program
In simple terms, an affiliate program is an agreement between a business and another business or influencer where a commission is paid for sending traffic and/or sales to them. You may commonly see this in the way of social media influencers endorsing products. This is also done by the business that gives the affiliate a link. That link is tracked to see the traffic coming from the affiliate.
As you can see, there are various types of affiliate programs and it is important to choose the one that is best suited for you and/or your business.
Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs
When you are choosing an affiliate program, you will want to keep in mind where the buyer persona for that product/service spends the majority of their time. For example, if this is the type of product/service that typically takes some further research, you may want to consider review sites or blog posts. Or, if the persona is looking for a good deal, then you might want to consider a coupon site. This will get you thinking about the types of avenues for your marketing efforts and the types of affiliate programs.
This program has freelancers, influences, entrepreneurs, etc. spending their own money to promote your offer on search results and online advertising platforms. You will want to make sure that your affiliate is following common online marketing guidelines, but this can work in your favor. This is especially true if your affiliate has an SEO background and performs A/B testing. This will result in more referrals for you and a higher ROI for them. It’s a win-win.
Email Affiliate Marketing
This type of affiliate marketing is best done in small doses as you do not want others bulk sending and spamming people about your offering. This will only put your offering in a negative light as this will be what the receiver remembers about the email. But done correctly, this can be a very profitable avenue to explore.
This type of affiliate program is best if you have an offering that requires more research or information in order to make a purchase. There is a reason why companies post their own reviews on their site and often place their offering on review sites. It is becoming more and more common for buyers to extensively seek out reviews for the products/services they are considering. This is a great channel to explore to see if the review site would be interested in providing an affiliate link within their text.
If you are new in the market and are trying to get traction, this can be a great way to get your product/service in the hands of customers. This first step is only one of many on the road to generating more traffic to your sites and can be a great way to kick off your reviews. While you don’t want to lose big money on your offering this early in the game, it is sometimes necessary to begin. A step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction regardless of how small.
Bloggers and Influencers
This is a very common use case as blogs are becoming increasingly popular for research and learning. If there are bloggers or influencers that you are drawn to, there is a good chance those who are interested in them may also be interested in you. This can also be easily done in such a way where they are comparing tools and include yours or reviewing methodology and suggest your offering.
Arguably the largest player in the market, ShareASale, houses affiliate programs for over 4000 merchants of all sizes. All from one central location, you can view all merchants, sign up with them, generate links, and view your stats. With such a diverse selection of brands on tap, you have no shortage of industries available as well as digital and physical offerings. You can specify your niche and have brands reach out to you based on your stats or reach out to brands to become an affiliate.
Alongside ShareASale, CJ Affiliate is one of the biggest affiliate networks out there. This means that you will have no shortage of brands to reach out to and represent. With over 2,500 merchants you will be able to find the industries and brands best suited to you and your following. Like other affiliate programs, you can view all merchants from the dashboard and apply to the ones that interest you. From this dashboard, you will also be able to manage your affiliate links and view your stats.
Rakuten may not be as large as the 2 platforms mentioned previously in regards to merchants, but it is one of the more common names due to their advertising. With over 1,000 merchants it is not a small platform by any means and is growing. Where they lack in a number of merchants they excel with some of the brands they have on hand. With big hitters like Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s you can get a taste of the big leagues and grow from there.
Avangate Affiliate Network
Avangate Affiliate Network is targeted at digital goods and software rather than physical products. This is a great opportunity for those of you who are SaaS companies and are looking to grow your audience. This platform is home to some large companies such as Kaspersky and 22,000 additional pieces of software.
Before I dive into Awin itself, I need to mention that they actually acquired ShareASale back in 2017, but operate the two sites separately. This should show the size of this platform before I dive in. With over 13,000 merchants there is a wide variety and selection of both digital and physical products. Awin was founded in Germany and will result in plenty of European brands, but, there are also plenty of North American companies. Like the other platforms, you will need to apply individually within the network or have the brands reach out to you directly. From here you can generate your links and track stats in the dashboard.
When deciding which platform to choose, there are many key elements to consider. This varies from how established your following is, your industry, whether you focus on digital or physical products, etc. Think about what your website visitors and social media followers would benefit from. Then, choose a platform and program that would best serve them. As there are no limits to affiliate marketing platforms you can join or affiliates you can reach out to, this may take some trial and error testing. But, it will soon become apparent which platform and program are best for your use case.