Affiliate Programs – Things to Consider When Choosing One

Affiliate Programs – Low or High?

If you’re trying to work online from home, affiliate marketing is a good way to go.  You can effectively sell things without having things to sell, by merely talking about a product and persuading people to buy it.  Then you can refer them to the Website where the product can be found for sale and if they buy, you earn a commission.  While those are the basics, there are a few factors to consider when choosing among various affiliate programs.

affiliate programsAs I’ve mentioned before, there are literally thousands of affiliate programs from which to choose, and they cover just about every conceivable marketing niche.  That’s great, because you can find something to promote if you’re a fan of dogs, someone who likes to cook, or even someone who thinks flying in a private jet is a fun thing to do.  For just about anything that anyone likes, there are affiliate programs to help promote them.  It’s a great marketing tool, because vendors effectively have people providing advertising on speculation – if they don’t make any sales, they’re not going to get paid, but the product gets advertised, anyway.

Not All Affiliate Programs Are the Same

When you first start out, you might be steered towards affiliate programs such as Clickbank.  Clickbank is just fine, and they offer software and information products in a number of niches, though they’re perhaps best known for the business and Internet marketing niches.  Still, you can find products related to weight loss, self-help, pets, family and more.  Clickbank pays regularly and many of their vendors offer a good selection of promotional tools, which can make it relatively easy to promote their products.

clickbank products logoThere are two downsides to promoting Clickbank products, however.  They’re by no means dealbreakers, but you might want to give them some thought before you begin signing up for affiliate programs under Clickbank.  First of all, Clickbank has a very liberal refund policy.   If someone buys a product and they don’t like it, they can promptly ask for a refund, and Clickbank will likely grant that refund quite quickly.  The company also requires that all of their publishers offer an unconditional 60 day money back guarantee, and a lot of customers take them up on it.  Of course, they also keep the products, since downloadable products cannot be returned.  A lot of people are in the habit of buying products from Clickbank and then asking for a refund just to receive the product for free.  The company claims to be getting tougher on these “serial refunders” but they’re still out there.


The other issue with affiliate programs such as Clickbank is that their products don’t necessarily pay all that well.  Typical commissions for sales of Clickbank products are often in the $20-$50 range.  This is by no means insignificant, and if you’re managing to make a lot of sales, those $20 commissions can add up in a hurry.  The same is true if you’re promoting relatively low priced products at Amazon.  Amazon’s 4%-8% commission rate isn’t going to provide you with a lot of money for sales of items in the $20-$100 range, but the commissions can add up if you can do a lot of volume or send a lot of traffic to those Websites.

On the other hand, there are affiliate programs out there that can pay hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in commissions for a single sale.  While high paying affiliate programs aren’t all that common, they’re out there, and they’re worth considering if you seek a higher paycheck.  After all, the amount of work involved in persuading someone to buy something is generally the same regardless of the price of the product.  It takes just as much effort to persuade someone to buy a $27 dog training ebook as it does to persuade someone to buy a $150,000 wristwatch.

high paying affiliate programsThere are high paying affiliate programs for jewelry, yacht and airplane rental, sports car rental, expensive marketing courses and seminars, personal coaching, and more.  I recently came across an affiliate program for “bugout shelters” designed for preppers.  The commission rate was only 5% of the sales price, but the units were priced in the $50,000-$100,000 range, which can certainly provide good incentive to promote such an item, as a single sale could produce anywhere from $2500-$5000 in commissions.

High paying affiliate programs aren’t that had to find; try searching for that exact phrase and you’ll likely find a few Websites that have a few listed.  Before you start counting all the dollars you’re going to make from promoting sales of sports cars, be sure you acknowledge the downside of such affiliate programs.  Yes, they can potentially pay out a lot of money.  On the other hand, there are a lot more potential customers out there for that $27 dog training ebook than there are for $100,000 underground shelters.  The commissions are going to be higher, but you’re going to make far fewer sales, because of the high cost of the products themselves as well as the relatively small market for the sorts of products that tend to pay large commissions.

Affiliate Programs Summary

In the end, you’re going to have to make some choices regarding affiliate programs – do you go with the lower-paying affiliate programs that offer the opportunity to make money through a large number of sales, or do you go with the high ticket affiliate programs that offer larger commissions per sale, but will almost certainly give you fewer sales?  That’s up to you, and it will depend on a number of factors, including the sorts of customers you think you can deliver to the seller of the product.  Ideally, you should try to mix the two, if you can, and if you have more than one Website, you can use one to promote low-priced items and another to promote high ticket items.  That might provide you with a good balance in terms of both sales and commissions.

Of course, none of this will help you if you’re new to affiliate programs and don’t know much about them or where to get started.  A great way to learn about affiliate programs is to join Wealthy Affiliate, which can teach you everything you need to know about how to make money online.  They’ve got dozens of tutorial videos, a great user forum with thousands of topics and a lot of activity, and a great help desk.  It’s even free to join.  Really.  If you’ve wanted to work online from home but don’t know where to start, Wealthy Affiliate might be just the answer for you.


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