By the time that someone has decided to join the affiliate marketing business, they are already aware that their money-making potential is completely on their shoulders. If they work hard and learn some marketing techniques that work for them, then chances are they will never have to worry about money again. But what they need to realize from the beginning is that they can not pick just any affiliate program and expect it to make them rich. They need to pick the right affiliate program that follows some general guidelines.
First, and foremost, pick a program that you actually like and are interested in. Chances are that if you are interested in the product then a lot of others will be too. But your interest, also helps you stick with it for the time it takes to become profitable. Often some affiliates give up on a good product too soon, and do not give enough time for their marketing efforts to take hold. If you have faith in your product and see it through to the end, then I promise that your patience will be rewarded.
A couple of other things to look for includes making sure that the program is of the highest standard and that they offer real, viable products. If the program is associated with many experts that our part of that industry and they willingly promote the program then you can be assured that it is a high quality program. But beware of affiliate programs that really do not put there product as the center of their program. These types of programs are often more worried about you recruiting other affiliates then selling their products. This is more like a pyramid scheme than an affiliate program. Do your research, and you will probably find out fairly easily the truth about this program. If it has been labeled a pyramid scheme, Stay Away! Not only are they illegal, but they are highly unstable and could crash down on top of you, costing you a lot of money.
Also if you want your effort to turn into some long term, residual income, then you need to choose a program that is part of a growing market. That way once it becomes profitable, you will feel confident that it will stay that way for a long time. If you have questions about what growing markets are, then do some quick and dirty research on marketing forums and discussion groups. That way you can get some good and reliable feedback.
Another important factor that you should look out for seems a little obvious, but it needs to be stated anyway. The commission structure should be a big part of your decision. You do not want to work your butt off for a program that is only paying 5% on a $ 10-20 item. Think about it even if you average 10 sales a day, which is good, you will only be pulling in $ 5-10 gross. That is not nearly enough money for all the hard work you will be putting in. Now 5% on a $ 1000 product is a different story, but what is the likelihood that you will be averaging 10 sales a day on a $ 1000 product, Not Good! So you want to concentrate on higher commission rates, and do not worry they are out there. Companies have come to realize the value of their affiliates, and most compensate them rather well. Take for instance, ClickBank an affiliate website that deals strictly in digital media. Because the over head is low for creating a digital product like an e-book or software program, they can afford 40-75% commission. When some of the products run around $ 100 that could mean a commission of $ 75. That would be more than ideal for any affiliate.
There are some other important issues that you will need to take note of as well. See if there is a minimum quota that you have to meet before you get a check. And obviously make sure that quota is attainable. Check to see if the provide you with affiliate resources like banners, reviews, and / or salespages, that will let you get started right away. And most importantly make sure that they have a proven system that allows you to see how you are doing in that affiliate program. That means they need to have a way (preferably real-time) for you to check the number of clicks, impressions, sales, and even refunds, and it should be available online 24 hours a day. This is very important so you will know if you have to tweak your marketing or make some changes to your website.
Although these are some pretty good guidelines, it does not cover the whole gamut of what you should know about affiliate programs. What some people do not understand is that a lot of research and money has gone into determining what makes an affiliate marketer successful. If you are craving some more knowledge head to my site The Scoop on Google, Affiliate Marketing & Making Money Online for a regularly updated resource on this subject and several others.