When it comes to affiliate marketing, most aspiring marketers are like kids in a candy store. Before taking the leap of faith however, please, do your research about the variety of programs available for you to join. A good place to start would be one of the several Internet marketing forums where you can start a thread asking for directions. This would trigger a lot of responses from both experienced and new users eager to help you get started. Make a list, do further research by visiting and exploring all recommended sites. Choose wisely, because you do not want to have to get stuck in a choose, rinse, drop and repeat cycle.
What does it cost to join an affiliate program? Affiliate marketing goes with the saying that the best things in life are free, because most of the best available affiliate programs are free to join. Some do charge fees, but if you dig dip enough, you will soon find out that you can source whatever it is you want to promote from either side of the fence. There is therefore no point in joining a paid membership when you can get it for free.
Commission checks frequency: All the affiliate programs operate like the limited liability companies they are, by setting their own operating rules. The most popular issues a check twice a week, but some do it on a weekly basis, others issue their checks on a monthly bases, some more every quarter, etc. This does not need to be a major deciding factor as to what program you want to join, so far they are reputable and pay on a consistent basis. However the choice is there for you to select whatever suits your goals. Do realize though that most affiliate programs have a minimum payout limit that you have to attain before they can issue you a check.
Click per sale ratio: A click per sale ratio is the number of clicks you must get in order to get one sale. To calculate your click per sale, simply divide all of the clicks you get per day by the number of sales you get on the same day. This will give you the click per sale ratio of your affiliate marketing sites! You need this statistics to determine your advertising budget, placement of your ads for maximum exposure and determining what product you want to promote.
Keeping track of your referrals: One way to keep track of your sales performance is to have an accounting system you can use to determine where your sales are coming from. With the exorbitant cost of advertising on PPC and other systems, you would soon loose your shirt if you do not monitor your sales statistic. Luckily, most affiliate programs have a tracking system in place and your can use it to tweak you ads for better targeting. Squeeze pages and auto responders are very useful interfaces for keeping count and redirecting your traffic.
Available Stats: Stats are tools you can use to create the feed back loop that will propel you to greater heights. They include the websites your orders are coming from, time period, amount of commissions earned, sales, leads, clicks, impressions, click through ratio (CTR), earnings per impression(EPM) and earnings per click (EPC). Paying close attention to these numbers can make the difference between success and failure. All reputable affiliate programs should have these numbers prominently displayed on each affiliates control panel. If not, you probably should not join that program.
How payments are determined: What is paid for is determined by the kind of product that is being promoted. Most programs pay for sales only, some others pay for clicks and impressions. So for more profit, always look for programs that pay for most of the stats, especially where sales figures are very low. If you think about it, some customers do not make up their minds the first time around, and when they return, it may be via another affiliate promotion thus costing you some serious dollars.
Research, research and more research: It is never enough to know more about who is offering you an affiliate program. It is like going to seek employment with a company. Before accepting an offer, you will want to check out the company for long term goals and aspirations. If the products, methods or anything else are out of place, you probably may want to take your business elsewhere.
How many levels are there? Sounds like multi level marketing, but it is not. Most programs will pay commissions on sales and also offer you a percentage of sales made by your down line. Such two tier programs are what makes the idea of residual income sound very musical in many an affiliates ears.
Percentage of commissions paid: Information products like software, e books, audio and video files that can be downloaded instantly after purchase have a very high rate of turnover and also pay the highest amount of commissions ranging from 50% to 75% in most cases. Real products that have to be packaged and mailed to the customer attract lower levels of commission ranging from 2% to 5%. Some pay a set amount per click and or impression or leads.
These are just some of the questions you need to ask before venturing into any affiliate program. Try and familiarize yourself with the most important aspects of any program you choose to join. Integrating these common aspects into your websites, landing and squeeze pages can make a difference between the number of customers who click through your ads and buy your product and the chronic window surfers. these incorporating them into your website. If you have any doubt at all, do not hesitate to ask the owners of the program. Virtually all affiliate programs have training areas, forums and blogs where frequently asked questions can be adequately entertained.
Stats derived from http://www.clickbank.com and http://www.cj.com