Joining Affiliate Networks
Knowing what networks are best and how to join is a must for those doing affiliate marketing. The following provides guidance on joining affiliate networks and can assist both those new to affiliate marketing and those looking to join more networks.
As networks to include Amazon and ClickBank often give automatic approval for those who apply and have a wide selection of products, they are a good place to start and gain experience. However, most marketers eventually want to join additional networks to obtain better offers, a greater variety of products to promote, more resources and other unique advantages.
The types of affiliate programs
Depending on the type of network, joining might involve anything automatic approval to an extensive process that requires an interview. The major types of affiliate networks are as follows.
- Major product networks: These are networks that manage the affiliate programs of different advertisers (often major merchants). Some examples include LinkShare and Commission Junction. It is often possible to join these networks without any screening at all. However, it is necessary to join each merchant within the network separately. Some merchants will give automatic approval, but many have a process of checking each potential marketer. Note that those who join ClickBank can market any of the products on its network without approval from the each merchant.
- CPA networks: These networks, as covered in CPA marketing methods, generally do not have products. Instead, the goal is to get site visitors to complete a certain action, often a type of lead generation to include submitting an email address in exchange for the possibility of winning something. As this kind of promotion requires a degree of experience, CPA networks are generally more difficult to join. Hydra and Azoogle are examples of this kind of network.
- Independent affiliate programs: Many companies, from smaller ones to big-name brands to include Amazon, run their own affiliate programs that must be joined one at a time.
What to look for in affiliate programs
Joining the right program will make a huge difference in any marketer’s chances of success. Here are some things to consider and look for.
- Long-lasting cookies: Web cookies, explained here, are what make it possible for the marketer to get credit for the sale. The longer they last the better.
- Relevance and quality of products: Products need to be closely related to the content of the site and be of high quality if they are going to sell and bring repeat customers.
- Reputation and financial stability: Make sure the company has a good reputation and is financially stable. In addition, consider how much advice and support the program offers.
- Commissions and payment: Obviously, the commission rate is important. It is also a good idea to make sure the company pays in a convenient way and that their payment threshold is not too high.
- Landing pages: Whatever the product is, it needs to have an attractive landing page that will convert, as this is vitally important in convincing people to buy.
Some top affiliate networks
While top affiliate networks offers a more extensive listing of affiliate programs, the following are a good place to start.
The process of joining affiliate networks
With the increased popularity of affiliate marketing, many networks have become selective with whom they will accept. The process of joining affiliate networks can range from a mere formality to an extremely difficult procedure. However, all networks want serious, experienced marketers who will send them quality traffic.
Make a site
As evidence of whether or not one is a serious marketer, networks usually want to see at least one web site belonging to the marketer. The criterion varies, and the type of web site required can range from a simple blog to an established site with heavy traffic. In many cases, networks will verify the ownership of the site. Usually, a reasonably attractive web with some unique content will be acceptable. The site should include at least a few articles pages 500 words or more, but larger sites with longer articles, as well as videos and other content, are much better. Blogs can also be sufficient. However, the blog should target a market niche.
When applying, use an email address containing your name and corresponding with your domain. It is best to avoid using free email addresses but to use an address of the site being submitted. Any application not filled out carefully, accurately and with proper grammar and punctuation will be automatically rejected by some networks.
It is recommended to research affiliate networks and marketing techniques before applying. There is a wealth of information on the web about affiliate marketing, both free and for a fee, and affiliate marketing forums are a good place to start. Since successful affiliate marketing requires a degree of knowledge on the subject, it is a good idea to research in advance and be prepared to answer questions affiliate networks may ask a potential marketer.
After applying, call the network and ask to speak to someone about obtaining approval for your application. Most networks eventually call to verify application data, so it is best to show initiative and call first. The contact information is often located on the automatic response email. Affiliate AIM List is a site containing contact information for a number of networks.
The following are examples of questions affiliate managers may ask potential applicants:
1. What type of promotions will you do?
Acceptable promotions include article marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click, email and banners. Incentive advertising is not an acceptable promotion.
2. How long have you been doing affiliate marketing?
Most networks want people with industry experience who have been involved in affiliate marketing for a year or more.
4. How are things progressing with your current networks?
Marketers should always plan to join new networks to build on success with current networks.
5. What other niches are you interested in promoting?
Popular niches with networks are health, dating and insurance.
Following the above tips and recommendations will open the doors to most networks. To learn more about affiliate marketing in general, see getting started in affiliate marketing.