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How good is your affiliate program?

By Stephen Gilson
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2004

This article describes a few of the things that a good affiliate program should consist of. When choosing an affiliate program, there are a few things you should look at.

First, and most obvious, you need to find an affiliate program that has a good product. How do you know if your affiliate program has a good product? Check it out on the search engines; head over to your favorite search engine and type in the product's name or owner. Many times you will find out a lot about the product and/or the owner by how well they show up in the search engine. If the owner/seller claims to be some Internet "guru", then he should show up pretty high on the search engine. If he doesn't, it should make you wonder; if he is such a guru, why doesn't he show up on the search engines? Another good idea is to head over to ( and check out your product/owner on the Google newsgroups. Trust me, if there is any "dirt" on your product/owner, you will find it on the Google newsgroups!

Secondly, you need to find an affiliate program with a seller that knows how to write good "ad copy"; in other words, when you went to his website, did the content website make you want to buy the product? Did you trust the seller? If you were not convinced to buy the product, what makes you think the people you send to that website are going to be convinced to buy it? That being said, I believe that to market in any affiliate program, you should first buy the product yourself and read it over. Why? Because, it is so much easier to sell something you actually know about, instead of trying to sell a product you haven't even read yourself. However, don't buy the product, read it over, then ask for a refund. Treat your seller as you would want your buyers to treat you. Cheaters never win, as the old saying goes.

Third, take a good look at your product and its offers. What is the price? You don't necessarily want to try and market a product you feel is too expensive, but at the same time, a product with too low of a price implies too little value of the product. Secondly, how does the seller market his product? Does he offer something free, or does he rely on his product to sell itself? Offering something free is a good way to keep someone at your site, so you want a product that offers something free, but something free that people want, not something useless. Does the product you want to sell offer some kind of guarantee on the product? You will find out that sales will dramatically decrease if your product does not offer some kind of guarantee.

Fourth, is the affiliate program you want to join willing to help you out? What kind of resources does your affiliate program offer to you, the reseller? Do you have links, email ads, banners, images, adtrackers, "ad copy" already written for you? Does the seller have good ads already written out for you, or do you have have to write your own ads? Does the seller offer you a way to track your affiliates, so you can know who has joined underneath you? Do you know the amount you will make off of each order? Do they offer you tips and advice to help you resell their product? Or, do you feel like you are left hanging, struggling to find your own way through the mess?

Fifth, and most important of all, how does your affiliate program help your long-term goals? If their product went under, would you be left high and dry, or would you be able to move on with another tactic? How can you be sure? When you recommend someone to a website, through a link, a classified ad, an email signature, your website, etc. do you ever see them again? If not, you are going down the wrong path. You are spending all your time sending people to someone else; so when they want something else from your product's owner, where do you think they will go? Do you think they will go to your website, or do you think they will go straight to the owner's website? If the product you are trying to resell goes under, do you have any of those customers that you sent to that website, or do you have to start all over again? But how do I get my customers information, you ask? Simple really; there are two ways to get your customers information. One, find an affiliate program that has the ability to capture your customers information and deliver to you. Such is the case with the affiliate program I am involved with. Two, and this is a little more complicated; you will need a website and a knowledge of forms. Use your website to promote the product you are trying to resell, and add a form to capture your email addresses. One thing you must realize is, you must offer your customers something to entice them to give you their email address. Give them something free, a newsletter, an ebook, an audio book, a report, etc. Something that will interest them enough to give you their email addresses is all you will need.

That is a summary of the five points I feel are most important when choosing an affiliate program. I hope they have helped you and made you more aware of what to look for when choosing an affiliate program. If you have any further questions about choosing an affiliate programs, please email me at

About the Author
Stephen Gilson is a PFC in the United States Army. He has been working with computers since the age of 8. He is stationed in Fort Lewis, WA, and is involved in communications with the US Army. He spends most of his free time researching ways to market on the Internet without spending a lot of money.


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