Choose Your Affiliate Marketing Company Wisely

by Tony Shays on March 26, 2012

Not all companies that offer affiliate marketing programs are the same. Most have good reputations and offer quality products and services, but due to the industry’s popularity, there are a growing number of companies with bogus products or weak services. As a result, you should familiarize yourself with the company to be sure that you are making an informed, wise decision.

The following is a list of some areas to think about before you align yourself with a company and promote its products or services.

1. Remember that it is your reputation on the line.

People who visit your affiliate link will on your website will do so, generally, because they find you trustworthy and reliable. Don’t let them down. If they are dissatisfied with your recommendation, they will not follow your lead in the future. You want to try to build positive relationships through your site which will lead to repeat sales.

2. When possible, test the product or service before recommending it to others.

This way you can assure that what you are promoting is for real and has a true value. If you really want to make serious, long-term money in this business – or, for that matter, in any business – you should help others by providing a worthwhile service. Don’t think about the immediate money you could make, as this will lead you to poor judgment. If you do it right and with the correct motives, you will be rewarded.

3. Rarely affiliate with companies that require you to pay for the privilege of promoting them.

There is no need for you to have to pay anything upfront; after all, you are helping the company by being a marketing arm and perhaps even reaching potential customers that their normal advertising would not reach. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t buy the product or service.

4. Carefully read the affiliate agreement that clearly states all of the terms.

Most agreements are fairly standard without any questionable content, but you should always make sure that you are comfortable with the details and that they fit in with your own business plans and goals. If it is not in writing, it holds no water and is thus worthless.

5. Make sure that the company has a privacy policy protecting both you and the customer whom you refer.

People are much more comfortable knowing that this policy is in place. I also recommend that you have one in place on your own website.

6. The company with which you are affiliating must provide you with a unique code, called your affiliate ID, for tracking purposes.

Sometimes it is a randomly assigned number, while other companies allow you to choose your own custom name. The company must also provide you with a way you can verify all activity, which is usually referred to you as your back office or account manager. This provides you with account information, payment details and helpful statistics for your efforts.

7. The payment schedule needs to fit your needs.

Most companies pay a minimum of once a month, but they may also have a requirement that it has to be at a prescribed amount of money in order for it to be released to you. Since it is not cost effective for the company to make tiny payments, many require you to earn $100 before paying you. Some companies make direct payments into one of your accounts, while others will send checks.

8. Companies generally pay affiliates using commissions or a flat fee on products and services sold through your efforts.

The fees and commission rates vary from company to company, so make sure you fully understand and accept the policy before becoming an affiliate.

9. Many companies will provide you with marketing materials for your site.

These typically come in the form of banners advertisements, which are often available in various shapes, sizes and colors. Some have movement, while others are still. Choose the ones that best fit the image you want to portray on your site. If none of them do, you can make your own. Many affiliates display the different banners from the same company throughout their site to assure that it is noticed.

10. Evaluate the company’s customer service program.

Be sure to look for quick response and simplicity. There must be a contact form on the company’s website that is easy to find and fill out. A phone number and e-mail address are also helpful. The response should be timely, web users are not generally known for their patience. If the response is not fast, move on.

11. Once a potential customer has clicked on the banner and filled out what should be a simple form, then the company takes over with their promotional piece.

Sometimes this piece can be a little overpowering and aggressive. Again, make sure you are happy with it and feel that it will enhance – not hurt – your reputation.

12. Unfortunately, some companies make the payment process for their products too complicated.

When this happens, even after the customer is “sold” on the products, they may stop the purchase and leave the website.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this topic, leave a comment below.

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This article was written by Tony Shays. Tony is the founder of Home Based Business Success Center. He is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated 12 traditional small businesses and has also found success in several different home based multi-level marketing companies. In addition to running the Success Center, he is also a business coach.

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