As someone who has worked with dozens of affiliate companies and generated six figures in affiliate revenue for many years now, I wanted to share with you some things that I learned along the way.
Here’s a recent screenshot to show you my street cred, oh and this is just from one network.
Anyway if you’re going to partner with affiliate networks to monetize your website, it’s important that you choose wisely as the companies you work with can either make or break you financially.
So if you’re new to affiliate marketing, here are some suggestions to consider when choosing what affiliate networks to work with.
Reputation Is Key
Obviously when choosing an affiliate network you want to stick with ones with good reputations.
By “good reputation” I mean they have been around for a few years, treats their affiliates fairly, and has never had any issues paying their affiliates on time (this is HUGE).
If a network has missed any affiliate payments I’m pretty much not working with them, and neither should you.
As obvious as that sounds, you’d be amazed at how often this principle is ignored. Not because affiliates don’t want to work with reputable networks, but because they are often chasing higher payouts.
For example reputable Network A pays you $40/sale for a certain product while less reputable Network B pays you $60/sale for the exact same product. So what’s the difference?
Well maybe Network B is just taking a smaller cut, but usually when there are big payout differences for the same offer it means they aren’t crediting you for every sale.
For example in this scenario maybe Network A pays you for every sale, but Network B only pays you for every other sale. As shady as this sounds, this “scrubbing” is very common in the affiliate marketing world.
Find A Good Affiliate Manager
A big part of your success when working with affiliate networks is working with companies that have good affiliate managers. An “affiliate manager” is just basically the guy that manages your account at the network.
A good affiliate manager can keep you updated on what offers are doing well on the network as well as negotiate for you for better payouts.
Also they usually have a vested interest in your success as the more revenue you generate their pay is usually somehow tied to that (ie percentage or bonuses etc).
Now obviously when you’re first starting out it’s unrealistic if you aren’t generating much revenue for the network for you to have an affiliate manager that caters to your every needs.
However even if you’re new your affiliate manager should do the basics like answer emails in a timely manner, respond to your Skype messages, keep in regular contact etc.
If you’re generating some decent revenue (at least $500-1k per week) and you have difficulty contacting your affiliate manager, to me that’s a big red flag.
Not saying that the network is a dud, but I’m definitely less willing to drive up revenue for a company that doesn’t value my business.
Keep in mind that unless you’re promoting something that is exclusive to that affiliate network, usually you can find the same offers on competing networks.
So if you have a crappy affiliate manager, if you can’t get another one, I’d strongly advise looking at other networks that will offer you better service.
A good affiliate manager is very +ROI so do your best to seek them out, and also treat them great when you find one.
Find Good Payout Schedules
When you’re first starting out, cash flow can be important, so you want to find affiliate networks that offer reasonable payment schedules. This is especially true if you’re using paid traffic, leaving your money tied up at an affiliate network for long periods of time is costing you money.
Try to at least work with affiliate networks that pay you every 2 weeks. Furthermore if you can generate at least $1k per week, many affiliate networks will pay you on a weekly schedule (just ask your affiliate manager).
If an affiliate network is only going to pay me once a month, there really has to be a good reason to work with that company (ie hot offer etc), and even then I’m pretty hesitant to leave my money locked up that long anywhere.
Work With Larger Companies First Then Move Smaller
If you’re a newbie affiliate marketer, my recommendation would be to work with larger more established companies initially. This again is because of the reputation factor, but also because you need to gain experience in the affiliate marketing space to hone your “BS meter”.
The fact is a lot of shady stuff happens in the affiliate marketing industry, and you don’t want to become a victim of a scam. There are a lot of shady advertisers (some industries more than others) and you need to protect yourself in the beginning.
If you don’t believe me just check out this Facebook Group I’m in called “Internet Advertising – People That Don’t Pay”. You can check the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/internetdeadbeats
When you become a more experience affiliate marketer, you’ve run tons of offers and now you can pick up when something doesn’t seem right. You can tell if the advertiser is screwing you, and you can bail before you lose your shirt. This is a skill that newbie marketers don’t have, so again that’s why if you’re new you should stick to the larger companies.
Now that isn’t to say there aren’t a lot of great smaller affiliate networks out there because there definitely are. However when you’re first starting out, stick with the larger networks and then progress to the smaller more specialized ones once you get more experience under your belt.
So those are my few recommendations of what to look out for when choosing what affiliate networks to work with. Now the above may sound cynical, but I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff happen.
So again just be careful and use your best judgement. Don’t let greed blind you, always use your common sense. If something seems to good to be true it probably is, so follow the above recommendations and steer clear of the BS.