Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners

If you’re just starting off with affiliate marketing you’re probably overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do. Don’t worry. I was overwhelmed when i first started too. I’ve based my affiliate network recommendations on :

Ease of use.

Ease to join.

Amount of merchants

The variety of merchant verticals 

Timely Payouts

 

Affiliate Marketing Programs

1. Amazon Associates

2. Commission Junction

3. Impact

4. Awin

5. ShareASale

6. FlexOffers

7.Sovrn/Commerce

8. Skimlinks

 

 

Amazon Associates

Amazon is the affiliate network of choice for many beginners. Now, Amazon Associates isn’t perfect – but I’ll go into that in another article. However, this program is great for someone just starting out.

Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce services in the world. If you want to link to any products for sale, Amazon should be your go-to.

For example, the software product Quicken once had an affiliate program with Commission Junction, the second network on this list.

However, this program unexpectedly shut down. I quickly changed my affiliate links to use Amazon instead. I was still  able to monetize the web pages that referenced Quicken.

If you already have an Amazon Account – and who doesn’t ? you’re already halfway there. Ideally, if you have an incorporated business, you should sign up using company’s information.

The biggest issue to think about with Amazon is that its affiliate programs are country specific. If your traffic is coming from one part of the world, you’ll need to make sure your Amazon links are set up for that country.

If you are looking to better manage your Amazon affiliate links, I recommend the WordPress plugin AAWP. This plugin can not only create links based upon the country of your visitors. AAWP can display the current prices from Amazon and create product summary boxes that increase conversions.

Commission Junction (CJ)

Right behind Amazon, Commission Junction is perhaps the second oldest affiliate program. Most folks in the industry know the company as the “CJ”. Unlike Amazon, it’s a network rather than an e-commerce store.

This means CJ will hook you up with merchants and manage most of the relationship for you.

If you’re a new affiliate marketer, this can be a godsend since you won’t need to work with a merchant directly. CJ and the other networks listed below can do all of this for you.

At the time of writing, more than 1,500 merchants use CJ’s service. These merchants are in a wide variety of niches, so its highly recommended you join this network.

CJ’s signup process isn’t particularly difficult. But once in. You’ll need to apply with specific merchants .The difficulty of the application process varies per merchant. These are some that will grant you instant approval, others will take a few days  and a few will leave you in limbo forever with no response.

Impact

Impact is one of the younger affiliate networks on this list. Impact was founded in 2008 by former employees of Commission Junction, Savings.com and LeadPoint.

At the time of writing, impact has more than 1,000 merchants in its network. Again, there’s a diverse array of merchants that should fit most verticals. 

The application process to join Impact can be little bit harder than it is for CJ, but once in, I’ve found it easier to get accepted by the merchants.

I think Impact’s reporting and postback options are much more flexible than those with the other affiliate programs. If a merchant uses multiple affiliate networks (which is common ), I always use Impact first. 

Awin

The next one on the list might be one you’ve never heard of. Awin is somewhat of a new player on the market. It’s a merger of the two existing affiliate networks, Zanox and Affilnet.

Awin has over 8,000 merchants in its network. They have one of the better networks and is very easy to use. They offer affiliate programs in many countries so it’s one I recommend if you have any international visitors. Though their merchants seem to be more focused on phy  sical products then software or SaaS.

ShareASale

ShareASale is part of Awin and has some of the best merchant choices available. ShareASale currently works with more than 1,000 merchants offering everything from physical products to softwares services. This makes it perfect for this site’s focus internet marketing.The application process is relatively easy, and you can access data on conversions from existing affiliates. My only gripe is the limited number of links available from most merchants.

One of the nice things about the ShareASale service is it gives you insight on the effectiveness of the merchants you work with. ShareASale gives you details such as the average sale, conversion rate, EPC (earnings per click) and their rank in their service.

FlexOffers

The next one on this list is FlexOffers.

In many cases, FlexOffers offers the same affiliate programs as other networks such as CJ. FlexOffers has over 12,000 merchants available in their system. They are perhaps one of the largest affiliate networks available.

FlexOffers is known as a “sub-affiliate”. This means FlexOffers itself joins a merchant’s program as an affiliate and allows bloggers to use its affiliate links instead of applying to the merchant directly. In return, you’ll slit the commission for each affiliate signup.

So if you have a tough time getting into a particular affiliate program because you’ve just started out, FlexOffers can act as your middle man.

Of course, the downside is that the payouts are often lower since FlexOffers needs its cut of each transaction.

The signup process to join FlexOffers can be a pain. Since it’s a sub – affiliate, FlexOffers is somewhat responsible for the quality of conversions, which means it can be choosy when it comes to the affiliates it permits into its network.

However, if you’re a beginner affiliate, FlexOffers is a great option and worth applying for. Just make sure your website is ready and presentable.

Sovrn // Commerce

I’m not a huge fan of an automated way to place merchant links on a blog, but some affiliates want to monetize with little effort. Sovrn // Commerce is a way to do this. Previously it was known as VigLink.

Either via a WordPress plugin or with Google Tag Manager Sovrn // Commerce will insert affiliate links automatically on your blog posts. For someone looking for an effortless way to monetize with affiliate links,VigLink is the way to do it. You have a choice of CPC or CPA merchants.

The more reasonable option is to use Sovrn//Commerce on user – generated content like a forum. They also have vBulletin and phpBB options.

 

SkimLinks

Similar to Sovrn, Skimlinks will create affiliate links in your content automatically for you. For content that’s created without your involvement (like a forum), this might be a good option.

You can also insert links manually as well. They currently have over 24,000 merchants they work with, so I recommend you signup for this one as well. They have a wide range of niche markets. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers

Can you make money from affiliate marketing?

Yes, you certainly can from my own experience, friends . I know personally and information from online. Affiliate marketing is a real business opportunity that can pay as much as a full time job and even more.

What percentage does Amazon pay affiliates?

Amazon payouts range from zero to as high as 10%. Payouts depend upon the sales category. Amazon used to have a sliding scale of payouts – the more conversions per month the higher the payout. On March 1, 2017, Amazon changed to the current fee schedule.

Should I pay to join a affiliate program?

No! If any affiliate program asks you to pay, I would avoid like the plague. You are promoting a product that only pays you if you convert. Otherwise, you are promoting a merchants products for free. So the merchant is already getting free promotion from you.