Evaluating affiliate marketing programs for beginners is difficult if you don’t yet know what you’re looking for. Different programs meet different needs, and you may not be able to accurately identify your needs without first trying a variety of things and giving yourself time to learn and grow. Use these overviews to help determine the best environment for you.
Among all the choices in affiliate marketing programs for beginners, ClickBank offers some unique features that make it an excellent first-stop candidate. For one, you can sign up without having a pre-established website, and on top of that, it offers a good amount of educational and service support to help you develop an effective website and build your audience.
ClickBank differs from other affiliate programs in that it takes on the role of distributor for its products rather than just being a middleman between you and third parties. This means that you’re dealing directly with the supplier and not having to rely on the coordination of multiple agencies to provide service to the customers you refer and compensate you accordingly.
ClickBank specializes in downloadable information products, which is an area of high sales potential since a lot of website traffic comes from people seeking information. Another advantage of dealing with digital goods is that vendors are often happy to pay considerably higher commissions for your advertising efforts since they have no further labor or overhead to affect profitability. Additionally, if you have a good amount of original material that you can polish up into a sales package yourself, you can also offer it for sale through their program.
2. Amazon Associates
Another top contender in affiliate marketing programs for beginners is Amazon Associates. Serving its own warehouse service, it is also its own distributor rather than being a strictly advertising platform. Just the Amazon name itself is a boon because with it you aren’t having to put extra work into your advertising to convince your audience to trust an unknown vendor. Plus, Amazon has a massive catalog of products so that you can easily tailor finely tuned promotions for your site without much likelihood of duplicating what other affiliates have done.
Amazon offers an impressive and easy-to-use toolbox for ad creation, which includes several types of customizable widgets and even the ability to generate your own mini-store. This makes it a great choice for those who want to create more professional-looking and interactive advertisements without having to design and program them on their own.
Another great benefit is a very active support forum where affiliates can talk to and learn from each other. Amazon’s commission rates are lower than most, but many users claim that higher sales volume and greater reliability more than make up for the difference. You can follow these 5 steps to use Amazon Associates to make money online and have it easier if you are just starting out on the internet marketing world.
3. Commission Junction
Commission Junction is one of the longest-running affiliate marketing companies, and as such, it has attracted some very big brand names for promoters to apply to. While it certainly deserves to be on any list of top affiliate marketing programs for beginners, it has high expectations for affiliates to start producing results within six months of signing up, so the best time to apply is after establishing your site and gaining some experience with other programs first.
In contrast to previously mentioned programs, Commission Junction only provides an advertising platform and doesn’t involve itself with product distribution or customer service. This means that you might have to deal directly with the companies you are promoting at times to resolve issues rather than being able to rely on Commission Junction alone to handle everything for you. It also means that you’ll have to learn and adapt to large corporate shopping practices that you may not have encountered with smaller-scale transactions, such as high refund rates from customers who order multiple sizes to keep the one that fits best and then return the rest, as well as higher likelihood of being targeted for credit card fraud.
While it can be frustrating at times, think of it as a tradeoff for the opportunity to deal with major household-name corporations that you wouldn’t be able to approach on your own. Essentially, the bigger the fish, the more work that is needed to make a good catch. If you’re prepared for this from the start, then you will likely do well.
LinkShare has a similar middleman-style model to Commission Junction, but attracts smaller companies that can be easier for affiliates to work with. Many of these companies have product offerings designed for particular lifestyles or hobbyists rather than a broad, general audience, which can help you find more highly targeted promotions to appeal to your site audience.
Of all the top affiliate marketing programs for beginners, LinkShare has the simplest interface to learn and use, as well as a QuickTour option to guide you through it. This is probably the best program for starting out and gaining experience with this third-party advertising style.
ShareASale is also a middleman-style affiliate site, but it was designed from the start to correct some of the difficulties earlier-established sites encountered. It has a reputation for being one of the friendliest places to work with that is more people-oriented than number-oriented, and it even hosts its own internal social network for merchants and affiliates to connect with each other onsite, which makes it a good environment to find positive support. However, its interface is a bit awkward and confusing if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why it’s not recommended as the first place to go.
A large number of promotional opportunities at ShareASale focus on very specialized products and services that pair well with niche website content for audiences that will appreciate being introduced to new suppliers of uncommon goods. This can help define the character of your site and set it apart from competitors. You can simply read a review about Shareasale and decide about picking this program ornot.
All in all, you probably won’t want to confine yourself to just one particular program or another, but knowing what each has to offer enables you to choose the most beneficial starting point to grow your marketing capabilities and, over time, pick and choose attractive elements of different opportunities to combine into a unique and effective personal advertising system that maximizes the strengths and minimizes the weaknesses of individual programs.
What other programs do you think should be included on this list? Comment below.