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Affiliate Marketing Basics: Finding Top Paying Affiliate Programs in 2020

Affiliate marketing can be one of the most lucrative monetization methods for content creators and the like. However, finding top paying affiliate programs shouldn’t be a passive approach as it requires research and looking beyond the obvious.

By Navid Jafari  |   Mar 2020  | 0
Affiliate link disclosure: NeatCue receives compensation at no additional cost to you, if you use referral link(s) on this page to make a purchase.

Affiliate marketing can be one of the most lucrative methods of monetizing as a partner or associate.  This is particularly true for bloggers and content creators alike, who have qualified traffic coming to their sites regularly but need to find ways to convert that traffic into income.  Of course, like any other monetization method, affiliate marketing isn’t created equal for all niches or companies. Finding top paying affiliate programs requires patience and plenty of testing.

What is affiliate marketing and how does one get started?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing that enables an associate of a business to earn money by making referrals.  Businesses want new customers and are willing to pay affiliates or associates a portion of the sales (the terminology can vary but I will refer to the affiliate as an associate to be consistent).  There are a few benefits for both businesses and associates here.  For example, businesses don’t need to invest in direct marketing dollars upfront to find new customers.  Instead, they are happy to pay a portion of the sales to someone else who either has the right audience base or is willing to promote the product or service through their own marketing efforts.  For associates, it is a great way of making money without actually having to build or develop a product or service.

Getting started with affiliate marketing from an associate’s point of view is fairly straightforward.  An associate will need to find a business that has an affiliate marketing program and then fill out an application to become an associate.  Of course, every company or affiliate program administrator is different and therefore, they may have certain requirements that an associate would need to meet.

Finding an affiliate marketing program

This is where research is a must.  There are many (and I mean many) options out there and therefore, there isn’t a single place where all associates go to find businesses with affiliate programs.  Some companies run their own affiliate programs.  Others choose to take their affiliate marketing to a program administrator and let them handle the payouts, reporting, and other administrative duties.  In theory, an associate would need to spend a lot of time finding the right prospects for this type of affiliation.  The good news that there are a few affiliate marketing programs (administrators) that happen to deliver the affiliate marketing programs of a substantial group of companies.  Therefore, an associate could simply visit one of these programs and tap into many possible opportunities from one place.  This, however, isn’t the most efficient way of finding top paying affiliate programs because it requires a lot of testing.

Top Paying Affiliate Programs

Finding the top paying affiliate programs requires a slightly different approach or strategy than simply googling affiliate marketing programs.  In fact, this is precisely the method I use to find the right affiliates for my website.  It has more to do with what other successful affiliates are doing than blindly trying different programs or companies.

Before we get into this, it is imperative that one knows their niche.  For example, “blogging” isn’t really a niche per se, but a type of activity – unless the blog is about blogging.  Blogging on marketing, cooking, crafts, travel, or fitness are however specific niches or markets.  So, depending on the niche, the first step in this approach is finding the most successful competitors an affiliate prospector can find.  For instance, if one is a travel blogger, then they should find the best travel blog out there.  If one is creating content around fitness, then again, one needs to find the best fitness blog or publication online today.

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Once that (aspirational) competitor is identified, then it is time to go through their website and find affiliate marketing programs that they are using.

Here is the basic philosophy or strategy: if the most successful blog in one’s niche is using specific affiliate products, then chances are that this approach is not only working for them but also earning them good money. Why mess with success?

Now, one may find that their small blog isn’t (yet) quite qualified or suitable for a particular affiliate program.  That’s ok.  This successful competitor is probably using several products or affiliate programs and therefore if one doesn’t work then another might.  The point here is to simply learn from successful competitors and find out who it is that they trust their traffic to.

A final note and a word of caution

I’d like to make a distinction between top paying affiliate programs and the one program that is going to make a blog a lot of money: there are affiliate programs that pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for each successful referral.  It is imperative that that finding the highest paying affiliate program isn’t confused with the program that would work best for a blog – and subsequently ending up making a lot of money.  In other words, the amount per sale isn’t as important as the number of sales that the affiliate can make.

If an affiliate program is paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per sale, it probably means that not too many customers or businesses can afford the product.  This is a basic assumption and I am sure there are exceptions.  My point here is that the top paying affiliate program for a blog might be a program, service, or product that produces good commissions, but the blog’s target audience will buy more easily or frequently.  Therefore, focusing on just the nominal amount per sale is shortsighted.

Striking a balance between the number of sales and the amount per sale is a much better way of assessing what affiliate program would earn the most in oppose to just looking at the commission amount per sale.

Affiliate link disclosure: NeatCue receives compensation at no additional cost to you, if you use referral link(s) on this page to make a purchase.




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