If you’re a beginner just getting into the affiliate marketing world, knowing the best affiliate programs available for each niche is valuable. Whether or not you have a website, ad, or social media platform set up, you’ll still need a merchant to partner with. This is where affiliate programs create a bridge. Anyone can start a blog, but not many understand how to utilize affiliate marketing to effectively monetize their site.
By the time you get to the end of this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about affiliate marketing programs, why they’re needed, and how to choose from the tons of affiliate marketing programs out there. We’ll also review our top 5 choices across a few niches to get you started.
Let’s dive in with what they are and how they work!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing, sometimes referred to as performance marketing or cost per action (CPA) marketing, is an arrangement that allows you to earn a commission for promoting an individual company’s products or services. While it is a form of online advertising, it stands out from other forms of digital marketing that rely on hosting ad banners.
Generally, with ad banners, you get paid per click, whereas with affiliate marketing you are paid for conversions. This means you are paid every time a visitor uses your link to make a purchase on the merchant’s site. In some cases, merchants may define conversion as a visitor purchasing a product (or service) and performing a specific action following the purchase.
Nearly every major company from Apple to Google has an affiliate program, which is free to join. Once you join, you get a unique tracking link to share on your website or social media platform. On other popular platforms, these links are often shared on include YouTube, email lists, and podcasts.
What Are Affiliate Programs?
Affiliate programs (also called affiliate networks) are pretty straightforward in principle. They provide a third-party platform that allows merchants and affiliates to connect with each other. Each party signs up with the platform, connects, and begins to work together. Affiliate networks help you connect with multiple merchants, rather than with just one individual company.
Affiliate programs help track important data that ultimately helps you get paid what you’re owed by the merchant. Here are a few things that affiliate programs help track:
- How many people see a banner ad
- How many people end up completing a purchase
- How many clicks a link on an ad or site gets
- Revenue generated by a single affiliate for multiple merchants and offers
Without this crucial tracking information, affiliates may have a difficult time getting paid. On the flip side, merchants could potentially get taken advantage of by affiliates submitting false results. Affiliate networks are essential for building relationships between merchants and affiliates, as well as keeping track of the entire process. This is why choosing the right affiliate program can make all the difference.
In exchange for providing this valuable service, affiliate networks often charge a commission for each action completed. This commission helps keep their platforms free to use.
Types of Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs can be categorized into the following:
- Social – These programs are designed to work best when advertised on social media, either via paid traffic or influencers
- Content – These are usually advertised in articles, on review sites, blogs, or hidden within text
- Coupon – These programs gather coupons and discount codes
- Search – These program offers are found via search engine, either by paid advertising or organic results
- Email – Most of us have received hundreds of emails from these programs
When determining which type of affiliate program is for you, this is information you should take into consideration.
Is There a Fee to Join an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate marketing is a means for you to promote a merchant’s product in exchange for a commission. Since you only get paid for conversions, the merchant is already getting free promotion through your platform. You should avoid any affiliate programs that ask you to pay to join.
How to Choose an Affiliate Program
There are many affiliate programs out there, which can make it difficult to find the right one for you. Most merchants worth partnering with in the marketplace are part of affiliate networks that include other companies.
In addition to the commission rates offered by affiliate programs, we recommend that you incorporate these factors into your decision:
- Your current traffic
- Your target audience
- Your desired level of affiliate income
The most important thing to remember when choosing an affiliate program is not to get caught up in selecting the one with the highest commission rates. If you’re just starting out, going after the highest commissions and getting rejected could make it harder down the road to reapply for those affiliate programs. Your first goal should be to create a brand with your platform that is firmly rooted in your niche, allowing you to become an authority on related topics.
This means you should avoid promoting products or services (or topics if you’re a blogger) that are outside of your niche, as this can come across as disingenuous. We recommend partnering with programs that offer products or services relevant to your audience. If they don’t connect with what you’re promoting, you may find yourself alienating your audience instead of gaining income.
Keep in mind that you can ask your audience directly what they are most interested in and choose your affiliate offers based on their responses. Post a survey or poll, and maybe offer something in return for their responses.
Not all affiliate programs are a good fit for every website. Choosing the right partner (or partners) will help determine your level of success as an affiliate.
Keep reading to learn more about some of the best affiliate programs available to you in five different niches.
#1 – SellHealth
SellHealth is number one on our list for a reason: it’s one of the most popular, long-lasting affiliate networks in the health and beauty industry. Various products are offered through this affiliate program in the general health industry, as well as specialized sub-topics such as:
- Women’s Health
- Men’s Health
- Skin Care
- Sexual Health
- Hair Products
- Weight Loss
Because the health industry is highly competitive, it’s best if you already have a website and built-in audience when you begin promoting products from SellHealth. The biggest advantage is that you’ll instantly have access to promotional videos, endorsements, and exit offer scripts; as well as website templates for launching product-specific sites.