Blog Affiliate 5 things every affiliate program should have before you sign up

5 things every affiliate program should have before you sign up

date May 11, 2020 time 4 min read

If you’re here, you’re probably an aspiring content creator looking to turn what you’re doing into a full-time gig. That’s cool, everyone has to start somewhere. Chances are you’ve heard of affiliate programs and that they can be a great earner, but like most things in life, the devil is in the detail and it can be a bit of a minefield out there. 

So let’s take a look at what affiliate programs are, how they work and the features to look for to make sure that both you and your readers, viewers, or listeners are getting a good deal out of it. 

What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program is a marketing initiative a company uses to help drive traffic to their site, in the hope of converting some of those clicks into sales. They financially incentivize creators to provide links within their content, or sometimes a special code, that will offer a bonus or discount to the reader, listener, or viewer.  

Usually, the company offering the affiliate program has a product or service relevant to the type of content you produce – for example, if you’re a YouTuber who produces online gaming videos, you might recommend a VPN service and provide a link or code. 

Why sign up for them?

The money. If you’re serious about a career in content creation, you’ll need to ensure it pays the bills, and affiliate programs are a great way of monetizing your work. While it can take time to build your brand, the most successful affiliate marketers make tens of thousands of dollars a month through their referrals, links, and partnerships. 

That said, you should be discerning about the affiliate programs you choose and ensure you understand all the terms and conditions in place. Let’s check out some of the most important features.

Cookie length 

Most affiliate programs use a tracking cookie that establishes where the incoming traffic came from. This means if somebody clicks the URL but doesn’t immediately purchase the good or service, you’re still credited with the referral if they do so later. Cookies expire after a set period of time, so common sense dictates you should choose an affiliate program whose cookies give enough time for the referee to act.

Some programs can be a little mean with their cookie duration – Trip Advisor and Amazon only give your referee 24 hours, whereas others use theirs as a gimmick, like SemRush that offers 10 years. Nevertheless, a routine browser clean-up can clear cookies so there’s no guarantee it’ll last its programmed duration. We recommend you look at affiliate programs that offer 30-day cookies – if someone doesn’t act within that period, it’s unlikely they will at all. 

Remuneration that suits you 

Compensation could be a commission, flat fee, or in some cases a bit of both – so you need to decide what works best for you. It’s easier to go with a program that gives you a flat rate for each person that completes an action, as there’s no math involved. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore commission-based programs, though, as some can offer up to 100%, such as VPN provider CyberGhost.

If you’re trying to make content your primary source of income, you need to consider the frequency of the payments you receive. You might need to hit minimum targets before you’re paid whereas other affiliate programs might only pay monthly, such as MasterClass. We pay you $20 as soon as your referee makes their first deposit (min $10), and in addition, we pay 20% of their earned interest every second

No minimum threshold 

As mentioned above, some affiliate programs require a minimum target before triggering your payout. The idea is this will motivate you to refer as many people as possible. While you can see the logic, it doesn’t favor you. Consider Elementor, a WordPress page builder. While their 50% commission on each sale is attractive, they have a minimum threshold of $200 before each payout. When you consider that their three packages are priced at $49.99, $99.99, and $199.99, the numbers feel a little stacked against you.

It’s better to have as much control over your commission as possible, especially when you’re just starting out and every dollar counts. Imagine your frustration when only a matter of cents is stopping you from getting paid. As noted earlier, our program pays out immediately your referee signs up and deposits at least $10 – and we pay you the interest as your referee earns it.    

Relevance 

As we touched upon earlier, choose an affiliate that will make it easy to bridge the gap between your content and their product or service. The further removed they are, the harder it will be to link them in a natural way and you don’t want your work to sound contrived or pushy.

If we take our affiliate program as an example, it’s best suited to financial content creators as we offer investment opportunities and peer-to-peer loans for those with crypto as collateral. 

Restrictions or rules 

The terms and conditions of the affiliate program dictate how you can mention the company, service, or product you’re promoting. 

Some companies, such as Masterclass (who we mentioned earlier), have fairly strict brand guidelines that dictate everything, including banners, logos, the number of other deals on the same page, SEO keywords, and URLs.

However, our affiliate program is pretty relaxed. We don’t dictate too many rules so long as you’re honest and respectful with our brand. You can even create your own ads if they wish – as long as they aren’t misleading!

Affilliate programs are a great way to monetize your content, and if you pick the right one, you could earn a healthy passive income. I hope the tips above have helped, and if you’d like to learn more about our affiliate program, please visit our affiliate site. Best of luck!

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Ian Haponiev

Ian Haponiev

In-house Journalist

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