3 Online Affiliate Programs That Can Make You Extra Cash

By Nick Wharton on 29 December 2017 0 comments

The web is awash with deceptive stories and clickbait ads claiming you can make millions online with little or no effort. So it's no wonder people think earning money via the internet is a shady and fruitless endeavor. However, there are plenty of legitimate methods of making money online, and affiliate marketing is one of them.

There are thousands of reputable companies looking to work with publishers to help promote their products and services. Whether you're looking to earn a full-time salary or supplement your income with a few extra dollars each month, affiliate marketing is a great option to explore. Here are three affiliate programs that can earn you money online.

What is an affiliate program?

Affiliate programs are a form of online marketing employed by advertisers seeking referrals from a wide range of sources. They usually offer a commission, which reflects a percentage of every sale made from the referral link. So if you have a website or a mailing list and you link to a product or retailer using a tracking link, the advertiser will know that that customer came from your link and if they buy, you will be paid commission.

It's beneficial for the company because it receives both advertising and sales leads that it wouldn't necessarily be able to access otherwise. It's also beneficial for you and their other affiliate publishers, who are able to make money from sales without actually having to get involved in handling the transaction. Since all you're doing is essentially connecting people with products, affiliate marketing can be one of the most time- and cost-effective methods to make money online. (See also: 5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online)

How to set up your affiliate program

If you have an established following, whether it's on your company website, a personal blog, or on social media, then it's easier to find an affiliate program you can implement. Some have requirements that you'll need to meet before being accepted as an affiliate, but many are open to anyone and have a very basic registration process.

Once you've signed up, you'll be able to create unique links that allow the company to track them back to you so you get credit for the referrals you provide. It's important to read the fine print to know the limitations of how and where you're allowed to include the links because it varies from program to program. You can then start dropping these links into places where readers are likely to click on them and buy whatever is being advertised. These places include blog posts, newsletters, and Twitter and Facebook posts. (See also: How to Earn Extra Income With Twitter)

One of the most effective ways of making money from affiliate programs is to link to the promoted products or services from your own website or email list. This allows you to build, analyze, and target your audience effectively. It's quick and easy to start a website if you don't already have your own, and it's possible to begin earning affiliate income within a matter of hours once the website is up and running. (See also: How to Turn Your Instagram Account Into a Paying Gig)

Booking.com

As one of the top accommodation booking sites on the internet, Booking.com offers more than a million properties for travelers, including everything from hostels to luxury apartments. The Booking.com affiliate program is also one of the foremost and well used programs around.

Commission is only paid when people book via your referrals and then complete their stay at their chosen property. Because of this, and the fact that customers sometimes cancel their bookings, the payment cycle is often slightly more complicated than those of other affiliate programs, but the platform allows you to easily track and analyze your earnings.

Thanks to the way the commission payments are structured, the more bookings that users make through your links, the higher the commission you'll receive. The rates start at 25 percent and go up to 40 percent once you've surpassed 501 bookings. To clarify, that means 25 percent to 40 percent of Booking.com's commission, so don't expect to get that percentage of the overall cost of the hotel stay.

Amazon

The Amazon affiliate program, Amazon Associates, is probably the best known program on the market. When it launched the program in 1996, Amazon was one of the pioneers of what was a new form of online marketing at the time. Many people attribute a large part of the company's resulting success to it.

One of the reasons that it's so successful is because the program is free and extremely simple to join. The interface is also easy to use. This means that you can start earning money right away once you've signed up. You earn money when a customer clicks on one of the links you're promoting and then buys something on the site. It doesn't even necessarily need to be the product you've recommended.

If they purchase anything within 24 hours, you'll get commission, and even if they just place items in their cart during that time, but purchase them within 90 days, you still earn. This is basically a 90-day cookie for any cart items, which is a very generous cookie duration.

Amazon's main site is renowned among affiliate partners for being a conversion machine, which means that just by providing links, the likelihood of the reader clicking and then buying something is relatively high. With Amazon Associates, you have various tools that allow you to implement the links in different ways such as banners, image links, and text links. You can earn up to 10 percent in fees.

ClickBank

Started in 1998, ClickBank is a go-between entity that connects vendors wishing to market their products and services, and publishers looking for relevant products to promote to their audiences. Whereas Amazon Associates is an affiliate program with a defined fee structure, ClickBank is an affiliate network that takes care of multiple vendors’ affiliate programs, so the commission structures vary. The vendors choose the commission rate, which is typically between 30 percent and 50 percent (though it can range from 1 percent to 75 percent). That’s significantly higher than Amazon rates of 1 percent to 10 percent, but of course, Amazon generates a much, much higher volume of sales.

ClickBank’s products and services, many of which are digital, are different from Amazon’s product line. So, many affiliate marketers will sign up for both ClickBank and Amazon to maximize their product portfolio and potential profits.

Signing up for ClickBank only takes a few moments, and it costs you nothing to join as an affiliate. There's no screening or approval process, and once you've joined, you can start making commission right away. There's a wide range of products for you to start marketing, so whatever niche you're in, you should find something relevant.

The great part about ClickBank is, your account is credited in real time, meaning you can keep close track of how your affiliate sales are performing.

Be sure to follow FTC endorsement guidelines

When promoting affiliate products online or within emails, it's important that you follow the guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission so that your readers and followers are well aware that they are clicking on affiliate links and you will be making money from their purchase. It's simply good business to be completely transparent about the nature of the transaction.

According to the FTC Website:

"If you disclose your relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously on your site, readers can decide how much weight to give your endorsement.

In some instances — like when the affiliate link is embedded in your product review — a single disclosure may be adequate. When the review has a clear and conspicuous disclosure of your relationship and the reader can see both the review containing that disclosure and the link at the same time, readers have the information they need. You could say something like, "I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post." But if the product review containing the disclosure and the link are separated, readers may not make the connection."

What to watch out for

Not all affiliate programs are created equal, so if you're trying to maximize your affiliate revenues, it's important that you know a few key things that will help you to ensure that you're getting paid for every referral.

Percentage of sale (commission rate)

Of course, the number one thing you want to look at is the commission rate. What percentage of the customer’s payment will you receive? In some cases, there is a flat fee for every sale made, and sometimes you will get a percentage of the total sale. Keep your eye out for "percentage of commission" sales, as this means that you're not taking a percentage of the total sale, but rather a percentage of the company's commission.

Average sale value

Once you know what the commission rate is, it's a good idea to check what the average sale is so that you know how much you can expect to earn (on average) from each sale.

Cookies

Affiliate marketers love cookies! Cookies are small pieces of data retained on computers by browsers that contain various pieces of information in regards to a specific website visit. In the case of affiliate programs, most of the good ones include a 30-day cookie or longer, meaning if someone clicks your link and visits the site, you'll still get paid as long as they return to the site and make a purchase within 30 days. Cookies that linger even longer are a bonus!

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Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.