I want to inform you of 5 affiliate networks that rise above the noise. But let me begin by stating that as affiliates and naturally self-interested human beings. We tend to think more about how we are doing in terms of each affiliate campaign, and not so much about the vendor.
Vendor Importance For An Affiliate Brand
I want you to reflect for just a moment, though, on the importance of the vendor as it relates to your brand. It’s a two-way street. Here’s what I mean by that: Being an affiliate is like recommending your ex-roommate for a position at your current job.
You want your buddy to get the job, so you do your best to “sell” your boss on the idea. (This is you selling the affiliate product to the customer). That’s the upfront part that most of us focus on. When after your friend gets hired for the job, which represents the equivalent of the customer clicking through to the vendor’s sales page. If they always arrive late and smell like “pharmaceuticals,” that’s going to reflect poorly on you.
Point? You are a reflection of your vendor AND your vendor is a reflection of you. This is the first reason why it’s super important to choose a reputable vendor and/or network. Still, there are dozens of well-established vendors and networks out there. So what else should you use to narrow your choices down for vendor/network selection?
Does the particular vendor or program that you’re considering have products that are directly tied in with your brand? Will you have to “reach” with sloppy content to incorporate these links, or will they fit snugly into your content?
The vendor’s sales
Most networks and individual vendors with really good sales are all too excited to report those numbers, so keep an eye out. High sales don’t necessarily guarantee a great product, however, just as low sales may not guarantee a bad product.
Market saturation, how new the product is, and unlucky (or super lucky) affiliates can all work with or against sales numbers to determine your likelihood to succeed with the product.
The vendor’s requirements
We affiliates don’t love being told what to do – that’s why we invented this highly lucrative form of unemployment. If your vendor won’t let you breathe on that ad copy without slapping twenty restrictions on it, maybe it’s not for you.
The Affiliate Networks
If the product is super exclusive and you have really strong intel that it will succeed, maybe it’s worth it. You decide. That being said, let’s dive into five of the best affiliate networks around. Note that this is a very small sample of the many networks out there. You should always expand your research to find the perfect network that bests suits you.
We’ve ranked this hulking e-commerce site. Rakuten is formerly known as Buy.com, by the way, at the top for several reasons. First of all, the sheer size. At this time, these guys and girls have almost 100,000 products from just under 40,000 shop owners.
Next, they use a really affiliate-conscious model. Rakuten is a Japanese company that follows a “B2B2C,” or business-to-business-to-consumer model, meaning that they have structured their offerings in a way that prioritizes affiliates.
In fact, 84% of referred traffic is comprised of new customers. This means that Rakuten affiliates will have the advantage of high-quality products without the downside of heavily saturated markets.
2. CJ Affiliate By Conversant
Formerly known as Commission Junction, CJ affiliates by conversant offers their affiliates tons of versatility. First and foremost, this is technically a CPA (cost-per-action) network. Which means you don’t necessarily have to land a sale to get paid.
Sometimes, vendors will pay for leads and email signups instead. On the spectrum of hounding affiliates with restrictions, CJ is relatively relaxed. You can customize your offers, incorporating more of your content to help infuse your brand with high-quality products. Finally, like Rakuten, CJ by Conversant is pretty massive. Unless your niche is super, super out there, CJ has your back.
ClickBank is a tried and true digital info products powerhouse that offers many advantages for both affiliates and consumers. First, affiliates earn massive commissions because vendors have lower overhead.
It’s almost sketchy-sounding at first because you can earn 30, 40 or even 50% commission, but it’s the real deal. They also have recurring subscriptions, which is super nice, because you can earn cash every month for just one sale, allowing you to build your wealth as you pursue other avenues.
ClickBank vendors are generally pretty flexible and accommodating, providing their affiliates with marketing collaterals like images, videos, and email swipes. They’re also very transparent with their analytics, which describes in detail how each item is selling, average upsell amount, and so forth.
4. Amazon Affiliate Program
The huge draw with the Amazon Affiliate Program for both affiliates and consumers is recognition. Even your shut-in neighbor who thinks iPods just came out knows what Amazon is. The disconnect between your landing page and Amazon is one of the smoothest, least awkward transitions you can create for consumers in the affiliate world. Especially if you say something to the effect of, “Hey, if you’d like this product, follow me to Amazon!”
As you know, they offer a bazillion products at competitive prices, one- or two-day shipping, blah blah. The commissions aren’t massive, ranging from 1-10% depending on the product department. For sure with high traffic and great content, you’re looking at the massive earning potential.
Amazon is also fairly liberal when it comes to linking, just as long as you’re respectful, make people aware of the affiliate link(s), and are non-scammy about it.
JVZoo is frickin’ awesome. They have super long-lasting cookies that will bring in commissions on products that you didn’t even refer to. They are one of the best, if not the best. Yes, you will have to be on a probation period for a bit, but after that JVZoo is a great affiliate network in terms of quick and reliable payment. JVZoo sends money directly to you immediately after every confirmed sale, not once a month and consistently late.
They have tons of products and helpful features for affiliate content, like instant tracking, instant buy-button creation, instant digital delivery to customers, and more. Speed is king here, and somehow, they didn’t sacrifice quality to do it.
Again, I want to reiterate that this is more of an exercise in deciding what works best for you. It is a super stern recommendation about which network(s) to go with. Of course, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t go with any of the above, other than your preferences. It is because these Affiliate networks have massive selections and great features, but you get the point.
For a minute, you get to be the super picky consumer. Keep your standards high. Make sure your entire checklist is met. These networks want you, so take time with your decision. Once you’re on board, I suppose you have just a tiny bit of work to do.
So, which network are you associated with or thinking about joining?