How to Select a Vendor for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a catch all term. It is a term just like marketing meaning that it applies to a lot of industries and businesses. Since the connotation is so vast, generalizations must not be made for affiliate marketing. What may be true for affiliate marketing in case of one product may not be applicable in case of another product or vendor.
Therefore, budding marketers are also faced with this very crucial but difficult choice. With the limited knowledge that they have, they are supposed to choose a vendor to whom they will render their services. The vendor is very much like an employer since they are the ones who will pay for the efforts.
Even expert affiliate marketers who have spent several years in the industry are unable to select a vendor with 100% precision. This process is based on trial and error. However, there are certain guidelines that enable affiliates to make a better decision and lower their chances of failure!
These guidelines have been listed in this article.
- Suitable Marketing Niche: First and foremost, the affiliate marketer needs to select a niche. The most successful affiliates are passionate about the products they sell. For instance, some affiliates are passionate about travel and hence they are extremely successful selling travel related products and services. Others may have a medical specialization and hence can advise people about health and fitness related products. People are more likely to get influenced by a person who has better credentials. Hence selecting a suitable niche could be an important first step towards affiliate marketing success. However, it is not necessary. Many affiliate marketers make a living selling products they are not professionally qualified to judge.
- Vendor Financials: While selecting a vendor, it is important that the affiliate marketer has a look at their financials. It may be close to impossible to actually have a look at their profit and loss statement or balance sheet since these statements are confidential. However, the behavior of the vendor will provide more than sufficient clue. Delayed payments are a serious no-no! Alternatively, affiliate marketer could get involved in a program and outsource the risk of collection to the program management for a small fee. This would enable them to spend more time creating content.
- Continuity: Affiliate marketing is like planting a tree. The efforts only accumulate over a large period of time. These cumulative efforts then slowly bear fruit and passive income starts being generated over an extended period of time. Simply put, affiliate marketing is a long term game. Hence, it is essential that the vendor and product both stay in business for long. An affiliate marketer will reap considerably less benefits if they keep on switching products and vendors. Hence, choosing a vendor that will exist in the affiliate marketing field in the long term is extremely important.
- Brand Building Efforts: affiliate marketing does not work in isolation. It requires the usual marketing paraphernalia to create brand awareness and recall. Affiliate marketing provides a strong call to action and closes the sale. In the absence of any brand related activities being undertaken by the vendor, affiliate marketing efforts will bear considerably less fruits. An affiliate marketer working for an established brand will generate far more commissions effortlessly as compared to one working for a completely unknown commodity. The modern consumer values intangible brands a lot!
- Appropriate Pricing: An affiliate marketer must look at the product from a consumerís point of view. They must ask themselves whether the product is appropriately priced. No amount of marketing can sell an overpriced product. The price must be commensurate with the quality of the product or other intangible benefits like brand image.
- No Deceptive Marketing: Affiliate marketers must avoid deceptive marketing practices like the plague! When they associate with a vendor, they put their reputation on the line. Hence, if they are associated with deceptive vendors, they lose trust. This loss is big since trust is built over several years. Higher commissions cannot justify this strategy. These commissions will lead to marginally high income in the short run but will have a severely negative impact in the long run.
- Customer Service: Many customers like to call the companies that they are about to buy products from. They may also want to digitally interact with these companies. The vendor must therefore have competent staff handling their customer service, failing which affiliate marketing will not be very useful. This factor may not be very important and can be improved by providing continuous feedback to the vendor.
Affiliate marketers must realize that vendors do not usually change their policies. They must therefore choose vendors on an as is where is basis.
Products Suitable to Affiliate Marketing
Some products are more suitable to affiliate marketing as compared to others. These products include:
- Service such as legal services, taxation services etc.
- One on one training services
- E-books, audio, video or software that can easily be demonstrated and distributed online
- Confidential goods which people prefer not to buy face to face
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