Affiliate marketing : Become a Niche Affiliate First

A lot of people think that affiliate marketing really boils down to owning the network. In other words, their first instinct is to create an affiliate program and they start recruiting other affiliates. The idea, of course, is for them to set up some sort of platform and they become a middle man for advertisers and publishers.

While I understand the dollars and cents analysis behind this thinking, you might be biting off more than you can chew.

If you are not yet an expert at affiliate marketing, you might want to become a niche affiliate first. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Similarly, you may be thinking that since you have figured out the right niche to target after using the expert step by step process I described above, you should just start creating your own product. Again, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse.

Become a niche affiliate first because you may not know how to properly address the existing demand for your niche. If you are to come up with your product right off the gate, you might speak to people’s problems in all the wrong ways and fail to make a sale.

By becoming a niche affiliate first, you build a business around products that already exist. These products, at least on the surface level, are supposed to address the needs people have in your niche. Another reason why you should become a niche affiliate first and promote other people’s products first is that the more you’ve focused on your niche, the more you become an expert. You’re able to see patterns, you’re able to see what kind of sales approaches work and which ones don’t work.

You’re also able to understand the needs of your target audience and craft custom solutions to better address those needs. You can then use these skills to come up with your own products later on. But right now, you’re learning. You’re trying to build up expertise as well as authority and credibility.

Use Offer Vault to Find All Affiliate Programs in Your Target Niche

Navigate to to find all affiliate programs in your target niche. This means that you should have reduced your shortlist of affiliate targets to just one. Find all the programs you can find that target that specific niche.

How to Filter Affiliate Programs

At this point, you probably will quickly realize that there are actually quite a number of programs targeting your niche. In fact, in some cases, there are too many affiliate programs. You can’t tell them apart. They talk about the same things. You look at their recruitment, and they look fairly similar to each other. You check out their offers, and they basically offer similar solutions that address the same set of problems. How do you tell them apart?

Well, there are four objective standards that you should use to quickly filter affiliate programs. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that after you apply these filters you will pick a winner. Nobody can really guarantee that. However, when you apply these filters, you increase the likelihood that you will pick an affiliate program that can produce results for you.

Filter #1: Ease of conversion

Now that you have listed down the URLs of all the affiliate programs in your target niches, visit all of them. Check out what kind of action they will pay for. Are they going to be paying you a commission when the visitor you send to their page buys something? That is a per sale conversion. On the other hand, are they paying if the person that you sent fills out an email form or inputs their zip code? That is a CPA conversion.

Finally, will the affiliate program pay if the visitor just clicks on an ad? That is a pay per click conversion. Filter the list of affiliate programs based on what kind of conversion they’re looking for. Your first priority should be the easiest conversion point, which is pay per click. If that’s not available, select the affiliate programs who would pay you per email or zip code collected. If there are none of these available or too few, switch over to affiliate programs that will pay you per sale. Now, it’s important that you rank these based on the total percentage that you would get.

Obviously, the higher the percentage, the more you should prioritize that particular affiliate program. If you find that all the affiliate programs in your niche pay only per sale, then the ones that pay the biggest commission or the biggest percentage should be at the top of your list.

Filter by EPC

EPC is a metric for earnings per click. With everything else being equal, when you send traffic to an affiliate program, what is their average EPC? This gives you a fairly good idea of just how well this program converts.

Don’t be misled. There are lots of programs that would pay you a huge commission, let’s $200 or $300 per conversion. But the problem is, you have to send them a huge amount of clicks to get that one conversion. So, accordingly, their EPC is actually very low. On the other hand, there are affiliate programs that will only pay you maybe a couple of bucks or fifty cents or less per conversion. However, their conversion ratio is so high that their EPC is actually very good. In other words, for every hundred visitors you send them, they end up converting a large percentage of those visitors.

Pay attention to EPC because it presents a more accurate picture of the affiliate program’s ability to convert your hard-earned traffic. Filter by Promo Material Availability The next filter you should apply to the affiliate programs you found in your niche involves ads. Does the affiliate program already feature ads or promotional materials you can use? For example, if you are promoting by email, do they already have email swipes or prewritten messages you can use? If you are promoting through ads on your blog, do they have ad graphics? Of course, the more materials they have made available, the better.

Filter by Promo Material’s Flexibility

Finally, you should pay attention to how much freedom the affiliate program gives you to come up with your own promotional materials. Are you stuck using the exact materials that they give you? Can you make modifications? Or can you come up with your own completely original promotional materials? Keep in mind that a lot of affiliate programs tend to keep their affiliates on a tight leash. They don’t want them to come up with all sorts of wild ads that may end up misrepresenting their product or somehow misleading their visitors.

Still, if you come across an affiliate program that gives you a tremendous amount of freedom to craft your original ads or modify their existing advertising materials, you might want to take a close look at the program. With everything else being equal, sign up for affiliate programs that have all of the qualities above.

They must have offers that are easy to convert, they convert a significant chunk of the traffic sent to them, they have ready promotional materials available, and they give you a measure of freedom in using their materials or allow you to come up with your own ads.

Sign Up for as Many Qualified Programs as You Can

Now that you have a good understanding of all the filters that you’re going to use to qualify affiliate programs, sign up for all the programs that survived that four-stage filtering process listed above. Please note that not all affiliate programs will be available to you. Some have country restrictions. This is a big one. These programs only take traffic from certain countries.

This doesn’t mean that if you’re an affiliate marketer living outside of the preferred range of countries that you’re disqualified. For example, if you are a marketer who lives in the Philippines, but you can get American traffic to send to an affiliate program that only accepts American traffic, you should be okay.

Check their list of accepted countries just to make sure. Sometimes affiliates have restrictions on the countries marketers can come from.

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