What is an affiliate program?

In a nutshell an affiliate program lets you earn money by referring customers to a website. Normally now the earnings are only realised when the customer buys something from that website. In the past you may have also have earned a small income per click, but this was one to abuse and now affiliate programs only pay out on results.

Conversely, if you are a website owner with products to sell you can use an affiliate program to gain new affiliates that will in turn drive buying customers to your website. I will come on to the broad range of benefits of running your own affiliate program a little later.

How do I join an affiliate program?

There are broadly three types of affiliate program systems:

  1. Affiliate platforms. The large companies that help large and small retailers to run an affiliate program. They include Awin, Tradedoubler, Impact, etc. They charge the retailer a fee and in return provide everything that is required to acquire new affiliates, track their referrals and pay teh affiliates once the sales has been fully approved. They have the advantage of hundreds idc not thousands of affiliates waiting for new websites, etc. The downside, especially for small retailers, is that they charge a monthly fee. There are some other downsides that I will mention later. Affiliate aggregators are normally global and great for websites that want to attract visitor/buyers from around the globe.
  2. Large Corporations/retailers that run large schemes. The most well known is Amazon. A global affiliate program that works across the globe. It is sophisticated and friendly to use. If you want to join Amazon Affiliate or you are already a member you may like to look at Genius Link – you can have one link to Amazon Affiliate programs around the globe.
  3. Dedicated or individual site affiliate systems. These can be run by small websites that may be selling products or services (e.g. courses). This vary in complexity and cost bust essentially they all do the same thing (and the same as 1&2 above). Affiliates join, get links (and coupons/vouchers), refer new clients and customers and get paid a fee for doing so. The software can be bespoke to the website, a plugin or extension that remains part of the website e.g. itthinx a WordPress plugin, or something that is hybrid (1&3) such as Goaffpro. Two examples of itthinx powered programs can be found at Scent Dog Training Affiliate Program , Train With Marka Affiliate Program and Marka Training Affiliate Program.

Joining programs is in most cases relatively simple – just registration and agreeing to terms and conditions. However, often you need to be approved. This is a strange one as you would feel that most companies would want as many affiliates as possible, but there are a number of reasons for this. First, brand and reputation. Companies like to know where the referrals are going from and they want to make sure that the affiliate complies (or will comply) with their rules and regulations. Second, some affiliate may be hard work to manage in terms of requests for more information and support. Third, it would appear that some companies are looking for particular types of influencers in terms of activity or likely traffic. For example some like to focus on influencers and leave out sites that have low traffic or little/no content. Most avoid sites that just list referral links with little or no content (or no content about the subject matter of the company).

Is there anything I should be aware of?

Every program will have its own terms and conditions but you must also note social media terms too. In short – in most countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, you are required to disclose that your video (for example) contains affiliate links. This is a law. This is to ensure transparency and inform your audience that you may earn a commission if they purchase through your link.

How could I make Coupon/Voucher

Well we are creating some templates for you to use with Silver Poodle Graphics – and they are free to use. Coupon/Voucher templates for your code.

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