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"Best Affiliate Program For The Newbie: Identifying An Affiliate Program That Matches Your USP"

When a newbie begins an online business, the temptation can be high to join most any affiliate program they see in the hopes of making extra money. Given the amount of products and services that newbies get presented with, and since newbies have a burning desire to make money fast, it is easy to see how the online newbie can get lured into joining a lot of affiliate programs without knowing if they should join them or not.

For the newbie, the danger in joining lots of affiliate programs is multi-faceted. Joining affiliate programs takes time, time the newbie could be using defining their USP, learning about getting targeted traffic, or learning other Internet marketing skills that will actually generate revenue for them. In addition, the newbie who joins lots of affiliate programs in the hopes of making instant profits, is at risk of being disappointed when they don't make money by joining the latest affiliate program and that leads to yet further "unproductivity" and poor use of time.

So, what steps do newbies take to identify the best affiliate program(s) that matches their USP?

It will differ based on the goal of each newbie Internet marketer, but here's a small set of steps that are useful to start with:

*Define how the affiliate program's offering complements your USP.
You should be able to clearly map out what the affiliate program's offering (product or service) will be useful to patrons or visitors of your web site, list or customer base. If the product that you will be promoting is something that will be useful to you and people you sell or try to sell to, it may be a useful affiliate program to join.

*Make sure that you fully review the product offered by the affiliate program, use it, and make your own assessment of it.
Don't promote a product from any affiliate program unless you own the product yourself and love it. If you own and love the product that you are promoting, you will be able to sell it more effectively because your energy and excitement level will show through in the deliver of your message to would be customer. In addition, you will be able to list and explain in detail the features of the product or service that the affiliate program is offering.

*Make certain that the web site that sells the affiliate program is set up correctly to sell the product, and sell it well.
The web site that sells the product of the affiliate program should be professional in its layout, design, sales copy, and delivery of the product itself. The web site should have a mechanism to capture the names and emails of the visitors. The web site should also have a strong auto responder series in place to follow up with and sell the visitors of that site on the product.

*Check to see if the affiliate program should be tracked with cookies so that the referring web site will get credit for each affiliate sale, even the sales that come as a result of the auto responder series.
If the affiliate program doesn't use cookies to track referrals, do not sign up.

*Take a look to see if the affiliate program is two-tier so that you can earn money from recruiting other affiliates to that affiliate program.
Most of the the noteworthy and professional affiliate programs will be two-tier although there are some notable ones that aren't, Clickbank being the most widespread. At the very minimum, the affiliate program should offer some sort of incentive to recruit new affiliates. If an affiliate program is not two-tier, make sure that you determine whether or not the product(s) being sold are professional and have good conversion rates.

*Ensure that the affiliate program makes it easy to sign up, complete with welcome email and full contact information of the point person who can answer any questions.
If the affiliate program isn't run by a third party like Clickbank, the affiliate program sign up form should also ask for your EIN # or your Tax ID # for proper reporting. For the business owner who has established a business identity, this is key for accurate bookkeeping. Some marketers have gotten away from welcome emails to their new affiliate partners because the potential affiliate partners sometimes do not want to give their name and email, they'd just like to join and make money with no 'marketing' messages hitting their Inbox.

*A strong affiliate program ideally should have plenty of help tools including any or all of the following: real-time tracking, solo email templates (even though I suggest writing your own), graphics, banners, etc.
For the newbie, the better the help tools, the easier it will be for them to feel comfortable selling the product. In addition, the affiliate program should offer follow up emails to all affiliates offering help to sell more products as well as relaying success stories of how other affiliates have made strong sales numbers.

*Ideally, the affiliate program's affiliate links should be unique to the affiliate but should also be structured so that the link is distinctly protected from would be commission thieves.
The affiliate link ID should not be visible in the URL after the would be customer gets to the sales page of the product in question.

For the newbie, the abovementioned steps will help mitigate wasting time and will maximize their time and efforts. The best affiliate program for the newbie is the one that satisfies most or all of these criteria and sells a product that meshes well with the newbie's USP.

Karl Augustine
"Starting Smart!"

About the Author

Author, "9 Deadly Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Online Business"
Publisher, "Starting Smart!" e-zine

Starting an online business

www.9mistakes-online.com

Karl Augustine