Affiliate Marketing - SEO Tips
5.) Commission scheme of the affiliate program
There are many different types of commission schemes that affiliate programs use to reward their affiliates. Some of the most popular ones are pay per click, pay per lead and pay per sale schemes. Some others even offer two tiered and multi tiered commission schemes. Some commission schemes can even be a mix and match of the above.
In case of a pay per click/hit scheme the minimum commission that you can expect is $0.5 to $0.10 per click. For pay per sale a good commission rate would be 15% to 50%. Some companies even offer lifetime commissions, but as most of them are based on cookie identification, they may not work out well.
With the competition increasing almost all merchants have started offering two tiered commissions, some even offer multi tiered ones. Joining these schemes can give you a chance to get paid for the direct sales you make and also for the sales made by affiliates referred by you.
6.) Tracking software used
Tracking software is used by the affiliate merchant to track individual affiliate sales. An affiliate merchant can make use of in-house tracking software, join an affiliate network or use services of an ASP in order to track leads.
In case the affiliate merchant makes use of independent tracking software or ASP services, make sure to find out if the software is reliable and has the ability to track all kinds of sales. If the software uses cookie tracking, find out the duration of the cookie. Although using cookies to track affiliates does not always work fine as the cookies can be deleted by the buyer.
Most affiliate merchants today make use of affiliate network services. Affiliate network services are the safest when it comes to making payments on time, conflict resolution and accurate tracking. Affiliate Networks are also great sources to find good affiliate programs and can help you get payments from different merchants through a single cheque. So make sure to register at some good networks. Some reputed affiliate network services are commission junction, LinkShare, Clickxgalore, and ClickTrade.
7.) Terms and conditions for payment
You do all the hard work as an affiliate and hence you should make sure that you get paid for it. There are chances that the affiliate merchant might have some unwanted rules and regulations in his affiliate agreement; so in-case you don’t like to get a bitter shock in the aftermath, be sure to check out the terms and conditions with utmost care. Some things that you got to look out for in the terms and conditions are as follows:
a.) Payment frequency/Payout rate
Make sure that the affiliate merchant makes payments at the end of every month or with- in a few days afterward. Anything above 2 months for making payments is not advisable. Also find out the mode of making payments. Payment gateways are safer and faster as compared to cheques.
b.) Payment for future sales
Many visitors won’t buy products on their first visit. They might come back though after some time to make the purchase. Make sure that the affiliate merchant pays you for future sales made by a customer referred by you. Although the chances that you get credit for future sales is low due to cookie deletion possibilities, but it is better to have options open.
c.) Minimum Balance Amount for payout
Most affiliate merchants and affiliate networks have a minimum amount for payout. An affiliate would require reaching that amount to get a payment. Find out the minimum balance and estimate if the target is easily achievable for the given product/service.
d.) Roll over/carry over terms
Roll-overs or carry-overs are related to the minimum balance. If the affiliate fails to achieve the minimum balance within a month (or the set payment date), the payment keeps rolling on. Although this is not a problem, some merchant’s may have a fixed rollover period after which the payments will not be issued. Joining such programs is not recommended.
e.) Conditions for Charge-backs on product return
Some merchants have a product return policy which allows the buyer to get full refund in-case he is dissatisfied with the product. The period within which the buyer should return the product to get a refund is called the chargeback period. Make sure to take note of the chargeback period of the merchant and also find out how much of your commission will be debited if this happens. Although products having a return policy will have a better conversion rate they can also lead to the affiliate’s cash getting debited or completely taken back.
In addition to the payment terms some other conditions that you got to check out are the ‘condition of exclusivity’ (which could mean the affiliate cannot promote any other product except the affiliate product/service or that he should not promote competitor products/services) and conflict resolution method of the merchant.