At this point you either:
Have an established website and you’re looking for new products to promote.
Or, you don’t have a niche yet and you’re looking for ideas.
Based on my past experience, this is when I would start searching for affiliate marketing programs.
Here I’m going to highlight the best affiliate network for beginners, and also show you how to easily find programs in any niche.
Watch or read on:
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If You Want to Get Paid, You Need to Sign Up With an Affiliate Network or Program
The term "network" and "program" are sometimes used interchangeably online, but they're a bit different.
I want to explain how I personally refer to them, which should help you really understand what they are.
An affiliate marketing program is associated with one specific company.
So if you wanted to promote health supplements from Bodybuilding.com, you would join their affiliate program.
If you want to promote products that are sold on Amazon, you would join Amazon's affiliate program.
However, many companies hire 3rd party platforms to operate their affiliate marketing programs. These platforms are called affiliate networks.
In an affiliate marketing network, you are referred to as a publisher, and the companies whose products you promote are called merchants or advertisers.
Most networks do all the payments and reporting, so they're a good solution if you're promoting multiple brands and products on your website as they might all be associated with one network.
Again, some companies have their own "in-house" affiliate programs, while others operate their programs through an affiliate network.
You will probably end up having accounts at multiple networks, and sign up for multiple programs as you build your online business.
Warning for Beginners Who Don't Have a Niche: Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse
Many people are drawn to searching for affiliate marketing programs who don't have a niche.
They're hoping that a list of various products can spark a great idea for a new business topic.
I'll be honest, sometimes this method works, but for beginners, this can sometimes lead to frustration.
I would love to tell you that you must do something in a specific order. It would make both our lives easier. But when it comes to choosing a niche and researching programs, there's no perfect answer.
Ideally, beginners should have a niche chosen before searching for programs.
Here's a simple reason why:
When searching through affiliate networks, you will find all these companies who offer programs, but you have no plan on how you will actually make money from them.
At the time of writing this, I've seen a bunch of mattress programs trending on affiliate networks.
I actually ordered myself a mattress online and it's amazing.
But as a beginner, you probably don't want to start a business promoting mattresses.
For one, I'm pretty positive this is not a passion of yours, which means you will probably get bored of your business before it's successful.
And second, this is not a good niche for beginners. It's super competitive and you're just not going to succeed with it in my opinion.
So this is one example where searching for affiliate programs before finding your niche is not always a great idea.
For beginners, it's usually best to find a niche first based on your passion, then search for programs within that niche.
Trust me, almost every single niche out there has products to sell, and affiliate marketing programs to join.
5 Different Types of Affiliate Networks That Reveal the Potential of This Business Model
Affiliate networks can reveal the vast scope and size of affiliate marketing.
Seeing tons of companies who have affiliate programs really shows people how much potential they have with affiliate marketing.
There are really too many networks to list, but here are 5 which are a bit different.
- Amazon Associates
1. Amazon Associates: The Best "General" Affiliate Program
Every affiliate marketer should have an affiliate account set up with Amazon.
What's great about Amazon is that it's almost like a network. One account allows you to promote almost all the products that are sold on Amazon.
Your website about power tools and your website about musical instruments can both promote products on Amazon with the same account.
It's extremely versatile and useful for so many niches. Everyone should have an account.
It's great for beginners because:
- Super easy to use
- 1 account for multiple niches and products
- Offers a huge selection of website topic opportunities for beginners
But it's not only for beginners.
I've just started a new website where Amazon is my main affiliate program, and I've been doing affiliate marketing for over 10 years.
Bottom line, everyone should have an Amazon Associates account.
Similar programs would be: eBay, Walmart, Target.
2. CJ: Parnter With Some Major Brands
CJ Affiliate which used to be called Commission Junction has been around for years and is very well known.
This is a network which has a lot of big brands, and a good mix of physical and digital products. You will need to have a somewhat established website to get accepted into this network. You then need to apply to the various advertisers.
There are a few other networks which are very similar to CJ. These are Awin and FlexOffers.
3. ShareASale: Find Some Smaller Niches
ShareASale has a good mix of bigger brands and smaller companies. It's similar to the networks mentioned above, however I personally feel it's a bit more user friendly.
I've worked with companies who use ShareASale as their affiliate platform so I might have a positive bias towards this network. I personally enjoy using this platform for researching products and niches better than some of the bigger ones.
Other networks which are a bit smaller would be PepperJam and Peerfly.
4. SellHealth: Find Niche Specific Networks
SellHealth is an example of a niche or industry specific affiliate network. Obviously this is in the health niche so it will offer health related products. Another popular example would be MarketHealth.
There are other networks established for specific industries as well which have very specific products which you won't find on the larger networks.
Another example would be JVZoo which focuses on digital and software products.
5. ClickBank: Discover Info Product Networks
ClickBank is a very popular network which promotes digital products. These are typically eBooks (informational products) or video courses.
The payouts can be very high, it's very easy to join, and you can sometimes earn recurring income as well.
Because of the nature of these products, the marketing strategy for promotion can be quite different than one for physical goods.
A similar type of program would be Udemy's affiliate program which sells online courses on many different topics.
The 3 Simple Ways to Find Affiliate Programs, Especially if You Already Have a Niche
If you have already chosen a website topic, then there are 3 easy ways to find good affiliate programs:
- You can search within affiliate networks for programs
- You can do a simple Google search: Niche + Affiliate Programs
- You can analyze competitor websites in your niche and see what products they promote
Here's the truth:
Unless you have a completely new and unique business topic, there's probably already an affiliate marketer out there with their own website in your niche.
This is not a bad thing.
Not only can it prove that there's a market out there, but someone may have already found some good affiliate programs.
Searching and analyzing your competitors is a simple way to find affiliate programs which are working well.
Think about it:
If a site is established and doing well, and they're recommending "Brand X", then perhaps this is a company and product you can also recommend.
Here's Your Next Step:
Download the 5 Step Blueprint for Beginners.
This blueprint along with a 5 part video series will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing, and why building a website is so important.
It will explain the easiest way for beginners to make money with affiliate marketing.
I would also encourage you to join my Private Facebook Group.
You can ask any questions you want and I'll be happy to help you out there. Join the Affiliate Marketing That WORKS Private Facebook Group here.