So you’ve decided to become an affiliate marketer. The next step is to figure out the best affiliate marketing program for you to promote. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. You might think, “If an affiliate program pays a 50% commission, that’s definitely better than one that pays 8%.”

Not so fast. What if the program that pays 50% has really lousy marketing materials and doesn’t provide any help to its affiliates? Unless you’re great at producing marketing materials (salesletters, banners, emails, etc.), you’ll want to take that into consideration. Without a dynamite salesletter, you won’t get as many sales even if you drive a ton of traffic.

Another thing to look at is how many products you’re able to promote. If the vendor has only one ClickBank product without any upsells, then it’s a black or white situation. Either you get the sale or you don’t. But take a look an affiliate program like Amazon’s. Their commissions are notoriously low (in the 4-8% range), but you have almost unlimited opportunities to make a sale. Suppose someone clicks on your Amazon link for a weight loss book and then starts browsing the site. You’ll get a commission on anything they buy during that session. I know affiliates who’ve made huge sales that didn’t have anything to do with their niche. For example, someone clicking on a link for a steam iron ended up buying a $1200 swing set. Pretty nice!

To break it down, here are a few factors you should take into consideration before picking an affiliate program to promote:

Commissions: All else being equal, of course you’d like a larger commission. But it’s far from the main consideration.
Price: As with commissions, all else being equal, you’d rather sell a high-priced product than a lower-priced one. At a 10%, a $1,000 sale will earn you $100; a $10 sale will earn you $1. But you also have to look at the product’s popularity and how much competition it has. If you can only sell one of the $1,000 products a year, you may be better off with a $10 product that sells like hotcakes.
Conversion Rate: In most cases, the vendor will tell you this number. It’s an estimate of how many visitors it takes to get a sale. So, if takes 500 visitors to get 20 sales, that’s a 4% conversion rate. This is an important figure. If it’s too low, that could be because the product isn’t that great, or because the sales materials just aren’t convincing enough. In either case, it would merit further research.
Salesletter: Read the salesletter carefully. Would it convince YOU to buy the product? Does it grab you? Does it include testimonials and a clear call to action? -Marketing Materials: Many vendors supply autoresponder series, email templates, banner and text ads, and even pre-written articles for you to use in your promotion.
Competition: How much competition is there in the product niche? Competition isn’t by any means a bad thing, but if you’re just starting out, it might be better to find a product that will be easier to rank in the search engines.
Now that you have some tips on what to look for, finding the best affiliate marketing program for you is just a matter of taking your time and doing your research. As you do, you’ll figure out which factors are most important to you, and I’m sure you’ll come up with others as well.