Are you looking to give your brand a boost via affiliate marketing? Do you need information on the top 9 affiliate marketplace programs for vendors? If yes, then this article is for you. Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency. My company specializes in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Remarketing and Affiliate Marketing. I have been in business for over 20 years, and in all that time, I have gathered pretty much all the inside information about affiliate marketing. Through my website planetmarketing.com, I am an affiliate for hundreds of companies, whose products I push to my readers. Not only that, but I also run my own affiliate marketing program in-house. I use this program to sell my own products, including my Facebook Ads Marketing Course and my Google Ads plans. So, you can be sure that I know what I am talking about here. In this article, I am going to;
- Introduce you to affiliate marketing.
- Give you the two dimensions to affiliate marketing, with a particular focus on vendors.
- Give you the 9 best affiliate marketplace programs for vendors.
Affiliate Marketing Introduction
The fact that you are here means you probably already have a good idea what affiliate marketing is. So, I am not going to go to town on the definition in this article. For those that need to go into detail about how affiliate marketing works, feel free to check out the article in the provided link. Just to sum up, here are brief notes on affiliate marketing;
Definition of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a model of business under which vendors/merchants/brands engage the services of affiliates to market products and services on their behalf. The affiliates get paid a commission for their work.
The four main actors in affiliate marketing
The affiliate marketing process has 4 main players;
- The first of these is the vendor or brand. This is the entity that comes up with a product. The product can be anything, from a new type of phone to services such as my Facebook Ads Setup Plan.
- The second player in affiliate marketing is the affiliate. He is the one that “owns,” or has access to the marketing channels that are needed in order to push the product from the vendor. The affiliate is pretty much the modern day version of the salesman of yesteryear. However, instead of totting around samples and annoying the heck out of housewives, the affiliate is a lot more complicated. He uses the various internet based tools that are at his disposal to reach out to as many people as is possible. The successful affiliate is one who is able to convince people to buy things that they had virtually no idea beforehand that they needed.
- The affiliate network is the third player when it comes to affiliate marketing. The affiliate network is actually what we are talking about in this article. The role of the affiliate network is that of bringing together affiliates and vendors. Though it’s entirely possible for these two groups to find each other without the intervention of a third party, the affiliate network makes the job way simpler. You see, there are probably tens of thousands of companies that are into affiliate marketing out there. There are probably also hundreds of thousands of affiliates. So, the terrain can be a bit murky. Affiliate networks help organize things, thus ensuring that the field does not degenerate into chaos. Again, I must repeat that it’s possible for affiliates to find vendors on their own and the other way round. In fact, a number of companies use a hybrid approach, where they join affiliate networks while also looking around for appropriate affiliates on their own.
- The customer is the final entity in the affiliate marketing matrix. To be fair, the customer is often ignored when people talk about affiliate marketing. However, that, in my view, is wrong. The customer is the one for whom the product is destined. However, though he or she is oblivious to the fact that there is a tug of way out there that is intended to attract his attention, the customer still plays a major role in the entire process. That’s because, brands compete for the attention of the affiliate using either the product itself or price. The result is that the customer gets a price that’s better than would have been available otherwise. Just to give an example, I am an affiliate of Shopper Approved, a company that specializes in online reviews. The company’s entry level offering starts at $199 per month. I have, however, been able to negotiate a discount on behalf of my customers. If they sign up using my link, they get the discounted price of $159 per month for the entry level plan.
The two dimensions of affiliate marketing
Okay, most of what I am going to be talking about here has already been highlighted above. When most people talk about affiliate marketing, they are mainly focusing on the affiliate. Go to the internet today and you will realize that more than 9 in 10 articles that are written on the subject cover it from the perspective of the affiliate.
When you stop to think about it, that is not really surprising. The affiliate pretty much owns the internet. They are the ones that do the blogging that brings out much of the content that’s available on the internet today. I know it’s a controversial statement, but I firmly believe the internet would be a rather boring space without the motivation to productivity that is brought about by affiliate marketing (and other website monetization schemes).
You see, the reason why I am writing this article is not because I love affiliate marketing so much. While I do care for the subject, I still need to put bread and butter on the table at the end of the day. I know, most people will not be as frank as I am. The reason why I am writing this article is because I hope to convince my readers to sign up for one of the programs for which I am an affiliate. Should that happen, then I will get a commission. I also hope to sell any of the products that I have produced, such as my DIY Facebook Ads Marketing Course. Courses are, by the way, another website monetization option.
So, you see, without affiliate marketing and other website monetization programs, the internet would probably be a barren place today. There would be no motivation to produce anything. I know, people hate ads and affiliate marketing popups. I hate them when they appear on my own screen! But they are a fact of life, just like ads on television or in the newspapers. Anyway, it’s important to note that there are two dimensions to affiliate marketing;
We have already briefly explained the role of the vendor as being one of the major players in affiliate marketing. He is the one that we are focusing on in this article. The vendor is the one who comes up with a product. I need to point out here that the vendor does not actually need to be the manufacturer of the product. He or she could simply be someone who gets the product from the manufacturer, and then uses affiliates to bring it to the market.
The vendor thus makes a conscious decision that he is going to push the product out to people using affiliates. Of course, affiliate marketing is probably not going to be the merchant’s only channels when it comes to selling goods and services. He will probably also advertise on Facebook, or on Google. Perhaps, the vendor will have his own eCommerce site on which to sell his goods. And the vendor could also have actual physical stores in which he sells his goods.
So, affiliate marketing is but one channels for the merchant when it comes to bringing goods and services to the market. It’s important, in any case, when talking about affiliate marketing to understand the role of the vendor in the process. The merchant is the one that owns the product.
The affiliate is the other dimension when it comes to affiliate marketing. Affiliates, I have already noted, are tech savvy. They know what’s trending, and they know how and where to push products and services. In other words, they know how to navigate their way around the internet. In most cases, they own the content marketing channels that vendors need in order to sell their goods and services. But how do affiliates sell goods and services on behalf of companies for which they are affiliates;
Blogs are, without doubt, the biggest channel that is used by affiliates to convince people to buy goods and services belonging to merchants. This brings me back to my controversial statement that affiliate marketing is one of the major drivers of content production on the internet today. Blogging is part of this content production sphere. A blog, in any case, is a website whose content is constantly being renewed and revitalized through the publication of new content.
Content production is not an easy task. Across the world, there are thousands upon thousands of people who throw in the towel after spending long periods of time trying to make it in the world of content production. However, you need time and patience for a site to actually start to earn something from affiliate marketing. You are not going to create a blog today and start rolling in money tomorrow. In fact, it can take years for you to begin reaping the fruits of your labor.
When we talk about blogging, we talk about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ask any digital marketing expert (heck, ask me!) and you will be told that search engines work in mysterious ways. Nobody is ever really 100% sure how they go about the process of ranking web pages. However, people do have a pretty good ideas, which is why there is such a thing as Search Engine Optimization. This refers to the steps that can be taken to give sites greater visibility to search engines. Such steps include keyword research, link building and on page optimization.
Affiliates also use social media to reach out to customers on behalf of brands. As is the case with blogging, social media requires a certain critical mass for it to become profitable. You are not going to be successful at it when you have only a handful of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all of whom are composed of your reluctant mother, father, sister and other relatives.
So, the trick, when it comes to successfully carrying out affiliate marketing on social media, lies in having a big enough audience. While we cannot all be social influencers; people who have thousands and even millions of followers on social media, you can at least try to grow your following by producing content that is relevant and interesting.
YouTube also tends to be another platform that is liked by affiliates when it comes to marketing products and services on behalf of brands. As is the case with everything else, YouTube works best when an affiliate has the critical mass in terms of numbers. There are people on the platform who have gathered millions of followers. If you can get these to sign up for you program, then you will be able to reach a lot of potential customers. As a vendor, you also need to recruit affiliates in your niche. If you are into Digital Marketing, as an example, you may wish to find people in this field. If you sign up affiliates who have millions of followers but who produce “Fail,” videos, as an example, then you are unlikely to get the kind of impact that you are looking for for your products and services.
Email compliments the other channels when it comes to affiliate marketing. Affiliates who have blogs, as an example, can build email lists by offering their readers various incentives in exchange for signing up. Affiliate marketing can then be carried out by including affiliate links in emails that are sent to people on the lists. It’s important, in any case, to make sure that anything that you send out is pushed only to relevant people for that particular product. Otherwise you are going to end up losing people on your mailing list. As a vendor, you should be on the lookout for affiliates who have extensive AND relevant mailing lists.
Best affiliate marketplace programs for vendors
Okay, now we come to the subject of this article. What are the best affiliate marketplace programs for vendors? Where can merchants find the best affiliates for their businesses? The following, in any case, are the top 9 affiliate marketplace programs for vendors;
ClickBank is great for people like me, who sell digital products. In fact, my affiliate program has a listing there. ClickBank is good if you are a small business that is going out there on the hunt for appropriate affiliates to market your products. The following are some of the products that are sold on ClickBank;
The one major disadvantage for ClickBank is the perception that the merchants who go on there do not sell high quality products. However, that is hardly the truth. The platform carries out reviews to make sure that all the merchants who list there are genuine.
Avangate’s affiliate program has now been merged into 2checkout. Like ClickBank, 2checkout has a focus on digital products and software. This is makes it ideal for people like me who have created courses and other digital products that they wish to market to the general public with the help of affiliates. If you are worried about number, then you will be glad to know that 2checkout plays host to over 50000 affiliates. So, you won’t have trouble signing up people in your niche on the platform. Some of the products that you will find on there include;
- Antimalware products
How much are commissions?
Commissions for digital products tend to be high. That’s because once you have created a course, as an example, there is not much that you are going to need to do to it. So, you can offer your affiliates very high rewards for finding customers for your products. In fact, Avangate’s commissions can be as high as 85%. So, you will need to take this into account as a merchant. Are you going to be willing to go this high? If not, then you may find yourself not being able to compete with other people on the platform. Note that Avangate does not set the commission for your products. You choose whatever the commission that you are willing to pay out to your affiliates. Thus commission payouts on the platform tend to vary widely.
Amazon Associates is, without doubt, one of the biggest affiliate marketing programs for vendors. The great thing about Amazon Associates is that Amazon has such a wide reach. What this means is that you will be able to sell your products in a wide variety of countries. Amazon Associates is mainly into physical products. Note that from the point of view of a vendor, Amazon Associates does not actually offer an affiliate marketing program. You don’t, as an example, get to sign up affiliates to sell your goods on the platform. What happens is that you list your goods for sale on Amazon. If people who are Associates are interested in selling your goods, they will simply create a link leading back to your product. You have no direct or indirect interaction with someone who is an Amazon Associate.
ShareASale is another of the top 9 affiliate marketing programs for vendors. ShareASale is now actually part of Awin. This makes it is one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs in the world. ShareASale plays host to over 4500 merchants. This does to make the platform bit cutthroat when it comes to finding affiliates. So, which products does ShareASale specialize in?
Well, ShareASale is great in that it will work just fine for most types of products, be they digital or physical. Do you have a piece of software that you wish to sell? Then ShareASale is the place to be for you? How about if you are selling a new brand of sneakers? Well, you will find the right kind of affiliates on the platform regardless.
Awin is another of the best affiliate marketing programs for vendors. If you do decide to join Awin, then you will be joining a staggering 16500 other merchants. To be fair, the situation on the platform tends to be rather cutthroat as a result. But to not to worry. The platform has over 230 000 publishers, so you probably wont find it hard to find takes to market your products and services. Awin covers both physical and digital products, so you will be able to get onto the platform whatever it is that you are selling. The platform plays host to some really big names, but don’t be intimidated. These include;
Rakuten is another offering that you need to look at while hunting for the best affiliate marketing programs for vendors. The platform is popular with big names, such as Macy’s, Walmart and Best Buy. So, if you decide to sign up to find affiliates on the platform, know that you will be going head to head with these big names. However, don’t let that be a drawback for you. There are a lot of small players on the platform. If you are worried about numbers, Rakuten is big. It brings together over 150k publishers and vendors. So, you will be sure to find what you are looking somewhere in there.
FlexOffers is another big affiliate network that can be found out there. It plays host to over 12000 merchants. So, if you join this program, you will become one of them. I know, this can be intimidating, but there is nothing to worry about. That’s because FlexOffers is ideal for all types of businesses, large and small. Big names on there include Macy’s and Lenovo. The platform also plays host to thousands of publishers, so you will probably not find it hard to find people to sell your products and services.
AvantLink is another of the best affiliate marketing programs for vendors that can be found out there. It already plays host to a number of big names, including the following;
- Active junky
The great thing about AvantLink, and the thing that sets it apart, is that it carefully vets its affiliates. What it means to you as a merchant is that should you decide to sign up for this program, you will be getting only the best.
RevenueWire is another of the great platform if you are into digital downloads. The services that you get are similar to those that you get with ClickBank.
Which Affiliate Marketplace Program Should you go for?
Remember we are looking at this article from the point of view of the vendor or merchant. Affiliates, as already stated, have thousands of articles dedicated to the issue of affiliate marketing. So, which affiliate marketplace programs should vendors go for?
Do you Sell Physical or Digital Products?
This is the question that you need to ask yourself first. Personally, I exclusively sell digital downloads. If you check on this website now, you will discover that I sell Facebook Ads Marketing Courses, Google Ads Septup Plans and other products. So, where can I sell these types of products? Well, I have already mentioned that I am on Clickbank. This is one of the best platforms for those that are looking to sell digital products.
Here you will find thousands of affiliates who have experience selling items such as software and courses. RevenueWire is another platform that works great when it comes to selling digital products. In fact, RevenueWire specializes exclusively on digital products. Other platforms, such as CJ Affiliates, sell both physical and digital goods. If you go to CJ Affiliates today, you will discover that other than the physical goods, there are also merchants on there that sell downloads such as anti-malware products.
Top 9 affiliate marketing programs for vendors: Physical Goods
If you are into physical goods, then you will be able to find affiliates on platforms such as Rakuten and FlexOffers. You may also want to go with Amazon for physical goods. In fact, Amazon should probably be your first port of call when it comes to getting your goods onto the market. That’s because the platform plays host to thousands of associates, all of whom are on the hunt for products for sale on their sites. Indeed, if you are lucky, you may get people who create niche sites around your products on Amazon.
Can I use more than one affiliate program?
Yes, you can use more than 1 affiliate program to market your products. However, whether or not this is wise is debatable. Most people want to launch their affiliate marketing programs on multiple programs out of the belief that if they sign up with only one platform, they will miss out on affiliates. However, you don’t necessarily need to do this, unless you are a really big company. One of the things that you need to note is that you can actually bring people to an affiliate marketing program that you have signed up for.
If you are big enough, you may have an affiliate manager who is responsible for doing the recruitment. You will also note that a lot of the affiliates who are out there can be found on multiple platforms. So, you may decide that you want to join Rakuten to add to the number of affiliates that you were getting on CJ Affiliates, only to find that only the same people are applying to join your program!