How to Choose an Affiliate Program to Promote

One of the most common ways people make money over the internet is via affiliate marketing. In fact, there is no shortage of affiliate programs out there to choose from. From physical goods to digital courses teaching people a variety of skills, you name it, you can find it – an affiliate program for it.

Sometimes, you can even get lost in the myriad of sales pages, sales elements. One offer seems to be better than the next. After you know it, many hours have gone by and you have yet to decide on which affiliate program to promote.

However, not all affiliate programs are created equal. I have personally learnt this lesson early on in being an affiliate marketer. Not all affiliate offers convert equally well. But also, not all affiliate programs may make you money. In fact, some may even scam you of the commissions you make by not paying it out to you.

After a good 3 years in affiliate marketing, I am crystallizing my selection criteria of affiliate programs and sharing it with you. Hopefully, you will be able to avoid some heartaches and build a stable affiliate business soon.

Criteria #1 – Direct Niche Focus

There are many ways to get traffic for affiliate marketing. Be it via paid traffic, blog SEO, or email marketing, it is important to select an affiliate offer that is relevant to the niche. Well, that’s not to say that irrelevant offers will never ever convert. But if your affiliate offer is relevant, it will definitely convert a great deal BETTER. Hence, selecting a relevant offer will drastically increase your chances of success in affiliate marketing.

Criteria #2 – The Affiliate Program has a History of Timely Payment to its Affiliates

If you are building your affiliate marketing venture as a business, then it is important to know if you will be getting payment for your efforts. As such, due diligence is important to check on whether the affiliate program pays out the affiliate commissions on time.

Typically, the big affiliate networks like clickbank or amazon affiliate program would be reliable enough to ensure timely payment. However, when promoting for smaller scale affiliate networks, or even private affiliate programs, you need to do your due diligence.

You can read or ask about the affiliate programs on forums. Alternatively, ask for opinions if you know of other affiliate marketers who are promoting in the same niche. Get enough data points and you will be able to piece together a picture whether the affiliate programs are good to go.

Criteria #3 – Affiliate Commission Rates

Different affiliate programs give different commission rates to affiliates. Some can be as high as 100%, while some can be as low as less than 1% of the product price. Typically, physical products tend to have lower commission rates, while digital products like courses will then to give more favourable affiliate commission rates.

This is an important criteria to note when looking at affiliate programs. That’s because even within the same niche the affiliate commission rates could be vastly different.

Criteria #4 – Wide Selection of Promotional Methods

An affiliate program that is truly invested in the success of its affiliates give their affiliates a lot of latitude in deciding how to promote their offers. Granted, there will be some industry standard restrictions for new affiliates. However, by and large you should be given a range of choices in the method of how you want to promote the offer.

You should always read their affiliate agreement terms and conditions. If you find the clauses overly strict regards how you should or should not promote them, you may want to look for another affiliate program.

Criteria #5 – Selection of Promotional Materials

Some of the most hardworking product creators have 10-12 email swipes, 20 ad banners in various sizes, facebook ad creatives, and a whole list of search engine keywords you can target. However, this is unfortunately not the norm.

When you look at an affiliate offer, look through the affiliate tools and resources. With a good selection of promotional materials, affiliates do not need to work that hard to create them. This makes it easier for affiliates to succeed.

At the same time, you will also want to have the freedom to create new promotional materials should the need for it appears.


As you can tell, not all affiliate programs are created equal. I hope this article has given you a framework to select one which gives you a higher chance of success. Our next article will be about some of the well-paying private affiliate programs in the personal development a.k.a self-help niche. So stay tuned!

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