Even if you understand all the technical aspects of starting an affiliate website, and understand how to get traffic to the site, something many affiliates struggle with is choosing an offer. There are thousands of merchants waiting for you to partner with them and to have you start promoting their products or services. I asked a handful of successful affiliates how they choose an offer to promote:

Tricia MeyerBecause I am personally in a key demographic, I start by looking for an offer that I would be interested in myself. I find it easier to promote something if I either already know a little bit about it or find the product interesting. It also gives me an opportunity to leverage my existing databases to jumpstart conversions without relying on search or ads. I look for something that is seasonally applicable but not less than a month. I tend to promote offers with strong brand recognition or, alternately, a low enough price point that women will try it even if the brand is unknown. ~Tricia Meyer

Logan ThompsonThere are a few main things I look for.  The first is the commission rate and average commission per sale.  I don’t really want to be promoting offers that aren’t going to pay out much.  Next I’ll look at the merchants site and see if there are any obvious leaks such as huge phone numbers or Google Adsense listed on their site.  I’ll also take into consideration who manages the program and if I’ve worked with them in the past on other offers.  Once I get a few potential offers, I’ll do a bit of research to see if there is even a demand as well as look at the competition to see if its worth competing. ~Logan Thompson

James SeligmanWhen choosing a cps offer I look for something I can build for the long term. One of the things I look at is how long the merchant has been active, that will definitely tell me the sustainability of the offer. For me building long term sites is the way to go. The other thing can I make a micro-niche offer within the program, for a way out example, if it’s a sock offer, can I make a striped sock niche site and make it work. ~James Seligman

Personally, when choosing a new CPS offer, I like to look for merchants who do a lot of the pre-selling. Typically, these are As Seen on TV products or those running national TV or radio ads. For example, sit4less.com is sponsoring NPR, and I hear their ads every day. Their affiliate program is run on ShareASale.

Another product I’ve seen advertised quite a bit has been the Smart Mop, running 30-second TV commercials with infomercial spokesman Anthony Sullivan. Head over to Offerbuzz on Affbuzz and you’ll see you can run this offer on two different networks (paying $6 and $10). Searching through the CJ product catalog, you’ll find there are dozens of merchants selling this product (mostly for $14.99; commissions ranging from 2-10%).

Smart Mop

Smart Mop results on CJ

There’s good and bad when promoting these products. If you want a good payout, you have to go to a CPA network, but you’ll run into tracking issues. If you want reliable tracking with a CPS network, you’ll end up with smaller payouts.

My favorite offers to promote are services, as the user can’t drive to Wal-Mart and buy offline. Those with monthly residuals are great once you have established revenue streams from other offers (monthly residuals start off really slow, but then snowball and the checks just keep coming in). Other services will pay a huge percentage of the monthly (sometimes up to 700%)

While these are some ideas on what to look for when choosing a CPS offer to promote, there are many other schools of thought. Anyone care to comment on what’s worked for you?


7 Comments » for How to Choose an Affiliate Offer to Promote
  1. Tricia Meyer says:

    Thanks for including me! I love that we all focused on different but equally valid considerations. I wouldn’t disagree with a single thing that any of you said!

  2. Adam Riemer says:

    I always look at the landing pages for the products. I then check out well known adware companies and see if they are partnered with them as well as parasite/adware Affiliates. I then go through the shopping process to see if they have a coupon code box in the checkout process. Then I search theirdomain.com plus coupons and see if they allow coupon sites or not. Because my sites are content driven I want to know the potential lost sales I may have before I work with them. The actual commission isn’t as important to me as if I think it can convert or not for my traffic. I make more off a .25 lead than a $3.00 lead for one of my niches. It is all about what sales I may lose due to a coupon code box in the shopping cart, parasites, leaks, landing page design and other Affiliates. Merchant life on a single network is also very important and so is auto deposit so I have a better chance of getting paid without them pulling last minute. I also rarely ever promote merchants on multiple networks. Too flakey.

    • Eric Nagel says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Adam. Interesting view on merchants on multiple networks. Some merchants may fear paying twice, but you’re saying as an affiliate, we should fear the tracking canceling each other out, and getting no payment. I’d love to talk to you more about this.

      • Adam Riemer says:

        You know my number lol.

        1. If they are on multiple networks because they want “Access to all Affiliates” then they obviously don’t get how this industry works. It is their job to reach out to sites and bring them to their program. It shows laziness or that they won’t put the effort in to recruit so why would they help if there is an issue.

        2. If you joined them on SAS when they were exclusive because you felt like your commissions would be safer with less chance of adware, loyaltyware, reminderware, couponware, etc… overwriting it, then you now have to worry as other networks are much less protective of non adware Affiliates. That new network will overwrite yours because they joined that new network to let the bad players in that SAS wouldn’t allow.

        3. If you are a coupon site you may find it difficult to keep track of which coupons are on which network or which commission you get with each. If you have to include your own Affiliate ID but one coupon is exclusive to a certain network and only tracks through that one (A newer trend and technology), or the commission only occurs to one network because they got it exclusive and the Merchant will overwrite it then you can get confused and lose commissions.

        I’m half asleep so those are bad examples but you get what I am saying.

  3. Joe Sousa says:

    Two of the first things I look for are how many people are searching for this particular product and what kind of competition is there. If those numbers work out then I look for merchants and start looking at the stuff that Logan, Tricia, and James mentioned or a combination of those.

    For every site there are different things I will look at. I have no problem promoting something with a low commission if the conversion and volume are there and it is easy to get a sale. But I don’t want to waste time building a site if I am only gonna get one or to conversions a month for $1 each. But for other sites and products I would be happy with a couple conversions if they payouts were in the $40-50 range or so. Pretty much if I can make $50-100 a month on a niche site I would be happy with that.

  4. Dino says:

    CPA is the way to go in my opinion!

    Great post by the way, interesting aspects from each side.

  5. Great post Eric. I agree that I like to promote services as well, or at least products that aren’t generally available in stores. If they are only available to order online it definitely helps with conversions.

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