How to make money with affiliate programs

Published : 07 Jan 2023   author : Irina

Earnings from affiliate programs can be up to $200,000 per month. Of course, one should not expect over-the-top success overnight, but with consistency and careful planning, this figure is quite achievable. Today you’ll learn how to make money with affiliate programs. Keep reading!

What is an affiliate program 

Affiliate programs are offered by advertisers and CPA networks and enable anyone to earn by promoting the services and goods of advertisers. In order to make money with affiliate programs a publisher (also called an “affiliate”) puts an affiliate link on websites, social media or paid ads and gets a commission every time a user performs a targeted action when clicking on their link. The conditions of promotion are described in an affiliate program (also called an “offer”).

An affiliate program contains the following information: 

  • the brand or company name of the advertiser 
  • the product or service to be promoted
  • geography of the audience (in which countries the offer can be promoted)
  • the targeted action of users, for which an advertiser pays a commission: purchase, subscription, registration, install
  • the amount of payout to the publisher
  • important metrics, such as eCPA, the average percentage of confirmations, CR (conversion rate), etc.
  • other information: forbidden and allowed sources of traffic, promo materials (if any).

For some programs there are certain requirements for the publishers, e.g. content mustn’t violate the laws of a particular country. Prohibition on fraud is a common condition for almost all affiliate programs. This is required due to the specifics of affiliate marketing: the goal is to drive sales/traffic, i.e. promote services and products to real users, and bots are useless for an advertiser.  

Types of affiliate programs

CPA (cost-per-action) 

Publishers get rewarded if the user has performed a specified targeted action on the advertiser’s website: completing the registration form, getting an email subscription, opening a brokerage account and replenishing it.

This type of offers is used by dating websites, brokerage and investment companies, and infobusiness services.

CPS (cost-per-sale)

The advertiser pays a commission only if the user who comes from a publisher has purchased a product or has paid for a service. This format is mostly used by online stores, companies that sell electronic products and software, gaming sites, casinos. 

This type of affiliate programs includes offers with a one-time payment and multiple payments. While in the former case, a publisher receives remuneration only from the first purchase of his user, in the latter one – from recurring customers too.

CPI (cost-per-install)

The advertiser pays a commission if the user downloaded and installed the application or software. This format is almost always used by app developers.

CPL (cost-per-lead)

With this format, the advertiser pays a publisher for bringing a lead. A lead is a potential client. A user is required to do a simple thing: register on the site, complete an application, provide their email or phone number. 

The difference between CPL and CPA is that in the former case, an advertiser gets a specific filled application or subscription with the necessary data, which means that the lead is most likely to be converted into a real client. In CPA model, a subscription or registration can be anonymous, which means that it is the fact of such action that is important, but not the potential client who is behind it. For example, participation in voting or visits to certain pages of the website by users. 

CPC (cost-per-click)

The advertiser pays to a publisher for each click on the banner. The effectiveness of advertising is evaluated by CTR (click-through ratio): the ratio of users who click on an affiliate link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. Now it’s a rather rarely used type of offers, because clicks do not guarantee purchase of a service, product, subscription or an install.

Keep in mind that sometimes the CPA model is indicated in the offer’s description even if the targeted action is a sale or bringing a potential client/lead. It’s due to the very essence of CPA which embraces all these targeted actions, as they are actions anyway.  

Where to look for affiliate programs?

You can search for offers by yourself, contacting every advertiser separately. You will have to compare the conditions of different programs and the level of payments browsing hundreds of websites, and then solve all technical issues by yourself. As a rule, you have to be ready to cooperate with the advertiser directly and in case of disputable situations on remuneration payment there is nobody to stand by your side. 

Working with a reputable CPA network, a publisher saves time because the network offers thousands of offers in different categories and guarantees that an affiliate will receive the earned money in full and will have access to offers from trusted advertisers. 

Well-known CPA networks, such as Indoleads, strictly monitor the quality of their offers, so a publisher doesn’t have to worry that in the end they will get less than they earned. All terms are transparent, and the amount of payout is the same as in the description of the offer.

In addition to that, becoming a publisher of Indoleads CPA network, an affiliate works with their personal manager who will always advise on how to promote a particular offer better. If you have any technical questions, you can contact a support team. After registration and moderation, an affiliate can choose offers from the catalog, compare them according to different parameters and connect in a couple of clicks. Affiliate links are available in the publisher’s personal account.

Where to promote affiliate products/services?

An affiliate link can be placed on numerous Internet sources.

  • Website and blog

You can place links on your own websites, but you can also place them on other people’s websites, as guest authors. 

  • Landings

A landing page is a one-page website set up with the purpose to increase conversions. It’s often created for each promoted affiliate product separately. Users get to the landing page in different ways: from a search engine result page, through a link in an email newsletter or through ads on social media.

  • Social networks

Social networks are a great source of traffic. Besides paid targeted ads, there are free ways of promoting links: in groups and communities. You can even create one by yourself. However, take into account the nuances of promotion on some network platforms: for example, on Instagram you can’t add an active link everywhere, so many bloggers use promo codes that replace links. 

  • Thematic forums

Now all forums are overflowing with promotional links, so moderators often delete such spam messages. In order to escape that so that your link will stay and the rest of forum members can follow it, you need to spend some time and try to be truly useful for the forum members: give good advice, share useful information. And only after your reputation will increase, you can start posting links.

  • Paid advertising

Teaser, contextual and targeted advertising are proven tools for making money with affiliate marketing. However, consider the ratio of advertising costs to the expected level of remuneration.

Strategies for working with affiliate marketing

Female hands writing notepad working computer

There are many earning strategies, and it’s impossible to single out any one. It all depends on your type of traffic, target audience and the amount of time you want to spend on it. But here are some tips which always work perfectly.  

Choose a relevant offer

If you already have a website with an active audience, choose affiliate programs that will be interesting to your users. A game offer might offer a high payout, but if there are no gamers among your audience, you will not be able to get any good out of it. Moreover, such advertising can look inorganic and break the whole concept of your content. 

Evaluate the profitability of the offer

In our catalog you can filter the offers by categories and find the right ones by keywords. Choose programs for which you have traffic or for which you can get traffic at a low price, otherwise the offer won’t be profitable. The perfect situation is when you find affiliate programs for popular services or products with high payouts, provided you have cheap or free traffic for them.

Evaluate the popularity of the product or service

It’s important to understand how popular the product is in the longer term. You can check the popularity of search engine queries with Wordstat and Google Trends. Both of these services show a history of queries, which allows you to determine how long a product or service has been attracting customers and whether interest has faded over time. It’s also useful to check reviews of arbitrageurs on specialized forums. 

Use email marketing

Email marketing is still very effective. Of course, with the development of algorithms of e-mail services, many advertising letters end up in spam, but you can get around this obstacle. You will need an address database, you can gather it using your website or you can buy one. This method can show excellent results in conjunction with other strategies.

Test different approaches 

Affiliate marketing is always about flexibility of approaches. You can join an affiliate program to test it with different sources of traffic. You can also try to run the same offers from different CPA networks, for example, Indoleads has numerous offers from other CPA-networks in addition to 2000+ in-house programs. You can compare the conditions for the same offers from different networks. Publishers’ experience proves that the same affiliate program from different networks can bring different profit levels.

Wrapping It Up

It’s absolutely feasible to build an income stream working with affiliate marketing. However as with any other type of online business it requires your time and persistence. The main advantage of affiliate marketing is that even without a considerable initial capital you can start making money. The affordability of building your own websites as well as an abundance of social networks allows you to get free or cheap traffic for the stable promotion of affiliate services and products.  

Choose offers that can resonate with your audience. At Indoleads all programs are broken down by niches and types of payment. We have advertisers from 182 countries and a personal manager for every publisher. Your affiliate marketing journey starts here!