Today, we’re doing a ShareASale review, we’re doing a full tutorial on the best affiliate marketing network. Now, if you’re not familiar, it is an affiliate marketplace that you can sign up for, and once you’re in that marketplace you can connect with thousands of different brands. And as an affiliate marketer, you can get paid a percentage or a flat rate commission based on the traffic and sales that you generate for those partners.
So, what you’re looking at on the image right now is a past revenue report. There are a couple of things I want to highlight here, but if you look at this it’s really strange. For some reason, it doesn’t work left or right it almost works right to left. So you can see that last December I made 3600$ on this platform and when I say made this is actually my commission this is not the revenue I generated for my partners. This is actually what I got to keep. So as you can see in the image, 18000$ in Feb and Mar. 29000$ in Apr, 30000$ in May, 25000$ in Jun, these are checks that they cut me each month.
In the down, you can see halfway through the year I’m at a hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars of earned income from this program. Now, I mentioned this for a few reasons: yes, I want to establish credibility, but what I also want to do throughout this article is give you a few tips throughout it on how you can actually earn more as an affiliate, so it’s not just a tutorial about share sale but little things that you can do to make sure that you’re increasing your revenue as an affiliate marketer.
The other reason I want to share this with you is in a little bit. I want to explain why this accelerated so quickly and things that you should be aware of because sometimes it may require a little bit of patience as an affiliate marketer. So a really quick kind of overview of a few things that I wanted to mention.
Main navigation in top and merchants, so what that is is that’s the company selling the product, the affiliate is the person who’s helping promote it and getting a commission for helping to create a sale. So, if you are a merchant looking into this video or read this article because you’re interested in signing up with ShareAsale you’re going to find this helpful because I’m going to show you what this tool looks like to the actual affiliate, and what it looks like for the people that you’re going to be partnering with so why don’t.
analyzing one merchant
I thought one of the easiest things with this tutorial is to start out on the most you know microscopic level. So just look at one brand, and then what we’ll do is start looking at how to search for brands and then how to find good opportunities for you as an affiliate marketer. Once you kind of start establishing a rapport on any of these platforms you’ll start having merchants reach out to you asking you to join their program. The reason for that is this merchant like “Nolah sleep”, can actually see the stats on my profile so their affiliate manager can look at it and say hey this guy’s in a legit affiliate why don’t we reach out to him and see if he can, you know, to help us get more sales and traffic to our site.
What I want to do is kind of break down looking at this specific program and things that you should be aware of. So, the first thing I look at is how much will they pay per sale, for example, 105$, that’s great! That is not everything. There are programs that might have 10 per sale that will actually earn you more income which we’ll discuss in a little bit.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you want to think about where your traffic is from, so maybe you like me have a blog, maybe you’re and you have a YouTube channel or several of them. Where is your traffic coming from? If you want to join the program you’d click on “Join Program” the blue button. You can obviously save it to your favorites as well but I always do more analysis before I ever join a program because I want to make sure I’m not wasting my time by trying to send traffic to this partner.
power rank, EPC
The first thing you want to look at is the power rank, so this particular one they have a power rank of 78. That’s actually really good because there are thousands of different merchants as they’re called that is on this service with Sheriff’s ill, and this means that they are the 78th best merchant. On the platform, this is simply how many commissions have they paid out month to month, so they are the 78th highest paying merchant on this platform.
Now, another interesting metric that I like to look at is the EPC metric. If you’re not familiar with what stands for earnings per click, now this is something that’s different from one platform to the next. On ShareASale affiliate, they do this based on 100 clicks, so a way to think of that is on average if I was to send one-click to this merchant, it would really be worth 2.43$. If I sent them 100 clicks would be worth 243$.
The EPC metric is nice because what it does is it uses not only the commissions that they pay out which start at 105$.
If I’m being frank and this particular program is lower, but that is not surprising because when somebody’s buying a thousand-dollar mattress your conversion rates are going to be lower as opposed to I don’t know. Your conversion rates would be very high because it’s not a big purchase so these are all things that I’m looking at last transaction today. You know, it’s just kind of reassuring that they’re still running transactions
This one’s a really powerful 180-day cookie length right what that means is if I were to join this program and create a link the link that I would create if you clicked it and bought you know that mattress 170 days from now I still get credit for that so going back to “Image-1” one of the things I talked about is like why the ramp-up there’s a few reasons one of them is as you start to send more traffic sometimes.
There are referral windows that are 30, 60, and 180 I’ve even seen referral windows that are 10 years long! So that is why when you’re an affiliate marketer you’re really like starting with a little tiny snowball, and you’re adding to it, and you’re adding to it and what you want to do is you want to push that thing around the yard, and then you want to find a hill and push that snowball down the hill and as you can imagine as that snowball goes down the hill the momentum of the snowball actually picks up more snow and the ball gets larger so to me that is very similar to affiliate marketing is when you start creating content, and you’re putting the effort out there and especially if you’re making evergreen content.
Evergreen content is this video that you’re watching this video will get views for years to come because it is a helpful video that delivers value to you the viewer and with that, it will continue to earn income for me which I’ll actually get to later in this video because there’s a way that we can help both each other out.
One of the things that I always like to look at too is status history now this is really important, and I’m going to explain why.
what you’re looking at here is a perfect status history they have been online for 365 of the last 365 days so that means they’ve been offline zero-days, and they’ve had low funds zero-days, low funds is exactly what you think it would be sometimes their funds dip down to a certain level that they can’t pay out their affiliates on time, so then they will kind of get a negative score here so let me show you an example of this.
Where this kind of hits my head because I didn’t do research on this I got in touch with a company which I will keep off of here I’ll blur them out I don’t want to disparage them, but basically, I did this like really comprehensive review video for them and I ended up sending them traffic, and I was really surprised because like none of it was converting and what ended up happening is they were going offline quite a bit, and it was an inventory problem they actually didn’t have enough inventory for all the sales that they were making, so they just dropped their affiliate program which means I didn’t make any income with that program!
So looking at the status history is important because you want to just see a big green bar at the top and then a tiny bar here with zero-day zero-days beneath. It’s an excellent way to just verify is this an advertiser or on ShareAsale. They call it a merchant that has money and pays it out on time. Really simple!
I promised that I would be giving you tips on how to increase your revenue as an affiliate one of the things that I recommend is looking at coupons and deals.
So in this particular case, it looks like they have two different deals that are happening um free shipping and returns in all orders I think that’s something that they do naturally, so I wouldn’t necessarily look at that take 700 off the evolution 15-inch hybrid mattress and two free pillows so that’s a pretty cool one right there now the reason that I like these coupons are sometimes when people are landing on your blog or YouTube video or whatever it may be, and you say hey you know use my link I appreciate it, it’s an affiliate link and I’ll earn a commission they’re like whatever like some people want to help you out some people don’t, but we’re all a little selfish right.
And if I wish to give you that same pitch and say hey use my link because you could potentially get 700 off of your mattress even in a situation where you’re being paid a commission, yes your commission per sale might be a little lower because the actual order volume is lower you’re going to send so much more traffic because of that, and you’re going to earn more money but in this particular program they’re actually doing a flat per sale, so I’m not even getting pinched on my commission by offering a discount or a coupon to my audience, and I’m going to be able to send more traffic.
So a gain that is another way that you can start figuring out these platforms and services and how to increase your revenue now I know this is a lot to digest as I’m going through this but everything that I’m giving you is intentional to help you fast track your success as an affiliate marketer on this specific program.
Avg Sale & Commission
Now you might see that the average sale is 1500$ roughly so that’s the actual gross revenue and your average commission is 132$. but, you’re like wait a minute I thought it was 105$ per sale!
So again this is where you can start to analyze the affiliate offer a bit better and see what’s going on here so merchant description says 105 to 205 dollars per sale. So, if you go down one of the things you’ll see is that they have what’s called a tiered payout system.
And again I got another tip for coming for you right here that’s going to be super helpful for you so what we can see here is they have what looks like five different tiers and if you can get up to doing 20 sales per month you’re going to make 200 per sale, so they will almost double your commission based on the number of sales that you’re generating each month.
now what this tells me is at the beginning at 105 there’s still a lot of room for negotiation here and a little tip that I picked up from somebody is that a lot of times what they do is they have these five-tiered programs, and they start you off in the lowest tier, but they may automatically jump you up to the second tier like they’re doing you a favor.
but sometimes they won’t so if I were joining this program I might tell them: hi, look I do video reviews this is a lot of work upfront for me if you guys can start me off at the 150 tier no matter the number of sales I’m sending to you, I’d love to do a review of this product for you and a lot of times too they’ll send you the product for free once you have a bit of an audience or a following or at least a case study that you can point to that you can generate sales.
This is something really powerful because if they say yes to that immediately you’re going to be making 50 more income from this program than if you had never asked at all so like many things in life you get what you ask for so a lot of times I do it politely but I just kind of make my case for why I’d like to start up in a higher tier and my guess is in this particular program if I did this they would either give it to me or they would say hey why don’t we meet in the middle at 125 again a 25 increase in your potential earnings on this program just by writing a quick email.
In-House vs Affiliate Agency
Now if you look at the bottom page they actually have the affiliate manager’s email address. Here, something worth highlighting with these programs is typically running in two ways. One of the ways is they have an in-house affiliate manager so that means hopefully I’m saying this right Nolah they’d have a person on staff who is managing the affiliate program. What I have found though most of the time is they outsource that duty to an affiliate agency?
Now, this is advantageous to know because the way that that relationship works is most times that affiliate agency is paid a commission on all sales that they generate for managing the program, so it may be something like 30% of all sales so in this particular case, what that would mean? is that an average sale of 100 or 1508 dollars that for each sale they would be generating 450 of gross commissions, but then they’re going to split that with the affiliates the people you and me right.
So, that is why they have this kind of 200 to 105 dollar payout right here, so the affiliate agency usually is taking off the top of the commission, but that is good to know because let’s say hypothetically they are making on average 450 dollars it’s not that big of an ass to say hey instead of getting 105 dollars can I get 150 of that.
So it starts to kind of give you an idea of who you’re dealing with and that’s why it’s worth making that ask when you’re trying to negotiate because you’re instantly going to be making more money. If you hadn’t asked at all cool other little feature you can see this one. They have a couple of bonuses so if you make a sale in the first 30 days 100 first 10 sales within 30 days you get a thousand dollars. So cool extra ways to make money Now I am going to get into the actual marketplace and how you can search for affiliate programs that could be a good fit for you, but before we do that one thing I want to make mention of is to take a look at what their refund policy.
Nolah is actually an excellent merchant to talk about with this because most of these mattress-in-box companies have really long refund policies.
And what you can see up is they have a 120 night trial, so I mentioned this again because you need a bit of patience as an affiliate marketer especially with this program if you make a sale you’re not going to be paid out tomorrow it’s usually about a 30-day waiting period before you get a commission but in this particular case they’re not going to give you a commission on a mattress that could potentially get returned they’re going to pay out maybe 450$ of commissions between you and the affiliate agency and then have a mattress returned and be 450$ in the hole.
They’re not going to do that, so one of two things will usually happen one is they may just make you wait, so you’re going to have 120 day waiting period before you’re actually going to get paid for that commission, or they may have reversals so let’s say that on average you’re doing 10 sales per month but 1 out of 10 sales always ends up returning it you may see a reversal in your account that’s why that’s happening it just depends on how the program is set up.
So again going to this graphic “image1”, I want to mention this in terms of that referral window of 120 days let’s say that in December I made a ton of Nolah bed review videos, and I was sending them traffic like crazy and a lot of the people were actually purchasing in January well really I may not see those sails until June or May. so that is sometimes too why you have this kind of like increase in sales over time and I mentioned this because as an affiliate marketer it’s important that you have patience if you’re doing something that is more search engine optimized, so you’re making content for a blog or videos it’s not going to work out the gates like it’s something that has a crawl to it, but I love it because it has that snowball effect where things have momentum, and you’re able to generate cash over time.
Finding Good Merchants
What I want to look at now is how do you find good merchants to work with, we really analyzed a merchant in-depth looking at just one, so what we’re looking at under the “merchant’s report” and a search for merchants, and I’m doing this based on the filter of power rank, so we already talked about what power rank. If so this is going to list out some of the best affiliates based on who is paying out the most money each month.
Now, The first merchant in the search result, honestly I think there might be something kind of screwball going with that the EPC is just like through the roof ridiculous but do know that this isn’t based on like per sale this is based on total volume. so that’s why you can go to the second merchant (Cricut ) in the search result if you’re not familiar that’s like looks like a little printer that you can make like vinyl designs on and stuff like that they have a much lower EPC but number two power rank and the reason for that is they’re probably creating so many sales each month on the platform.
So I want to take a look at the Cricut merchant because I think there are a couple of things that we can check out with this one, this particular one they pay on a percentage, so the other one was 105 flat rate that kind of went up based on a tiered commission structure so again what I’m looking at here is they have a much higher conversion rate it’s got to be probably four or five times higher than what we were looking at on the “Nolah sleep” one which makes sense this is like a two, three hundred dollar device where a bed might be two thousand dollars so that’s why you see that.
but you also see a shorter cookie window because people click the link, and they tend to purchase much quicker they know they don’t need to offer a 180-day window, so you can start to see how these numbers fluctuate quite a bit and the average commission is so much lower but at the same time with this program, people are searching it out so much and that there’s so much opportunity here because you can have a high amount of traffic but maybe perhaps less per sale
But another thing I want to show you again is merchant description scrolls down, and you can see right here commission rate earn up to 25$ commission so that right there tells me they’re starting with 12$, but you can more than double that. So again, if I was applying to this program and this one’s managed by acceleration partners I may ask for 18 out of the gates because why not it’s worth asking. They’re not going to get mad at you, they’re just going to say no, or sure.
PPC Rules Explained
One of the things I found interesting with this particular one though is if you click on PPC keyword rules”, some merchants have a bunch of rules, so most of the programs will spell this out for you and basically what they’re doing here, if you’re not familiar with PPC, basically like you could buy Google Ads or something like that.
So, if somebody’s searching for a like coupon like you buy an ad you show up they will not allow this and don’t bother trying it because what they can do on their end is they can actually see where all the traffic is coming from. So, a red flag is going to be tripped right away that this person is actually bidding on our keywords they’re going to reach out and either immediately close you out of the program which is going to make you look bad across the entire affiliate marketplace.
your reputation does matter a lot when you’re using these marketplaces so make sure that you’re keeping that intact so really quick too we’ll look at the status history just to make sure it’s good! That looks good? So you can kind of look at these things really quickly once you understand what these reports mean.
Researching Affiliate Potential
and then in my particular case what I do is I create YouTube videos a lot of times I’ll do reviews. So, if we go to YouTube and search for reviews of Merchant Cricut’s products, you will find a lot of different videos that got 960 000 views, 219 000 views, 92 000 views, 17 000 views, 458 000 views, If you click on these videos, you will definitely see in the video description the affiliate link for this product from ShareASale affiliate. Most of these videos have received an average of 220,000 views within a year, meaning that their earnings from this one video will be approximately $20,000.
One of the things I would have done differently is I probably would have used a branded link one of the tools I use for that is called genius link, what you could do then is it could say like example.com/cricut. Then what I like to do is also like to track the specific links, so I would use a different link for each of these and be able to track them. and the reason for that is when we look at the actual link structure a lot of times what would happen at the end is they might have something that looks like “afftrack=fff”, and then there’s a little code(after the equal). That you can put in that helps you track your links.
ShareASale itself has an affiliate program for itself I know it’s kind of confusing, but basically, I signed up as an affiliate of theirs
Making a custom link and what that looks like and specifically what I’m talking about is a link that you can track, so I’m going to click on “Get Links” button because I’ve already been approved for this program. And then a new window will appear at the top. You can copy the link quickly, or go to the bottom of the page and customize your link so that you can easily track it. so what I would do in this particular case is I would probably put in something like “tutorial” at the end of the link because that’s what this video or article piece of content is about.