Depending on the network, you may also need to pay setup costs. This covers the cost of integrating you to the network and testing tracking etc. Start-up fees can range from nothing to over $5,000. I have been asked for $30,000 before and, obviously, I never started with that network. This cost is often negotiable when you discuss contracts with the network, but it is worth noting when considering the start-up costs.
These issues have not seen much discussion within the online marketing community, certainly not as much as SEO, content marketing, PPC and other marketing channels. We read online that many companies over the past decade have relied on affiliates to produce sales for their brands. We also read that affiliate marketing has continued to grow, and the most recent figures on the industry from research conducted by the IAB concluded that $16.5 billion worth of sales was driven by the affiliate channel, while advertisers spent $1.1 billion on affiliate marketing in 2014, 8% more than in 2013.
Now that you’ve decided on a niche and affiliate network, you probably have a good idea of the products you’re going to feature on your affiliate site. Before you go on a publishing spree, make sure you create a workable strategy and put it on writing. This doesn’t have to be perfect, since you can adjust it as you go along, but it makes a whole lot of difference if you follow some sort of guide.
As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (e.g. fly fishing) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches. Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. This way you'll be able to know which products your audience are responding to and which ones aren't generating any profits for your business. This is especially important if you are investing into paid advertising to drive traffic and promote products as an affiliate...
This is not the perfect affiliate marketing strategy, but it’s the perfect method to buy yourself a bit of time. It helps you understand if your strategy and your product can work out by testing and putting affiliates to work, without any financial risk. Affiliate marketing is not a “set it and forget it” type of business. It’s a continuous optimization work, and this strategy gives you the tools to do just that. Optimize for success.