As an affiliate marketer you want to find the highest paying affiliate programs that best align with your audience.
Who has the best affiliate programs? You of course have Amazon, the 800 lb. gorilla with something for everyone. Amazon Associates is free to join and converts very well. But with average commission rates of 3% — not exactly a high paying affiliate program. You will need to get quite a bit of traffic to do well.
Amazon is a rapidly evolving company that has, and will continue to, change policies on a dime.
This was certainly a timely warning in the initial version of this article. Amazon has lowered its commission rates across the board. Most products are now in the 3% commission category. Where there used to be many in the 6% – 8% category. That’s an over 50% cut in affiliate commissions.
The good news is that there is a huge world or high paying affiliate programs beyond Amazon. Lets look at the best affiliate programs available for your niche.
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs and Networks
There are many great affiliate programs to choose from that are perfect for beginners and experts alike. There are so many high-paying offers for you to represent as an affiliate marketer beyond Amazon. These include direct programs and networks or affiliate platforms…
- Affiliate Networks like ShareASale and ClickBank
- Direct programs like Target and eBay
- Recurring commission programs
- High Paying & High Ticket programs
See our article on most profitable niches!
1– DIRECT AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Rather than use an affiliate network like ShareASale or ClickBank, many companies run their own in-house affiliate programs. These can be some of the best affiliate programs … and the highest paying. Having an in-house affiliate team shows a commitment to the affiliate channel. When a company creates a technology platform and has affiliate management staff they are making a substantial investment in affiliate marketing.
The list below is our collection of the best affiliate programs run directly by the product companies. They cover a number of niches … this is a good place to look for the most popular products for your visitors.
Amazon Affiliate Program — King of the Hill but short cookie lifetime
BestBuy Review — Sometimes a good Amazon replacement.
DJI Affiliate Program Review — Drones are hot. DJI leads the market
Expedia Affiliate Program — #1 Travel Booking Company
Booking.com Affiliate Program — The other big travel company
Target Affiliate Program — #2 US Retailer
Walmart Affiliate Program — #1 US Retailer
Sephora Program Review — Everyone loves makeup and it’s evergreen.
Ulta Affiliate Program Review — Makeup Makeup Makeup
Chewy Affiliate Program — Our pets can be more loyal than humans as can be their owners.
Bluehost Program Review — One of the most popular affiliate programs
LiquidWeb Program Review — Big pay from this higher end server program.
Flipkart — Monetize your traffic from India.
Adidas Affiliate Program — Partner with this sportswear giant.
Apple Affiliate Program — iTunes commissions.
Ikea Affiliate Program — To be or not to be
Twitch Affiliate Programs — Gaming Broadcasting and Platform King
Ebay Partner Network — Make money with auctions.
WP Engine Program Review — $200 per new customer!
HubSpot Review — Up to $1,000 commissions.
SkyScanner — CPI for app
Shopify Affiliate Review — Programs for affiliate and shopkeepers.
Hostgator Affiliate Review — Popular hosting for new websites.
Wix Affiliate Review — Sell hosting for hands off owners.
Teachable Program — Catch the courseware wave.
MailChimp Affiliate Program — Just peanuts here.
Get Response Affiliate Program — Popular email service provide for affiliates.
Etsy Affiliate – Handmade wonders
Airbnb Affiliate Program — Two ways to earn
Nike Affiliate – King of brands.
Grammarly Affiliate Program — Be a better writer and earn too
ColourPop Affiliate Program — Cosmetics sell.
Wayfair Affiliate — Home and garden commissions.
Google Affiliate Program — Making money with G-Suite
Microsoft Affiliate Program — King of PCs
2– DIGITAL PRODUCT AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Digital products are a unique market and have some of the best affiliate programs. These are downloadable offerings like, plugins & themes, Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, training and memberships, etc. They are particular popular in the Health & Nutrition, Internet Marketing and Make Money Online (MMO) niches. But most niches will have digital products that are appropriate. For instance one of the best selling products on ClickBank is Ted’s Woodworking, a woodworking plans and resource product.
These are some of the highest paying affiliate programs from a percentage standpoint. Typically 30% – 50% of the selling price. You want to do an extra good job of vetting these products. Many are low-quality or not appropriate for your niche.
Here are the three big affiliate marketing companies in this space …
ClickBank is known by most affiliate marketers and digital product creators. Like JVZoo, Warrior Plus, and 2Checkout they specialize in digital products. You do need to be careful with ClickBank as many of the offers are of lower quality.
ClickBank specializes in affiliate programs for info products with health, dating and self-improvement being popular offers. Many affiliates use email, solo ads and similar marketing methods to promote these products.
Though ClickBank is free for affiliates there is a $75 charge to list products on the network
- Millions of products
- Free for affiliates and &75 for content owners to join
- Many products are 40%+ commissions
- Over 200 million customers
- Join ClickBank
JVZoo is very similar to ClickBank. They offer primarily digital products including, software, info-products, and ebooks. They have been largely passed by ClickBank but still have many strong products and fewer junk products than JVZoo.
Unlike ClickBank each program approves you individually. A great feature is instant payouts from vendors that approve you. Unlike ClickBank JV Zoo is free for both affiliates and product creators. This makes it a great place to launch your first digital product.
- Info and other digital products
- Free to join for both affiliates and creators
- High paying 40% commissions
- Instant payments for successful affiliates
- Signup for JVZoo
Warrior+Plus is a specialized network that focuses on digital products and almost all in the Make Money Online (MMO) space. They make it very easy to join and very easy to launch a new product if you want to try your hand as a product creator.
A downside to the ease of product launch though is that many of the products are not the highest quality. To help find better products many affiliates focus the program search tool on the refund rate first; then sales, conversion rate and commission amount.
- MMO products
- Free for both affiliates and content owners
- Great for newbies
- Good for solo ads and email marketers
- Warrior+Plus signup
3– TOP AFFILIATE NETWORKS
In addition to the digital product affiliate networks in the previous section, there are many affiliate platforms for other product types. Rather than creating free-standing affiliate programs, many product owners will join an affiliate marketing network. Affiliate marketing companies like ShareASale, CJ (Commission Junction) etc. manages affiliate programs on their systems for many companies. They will typically take a percentage of each sale as their payment from the merchants. Some merchants will join multiple affiliate networks.
For marketers you can find some of the best affiliate programs all in one platform. Rather than 10 accounts from individual affiliate programs, an affiliate network or marketplace gives you one dashboard to manage all 10 affiliate programs. You also can find new listings in your niche for fresh product offers.
Here are the best affiliate networks for 2020 …
2Checkout specializes in digital products much like ClickBank and JVZoo, They work as a payment processing system for your digital product and have an associated affiliate community to help sell your downloadable product. Most products sols are software or SaaS (software as a Service)
- 87 currencies and 15 languages
- Mobile responsive checkout
- Advanced fraud detection
Affiliaxe is an interesting example of specialization. In this case they target “super affiliates” and experienced marketers.
They have over 700 offers in some of the most profitable niches. There offers are clustered in niches such as: Dieting, Health & Wellness, and Entertainment.
This network is particularly good for those with huge email lists and a history of successful affiliate sales. You won’t be just another affiliate as you might be at a network like ShareASale for instance. On the other hand some smaller affiliates have commented that it is difficult to get approved.
- Nice Dashboard
- PayPal, Payoneer, Check payments
- Best for larger affiliates
Robust and mature affiliate network with over 10 year track record. They have a nice concentration of outdoor and sporting products to offer visitors. Based on Park City Utah they provide a cool automatic link encoder to create a link when you mention a certain website, or a certain keyword. So if you want to link to the affiliate merchant website whenever you mention the company name in any article, just add the company name as a keyword — nice.
- Automatic linking
- Sell ads to affiliate merchants
- View program details before joining
- App market and affiliate API
Awin was formerly known as Affiliate Window. The away affiliate program is not free to join. They have a $5 fee to apply which is a bit unusual but you get it credited to your new account when approved. They have over 100,000 programs in niches from fashion and travel to beauty and business. They are very helpful for newer affiliates with easy approval and lots of tutorials and other helpful marketing materials
- Great Dashboard
- Newbie Friendly
- Not Free, $5 fee credited to your account.
CJ was formerly known as Commission Junction. They are similar to Rakuten, and ShareASale. It is really a matter of who has the best products for you and which advertisers will accept you. CJ is one of the larger programs so there are many offers to choose from. They provide many types of performance marketing programs including : CPA, CPL, CPS, CPC. They have some great merchants including: Booking.com, Cheapoair, As Seen on TV.
- Publisher toolbox full of tools to help your track your earnings
- Deep Link generation
- Customizable merchant widgets
FlexOffers represents is the affiliate program of choice for many national retailers including: Travelocity, Macy’s, IHG, Nike and more. . They have mainly Cost per Sale programs where you earn a commission when your referred visitor purchase. They also have some Cost per Action programs where you are paid for free trials or email signups. They are a bit fussier with the approval process. You will need to verify both your website and a mobile number. FlexOffers has some powerful brands for you to consider for your affiliate marketing portfolio.
- 12,000+ advertisers
- Strong Brands
- Good support and dashboard
Impact has a strong affiliate program. They were founded in 2008 by former Commission Junction employees. They place a strong emphasis on campaign testing and optimization. They have a great dashboard and many high profile merchants. they are not the fastest at approving you and do have a phone verification step.
- Both marketplace and direct merchants
- Many exclusive brands
MarketHealth specializes in health and beauty products, including over 200 that they manufacture themselves. They support over 100 countries and many of the promotions are available in local languages. Many of the programs offer recurring commission
If you are selling in health and beauty this is a must have network in your portfolio.
- Third party and original products
- Great dashboard and managers
- Custom offers
These programs are also typical high-paying so you can look at more aggressive traffic strategies.
- Bella Labs Teeth Whitening
- HGH Energizer
- Idol Lash
- Pet Vitamins
MaxBounty is CPA network — advertisers pay for a specific action.
They offer CPA, CPL and mobile. Their niche strengths include market research, diet, dating, and real estate. Commission may be paid from a sale, form submission, download, or any other action performed by the referral.
- Weekly Payments
- Over 2000 active campaigns
- Performance Bonuses
MoreNiche is not the biggest program and don’t have as many products to choose from as other programs. This is not a bad thing. Their products are really strong and they typically pay 30%-40%.
The advantage of a smaller network like MoreNiche is that they give their affiliates personal attention. Helping with everything from SEO advice to website audits, and help with conversions. They even hold mastermind events.
- Close team relationship
- 30%-40% commissions
- Strong Products
PepperJam wants to do things differently. Publishers and advertisers can directly communicate with affiliates being potentially offered personalized incentives. They have strong brands like Nordstrum, Retailmenot and Shutterfly. You can create a deep link for any advertiser using the Pepperjam Link Generator,. The Link Generator is attached to your bookmark bar on your web browser.
- Deep Linking
- Strong products
- Great dashboard and support
Rakuten used to be known as LinkShare. They have been around since the late 90’s. Not as big as others with approximately 1900 advertisers. The offers are grouped by category for easy discovery.
They have a good mix of products with both large brands like Dior and trending companies in tech like TextNow.
ShareASale has a good mix of physical product companies and services. They have many household names in their merchant portfolio including …
- Checks Unlimited
- Eastern Mountain Sports
- NFL Shop
- WP Engine
TradeDoubler has over 2,000 publishers and over 180,000 publishers. They are a very strong affiliate network with a large concentration of European based products. They support many types of affiliates including coupon and comparison sites.
- Strong European presence
- Coupon sites ok
- 15 European offices
4– AFFILIATE PROGRAM INDUSTRY/NICHE COLLECTIONS
High paying isn’t the only factor. You want the best and most relevant products for your audience. To easily find the best affiliate programs for YOUR blog or affiliate site we have created reviews of affiliate programs organized by niche …
Dating Affiliate Programs — Ever-popular & evergreen. We all need love. Top dating programs include …
- Ashley Madison
- Christian Mingle
- more ...
Fashion Affiliate Programs -- Fashion changes with the season. Top programs include ...
- Neiman Marcus
- more …
Affiliate Programs for Bloggers -- Earn Don't Churn
Bloggers have to be particularly careful of matching their affiliate offers to their audience. You have gained their trust through lots of hard work -- one bad offer can have them leave the fold.
- ClickBank (be careful)
- more …
Travel Affiliate Programs -- Always evergreen and lots of sub-niches ...
- more …
SEO Affiliate Programs -- Competitive but a good earner. There are lots of recurring affiliate programs in this group ...
- Long Tail Pro
- SEO Powersuite
- more …
Email Marketing Service Programs — Recurring commissions and big bounties. There are many email affiliate programs to consider …
- Constant Contact
- more …
Hosting Affiliate Programs -- Big money, a bit competitive, but worth staking your ground. Everyone needs hosting and every hosting company has an affiliate program ...
- A2 Hosting
- WPX Hosting
- more …
Makeup Affiliate Programs -- Makeup rules. Makeup is evergreen if you know your audience you can easily find a makeup program ...
- 100% Pure
- BH Cosmetics
- Black Opal
- more …
VPN Affiliate Programs -- Browse safely. VPN programs pay very well and there is one for everyone ...
- Express VPN
- more …
5-- HIGH PAYING AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Who doesn’t like the commissions from high-ticket items. There are programs out their that literally pay hundreds and thousands of dollars per deal.
It is always best to spread your risk in terms of affiliate programs. You don't want to be 100% dependent on Amazon for instance. They may change their commission rates ... again. They may de-authorize you for some unknown reason ... it happens.
All of these programs pay at least $300 most pay more. Many of the programs have recurring payments. Of course this means that there are some big players chasing these commissions. It can be a bit intimidating.
Types of High Ticket Affiliate Programs
There are two major types of programs to consider ...
Expensive products are more difficult to represent as the initial purchase is so high. But there are a lot of wealthy people buying luxury and other very expensive physical products. We have an article on very expensive Amazon niche products to give you an idea of these types of sales. These are best if your niche has lots of luxury or other big-ticket items that is great. If you starting a new site or have a more general audience it can be difficult to make these transactions and the commission payouts are limited by the net margin. The buyer of a Rolex watch for $10,000 may only yield a gross profit of $500. The merchant then needs to deduct their cost of sales and overhead. The merchant can then only share a percentage of that net margin with you.
Monthly Fee Products
I prefer the monthly fee products, they are easier to close than a single purchase in the thousands. Someone paying a few hundred per month can yield a commission in the thousands. This is because these SaaS or hosting vendors know the total lifetime value of the customer. They know that there average customers stays with them for 14 months they can pay a much higher initial commission. To them it is a customer acquisition fee that has a great ROI. Unlike the Rolex watch it is not a one-time purchase and relationship. In addition to the programs below we have a big roundup of 125+ recurring commission affiliate programs. Many of the best ones pay well over $500 per year.
Some of the best high-ticket affiliate programs include ...
Amazing Selling Machine (ASM)
Commission amount: Up to $2,392 per sale
Cookie length: 30 days
Sign up link: Direct Program at ASM
The Amazing Selling Machine is an Amazon FBA training program. They have a very heavy focus on launches. They build scarcity by opening the program at only certain times. It is very effective messaging when the state that, " We are currently helping all of our new ASM12 Members build a life of freedom through business Join the waitlist to be notified when ASM becomes available."
Unlike affiliate marketing he Amazon FBA business attracts people who have some money to invest. They know they will need to purchase inventory, pay shipping, do some advertising at Amazon. They want to protect this capital. Here is some info on the affiliate program ...
ASM leaders are very active in the community and have a great reputation. Something many similar companies can not claim. Launches can be very competitive so you may not have quick successes but stick with it. Bonus offers that are related to FBA can definitely help.
Commission amount: $40% recurring
Cookie length: Lifetime
Sign up link: In House Affiliate Program
Clickfunnels is a phenomenal affiliate program. They are world-class marketers who have put together an army of affiliates and sub-affiliates to sell their products. They are a great example of what you can do if you put affiliates first. They have a best-in-class product for building landing pages and offer a 14-day free trial.
This is easy business to close.
ClickFunnels pays 40% commission and has two plans a $97/mo and a $297/mo one. So you will earn $38 or $118 per month for each basic sale. They use a sticky cookie that will not expire, the only way to lose the prospect is if another ClickFunnels affiliate is visited, overwriting your cookie.
The big money comes into play with the up-sells like the Funnel Builder Secrets. This is a $1,997 product that pays you $798!
And a final incentive. When you get to 100 active members, ClickFunnels will cover the lease of your dream car - up to $500/mo. Get 200 active members and it is a $1000/mo lease payment. Do they know how to take care of affiliates or what?
Commission amount: Most items 8%
Cookie length: 30 days
Sign up link: Affiliate Page and CJ signup
Hammacher and Schlemmer are a really interesting company. They are America's longest running catalog so a well known and trusted brand.
But at 8% though how do they warrant listing on the highest paying affiliate program list? Well take a look at some of their more expensive products:
- Flying Fire Breathing Dragon -- $60,000
- Full Immersion Professional Racer's Simulator -- $65,000
- Barbecue Dining Boat -- $50,000
- Golf Hovercraft -- $58,000
An 8% commission on any of these is going to yield some big payouts of $4,000 - $5,200.
These are clearly going to be unusual sales for you. You won't sell one per day or even month. I would focus on very specific long-tail keywords. There will be little to no keyword volume but when someone does search for an item you will be on page one do to the total lack of competition.
Commission amount:Up to $1000 for each product purchased
Cookie length: 90 days
Sign up link: hubspot.com/partners/affiliates
HubSpot has a full suite of Internet Marketing tools for the small medium business (SMB) community. There services include all aspects of the customer relationship lifecycle. From initial content strategies and inbound campaigns to A?B testing ad campaigns. It is one-stop shopping.
They have three packages; Starter, Professional and Enterprise. They pay well ...
- Starter/Basic -> $250 in commission
- Professional/CMS -> $500 in commission
- Enterprise -> $1,000 in commission
It is a strong brand with high conversions and low reversal rates. A solid performer. They compete with products like:
- Oracle Eloqua
Full Review: Hubspot Affiliate Program Review
Commission amount: Up to $1400
Cookie length: 90 days in-house, 120 days at CJ
Sign up link: Improvely at ShareASale
Improvely is a tool for paid advertisers. It helps reduce fraud and tracks conversions. It has a very strong payback for advertisers. Prices range from $29/mo to $299/mo and all plans have a 14 day free trial.
The Improvely affiliate program is a hybrid one with an initial payment of 50% of the monthly billing plus a 10% recurring commission for the first year. The affiliate program is manage by ShareASale and approval is very easy.
They have 25 banners and other display ads for you to use in your promotions ...
Commission amount: $50 - $500
Cookie length: 60 days
Sign up link: Kinsta Affiliate Program
Kinsta is like WP Engine, a Managed WordPress hosting company. One of the great things about the Kinsta product is that they have a very low churn rate (very few people leave) and they pay you a 10% recurring commission! This is something WP Engine does not offer.
The commission plan is a bit lower than WP Engine for initial payouts ...
- Starter Plan ... $50 commission
- Business Plan ... $100 commission
- Pro Plan ... $150 commission
- Enterprise Plan ... $500 commission
A good strategy would be to do comparison articles of Kinsta vs. WP Engine, Kinsta vs. WPX Hosting etc. You may need to be even narrower with the keywords than this to rank well. Much depends on your sites hosting relevance.
Commission amount: $150 minimum up to $7,000
Cookie length: 90 days in-house, 120 days at CJ
Sign up link: Impact radius or Commission Junction
Liquid Web is a high-end hosting company that focuses on SMB - Enterprise products. You won't find any $2.95/mo shared hosting here. They are my hosting company for this site for a few reasons:
- They have great support
- They have fast hosting (Pingdom has this site loading in .72 seconds)
- They have a great affiliate program with expensive products
Most hosting companies have good affiliate programs. And I am happy to get the base $200 from someone like WP Engine for simply selling a $35/mo product. But hosting affiliate programs are very competitive - they just pay too well. Liquid Web will pay 150% of the monthly billing. So a $2000/mo enterprise server will pay you $3000 !
I like to focus on high end servers like high availability server clusters from Liquid Web. There are fewer affiliates writing and ranking content in these narrower niches.
Full Review: Liquid Web Affiliate Program Review
Commission amount: $300-$350 per sale
Cookie length: 180 days
Sign up link: Puffy at ShareASale
Puffy makes great mattresses for a great nights sleep. They actually have a 101-night sleep trial with a money back guarantee. Mattresses should be a relatively easy conversion. Everyone realizes how much of their life is spent with their mattress.
The Puffy mattress is an all foam bed. I sleep on one of these latex beds (though not a Puffy one) and they are the best. Much better for large framed people (that sounds better than heavy) like myself. They cost $1,495 after discount which is very competitive with premium box-spring/coil mattresses. Buying a mattress can be a hassle but Puffy makes it easy with free 2-5 day Fedex delivery.
The affiliate program is easy to understand. They pay $300 or $350 depending on the mattress. They have some nice bonus offers as well. For instance, sell 10 mattresses in your first 30 days and get a $1000 bonus! They have lots of creatives available like banners and ads. Their top performing affiliates are earning over $10k per month.
Commission amount: $58 - $2,000
Cookie length: 30 days
Sign up link: Shopify Affiliate Program
Shopify is the leading hosted e-commerce solution for retailers. They represent retailers small and large. It makes a lot of sense for many retailers to use Shopify. There other solution is to use WooCommerce which will require both WordPress and WooCommerce support capabilities or Magento which will usually require external support for setup and maintenance. These are both expensive items when you consider the time you spend dealing with technology - not retailing.
The basic product is inexpensive so there will be no big affiliate commissions. The commission rate is 200% of the monthly base billing rate for the standard packages. So the basic plan at $29/mo has a payout of $58 - that beats most Amazon sales by a bunch. Shopify Plus pays you a flat $2,000!
- Basic ... $58 commission
- Shopify ... $158 commission
- Advanced ... $598 commission
- Shopify Plus ... $2,000 commission
The big money is in the Shopify Plus program. This is their product for high volume and larger retailers.
The cookie period is 30 days but all you need to do is get them into a free trial and you have locked in the customer. As long as they convert within the trial period you will get paid.
Full Review: Shopify Affiliate Program Review
Six Figure Mentors
Commission amount: Up to $200 plus $20/mo
Cookie length: 30 days
Sign up link: SFM in-house Affiliate Program
Six Figure Mentors (SFM) is a training and mentorship program aimed at online entrepreneurs. They have a heavy focus on affiliate marketing.
Training is a tricky area. Many people join with unrealistic expectations (some planted by the sales pitch). But if you get one or two good ideas or if they prevent you from buying useless "shiny objects" it may be worth it.
I am always extra cautious with affiliate training programs whose final lesson is to sell the training you just took. Programs like Wealthy Affiliates have lost much of their information quality and become mainly a platform for affiliate sales.
Spocket Affiliate Program
Commission amount: Up to $450
Cookie length: 90 days
Sign up link: Spocket Affiliate Signup
Spocket is a dropshipping marketplace for US and EU suppliers. Given the tariff wars in China it is front of mind at the moment. They service features:
- Automated shipping and fulfillment. They generally ship within one business day.
- inventory management at a detailed level to help businesses run smoothly.
- Automated integration with most shopping carts and marketplaces.
- Kits, assemblies, subscription boxes, and more.
They have a 3-tiered commission program for their affiliates ...
Commission amount: Up to $675 per referral - per year!
Cookie length: 90 days
Sign up link: Thinkific Affiliate at ShareASale
Thinkific is a course creation platform. The target audience is:
- Do It Yourself content creators who want to share their knowledge.
- Entrepreneurs who want to develop courseware
- Businesses who want to create online courses for their customers.
There are 4 plans ranging from $49/mo to $499/mo. with discounts for prepaying annually.
The commission rate is 20% of the monthly payment. The payments are recurring as long as the customer is enrolled. These are very sticky programs with a low churn rate. You don't change your course delivery and enrollment platform on a whim. There is a 30 day money back offer on all plans so promote that for sure.
Commission amount: Up to $2000
Cookie length: 90 days in-house, 120 days at CJ
Sign up link: Affiliate Page
Volusion is a competitor of Shopify. They are an eCommerce platform with over 200,000 customers on-board. They have two programs for affiliates. The first is to be a reseller partner. This is a program where you get a discount and are billed by Volusion. You then bill your customer. This is best for agencies and website developers.
The second is a more typical affiliate program. With the Volusion affiliate program you will be paid a one time payment of 200% of the referred customers monthly billing. The pricing ranges form $29/mo to $299/mo+. Your commissions will be ...
- Personal ... $58 commission
- Professional ... $158 commission
- Business ... $598 commission
- Prime ... $1000+ commission (depending on configuration)
Commission amount: 100% of first month - $200 minimum
Cookie length: 180 days
Sign up link: ShareASale WP Engine
WP Engine is the leading manages WordPress hosting company. They have a very high paying affiliate program. I love the minimum $200 commission payout. This is for the single domain $35/mo package. This is such an easy close. Any small organization without a dedicated IT group would benefit greatly by going with managed WordPress.
The real money though is in the dedicated server offering. This is typically used by small and mid-sized companies looking to consolidate a number of WordPress sites. It is very common to do an audit of a companies hosting and find that many groups in different departments have each set up their own WordPress site for their stakeholders. This is both costly and inefficient.
Rather than having 20 groups pay separately for their hosting and have multiple support touch-points, WP Engine will consolidate them onto one server with a single support group. IT will be thrilled with the security and automatic updating. These packages can easily cost a few thousand per month (but still cheaper than 20 separate scattered accounts ). WP Engine pays a commission rate of 100% of first months billing. If the dedicated server configuration is $1500/mo - you get a $1,500 commission!
Full Review: WP Engine Affiliate Program Review
6-- BEST RECURRING AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
Who doesn't like closing one deal and getting paid forever. That's the opportunity with recurring programs. Not only are they usually high paying affiliate programs but you get paid every month that your referred client stays with them.
These types of programs tend to be in hosting, Software as a Service (SaaS), and membership sites. They pay so well because it is not a single transaction. The product owners enjoy a very high lifetime customer value. Here are some of the best recurring commission offerings.
Here are some of the highest paying recurring programs ...
Hosting always pays well for affiliates. The ones that don't have a recurring program usually have big initial payouts. Some typical programs ...
CloudWays -- A hosting company where you can choose between two payout types 1) get paid flat commission ( $50 – $125 per sale) or 2) $30 per sale + 7% residual commissions per month for the lifetime of the customer.
Kinsta -- One of the best managed WordPress hosts, $50 – $500. recurring commissions are 10% commission.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS products have monthly fees so they can generate monthly commissions. Some examples are ...
SEMRush -- One of the leading SEO companies. 40% recurring commission.
SpyFu -- Checkout your competitors keywords. 40% recurring payouts
LeadPages -- One of the best landing page platforms. 30% recurring commission, Must be a member!
ClickFunnels -- The king of recurring commissions where you can win a car! 40% recurring payment
Aweber -- Everyone needs email marketing. 30% monthly recurring. Free 30-day trial
Additional Recurring Programs
There are many more recurring programs. See our ultimate list ...
7-- AFFILIATE SEARCH ENGINES
There are so many offers available for affiliates that there are a few sites that are essentially search engines for offers. Companies looking for affiliates to promote there offers will get listed in the search engine and perhaps pay for featured positions or other advertising. When you sign up at these sites you are simply getting access to the search capability.
Unlike an affiliate network you do not actually join the affiliate programs on the site, it is purely a way to find the best affiliate programs for your website and niche. These sites will have some lesser known, but still high paying affiliate programs. They also may not be as competitive as other programs.
Some of them also offer free training and other information for affiliates. Reviews by other affiliates of the individual programs are also often a part of the value proposition.
These sites tend to have Cost per Action (CPA) offers. CPA offers can include actions where the customer purchases an item but also offers where the customers completes a form or other registration or request for information. The one downside to these sites is that there are many just so-so offers and just a few really good ones. Think of it as ClickBank for CPA offers.
Offervault is the best known and largest of the affiliate search engines. They have a nice site with lots of free training. One of the nice things about these offers is it is easy to get started and generally they don't require a website.
- Free to Join
- International affiliates welcome
- Good dashboard
- Free to post offers if you have a product
Affpaying is a close second to Offervault. They have a strong focus on affiliate program reviews ... by affiliates. This can be helpful in weeding out the many poor offers. Much like ClickBank for digital CPS offers you must do some digging to find good money makers.
- Lots of affiliate program reviews by fellow marketers
- Payment proofs to confirm legitimacy
- Tracking software information on offers
Odigger rounds out the affiliate program search engines. They are not as big as the other two with a few hundred offers usually available.
- Good search and dashboard
- Display networks and offers by niche
- Display offers by type: Mobile, Pay per Call etc.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM
There are so many programs to choose from. There is no one best affiliate program or network, it depends on your niche and audience. It is tempting to join lots of programs, place some sidebar ads, make an occasional reference to a product, etc. This generally does not work well. It has a very, very low conversion rate. A better approach is to really get behind a product. Have landing pages, product reviews (money pages), informational articles, email campaigns, bonus offers, etc.
You are much more likely to be successful with an affiliate program that you focus on and make a commitment too.
Another thing to consider, particularly if you are a successful Amazon affiliate is that Amazon is special.
Amazon has enormous trust, conversion capabilities, and familiarity in the marketplace. You can send them hot, warm or cold traffic and they will perform better than you can. This is not the case with other affiliate programs. Rather than just send traffic to other programs you will have better success with warming them up with information articles and success stories.
In addition to the raw numbers there are other factors to consider ...
This is the most important and first thing test to pass. Consider ...
- Is the offer closely aligned with your target audience
- Will they benefit from the product or service
- Have you written about the details & advantages
Who are your Neighbors?
One of the best ways to evaluate an affiliate network is to see what kind of companies promote them. If you look at ClickBank for instance many of the offers are by low quality, get-rich-quick types of marketers. This is not always a bad thing. If you find a great offer that is a perfect fit for your site/audience it may be a good thing that most of the players are weaker sites. Just like with SERPs and ranking your keywords it will be easier to outperform a lower quality offer.
Well of course this is the biggest factor for many. But always consider how well an offer converts. A product paying 30% commissions that converts at 3% generates less than one that pays 20% and converts at 7%.
Earnings per Click
Earnings per click (EPC)is similar to the conversion rate. It tells you how much is earned per click to the advertiser's website.
Average Order Value
The Average Order Value (AOV) will tell you how much a customer spends on average when they complete an order. This is particularly important in sales funnels with up-sells like many digital products.
Is there an affiliate manager?
One of the advantages of a smaller program is that you will have an affiliate manager to work with. Find a good paying product from a smaller team very closely aligned with your niche. Create some great content and funnels. Spend a little on ads. Before you know it you will be able to ask for a higher commission rate, special coupon codes that align with your content strategy, etc.
What companies does the affiliate program represent?
A big benefit to an affiliate network is having many programs under one umbrella. Best to deal with an affiliate network that has a good overlap with your niche. Look for both products that overlap and price points.
Most affiliate networks will pay with PayPal or ACH/Wire. If you are from a country with no PayPal the payout method is particularly important. You can usually use Transferwise to receive the ACH/Wire and forward it to your local bank account. A bigger issue is the delay in payments. this can be essentially immediate or as long as 60 days after the month-end of the transaction. If you are running paid ads this is particularly important.
What marketing support do they provide?
Do they provide custom discount codes, ad copy, videos, images and other parts you can use in content or ad campaign. Do they provide deep linking so that you can send your visitor to any content and get affiliate credit?
Is there a Quality Affiliate Dashboard?
It can be extremely frustrating to use some of the networks’ dashboards. Some of them feel like they were made in the 1990s pioneering Internet era. A good dashboard lets you …
- Quickly find products to promote
- Review in detail the program terms
- Find media kits and swipes
- Track your traffic to each offer
- Analyze you performance
- Review your earnings and chargebacks
- Manage your profile and websites you want to make offers
Types of Programs, Commissions, and Actions
Affiliate programs are not just the Amazon CPS style “pay when something sells”. For instance in the insurance niche, most programs pay you when a quote form or application is completed. There are also more advertising type programs paying on a CPM or CPC basis. The types of commission structures you will find on an affiliate network include …
- CPS — cost per sale. These are the most familiar programs. You refer a customer, the customer makes a purchase, you get paid.
- CPA — cost per action. With CPA you get paid when your referred visitor performs an action. This could be makes a purchase but also includes things like registering for a trial, completing a form, enrolling in a newsletter, etc.
- CPL — cost per lead. The affiliates in these programs are paid on a per lead basis. This is designed to let the merchant control the entire sales funnel. The is filling the top of the funnel.
- CPC — cost per click. This is much like advertising payment structure. You put the merchants banners and other promotional material on your site and the merchant pays for each click on the ad.
- CPM — cost per 1k impressions. Cost per Mile or more clearly Cost per Mille (Mille is French for 1,000). This is like cost per click, an ad-based program that pays based on the number of visitors that see the ad.
- CPV — Cost per view. This is typically used with video promotions. The affiliate is paid for each person they refer that views a video.
Getting Accepted to a High Paying Affiliate Program
Just like selecting keywords to target, you don't want to focus on affiliate programs that don't meet your site's metrics. No matter how high paying the program is if it doesn't convert it is not useful. Many programs also have traffic minimums, Alexa Rank, DA/DR rank, etc. There are so many programs to choose from it is best to focus on affiliate programs that want you. So how do you present your site as desirable ...
- Focus on programs squarely in your niche
- Make sure your website has a clean design
- Have a solid body of related content
- Create a review of the vendor’s product in advance
- Don’t have multiple ads on every page
- Avoid controversial topics, nudity, drug use etc. on the site
If for some reason you get a denial for a program that is an especially good fit or desirable for your niche - ask for a review or reconsideration of the decision. Usually, affiliate managers have a lot of discretion. You simply need to convince them that you are going to send high-quality traffic and that you have an audience that wants their product.
HOW TO MARKET AFFILIATE PRODUCTS
There are a few options for marketing these affiliate programs. Email marketing, SEO and content marketing, funnels. You could also consider a combination using low-cost long-tail ad keywords to test the appeal of certain offers. When you find an offer that converts well you can build a content marketing plan around it.
You need to have a different mindset than an Amazon affiliate.
You want to warm-up the lead as much as possible. You need to give them personal attention (or at least the appearance of it). You are asking for a big order from someone, you need to earn that right. These are not impulse buys as you might get at Amazon.
Consider bonuses, support, free installs, templates, bundled software, etc.. Just be sure to stay within the program's terms of service.
The best approach for me has been very specific topic targeting.
I like to concentrate on very specific keywords that are a perfect match for the offer. These long-tail keywords will likely be low competition lower volume keywords. Build out content clusters or silos for creating authority in Google's eyes. So an in-depth post that covers the entire topic and individual posts with more details on specific items.
Hint: this article is the top of a content cluster.
Create lots of content, be the authority on a topic, be patient, be persistent.
Social media is where your fans are. It is also a way to amplify new content and build buzz about an offer. FaceBook is of course the top social channel for most niches but any visual niche should also be leveraging Pinterest and Instagram.
This is tried and true. It works best when you can have an ongoing "dialog" with the recipient. Just sending a single email with an offer is not much more effective than a cold ad.
You want to create a series of emails that have lots of information and value. Even some free giveaways related to the offer. Then you have trust and will get better conversion on the emails at the end of the autoresponder series that actually have the offer. Lead magnets are typically used to get the initial subscriber.
Tutorials work well because they are an interested audience. They are already warm based on the fact they want an in-depth long series of content with details about the offer.
Few people will read a tutorial that are not interested in the product. You want to make the free tutorials intro type pieces. Advanced tutorials will attract existing users. But advanced tutorials make great bonus offers.
Like tutorials these attract a warm audience. People interested in the product or service. They provide a form of social proof that can be very effective. These can make good lead magnets for your email opt-in campaigns.
Bonus offers are deal sweeteners. Many people will check multiple sites for the best offer after they make a buying decision. Even at the same price, if you have a free advanced tutorial with templates for a product and I have no extras ... guess whose link they will use?
Leverage your Infrastructure
Every affiliate marketer is running a business. You use lots of tools like ...
- eMail Marketing
- SEO Tools
- WordPress Themes & Plugins
Paid Ads for Affiliate Sites
Buying ads to generate traffic can be a very effective strategy. There are a few good use cases for paid ads ...
- New sites — A low cost ad campaign can be used to start generating traffic while Google is deciding how much search traffic to send you. You should think of this kind of ad buying as marketing and don’t expect a large direct sales ROI.
- High Ticket Items — Given the large payouts of some products advertising can be part of your profit strategy. There is an entire group of very successful affiliates whose business model revolves around paid ads. They may not even have a website but drive traffic to funnels and other landing pages. Once they find a combination of traffic cost (paid ads), conversions and commissions that is profitable they scale it with more ads.
- Authority Sites — SEO driven sites with multiple revenue streams can use paid traffic to feed the entire site’s business model.
For affiliate sites that have matured into authorities in their niche there is typically a set of income streams ...
- Ad Revenue — past 10k monthly visitors per month ads will start to be worth the effort. Adsense or Ezoic are the best choices for starting out with ad revenue.
- Affiliate Revenue — Commissions from referring visitors to 3rd party products
- Info Products — eBooks, templates, training, guides. Many marketers with authority will create downloadable and membership products to sell.
If your ad spend is less than the earnings per visitor you can then scale up the advertising. This drives more traffic, creates more revenue, creates more authority which gets you better search results. There is a reason you see large successful players in your industry advertising -- it works.
It is always best to start by retargeting your visitors.
Retargeting is a process where you place a cookie on a visitors browser from FaceBook, Adwords or another advertising network. Then when the visitor is searching in Google or using Facebook you can target the with an ad. It is always easier to convert a warm prospect, someone who has been to your site, than a cold unknown one.
There are so many high paying affiliate programs to choose from. Sure, Amazon is great. But diversification is just good business. There are affiliate marketing programs for every niche.
In addition to traditional retail products, try to find a few high ticket affiliate programs. Another great market is recurring affiliate programs. Any product that has a monthly fee is a good candidate for being a recurring program.
Don’t overlook custom affiliate programs. If there is a product that is a great overlap for your niche and you have a good audience with traffic this can be a game changer. You can approach the merchant and negotiate a custom affiliate program. If the merchant doesn’t have an affiliate program infrastructure there are a number of WordPress plugins like Affiliate WP that can be easily deployed. Or they can use a SaaS-based tool like Firstpromoter or Tapfiliate at only $69/mo and have nothing to manage on their server. If they don’t want to deal with any new software you can negotiated a Pay Per Click (PPC) deal but be sure to track your clicks with ClickMagick or similar software.
Keep an eye on this page, we will update it regularly.
What is the best affiliate program? The highest paying affiliate program?
It completely depends on your niche, audience, traffic acquisition plans, and other factors. There is no universal best or highest paying program.
Do people make money with affiliate programs?
Sure they do. It’s a huge industry. People build sites and incrementally grow revenue as their content matures. Others build the sites until they have a revenue track record and flip it for a profit — then do another.
Is affiliate marketing dead or saturated?
Hardly. It is growing quickly. Now is the time to stake out authority in a niche.
Is affiliate marketing expensive to start?
No. This is one of the key differentiators vs, e-commerce, FBA, or even dropshipping. The only significant expense is content creation. If you can do this your-self you have a very very low cost to launch your business.
Can I be an affiliate without a website?
Sure you can. Amazon specifically requires either a website, video channel or app. Other affiliate channels will let you market with just email, paid ads, social traffic, etc.