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The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs

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So, you’ve read our beginners’ guide to affiliate marketing, and now you’re convinced it’s the right thing for you.

But there’s one major question still to be answered: what are the best affiliate marketing programs? And more importantly, how do you find the best one for you? Everyone’s needs and interests are different, after all. And with a seemingly endless choice out there, it can be hard to know where to start. But fear not – we’re here to help make your decision, with a quick guide for beginners looking for the best start in affiliate marketing.

How do you become an affiliate marketer?

First things first: a little recap (if you need more detail, you can check out our beginners’ guide here). Basically, affiliate marketing uses the power of influencers to drive traffic and sales towards a business. Anyone can make money through affiliate marketing if they have a blog or website and a decent following. Typical affiliate posts are reviews or comparisons, which include a link to the product page. Each time the link is clicked and results in a sale, the affiliate receives a small commission. Over time, with enough links placed, this can add up to a pretty nice earner.

What types of affiliate marketing programs are there?

Although affiliate marketing programs all work on the same principles, their business models can look quite different. Most offer a commission on actual sales, while others adopt a rate per click-through. You can place your affiliate links either directly on websites or in emails, or as coupon codes, widgets, social media posts, and more.

Then, there are the different categories. You can make money from almost any topic, but some of the most popular include tech, fashion, beauty, travel, food, electronics, finance, education . . . As we said, whatever your interest, you can be sure of linking it to an affiliate program. Yes, even CBD.

Which affiliate programs are best if I want to make money?

One thing that’s important to remember is that your affiliate marketing earnings will likely be low to begin with. However, certain programs do offer better rates than others. Let’s look at some of the top players within the most popular categories.

Tech

Without a doubt, some of the highest-earning affiliate programs are based in the worlds of tech, business, and marketing. Powerful names here include:

  • HubSpot – flat rates of between $250 and $1,000 per purchase.
  • AWeber – offers an in-house or account-based program through CJ Affiliate, with members typically earning up to 30% lifetime commissions.
  • SEMRush – delivers a 40% recurring commission over an amazing 10-year cookie lifetime.
  • Shopify – great for affiliates whose audience wants to learn about eCommerce, earning you up to 200% on a monthly subscription.

Website builders like Bluehost and Wix also run popular affiliate programs, or you might like to check out ConvertKit and Leadpages.

Retail

Retail is one of the biggest affiliate marketing categories and covers all manner of products, from basic everyday goods to luxury items. One of the best programs is Amazon Associates, which has very high conversion rates, a famous name, and huge retail scope. Commission rates are between 1% and 10% depending on the product, with some categories like big-brand clothing earning very nicely. Not keen on Amazon? You could also make money with eBay, Spocket, or Hammacher Schlemmer, all of which are known for their generous commissions.

Travel

The travel industry’s affiliate programs offer the chance to make serious money. Good addresses include:

  • Tripadvisor – dependent on clicks, not conversions, netting you around 15–75¢ per click.
  • Sandals Resorts – great for affiliates within the luxury Caribbean travel niche. The commission is around 4% on bookings.
  • momondo – another flat-rate click earner, which comes in at around 65¢ each time.
  • Booking.com – offers a commission-split model based on the number of stayed nights per month, beginning at around 25%.

Other affiliate programs to check out are Skyscanner, Boatbookings, and the increasingly popular Airbnb Referral Program.

Education

Online courses are growing in popularity, and recommending them as an affiliate can be a good source of income. Coursera, for example, offers over 1,000 courses and an affiliate commission of between 20% and 45%. Teachable, on the other hand, pays a recurring 30% on its monthly subscription fees, and has a good reputation in the affiliate marketing community. More options include Skillshare, Udacity, Kajabi, and Rosetta Stone.

Beauty

Honest product reviews and attractive photos are the lifeline of affiliate marketing beauty programs. You can make money through:

  • Yves Rocher – one of the most generous commission rates at 15% per sale.
  • Murad – a leading luxury skincare brand, with affiliate rates of around 11%.
  • Sephora – rates here are only 5–10%, but the beauty company’s global popularity makes it quite a safe bet.
  • Elizabeth Arden – offers a 9% commission rate plus the chance of extra commissions from repeat sales.

Most major beauty brands offer an affiliate program as so many of these products are sold online. So, if you have a favorite, be sure to check it out!

No matter what field you’re in, remember that the success of affiliate marketing depends on honesty and genuine passion. If you can convince your audience that a product or service is worth purchasing, you could soon see those commission rates turning into a steady income.

Cristian González
Cristian González
Marketing @ Key Content.
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