Attention, webmasters and marketers! Today we’re sharing some useful information and insights related to the ShareASale affiliate program. All jokes aside, we talk about the industry of affiliate marketing, which is expected to be worth $6.8 billion in 2021. We’re pretty serious. Money is a serious issue: the average income per year for an affiliate marketer is around $60 000 (according to ZipRecruiter).
Some marketers consider a choice of affiliate network very challenging. Indeed, there are hundreds (maybe, already thousands) of platforms available; however, some of them compare favorably. To name only a few: ShareASale, Rakuten, ClickBank, etc. ShareASale is one of the captains of the marketing industry: popular, easy-to-use, and reputable.
A brief note for beginners: Affiliate marketing involves merchants, affiliates, and (not necessarily) affiliate networks. Merchants want to sell products or services, so they pay to affiliates to drive traffic (potential customers) to their platforms. Merchants provide affiliates with promo materials and individual affiliate links. Affiliates are paid for clicks, leads, or sales. Affiliate networks are platforms uniting numerous merchants and affiliates in a single place, sort of a one-stop shop. All offers are divided into categories and sub-categories. You may find detailed reviews from experienced marketers and webmasters in some industry-oriented forums, such as BlackHatWorld, WarriorForum, WickedFire, and SEOChat. Additionally, there is a very useful platform OfferVault, “the go-to source for affiliate marketers”. You may search for available offers within your vertical - the platform provides a list of offers with all the major details (required traffic sources, payouts, affiliate networks, etc.)
Established in 2000 by Brian Littleton, ShareASale is one of the most popular and reputable affiliate networks with a focus on small and mid-size merchants. Affiliates sign-up free and receive access to 4 800+ offers across numerous verticals. According to marketers’ reviews, ShareASale is one of the most reliable and trustworthy networks. By the way, in 2017 ShareASale was acquired by the global affiliate network Awin.
Additionally, the ShareASale network provides new affiliates with training webinars and highly professional customer support. This is a huge benefit! Every affiliate has an individual affiliate manager who guides through multiple offers available on the platform. Yes, the network is equally interested in your success because it acts as a mediator between a merchant and a marketer. Basically, networks get their own commission; hence, the more successful an affiliate is, the more the network earns.
Disadvantage: one of the annoying aspects is the old-style website design. Some new affiliates are getting lost in the beginning due to copious information, data, and choices. Overall, the website is a bit confusing and awkward. Though, it is something you can ignore and get used quickly because excellent customer support and regular payouts tip the scales.
Affiliates might benefit from merchant DataFeed that provides marketers with brief data on the commission structure and earnings per sale. Detailed revenue reports are useful for tracking and comparing your performance within the campaign. In the activity details section (dashboard) you track daily sales status. Quite handy!
Pay Per Lead. In this case, you’re paid for the conversion of your leads: sign-up for a trial offer, filling in the sign-up form, software download, or any other required action. The PPL model is often known as ‘Cost per action, CPA’.
Pay Per Sale. Naturally, affiliates are paid a commission when a customer purchases a product or service. Commission of a pay-per-sale model is significantly higher while conversion rates are lower. So, you need to generate targeted, high-quality traffic to get paid.
Joining the ShareASale network is a piece of cake: free (for affiliates) and unbelievably easy. Go to ShareASale website and select ‘Affiliate Sign Up’. Fill in the form. Within a couple of days, you get a confirmation e-mail from the network.
Ok, you’re a ShareASale affiliate now. But being an affiliate doesn’t guarantee earnings. The most important questions are: ‘How to choose an offer?’ and ‘How to promote the offer?’
First of all, you decide on a vertical. Click ‘Search for merchants’ to select a merchant. Or, you can go to ‘Advanced Search’ and select offers by categories or payment models.
Please, if you plan to use your automobile blog to promote custom essay writing services, do not do it! Well, you still can promote essay writing but use other traffic sources for your ad campaign.
Second, pay attention to cookie duration. The longer duration is better for you as you get a higher chance to make a sale and receive a commission. Impulse buyers are great for you, but some people take more time to make up the mind before spending money.
Next, commission rates. This is one of the key aspects for affiliates. You’re into this business to get income, so look for offers with good payouts. To tell the truth, commissions vary significantly. You may find offers with 30% (up to 50%) commission per sale and offers with a flat rate (for example, $30-$50-$100 per sale). Consider thoroughly the options and apply them.
One more important aspect is reversals. Reversals are clients who aren’t satisfied with the product and demand a refund. A high reversal number should alarm you. We recommend you look for merchants with a reversal percentage lower than 5%.
To sum up, while selecting an affiliate offer, you should pay attention to:
ShareASale network might even help you to discover a good offer. It displays ‘Power Rank’, which is the list of the merchants who perform very well. On the top of the website there is ‘Featured Categories’, where you can find ‘Power Rank’:
Once you’ve selected an offer, apply to join the program. Usually, you’re notified about the approval via e-mail.
Open the website, log in, click on ‘Get a link/banner’. Here you’ll find a list of programs you’ve joined. You see a listing of promotional instruments, including links, banners, and widgets. By the way, you can customize the design of banners, if necessary. Make them appealing to your target audience and place a high emphasis on your ‘call-to-action. Creativity is always welcomed and appreciated. ShareASale provides not only coupons and special deals but assists in creating custom-made videos for affiliate websites.
Be aware: ShareASale keeps a strict line towards any spamming. Caught on spamming affiliates are banned from the network.
Now, when you’re equipped with various ad instruments, see how the process should work:
Here is the example of earnings on a single sale (from Mohit Arora) and his ShareASale case study below:
Mohit Arora, a webmaster, and blogger, doesn’t like to reveal all the details (merchant names in the screenshot below he removed intentionally) but shares his strategy in online money making. Having been a successful blogger for years, he notes that initially he “did not get much success with Affiliate Marketing” but “kept improving with time”. He’s been working with ShareASale for around two years. Mohit says that he has earned more than $6 000 so far, and currently affiliate ShareASale programs have become “one of the permanent sources of his online income”.
Generating traffic and leads is the key challenge and the paramount task for webmasters and marketers. 63% of businesses agree with this statement. The more traffic you send to the advertiser, the more you earn (well, granted that leads are verified and/or converted). Advertisers, in their turn, provide marketers with a complete set that includes the product (or service) itself, instruments (creatives, landing pages, banners, widgets, and links), and tools (statistical and analytical) to facilitate the marketing campaign.
Now, every seasoned marketer has his own preferable or available or proven traffic sources. Though, beginners might spend a considerable amount of time searching for the suitable/right traffic sources. Below you will find the list of the most efficient traffic sources for affiliate offers.
Wrapping it all, the choice of a traffic source depends on the affiliate offer (some offers apply restrictions), affiliate vertical, your budget, and preferences. The majority of marketers work with a “traffic combo”, using several traffic sources and combining free and paid sources. Test your traffic sources and promo-materials in different combinations and select the best performing combo. However, the key to success is consistency.
Note: all commissions are paid to affiliates on the 20th of every month with a minimum threshold for withdrawal $50. There’s a point to keep in mind: inactive accounts are closed if their balance is lower than $25. If the balance is between $25 and $50, you're charged a $25 fee per month. If within this period the account isn’t activated, so it will be closed. No worries, the network alerts its affiliates if their accounts approach critical (or minimum required) values.
Jitendra Vaswani has been working with ShareASale for 1.5 years. One of the major advantages of the network he highlights scheduled, with no delays, payouts. He doesn’t share all the details of his campaigns; however, mentioned that he promoted WP Engine and SEO Powersuite via his own website. The offers attracted Jitendra with good commission; for example, WP Engine paid $200 per sale.
He shared his ShareASale income report (February-March, 2015):
Well, not only marketers pursue their goals in terms of money, merchants do too. Merchants are charged $650 to sign-up ($100 is an initial deposit and $550 is a network access fee). To some degree, costs for merchants play into the hands of affiliates because they will work with serious companies that invest funds in promoting their business. Anyway, ShareASale has built a reputation among merchants from all over the world as a steady-going and trouble-proof network with diversified promotional tools and traffic sources, such as desktop and mobile apps, social networks and PPC campaigns, e-mail, and video marketing, etc.
Obviously, two decades of experience combined with good customer support and advanced reporting tools consolidated ShareASale's leading position in the market. In fact, how much you earn depends on many factors, including the merchant and the product, commission rates, and traffic sources.