8 Highest Paying Affiliate Marketing Programs

Published On:9 February, 2022
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Ekalavya Hansaj
Changing the future of content based marketplaces for Founders, Creators and Freelancers.

8 Highest Paying Affiliate Marketing Programs

“This post contains affiliate links because that’s the point of the complete post…” That’s affiliate marketing

But I’m not here to tell you what affiliate marketing is. That you already know when you were thinking of enrolling into an affiliate marketing program. That’s what brought you here after all.

It’s not Silicon Valley or anything but when you think about it, doing a job that is Internet-based, gives you a different kind of thrill altogether. Yet…

Affiliate Marketing is dead! That’s what I’ve kept hearing from people around me but as long as technology survives, affiliate marketing only scoots higher up.

With so many people trying their hands at it, let’s first understand how you can go from average to successful in affiliate marketing before taking a BIG leap to the programs. So bear with me!

Excelling the Art of Affiliate Marketing

Think of a business startup. Do they start rolling cash as soon as they set up? No, right? Affiliate marketing is the same. You have to establish yourself on the Internet, build a user base, and create traffic figures before you start making some decent money. From earning what some may call a pittance to become wildly successful, it doesn’t take luck but the right set of skills and everything that’s synonymous with hard work and determination.

Excelling doesn’t mean never failing- You need to learn, you need to test, and you need to evolve, and a part of all that is a failure.

Always remember what Yoda says, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” Thanks, Yoda; they (hopefully) get your point now.

If you have unharbored the expectations of becoming rich overnight and the fear that leveraging it all shall be in vain if you fail, we can now finally start with how you can excel in the art of affiliate marketing and gain traction on the Internet.

Show me the money! (Any Jerry Maguire fans here?)

1. It's the mindset that matters.

This may not be an episode of TED Talks, but it always boils down to the positivity of your mindset. The métier of affiliate marketing is competitive, I am not going to lie, but most of them struggling at a line between successful and not are those that do not take risks and leverage their assets. Why? The fear of failure.

Like I said, affiliate marketing is much like entrepreneurship, and both of them is a battle that many can’t endure. Endurance comes through a positive mindset, whereas a negative mindset limits your thinking and never lets you see beyond what you can lose.

When you develop a positive mindset, you see what you want from the job you are doing. Here’s the catch, though: Positive thinking without being deliberate isn’t going to take you anywhere. If you are dreaming of starting as an affiliate marketer, sitting on a beach in the Caribbean and soaking in the sun, giving your screen a quick glance once a day isn’t going to make you money, just like thinking of losing weight and not working out will never make you lean.

So, Focus. Be Positive. Period.

2. Develop a rapport

When you’re starting with affiliate marketing, do not be the everybody that ends up being the nobody. No! That’s not how it’s done.

To start making serious money out of affiliate marketing, you have to choose the right niche. The definition of ‘right’ isn’t a vertical that’s going to pay your more. Every niche has its pros and cons, and every niche is a potential money-maker. The point is to tailor your affiliate campaigns to a niche that you are passionate about.

I’ve always been an avid fitness enthusiast, but if you tell me to write on SaaS and SSL because these niches bring higher affiliate commission, I can’t-. Even if I do write, it’s not going to be even half as good as it’d have been had I written on greens powder, nootropics, clear-whey, and gears.

When you choose the right niche for yourself, you can easily vanquish your competition (with the right strategy and engaging content, of course). Being the expert in your niche builds the trust of your visitors and consumers, which increases the likelihood of conversion. By establishing yourself as the ‘know-it-all’ maestro of your niche, marketing an expansive array of products falling into it becomes duck soup (or tomato, if you’re vegan).

Know your products (bone-deep)

It’s simple: endorse what you know. You can take up a campaign that’s all about lipstick and liners because they are evergreen and recurring, but IRL, you can’t distinguish between two shades of red or put on a proper wing.

Knowing your products doesn’t just help you craft in-depth content; you are more likely to build a targeted user-base when you know what you’re endorsing. This is because half the consumers will be amateurs looking for answers, and a half shall be those that know the answers but are looking for validation. One wrong information and the latter half stops following up on your content.

Do not be Mike Ross from Suits, who had the skills of becoming a good lawyer but didn’t really know how to file a goddamn letter patent.

Follow up with great content.

You know your niche, you know your products, now blend them together and follow up with content that will make the readers hang on to the last word. Content, succinctly, is the lifeblood of affiliate marketing. Do it right, the readers have an affirmed faith in the brand, do it wrong, and zzz’s- they are already sleeping through it or looking for affirmation from a different channel.

Creating affiliate content that can turn leads into acquisitions and convince your potential buyers that the product is good enough for them to invest their money into is all that matters. According to research, 82% of people are looking for an influencer’s perception before making a purchase, and about 45% of people want to reaffirm the trust they and faith they embed into a brand through reviews. In a nutshell, your content should serve solutions to the reader’s search while ringing notes of confidence and assurance.

Okay, I get it all, but how do I write content that earns?

Instead of doing a Google search on that, hear (see) me out:

1. Quality: The opening and the cessation of any good content is quality. It speaks to the readers and triggers their interest, and nothing better can drive sales to your bank than quality.

2. Create A Structure: Planning ahead about what you shall be creating your content on makes it easier when you take the task hand-on. So before you start making circles with your wand (your writing), brainstorm everything that you need to cover, do thorough research, and see the magic spill into your content.

3. Regular Posting: When you’re an authoritative website, you’d want readers to spend more time on your affiliate channel, but nobody signs up for a half-dead website that posts in the intervals of six months. A consistent posting frequency earns the reader’s interest, and when they know when to expect a new post, they look forward to it.

4. Make it personal: Quality content is one that gives the readers an idea about your personal experiences with the products that you are endorsing. This is what puts an unblurred line between salesman and marketers.

A salesman blatantly promotes the product, and even if half of what they say is true, people won’t believe them because it’s just too facile and blunt. And let’s be honest, how often do you buy from a salesperson?

A good marketer weaves a story, tells how the product has an impact on their life or business (for that fact), and convinces people how that product can be of any help to them. Reality check: all of us have at least bought one product through a review page because the content felt too personal to us.

Be Realistic

Affiliate Marketing is the one Internet-based job that isn’t just thrilling but can also be your ticket to cash in. However, having the naivety to think that jotting a few business ideas down and turning them into content will bring you some fast cash is wrong.

I’m sure you have all come across spam redirects that flex models wearing an Armani and holding tens of green notes in their hands with a title that says, “Start making $80,000 a month through affiliate marketing”. The fact is that these redirects, too, earn commissions through several structures such as PPL, PPC. In simple terms, they are click baits you should avoid.

Slow down and think about it: is it really that easy to earn $80,000 through affiliate marketing? You may achieve unbridled success one day, but setting your bar that high right from scratch can disappoint you when things take a fall at a point, and you may not want to rise again.

Keep Testing and Improving

Increasing the number of referrals can be done in two ways: you can either aim to collect double visits on your website per month, which will require you spend months on building your authority, keep writing frequently, and make your posts SEO friendly in order to generate organic traffic, or you can increase your conversion rate in single digits.

Of course, the latter sounds easier! You can increase your conversion rates in the following ways:

1. Landing Page Optimization.

2. You are making a fail-unproof conversion strategy because unless you fail, you won’t understand what converts better. Not that I mean you should fail on purpose. Remember, no strategy is ever fail-proof, so don’t sweat it.

3. You are testing your calls-to-action.

Choose the Affiliate Programs Wisely

The right affiliate programs are like kayakers- they row with you to the end of the race because they want to win together. An effective affiliate program can generate higher leads and greater conversion than the one that has a narrow niche and pays you in pennies.

High-end affiliate programs understand the concept of ‘pay peanuts get monkeys’ so, if you have quality content and a strategy, they will be more than willing to accept you.

But how do you know which affiliate program is right for you? I’ve got your back on this.

Things to consider before enrolling in an affiliate program

1. The Affiliate Commission: See the green? I am guessing that’s what brought you to affiliate marketing, and that’s what is going to make your stay. Different affiliate programs pay you differently, and it is up to you to decide how much you want to make through those programs. The higher the rate of commission, the more you earn at the end of the day with the conversions.

Here’s the catch: the rate of affiliate commission is the only criteria to analyze if a program is good for you. The program should also have a high conversion rate so that you can actually make some money out of it.

The thing is that sometimes programs that have a low commission rate can have a high conversion rate, especially when they are globally acclaimed and well established in their niche. This generates more sales than those programs that have high commission rates but low conversion rates. If you don’t get a chance to convert, you aren’t getting paid anything, let alone less or more.

While you keep a watch at the rate of commission, also analyze the nature of the commission of the program. Ideally, a good affiliate program will pay you recurring commissions that augment the idea of ‘passive income’ the best. On the other hand, some programs, to attract more affiliates, offer lucrative offers to the new customers, which puts the existing marketers at a loss.

The idea here is to invest in a program that has long-term benefits that contribute to the idea of making money even while you’re sleeping.

2. Cookie Lifetime: Some affiliate programs are perfect, and then comes this party-spoiler. Cookie Lifetime is the time window for which the referral stays active.

Considering the nature of commission is PPS, John clicks your affiliate link to a gaming headphone on the first day but buys it seven days later. Do you get paid? This depends on the cookie lifetime. If the cookie lifetime for your referral is three days, you aren’t getting paid if John makes the purchase on the seventh day. Clear enough?

Some authoritative companies have a really absurd cookie lifetime, such as one day. I can’t go out there and tell each one of my consumers to buy the product they just viewed through my affiliate link on the same day.

So choose your program wisely and look out for the cookie lifetime.

3. Acceptance Criteria: Most programs will accept you if you have engaging content and an affiliate website to post their links on. When you’re just starting out, don’t go for a company that asks you for 10,000 views per day or 99% conversion rates to get accepted to the program.

Major mainstream companies have a very high acceptance rate, so try them all out and see which fits you the best.

4. Conditions levied on payout: If you have a cash crunch, you may want to join a program that pays more often rather than on a monthly basis.

Most companies pay their affiliates on a monthly frequency, and it doesn’t end here. There is a minimum payout requirement that varies from company to company.

The minimum payout requirement is basically the amount that you should have earned through the program in order to retrieve it and get it sent to your account.

The reason companies follow this procedure is that they don’t want to partner with affiliates who bother the company for cashing out $1 every day. If I were the company, I’d be seriously pestered.

5. Market Reputation: Commitment is a good thing, but a commitment to the wrong thing isn’t. No, we aren’t talking about your ex here; it’s business.

Before you commit to a program, look through history. Watch out for shady regulations in terms of affiliate partnership. Understand if the program is trustworthy. And most importantly, hear what they have been talking about the program.

The market reputation of a program can tell a lot about you, just like table etiquettes can tell a lot about a person. You definitely don’t want to partner with somebody who makes noise while eating and keeps dropping his fork off the table. To conclude, look through the information of the program and see if it passes all the tests without any tinge of doubt.

Never Put All Your Eggs in One Baske

It’s psychology; if you give away all your tricks at the starting of the show, you have nothing left to make the grand closing. The same goes for affiliate marketing. Putting all your assets and work into one merchant is a huge risk and may not turn out to be good at the end of the day.

I know what I said about risks and success, but being cautious and being imprudent are two different things that lead to two very different outcomes. You already know which outcome you wish to see

The problem with endorsing for only one merchant is many. For starters, you are stuck with their landing pages, their commissions, their terms, and obviously their conversion rates. If you don’t go out and understand there’s plenty of fish in the sea (not romantically), you are never going to learn what you should be doing to earn higher.

Multiple merchants will diversify your commissions and create a steady stream of revenue, with each one having something to offer in return, apart from sales (mostly).

The Highest Paying Affiliate Programs in 2020

Yes, affiliate marketing exists beyond Amazon, so, if you are looking to step up from being just an Amazon Affiliate, your search ends here. The list is highly narrowed and in no-way, a ranking but will definitely give you a quick insight into some of the kosher affiliate programs you can give a thought about.

P.S.- There are myriad other programs out there, feel free to venture into them (but read this out first).

1. Beauty Affiliate Programs

First things first, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Moving on next, people don’t buy the idea stated above so how do you help them out? Start selling the ideas they believe in. And they believe in cosmetics and beauty products and a whole lot of grueling skincare regimes.

This makes beauty one of the top-selling YMYL sub-niches with most programs offering recurring commissions and the affiliate commission is high because the profit margin the company makes is greater. So, if you are in the beauty niche, these two affiliate programs can offer you a lot in the long run.

Yves Rocher Makeup

Why isn’t Mac or Ulta the one on top? Because one, the cookie time is ridiculous and the commission isn’t as high as Yves Rocher Makeup. Even if you can’t name the five best brands that do actually work on your skin, you must have heard of Yves Rocher Makeup. The long-standing name in the beauty industry has an affiliate program aimed at U.S. and Canadian clients, plus, the commission is seriously high.

One incentive of joining the program is that the consumers of every new affiliate get a free gift for a sale made, which drops another dollar note in your pocket.

The cookie time is exceptionally high, which is 30 days when most beauty brands could offer the best of 1 to 7 days.

That’s alright, but what’s the rate of commission? 15%. Yes, I meant it when I said ‘seriously’.

Elizabeth Arden

This program will allow you to earn a commission by riding on the coattail of their brand recognition. Synonymous to quality skincare, trendsetting makeup, and innovative beauty products, Elizabeth Arden is one company that has made its name in the beauty industry.

This makes for high conversions, especially backed by popular starts and clients endorsing the products and all of this makes their affiliate program a handsomely paying one.

The program pays as high as up to 9% and an average affiliate can make about $91 per click.

No kidding! Plus, a 30-day cookie period and an offer of recurring sales will help you tick all the boxes of wishlist green while looking for a beauty affiliate program.

2. Travel Affiliate Programs

Who doesn’t love to go on a vacation to enjoy the ethnicity of Italy, meet French and try spelling the names of those luxurious Coco Chanel perfumes? What people also want is a first-hand review or maybe a comparison between the places where they can stay in Italy, to help find themselves a hotel with a good ambiance, luscious food, and a great view. That’s where an affiliate marketer steps in. When you’re running a travel website, and want to earn a decent commission on the leads you generate for your programs, Expedia and Airbnb affiliate programs may help.

Expedia

With access to over 500,000 hotels worldwide, Expedia offers a commission that ranches from 3% to 11% per successful transaction made by the consumer. Offering highly competitive payouts, Expedia’s affiliate program is also one of the most reliable in the travel industry.

Present in about 33 countries and operating in 25 languages, Expedia is literally the encyclopedia of Travel. From cars to cruises, Expedia impacts each travel-related deal and with a deep-market trust, it’s unambiguous that it shall be generating enough conversions for your affiliate website.

A cookie time of 7 days, a dedicated affiliate call center, and occasional deals and discounts on their pricings make Expedia your dream affiliate program if you’ve always been passionate about moving around the world or at least wanting to explore it through writing.

Payouts in each category:

1. 4% on airline bookings

2. 6% on hotel rooms (at the most)
3. 5% on destination services
4. 2% on car rentals, and a maximum of $30 on cruise bookings through Expedia’s landing page using our affiliate link.

If you are a fan of traditional hard cash collection, Expedia is your buddy that allows you to collect your pay through cheque or bank transfer, once you have made at least $50.

Booking.com

Initially, I’d have added Airbnb, but we are trying to help you succeed as an affiliate marketer here, not disappoint you. Airbnb accepts your proposal only if you have about 1 million views on your website or they aren’t even talking.

They are like those mean and popular girls who only go for the hottest guys in the class.

But, Booking.com is the protagonist of the story- making a mark in over 70 countries and owning 198 offices in the world, Booking.com welcomes you with a warm cozy hug if you are deeply into opting for travel for affiliate marketing.

Operating on such a large level means they are more than willing to pay you a handsome figure if you drive sales to their landing pages, make people buy, and do your thing!

Commissions based on stayed bookings per month:

1. 0 – 50 bookings make about 25% commission for you.
2. 151-500 is 35%
3. And a number equals or above 501 gives you a handsome commission of more than 40%.

3. Courseware Affiliate Programs

The learning structure has changed abruptly in the last few years and with the boom in technology, education, and training courses have evolved a lot to embed technology within. Now, there are e-books, an eLearning website, and e-Training programs. These e’s are exciting for an affiliate marketer having expertise in the courseware vertical.

Udemy

The digital academy brings people together, allowing them to share their knowledge and skills to continue impacting the lives of the needy, positively. Flexing 130,000 curses, 50,000 instructors, and over 65 different languages that cross the barrier of communication makes Udemy the leading courseware network on the Internet with a commission structure of 15%.

With so many niches to choose from, you can pick anyone and start promoting it in relevant posts and websites that target training programs and courseware audiences.

Earning a sustainable income through Udemy is a piece of cake and with deep-linking opportunities that Udemy provides, your conversions aren’t going anywhere.

The 7-day cookie period is a huge turn-off that was drastic to what it is now from a 30-day window. However, the company has a deep footing in the eLearning industry, so driving people to their landing page may not be so hard after all!

Teachable

Teachable owns the diadem of victory and recognition in the courseware creation and distribution. Most affiliate websites can join its program if they have an engaged audience and visible traffic. The best part about Teachable is that it doesn’t endorse itself with offensive materials such as wanting coupon sites and other fringes.

A handsome 30% recurring structure, and a 90 days cookie window make Teachable an ideal courseware affiliate program that you should definitely give a thought to.

4. Web Hosting Affiliate Programs

Web hosting is a monthly service, so cheer with me: ‘Recurring Commissions!’
Since hosting is an evergreen sub-niche, the customers that have purchased through your affiliate links before can be loyal. This means that you’ll achieve a high lifetime customer value and higher margins on the sales made.

Kinsta

Much like the WP Engine, Kinsta is the king of web hosting affiliate programs. The Program has a very low churn rate which means that once your consumers are on their landing page, they are likely to stay.

What’s in it for you though? Ah, nothing much, just the lucrative 10% recurring commission! Unlike WP Engine, Kinsta stands out against its competition with the lower pricing and better cookie time.

The commission amount varies from $50 to As high as $500 with a cookie length of 60 days which is more than reasonable- when they buy a product, they don’t take two months to do it. So, that’s the most you’re going to get!

The pricing for starting as an affiliate is quoted at $50 and goes as high as $500 on the Enterprise Plan.

5. eCommerce Affiliate Programs

Scalability and eCommerce go hand in hand, both for the publisher and the merchant. eCommerce Affiliate Programs are cost-effective solutions to driving traffic and generating conversions on a decent amount without putting too much effort into it.

Shopify Plus

Even if you aren’t a shopaholic, you have surely heard of Shopify, the giant e-commerce solution in the market. The affiliate program offered by Shopify provides a commission amount between $58 – $2000, thus, regardless of whether you are a retailer at Shopify or an independent affiliate marketer, you can make some serious money with the program.

Why I chose Shopify and not eBay is the cookie time. eBay has a cookie time of 1 day, however, Shopify offers a cookie time of 30 days. Hell and Heaven distinction.

Shopify is a giant and the reason behind it is affordability. If you are deluded by the name of Shopify itself, I will warn you ahead that the commission isn’t high considering the low cost of the product but the conversion is absolutely insane! But the conversion and the high volume of products and innumerable retailers will bring you enough cash once you get the hang of it.

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