Essential checklist before you join an affiliate program

You’re considering selling an affiliate and reseller product or service to increase your income. The promotional offer looks irresistible and the lure of extra money in your bank account is tempting. But the little voice in your head says “Are you sure it’s too good to be missed? Could it be a scam that will leave you penniless and cost your reputation?”

I’ve wasted too much time and money buying products and services in view of selling them. I got no return on my investment and was distracted from my core business. So when, this time, I was invited to sell an online service to my clients, I diligently ticked the boxes of my checklist before committing myself.

Use my checklist to evaluate products or services. My real-life example SendOutCards (SOC) will guide you through the checklist. They provide an online greeting cards service ideal as a customer follow-up tool.

Product

uncheckbox Quality: Can someone dispute the quality of the product or service?

Assessing the quality can be tricky if you’ve never used a similar product or service or have no benchmark for comparison. Also, the biased view of the Seller can influence your first impressions.

If you can’t find any obvious fault and want to play safe, search the Web for any disgruntled customers.

redcheckmark I did a Google search for “SendOutCards” for unbiased comments in forums. In fact, I was mainly interested in negative comments. Would complaints be legitimate or expectations unrealistic? I felt reassured about the overwhelming excellent feedback and I dismissed the very few moans from lazy people who expected a refund before trying the service.

uncheckbox Is the product or service a fad?

If you’re looking for residual income, consider the lifetime of the product. Will you have repeat business? The last thing you want is to work hard on marketing a product that will not survive.

redcheckmark SendOutCards fulfils the universal personal need for recognition and appreciation. Sending cards is nothing new but SOC has restored this proven method of communication using technology. Because the service is now convenient, easy to use and affordable, the service will remain profitable for both users and sellers for a very long while.

Target Market

uncheckbox Is there a demand for the product or service? How big is the market? What is the target market e.g. individuals or businesses? Is the product or service suitable for an international or local market?

The size of the market does not necessarily indicate whether the business opportunity is worth pursuing. Dominating a large market can be appealing because of the sheer number of possible sales but competition from aggressive contenders with big advertising budgets can drain your financial resources. Consider niche markets, they can be less crowded and very lucrative.

More important, is the product relevant to YOUR target market? If you need to build a new list to sell this product, how long will it take? Will your competitors already have the competitive edge? Choosing a product to sell to your existing list who already trust your recommendations will save you time and reduce financial risks.

redcheckmark My client base is made up of business owners who are too busy to follow up new leads and existing clients for new or repeat business. So, a system that can help them develop profitable customer relationships would be a welcoming tool and save them time, money and effort.

Pricing

uncheckbox Is the service competitively priced?

How does your product or service compare with similar products or services?

redcheckmark There’s no similar service on the market. So, price wise, I compared SendOutCards with alternative solutions e.g. ready-made cards and found the system very competitively priced. What’s more, its unparalleled convenience is priceless.

Sales & Marketing

uncheckbox Will it be easy to market? Can you offer enough value to convince someone to buy it?

How can you help your target market? Look for benefits that contain words such as: solve, save, reduce, increase and improve.

There’s a difference between ‘nice to have’ and ‘must have’, the same difference as people ‘just browsing’ and ‘buying’.

Will you need to hard sell or the product sells itself? I believe that if you jeopardize established customer relationships for the sake of an affiliate or reseller product sale, the risk is not worth taking.

redcheckmark The service was introduced to me over an unsolicited business phone call. I decided to test and review the product from a business writer, marketer and business owner point of view but WOW, to my surprise, the trial converted me to a raving fan. The service sold itself.

Business Model & Income

uncheckbox What type of business model does it follow?

On the Web, the most popular business models are affiliates and resellers.

Basically, affiliates receive a referral commission and provide no customer support for the products they sell.

Resellers on the other hand usually pay an upfront investment. The relationship with the parent company is more like a business partnership. You have more flexibility on how you market the product.

redcheckmark With SendOutCards, you must buy a specific package called Wholesale Premium/Entrepreneur package to become a reseller or distributor.

Return On Investment (ROI)

uncheckbox Will you generate immediate income? How long will it take to recover the cost of your investment? How will you be paid? What type of income?

The risk is minimised when you can recover your investment cost quickly.

redcheckmark SOC pays two types of income: one-time commission for each sale and residual income when your clients consume products. The commission is welcome to repay quickly your investment but I prefer the residual income. I like receiving on-going payments without working!

The more clients use your service, the more they consume products and the more money you make, effortless.

Parent Company

uncheckbox Can you trust the Parent Company? How long they’ve been operating?

It’s important to check the reputation of the company so you don’t tarnish your reputation by being associated with them. How long has the Company been in business? Does the company has the funds to keep pace with technology and manage the competitive infrastructure. Will you get paid?

Bear in mind that how long they’re been in business is not necessarily a factor because a new company may offer greater opportunities to gain new leads.

redcheckmark When I found out that SendOutCards was a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) company, I was taken back. MLM has such a stigma attached to that business model. But after my investigation, I felt very confident about the company’s history and trustworthiness. In a way, MLM model offers a distinctive advantage. Because the ‘sponsor’ or person who introduced you to the service receives a commission on your sales, you have someone committed to your success.

Customer Support

uncheckbox Will you get prompt customer support for you and your clients?

Have you ever bought a product that comes with a user manual so thick and gibberish that only a Nerd could possibly understand? Ease of use ranked very high on my selection criteria.

redcheckmark I was worried about being left on my own to fully understand the SendOutCards system. I have a technology phobia. When I have a ‘new toy’, I usually leave it in my ‘do it later’ tray. But, this time, curiosity took over and I tested the system by following the prompts (a 5-year old could do it). It was easy and fun to use.

What’s more, I even got free private tuition over the phone to make sure I didn’t postpone getting my return on investment. I couldn’t fault the customer service. The Company provides training and regular email contacts to keep you motivated.

Personal Satisfaction

uncheckbox Do you like the service? Will you be proud to sell it?

Have you noticed that successful people like Donald Trump and Richard Branson enjoy their work? Why not choosing a product or service that is fun to sell and fit with the lifestyle you want?

redcheckmark I observed people selling SendOutCards and noticed how they enjoy their lifestyle, working from the comfort of their home. What impressed me most is that they walk the talk. They are avid users of their own service and proudly show their work and share their knowledge.

After ticking all the boxes of my checklist, I decided that SendOutCards was worth my investment.

I must admit that whether I sold one or no product was irrelevant to me. I know that using it as a follow-up business tool, I can grow my business exponentially without intrusive follow-up methods such as cold calling and phone calls. More than a follow-up tool, this product opens communication and strengthen relationships.

Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. (Seneca).

©Henriette Martel. No reprint rights.
Posted in affiliate programs