Wanna start a side hustle that actually makes money??!!
Affiliate marketing is a great way to do that!
There are tons of different affiliate network sites out there where you can find millions of affiliate products you can offer your audience.
But where do you start?
In order for you to act on one of the 5 ways to present an affiliate offer, you have to partner with the right affiliate network.
That calls for you to have a clear understanding of what an affiliate network is and the different networks you can work with. Even if you just need a refresher, this post is for you!
In this post, I’m going to share with you the difference between an affiliate marketing program and an affiliate network and the 7 best affiliate networks that’ll deliver some of the best offers for your audience.
Let’s get rocking!!!
Affiliate Marketing Program Vs Affiliate Networks - What’s The Difference?!
Affiliate program versus an affiliate network, what’s the difference between the two?
Both give you the opportunity to earn a commission from promoting someone else’s goods or services.
Both encapsulate the success secret that if you want to make money with affiliate marketing you have to get your audience to know, like and trust you.
You can’t just keep pushing products.
Let's look at affiliate marketing programs first.
Affiliate Marketing Programs
My wife and I have built a successful authority website and we have our own shopping cart that allows us to run our very own affiliate marketing program.
This means that if I manage that program through my own shopping cart, you and I, for example, could enter into a relationship or an agreement where you could promote my products.
In this example, each time someone buys, you would earn a commission from my sales.
So each time someone buys after finding your content presenting your affiliate offers for another person’s items, you make money!
That’s what an affiliate program is all about and how to make money with affiliate marketing.
Most companies offer affiliate programs that you can join for free. You obtain an affiliate link for a product or service and promote it on your own website through your valuable content.
What is an Affiliate Marketing Network?
An affiliate marketing network is a platform that allows you to join affiliate programs from many merchants. The affiliate network serves as the third party between you, the affiliate marketer, and the affiliate programs.
Hundreds if not thousands of merchants outsource their affiliate programs to these affiliate marketing networks.
So with an affiliate program, you are directly dealing with the business owner and promoting their stuff to generate a commission from each sale made.
With an affiliate network, a third party becomes the middleman between the affiliate program and the affiliates.
Get your affiliate marketing funnel going, set up blog on the best blogging platform, take on the 90-day challenge growth hack and start building up content and choose from this list of the best affiliate networks to generate income!
The 7 Best Affiliate Networks
No two affiliate networks are exactly the same.
Some offer better commission than others and some are harder to get accepted into.
These 7 best affiliate networks will empower you to make money with affiliate marketing.
Let’s jump right into my affiliate marketing companies list!
If you’re a digital marketer or you’ve done some research on how to make money online, I bet you’ve heard of Clickbank.com.
This affiliate network offers mostly digital products in many different categories from Arts & Entertainment to Food & Wine to parenting and travel and more.
You can also use the search bar to look for specific products.
Say you’re a golf enthusiast and you want to sell stuff in this niche. You’ll find several pages of generated results where you can pick out a variety of different golf related products to promote.
There are also stats on there such as the average dollar per sale, average percentage per sale, initial dollar per sale, commission percentage, and gravity.
Some don’t have the average dollar per sale info but others do, and initially, it might get confusing for you to even decode what these labels mean if it’s your first time doing it.
Two things put ClickBank clearly in the #1 spot here.
First, they have processed over $3.5 BILLION dollars in transactions (and have paid their affiliates and vendors on time, every time).
Second, they've taken everything they know about making money online and distilled it into the ClickBank University Program to teach you exactly how to get started making money online.
You can read my full ClickBank University Review here.
2. Share A Sale
Next up is Share A Sale.
This affiliate network is made up of tons of physical and digital products.
When you decide to join and apply, the affiliate managers, again, will be checking your site to make sure it’s clean and has good content.
They want to make sure you’re an actual affiliate marketer, and not just some hack planning to spam their links, ultimately hurting their brand.
What’s cool about Share A Sale is that there are hundreds of options available. You could easily build your own shop by simply promoting the items of your choice from this platform.
Your search options allow you to sort through either the merchants themselves or the products individually.
You’ll also see the price per sale and the average you can make each time you sell an item.
There’s a ton of categories and items to pick from, if it all looks good to you, then click “Join the Program” to apply and get going.
One last note about Share A Sale is you can leave a personal note to the site manager when you apply. You can tell them that you have an X number of people in your list, you have X amount of traffic, the kind of business or niche that you have and the reasons why you think their products can help your audience.
This can help you through the application process and personally, I always leave a note.
AvantLink works with some of the best outdoor companies in the world. They run the REI program, Backcountry.com and is one of the best affiliate networks offering an array of sporting, camping, and outdoor gear.
But they don’t stop there. They also offer products in health, beauty, nutrition and more. If you go to their site and click on programs you can browse through all of the merchant brands they’re affiliated with so be sure to check that out.
But if you’re in any outdoor or sporting activities kind of niche, AvantLink is the best place to find products you can offer to your audience and make a kickback for each sale you make.
AvantLink prides themselves on filtering through applications and is very particular about who they’ll accept to become an affiliate marketer.
Again, part of the process with AvantLink is that you build your site, create killer content, and treat your site as a real business because it IS a real business. You have to have a great-looking website, killer content that varies from say, kayaking to canoeing, paddle boarding, etc.
With this affiliate network you’ll reach out to the different programs within AvantLink and they will each have their own set of terms. The margins are cheaper here especially with some of these physical products but the higher ticket items you sell, the more commission you’ll get.
I can attest from spending time as an affiliate marketer with them that AvanLink is hands down one of the best affiliate networks for merchants.
4. Rakuten Marketing
My wife and I have sold products as affiliate marketers for RakutenMarketing.com which note, used to be LinkShare. They’re a reputable affiliate networking company, really good at what they do.
They offer a wide variety of affiliate products with a long list of categories to choose from.
When you scroll down the homepage, you’ll see they do affiliate, display, and search-based ads but essentially, you’ll be working as an affiliate.
They don’t give you much information on the front end, and you do need to have a good site going before you apply to them.
Once you’re in, you can have an access to the full features of their site and search any of the major and subcategories you have in mind.
They even have an advertiser search but strangely enough, no product search option which can be a little bit annoying.
All in all, they’re another great affiliate network so do check it out.
5. CJ .Com
This is the old Commission Junction. They’re one of the strictest affiliate networks out there.
For example, if you don’t send them traffic within 30 days, they’ll place your account in suspension.
Like AdvantLink, CJ.com is very picky with who they let become an affiliate with their affiliate marketing programs.
As an affiliate, you kind of leverage their brand and their brand gets tied up with your website, so they really want to make sure that they’re working with businesses who are really on the up and up.
They don’t show who they partner with, that’s a feature you would have access to after you’re accepted but they have many programs in just about anything you can think of.
I don’t personally recommend using CJ.com as your first affiliate network since its requirements are content-heavy but if you want to elevate your income, they’re your affiliate network for sure.
6. Flex Offers
FlexOffers is probably the closest to Commission Junction, and you’ll find a good amount of different categories from physical products to digital products and have access to browse through their entire directory.
One of the things you’ll find here that’s a little bit different is they offer CPAs (cost per acquisition) and CPLs (cost per lead).
What’s the diff??
Let’s say an insurance company wants to promote your insurance product. If someone from your audience goes in and fills out an application, they’ll pay you the value per lead. That could be anywhere from 4-12 dollars.
CPA is when you drive an actual customer for them.
Either way, you’re making money for sure!
7. Offer Vault
Okay, so this one is technically not an affiliate marketing network program per se but more of a search engine for affiliate networks, which is pretty cool!
What’s unique about them is that you can search through their select by network tab or search a network of your choice to learn more about them before you get started.
Consider this a research tool that’ll help you decide for yourself which affiliate network program is best for you after reading more from the information provided.
I’ve never personally found this essential to my needs because I already know the product I want to promote from the market research I’ve done for my internet business and the feedback I’ve gotten from my audience. However, this is a good place to go if you want to dive into the details of these affiliate networks and their programs if you’re curious about them.
How to Make Money from Affiliate Networks
Your online business as an affiliate marketer is going to not only depend on choosing a good affiliate program but it also depends on you.
It’s easy to throw out an offer, but when you build good content around whatever your affiliate offer is, people are going to be more willing to go through you.
If you’re putting out content that shows your list of top 10 paddleboards with the prices listed in the different locations, you’ve just offered more value to your potential customer.
The more work you do for them, the less time they spend shopping around, and the more they buy from your affiliate links.
Take the affiliate network that best fits your business and get going on the 5 steps to business success.
Affiliate marketing is a top ten online business and is a great side hustle that can even generate a full time income.
With the many affiliate networks out there, you’re sure to find plenty of options that work for you in your niche!
Be sure to check out my other links on affiliate marketing. I go through the details of everything you need to know about affiliate programs, how to’s and more.
If you have any questions, hit me up in the comment section below and let’s chat!