Last Updated March 20, 2023
If you want to start a career in affiliate marketing, you'll need to know how to apply for affiliate approval among the many affiliate networks and programs available to you.
Most affiliate programs have an approval process before allowing you to promote their products. If you choose to access an affiliate program through an affiliate network, you'll likely need to get approved by each.
Therefore, doing the right things on your affiliate application when you start is important. Below you can read how to apply and get approved for any program or network in a few steps.
What are Affiliate Networks?
Affiliate Networks sit between the merchants and the affiliates or publishers and work as an intermediary on all things related to an affiliate program administration. Many popular affiliate programs are run through affiliate networks simply because it is easier than managing all the infrastructure internally.
What are Affiliate Programs?
Affiliate programs are the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow for publishers, influencers, and others who want to earn commissions from their audience or brand's visibility. There are many different types of affiliates across social media, blogs, PPC ads, and other means who make money promoting other people's products (OPP).
Essentially, you sign up as an affiliate to promote a brand's product and receive a commission on the product's sale. There are other affiliate programs, but the PPS or pay-per-sale is the most common.
Here are some steps to ensure you get approved to join affiliate programs.
1. Research Affiliate Programs In Your Niche
The first step is to find the right affiliate programs for your target audience. While you can join popular programs like Amazon Associates and networks like Clickbank, your niche may have better options.
Before applying to any affiliate program, learn or inquire about their approval process. You can research on search engines and online platforms or by reading the affiliate program terms on the website.
Each affiliate program may follow a different process. For example, a network like Clickbank doesn't have an approval process. You can apply by filling in your details and instantly get access to the affiliate programs within.
Amazon Associates require having a website and content. If you can get approved on Amazon Associates, your website is good enough for most affiliate programs on the internet.
You need to research relevant affiliate programs to determine if they are right for your content and promotional efforts and offer the commission structure that works for you. T
The following steps will help you to get affiliate program owners to approve you 99% of the time.
2. Build Your Website
Most affiliate programs will ask you for your website URL when filling out their affiliate applications. This is a must-have for roughly 95% of affiliate programs.
Why? A website is the classic means of online stability and shows potential for growth more than many other outlets. Plus, more affiliate program managers understand how to interpret the value of a website more so than a TikTok or YouTube channel.
Some affiliate programs want to see that you are serious about business. A main website lets you promote their affiliate links and show your preparation. You don't need special design skills, email forms, or popups for this first step.
They expect to see a custom domain name and a straightforward design that is easy to navigate. Usually, WordPress websites with a free theme are enough to pass the test.
You can also use platforms like Wix, Weebly, or GrooveBlog, as alternatives to WordPress if you feel it is too advanced.
We caution those who choose any other platform but WordPress because you won't have the flexibility WordPress provides should you need to pivot or want to add special features or functionality.
WordPress is highly supported and doesn't need to be overwhelming to tackle. To get started, you can build a Bluehost WordPress website for a few dollars a month.
Creating a nice website with pre-made themes is straightforward. You will need to upload content and images. And always invest in a custom domain.
You don't want a serious website about being an affiliate partner on a subdomain like hikinggear.freedomain.com. You definitely want a domain that speaks to your niche and is of high value from the get-go, like hikinggear.com
3. Create Content
When you submit your link to an affiliate program, ensure you have added some content first. Many relevant programs will either ask for links to posts or pages that mention their product or service or investigate your website and what content has been published.
Essential pages to have live from day one include the following:
- about page
- contact page
- 10-20 seed blog posts on topics related to your niche
- terms and conditions
- affiliate disclaimer
It's quite easy to spot plagiarism and low-quality content. It is unlikely to get approved for Amazon and other top affiliate programs with duplicated content. If you can't create original content, you must hire someone to do it for you.
Some merchants on affiliate networks and in self-hosted affiliate programs want to see a certain level of traffic the site has already earned. Some programs will have auto approval and some will manually review your affiliate application before denying or approving you.
These networks have vendors with different types of applications. Content alone is not enough if you want to get approved by big brands with popular products.
You also need to get traffic from search engines or social media. Your website must be super relevant to its products to meet its requirements. However, these cases are not common. Most vendors will approve you with a website and a few website pages.
4. Follow the Instructions
Most affiliate programs have an affiliate agreement you must read and an affiliate application (form) you must fill out and submit. Here is the most asked-for information we've seen on affiliate applications.
Most common application fields:
- Business Name
- Website URL
- Social Platform URLs
- How you will promote their product(s)?
Less common application fields:
- How much traffic your site receives?
- How big is your audience?
- Do you work with other high-profile brands?
- Do you work with any of their competitors?
- EIN or Tax ID Number
- VAT Number (European Union)
- Commission payment email address (PayPal)
- Banking services information for wire or ACH payments
Follow each step and fill out all the required fields and your full contact details. As a best practice, fill in some optional fields, especially if they want to know your promotional activities. This is a way to gain approval sooner. Leaving that out is likely a denial.
Remember, your name and personal information must be accurate. Some affiliate programs will request to confirm your details later. They may request an ID verification or bank verification. Wrong details can create delays or banned accounts.
Don't skip this step if they want you to write a few things about yourself or your business. Explain the reasons why you want to apply for their program. You don't have to be a great writer, but show them you are serious about affiliate marketing.
5. Promote Products Relevant To Your Niche
You can't apply for a weight loss affiliate program with a technology content-driven website. You'd want to have a food blog or similar niche. It's common sense for experienced affiliates with traffic to dip into these areas, but many beginners who create generic websites and apply for irrelevant programs will fail.
A good strategy is creating your website and then looking for products. This strategy will help you learn your audience, determine their needs, and learn what products they like. It is a process that will show you the best options.
You can focus on a specific niche if you don't have content or traffic. Fitness affiliate programs require a fitness website. Anything else doesn't make sense for your audience and the people who check your application.
You want to dial in your niche showing affiliate managers of programs you covet that your content falls within their industry and niche and has topical relevancy. The best affiliate partners have content with topical relevance.
6. Follow the Rules
Affiliate programs have rules they expect you to follow. Most beginners who get approved for a new affiliate program do not take the time to read the affiliate program terms. However, affiliate marketers should never run a business skipping or ignoring this important step.
For example, Amazon Associates require an affiliate link on the product images. If you don't add a link, they may delete your account. Amazon Associates also wants to add a specific affiliate disclosure.
It is impossible to find all the rules of every affiliate program on the internet. So, you need to read the terms and conditions of the program you apply. This is the only way to keep your account safe. Mistakes on this part can cost you any earnings until that point.
Lastly, most legit affiliate programs don't allow false claims. They don't want you to trick potential customers to buy their products. While you can get away with these mistakes for a while, they will close your account sooner or later.
7. Promotional Activities
Certain affiliate programs care more about your promotional methods than your website. Some need to see a prolific social media presence across multiple networks or, at minimum, one particular network. The network may differ depending on the program, but most want an active YouTube channel.
Some want to ensure you will or will not run paid advertising. Some want active email lists. There are many different scenarios you will come across but don't feel you need to have all of these fully baked to apply for affiliate program approval.
As mentioned, the application process varies, and most affiliate programs want you to succeed, so will be flexible if you explain your situation.
The best way to ensure approval is to have an active social media channel with over 1,000 followers or exceed 5,000 organic visits per month. You will not get denied if either of these criteria is met.
8. If You Get Rejected, Try Again
When an affiliate program rejects an application, you don't meet its requirements. The best option is to fix the problem and apply again. The time it takes to fix the problem will vary based on the issue. Some of the issues you will see are outlined below.
- You do not receive enough traffic to your website, so they need to see growth before acceptance.
- They already have too many affiliates that run the same content or promotions, so they are not accepting new affiliates in these areas now.
- You publish content that goes against their guidelines in terms of subject or quality.
- You run a promotion method they do not allow, such as paid advertising, video advertising, couponing, etc.
- You didn't supply promotional vehicles that show activity, i.e. social media accounts with no activity or followers.
The good news is that once you've fixed the issue, they will check your new applications as if they were the first time you applied. The bad news is you will not likely be told what the problem is. They will typically include a note saying it is one of the above-listed items. Or they will send you a denied email with no further acknowledgment as to why.
If your content is too thin, create better content and try again. If you don't have enough traffic or followers, build your audience, and try again. Other options to improve your website, fill in your details correctly if there are any mistakes or check for other affiliate programs that may have easier approval processes.
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How to Apply for Affiliate Approval Wrap-up
Affiliate managers look for new affiliates who can bring more sales. If you have built the foundation to support their needs, they don't have any reason to reject you. Most affiliate program owners accept new websites with the essential content in place.
Many times you can directly connect with the affiliate manager to explain your situation and build a relationship on a more personal level. Affiliate marketing is closely related to relationship marketing, so building and maintaining relationships is the best way to succeed long-term.
Undoubtedly, you will run into a few programs with more stringent criteria for acceptance. If you follow the steps in this post, you'll likely know the appropriate time to apply for those. If you get denied, you'll know you can reapply once your site has grown to an acceptable level.