The Bullion.Directory Guide to Gold Affiliate Programs 2017
Gold Affiliate Programs are seeing a growing number of financial bloggers and website owners earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars in additional monthly income promoting gold dealers and gold investment programs.
For some of the most successful webmasters where five and six figure dollar amounts have become a regular monthly paycheck – gold bullion affiliate programs have literally changed lives.
This guide looks at an alternate way to profit from gold, without buying a single ounce of the yellow metal.
It examines the need for gold affiliate programs, explains what gold affiliate programs are, looks under the bonnet at how gold affiliate programs work, details the different types of gold affiliate programs available, lists 26 different programs currently open… and finally looks at free gold affiliate training available.
Gold Affiliates: Why, What and How?
There’s a new way to make money from precious metals. It doesn’t involve buying and selling, there are no rare coins involved and you don’t need to trade the markets or sort through small change looking for silver dollars.
I’m talking about Gold Affiliate Programs – where third parties are paid by gold companies to promote their services for a cash reward.
Why The Need For Gold Affiliate Programs?
There is a common misconception that gold dealers make a fortune, perhaps due to bullion being what most would consider a “big-ticket” item. However the sad truth is that in a highly competitive market the dealer’s markup (or premium) on a product like a 1oz silver coin is smaller than you’d pay on a burger, or your daily caffeine fix.
In short, dealers can see massive turnover for a small profit.
The precious metals marketplace is now one of the most competitive verticals on the web, where thousands of coin and bullion dealers are fighting for an ever more web-savvy customer.
This competition pushes up advertising costs where dealers bid to have their website appear in search results. This means metals retailers can easily be spending over $30 for a single “click” on a search engine results page. That’s $30 to have one visitor come to their website – whether that visitor buys, stays for a minute, or clicks away within seconds.
After the click – the money is gone. The dealer isn’t buying an outcome, just a click… and the clicks soon mount up.
If the dealer in question hasn’t made their website compelling enough, or easy to use, or pretty, or the user just decides that for whatever reason they’ve got better things to do, it won’t take long until these click costs mount and the dealer struggles to stay profitable.
They looked to the most competitive areas of the web – online dating, adult entertainment and “get rich quick opportunities” and seeing what these aggressively competitive industries were doing to stay profitable – copied them.
The result was the birth of Gold Affiliate Programs
What IS a Gold Affiliate Program?
Essentially a gold affiliate acts as a commission agent for a dealer. The affiliate sends visitors to a dealer’s website and if these visitors buy something the dealer pays the affiliate a fixed fee or a percentage.
The dealer no longer has to pay up front for clicks who may or may not do anything.
Instead the whole problem of getting visitors to their gold site becomes someone else’s concern.
And it’s in that same someone else’s best interest to send the right visitor, already pre-sold on the idea of buying from the dealer. If that someone else is good at their job, by the time the visitor arrives on the gold dealer’s website they’re simply looking for the buy button.
The gold dealer doesn’t pay to advertise and doesn’t buy clicks based on hope. Instead – he or she should be receiving a constant flow of hungry, targeted, eager gold fans already pre-disposed to part with their cash.
Once the gold has been bought and the money is deposited safely in the company account, then and only then does the dealer pay the affiliate their $30 or their 1%, or whatever the rate agreed in the gold affiliate program.
The dealer gets new business in volume, paying the affiliate a small fee off the back end. The better the affiliates, the more business the dealer receives – and all with no front-loaded risk or expense. As far as the dealer is concerned it truly is a win-win situation.
How do Gold Affiliate Programs Work?
Bullion dealers have a choice – they can manage the affiliate program themselves in-house, or they can outsource to a specialist affiliate management team or an affiliate network.
However a willing gold dealer looking to run their own program needs to know that managing any type of affiliate program can be an incredibly complex task.
All parts of every transaction – from the first click on an affiliate’s link through a history of repeat visits to the dealer’s website and eventual purchase of precious metals need detailed tracking and analysis to ensure gold affiliates are properly compensated for their efforts.
Seasoned affiliates expect this, and any gold dealer taking a DIY approach can be sure that even if they are not tracking transactions correctly, a professional affiliate certainly will be double checking everything. If they suspect they’re not being credited they’ll leave – and the gold affiliate universe is a small one. Word gets round fast.
Software solutions are available to assist dealers run their own programs with “plugins” capable of being added to most popular e-commerce solutions. These packages go some way towards managing the technical side of tracking sales, and helping automate commission payments – but any gold dealer considering the DIY approach has to ask if this is the best use of their time.
This is why almost all gold dealers running bullion affiliate programs use established affiliate networks.
These networks carry out all aspects of managing the program – approval of affiliates, creating links, tracking transactions and payment of commissions – for a fee. This fee, plus the fee being paid to the affiliate needs to be worked into the dealer’s mark-up – all while keeping the end cost competitive with the market.
To achieve this most dealers will take a smaller profit, aiming for profit through volume rather than individual mark-up.
Well managed programs will provide gold affiliates with a number of resources, from tested banner adverts and text ads, to site copy, email templates, regular news feeds and even affiliate forums – others simply provide a tracking link.
No matter what is provided many of the most successful affiliates tend to create their own unique take on marketing and will run, test, rerun and retest their own promotional material and landing pages to get an optimal performance from their efforts.
Is this work worthwhile?
Gold Affiliate Rewards – Program Types Explained
Financial success for the dealer will depend on creating financial success for their affiliates – as without a profitable result a professional affiliate will simply move on to promote something else.
As the gold affiliate marketplace matured and evolved, dealer’s compensation plans have had to change in order to keep up with affiliate expectations.
Current compensation plans form three basic categories:
Available Gold Affiliate Programs 2017
In writing this guide my team and I have tried to find all available gold affiliate programs, to help show the scale and breadth of the opportunity available to blog owners and webmasters seeking additional methods of site-monetization.
Not all programs are available to affiliates in all countries, so check each offer out before taking the time to sign up. It’s advisable not to join too many programs at any one time and instead to concentrate on two or three companies most aligned with your audience.
It should also be noted that some companies will not allow you to promote, or in some cases even mention certain competing companies – always read the terms of your affiliate agreement carefully.
|American Bullion||USA||Self||$30||3.0% lifetime investment|
|BGASC||USA||Share A Sale||$5||–|
|Bullion By Post||UK||Self||–||20% of gross premium|
|Bullion Direct||USA||Share A Sale||–||0.5% of sale|
|Bullion Index||Australia||Self||–||25% of commission|
|Bullion Vault||UK||Self||–||25% of commission|
|Cache Metals||Canada||Share A Sale||–||25% of commission|
|CB Mint||USA||Share A Sale||$25||–|
|GoldBroker.com||Malta||Self||–||20% of commission|
|Goldco PM||USA||Commission Junction||$25||–|
|Gold & Silver For Life||Worldwide||Self||$1400||Fixed Fee|
|Gold Direct||Netherlands||Has Offers||–||€10 + 25% of margin|
|Golden Eagle Coins||USA||Share A Sale||$15||–|
|Gold Money||UK||Self||–||25% of margin|
|JM Bullion||USA||Share A Sale||$20||–|
|Liberty Silver||Estonia||Self||–||On Application|
|Money Metals Exchange||USA||Share A Sale||$23||–|
|Perth Mint||Australia||Clix Galore||–||10% of sale|
|Regal Assets||USA||Click Again||$30-100||3.0% lifetime investment|
|Royal Canadian Mint||Canada||AvantLink||–||5.0% of Sale|
|The Royal Mint||UK||LinkShare||–||On Application|
|SilverGoldBull||Canada||Commission Junction||–||0.8%-1.7% of sale|
|Sprott Money||Canada||Self||$30||1.0% of sale|
|Suisse Gold||UK||Self||–||1.0% – 3.0% of sales|
|The Real Asset Co||UK||Self||–||5.0% revenue 25% fees|
|UK Coin Company||UK||Self||–||5.0% of sale|
|Veldt Gold||UK||Self||$5||0.25% of sale|
|*List correct at time of publication. Please contact us if you see errors or omissions|
IMPORTANT: Inclusion in this list does not constitute a recommendation of the company or it’s affiliate program.
Part Two: Gold Affiliate Programs In Practice
An article on gold affiliate programs based entirely on theory is all well and good – but I wanted to put some of the programs into practice. Is it as easy as they imply, do they deliver on expectations and most importantly do they pay?
I looked at the above list and decided to concentrate on both ends of the spectrum, the highest payout and one of the lowest, each time going with merchants we’ve had previous experience with and know to be trustworthy.
We also decided to run with US-based companies because that’s where the bulk of our traffic comes from.
At the top end we opted for Regal Assets through ClickAgain as we’ve had previous contact with several executives at the company and a number of their affiliates when sponsoring sections of this website. At the lower end of the payout scale, we took a decision to run with Money Metals Exchange through Share A Sale – we’ve received lots of written content from their CEO and staff over the years and they’re a really good team to deal with.
With gold affiliate programs selected, it was a case of signing up and working out how we’d promote each company.
Running these two gold affiliate programs for one month generated some surprise results. Yes we earned money. But were we better off overall?
Gold Affiliate Programs: Conclusion
This was a 30 day experiment. In all it took me 2 hrs to implement and would have taken less if I hadn’t decided to create my own banners.
Those two hours went on to net Bullion.Directory $3,143.
Whilst I’m in no way suggesting $1600/hr would be typical of a gold affiliate’s earnings, this could be considered a good return on investment.
Looking at the Regal Assets offer’s actual earnings per click of $14.79 from 211 clicks all we’d need to do is get more clicks and the program could look to be a major earner.
Or would it?
You see, these 211 clicks came from 512,649 impressions, giving a clickthrough rate of 0.04%.
In short 1 in 2500 views of the Regal banner generated a click. And that’s not very good. Not good in the least.
To put this into perspective, other offers we run (and which we stopped for this experiment) typically see a clickthrough rate of 1-3%. Or 1 in 30 versus 1 in 2500.
In the example above, daily results for one of our regular banner ads, this offer typically sees a clickthrough rate of 3%. The banner doesn’t run cross-site or for all geographic locations so it’s impressions per month are much lower than in our Regal Assets experiment. Looking at it’s earnings per click – that £100 EPC may only mean $1.25 per actual click versus Regal’s $14.79 – but the banner sees a much better clickthrough rate, resulting in better earnings per visitor overall.
Of those 63 clicks, 3 resulted in sales giving a conversion rate of 4.8% and a total earnings of $78. This gives an Earnings Per Thousand Page Views (EPM) of $37.35.
With Regal Assets, 211 clicks resulted in 1 sale – giving a conversion rate of 0.47% for a total earnings of $3120. Looked at in relation to overall page views due to the very poor clickthrough rate of 0.04% this gives us an EPM of only $6.08.
Even the low-paying offer from Money Metals Exchange saw an impressive 8% clickthrough (560 impressions and 48 clicks) and 2% conversion – resulting in a $41.07 EPM – the highest EPM of the lot!
As I’d suspected our typical visitor is NOT looking for a gold IRA and so to maximise our earnings per visitor we need to look at offers that resonate better – and this is shown clearly when looking at the higher EPMs of our more tested advertisers.
To be profitable in gold affiliate marketing you need to look at the overall numbers combining conversion rates, EPCs and EPMs rather than simply picking an offer with a huge payout – and these are maximized by promoting the right offers to your demographic.
In this example, looking at another one of our regular advertising spots running a much more generic precious metals affiliate offer we can see a banner clickthrough rate of 2.7% with 3.2% of these clicks resulting in a sale.
This means every single banner impression – yes that’s impression – is worth £9.37 ($12) to our advertiser in sales – and we receive commission accordingly…
It was an interesting experiment and I found that just because a gold offer will typically pay $1-3k commission per sale, adding it to your website is not necessarily going to see you make bank. If it’s not the right offer, it’ll be beaten by a lower paying offer that resonates better with your visitors, or a lower paying offer that sees better conversion rates once on the vendor’s site.
By replacing a well targeted offer with a wrongly-targeted offer we saw our EPM drop $22.57 for 60k of our page views, and we saw similar drops for ALL the banners we switched out.
Yes we made $3000, but we LOST overall from the banners we replaced.
Therefore for us, this was the wrong offer to run site-wide as we’re simply not targeting the gold retirement market – or the majority of our readers already have gold IRAs and we’re preaching to the converted.
That’s not to say gold affiliate programs don’t work. Indeed the offers that we replaced for this experiment were themselves promotions run as part of gold affiliate programs – and they provide a good consistent income for the site.
We could have made much more money from the Regal offer.
Had Bullion.Directory been a site better targeted at the precious metals retirement market I’m certain we’d have seen much better results for the Regal offer – and with the better clickthrough and conversion rates we’d see with more targeted traffic those large commissions would have soon mounted up.
As it stands we lost $5000 on the month by replacing successfully proven and targeted banners with a single banner targeting a different segment of the metals marketplace – a segment we’re not set up for.
Generalist gold affiliate programs pay much less per sale and their sales tend to be for smaller amounts, but you tend to sell much more of them – and this is an important balance.
And so I’m going to be running a second part of this experiment. This time I’m running two identical retirement offers side by side on a new mini-site built entirely targeting the US retirement market.
This time I’ll be running niche ads on a niche site with niche traffic, so I expect clickthrough and conversion rates to be much improved. If I’m able to maintain a four figure EPC the extra time and money building a new niche site will be more than compensated.
Looking at our figures from this experiment I suspect we could soon be looking at EPMs substantially higher than our current best.
Either way, it’s going to be interesting
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