What is a forex affiliate?
A Forex affiliate, simply put allows a forex broker to use his/her website(s) to advertise, promote or distribute a product/service for a pre-agreed revenue commission scheme.
With the rise of blogs and high traffic websites, affiliate marketing gained huge popularity allowing small enterprises to score big, especially relevant ones that have forex related content like news, signals, trading information and industry service providers.
Especially in the world of forex, where every broker wants a piece of the pie a.k.a. market share, forex brokers are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single affiliate, if it’s worth it. Each forex affiliate owns a small/big piece of that pie, in different regions of the world, thus rendering the website/affiliate network invaluable to the hungry forex broker willing to get it no matter the cost.
Best performing forex affiliate networks
Although any high traffic website owner can become an affiliate, this doesn’t necessarily mean quality leads (relevant leads, converting leads) will travel from the website to the broker’s CRM – usually it’s quite the opposite.
The best performing forex affiliates are ones that provide relevant content to their audience who wants to read or find information and therefore, if you want to succeed and be that invaluable case we talked about, you need to be promoting content relevant to the forex market. That could be broker reviews, market news, in depth analysis and signals, industry information, providing insights that are of value to the forex readers and more.
That being said, readers and online searches today are a lot more aware of what they’re reading and if you’re copying other websites/content or if your reviews are brushing though subjects with no substantiated material, you will most definitely fail before you even begin. If you can get your readers to relate to your content, then sky is the limit.
How does an audience relate though? Is the website content enough?
With the popularity of online affiliation and the obvious crazy rewards one can gain from it, there are so many websites offering the same information that it kind of stopped readers from clicking on specific links and becoming converting customers for forex brokers. Reason being that a trader/reader that trusts the content of specific websites, he/she has more than one option bookmarked on the browser and bounces in between.
So putting down the hours, making the effort to collect affiliate links is definitely a way to start, but should you only rely only on that? Most definitely not. Affiliates today are a lot more interactive with their audience, a very necessary added-value action, in order to keep reminding people that “hey, we’re still here, we’re providing very relevant content, please stick with us and all will be well”.
If no interaction takes place, these readers/followers/potential income will be devoured by the options and possibilities the internet bombards them with and you can slowly-slowly say goodbye to your future as a top performing forex affiliate.
So how does a forex affiliate website become more “interactive”?
First stop – emails
To begin with there’s the email blasting option. With every visit to your website, you start collecting emails. You can never have enough emails, so the more the merrier.
Be very careful of GDPR regulations though as it can be a huge downside to your operation, if people keep receiving email blasts they did not ask or sign up for.
If the target is to gain an email with each visit, then you need to offer back something of value that the visitor will be willing to exchange an email for. Not much is of value nowadays, free stuff, e-books and unnecessary gadgets are all over the place, so you need to make sure it’s different, it adds value and most importantly it’s needed, so that an uneventful exchange (getting that email) can take place.
Even if you just started and only collected 10 emails, you can start sending weekly your material and important information, to keep those 10 people engaged with your content. From there you just add-on to the list. A mistake many email blasters do is making it all about sales rather than added value content. And what do you know – people opt out of the “it’s ok to email me” conundrum they put themselves in.
Videos and live broadcasting
In the past, any image on your website would do… you would just go through images on google, or even buy images from reseller websites and it was enough to make your website look good.
Then came real imaging, people wanting to see more of how your office looks, who’s your team etc a fact that helped a little with the decision making process of them buying your product.
Nowadays though, the stronger ally when it comes to interacting with an audience is live broadcasting and videos. They gained a lot in popularity given the abundance of website options that offer the same content, so what better than adding a voice and a face to the person reviewing or providing content?
It’s raw, it’s unfiltered, it’s mostly real, when people put themselves out there live or through a video and open up for comments – good and bad – and so it makes it hard for anyone to second guess if that website is genuine or not.
Same works in the world of forex affiliate marketing as well, with video reviews and commentary, trading webinars and live broadcasting of relevant information that keep the audience engaged with a specific website. It makes sense and most importantly, it works.
Specifics of a forex affiliate program
In order to understand the nature of an affiliate program, we need to see the options a broker normally provides and move on to the payout commission schemes. These options include:
- Affiliate tracking link that tracks all your activity
- Login access to a system that you can monitor all your affiliate activity
- Landing pages, banners, videos, promotional material, e-books
- Content that you can add to your website/emails relevant to your audience preferences
- Highly trained and converting Sales team to handle your leads, with no language barriers
- Fast on-boarding and verification procedures
- Conversion, retention, customer care to ensure longer revenue stream from your traffic
- Enough payment methods, so that your audience can deposit/withdraw hassle free
Forex affiliate commission plans
CPM – Cost per mille (cost per thousand impressions)
Back in the day, before brokers were aware of their options and also affiliates weren’t really looking into what kind of traffic they sent through, banner placements and display marketing was the way to go. So if you had a high traffic website, all you needed to do is place a banner of a forex broker and display it on a daily basis adjacent to your content.
Every 1,000 impressions (times the banner was displayed) your affiliate account would be topped up with the pre-agreed amount. Combined with the “branding” hype, with marketers selling the idea of giving your forex broker substance through consistent messaging, colours and content, all brokers cared about was getting their message out there, on as many websites as possible and at any cost, in order to increase their chances of getting more leads.
We can see where this went wrong though, with the saturation of the market, the retail prospects decreasing in numbers, trading conditions getting harder in regulated jurisdictions and the consolidation of the forex industry leaving little room for “branding tactics”, deals quickly turned into “higher payouts for definite client acquisition”, period.
CPL – Cost per lead
Now this program doesn’t pay as much as the next one (CPA) but it’s also a great option to consider, if brokers are willing to offer it to you. Leads today are funnelled like dirty laundry, with lists being sold and processed so many times, that we lost any respect to who we’re talking/harass on a daily basis.
So for a forex broker to offer this program, you must prove that you have the relevant audience that has high chances of converting otherwise they will quickly switch your program to a CPA model. Your website might send 1,000 leads with no relevance to forex trading, which means extremely low converting and even then, excess work from the sales team and follow ups to turn this low conversion into fruitful active accounts.
There are cases though that, a CPL deal can be struck as part of a CPA program, where the broker will pay for the lead if it passed through complete registration and verification procedures. So even though the lead did not become a depositing active client or trader, the affiliate still gets the amount owed for sending through a qualified lead. Of course as already mentioned, the broker might want to combine this with another model (like the CPA model below) as part of a series of actions (lead, registration, verification, deposit, active trading) that will result in a good profit.
CPA – Cost per Acquisition
Although this program offers higher revenues (up to $1,000 in some cases), it’s important to distinguish between a high converting sales team that will manage to increase the potential of your traffic, from one that will use aggressive sales tactics, make false promises of profits or even offer investment advice (when they can’t even recognise the relationship between leverage and margin). This normally results in burned accounts, with you to thank/blame for promoting that broker.
Especially if you are a high traffic website, the return on the decision of which affiliate you partner up with, will depend not only by the size of the broker but also on how they handle backend operations like a good conversion team, fast on-boarding, hassle free trading, efficient deposit and withdrawal functions etc.
Usually CPA payout depends on client depositing and trading an agreed number of standard lots.
With STP (Straight Through Process) brokers gaining momentum and traders demanding a more “clear” relationship with the broker similar to an ECN trading environment, the broker cannot pay a CPA commission that can compete with those large lump sums offered by a market maker.
Also in demand by affiliates, that wish their audience to get the best possible trading experience, instead of a CPA commission, they accept to receive a revenue share based on the earnings the forex broker made from that traffic. This of course translates to a per lot arrangement (usually $5-$10 per lot) for as long as the traffic trades with the broker.
Hybrid programs (CPA + Revenue Share)
Competition of course does not leave room for “absolute” programs, and it’s common practice for deals to take the form of a hybrid, combining the benefits of at least two worlds (usually the CPA world and the Revenue Share world).
With this program, the broker accepts to pay the forex affiliate a cost on activating the client (opening an account and the agreed traded number of lots) as well as a percentage on life time revenue derived from the trades.
Again, these deals usually go to high traffic, relevant to the forex market websites that are able to constantly produce and leave the forex broker with a profitable scenario. So even when the broker pays more due to the CPA arrangement and doesn’t make enough profit from trades, the overall traffic the forex affiliate produces allows a “margin for error”.
2nd tier programs
Affiliates that refer other forex affiliates are also a common program (like an offline master forex IB that promotes other IBs) with smaller percentages of course but, if a high traffic affiliate deal is struck the overall payout can actually be quite high.
Should you become a forex affiliate?
Of course you should and anyone that tells you the opposite doesn’t know right from left. But just by making a decision to go ahead it doesn’t mean you’ll succeed and create a profitable business.
Creating a website that places you in the heart of the forex industry, with updated and relevant content, that gives you a credible and sound voice, a good source that engages returning visitors, all these are time consuming, require the efforts of a foot soldier and the stamina of a marathon runner.
Yes, the payout is great and yes it can be done by anyone but if it’s for everyone… well that’s a story only you can tell by the end of it…
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