Sometimes it's not that easy
I came up with two good affiliate merchants, MusiciansFriend and Zzounds. Both of these online stores have massive selections of DJ equipment and great prices. Zzounds pays 10% commission while MusiciansFriend pays only 5%. At first you might think that going with Zzounds is the best option but read on to find out why I ended up choosing MusiciansFriend.
The problem with the Zzounds affiliate program was that the store didn't sell one particular profitable product that I was really keen to promote, the “Technics turntable”. I own a pair of these turntables and I think they are a high-quality product. Since one of my pages was going to be optimized for this keyword I wanted to have direct affiliate product links on this page for my visitors.
This brings me to the second problem with the Zzounds affiliate program. It doesn't have direct product links. I wanted my visitors to be able to read my rave review of a Technics turntable, and click from there straight to the merchant's page on Technics turntables.
Whoops! Exclusivity clauses
One option I considered was joining both affiliate programs and using both programs to maximize the commission generating potential of my site. However, when I read the affiliate agreement of each program they both contained exclusivity clauses saying they must be the exclusive affiliate merchant promoted on my site.
I wrote emails to both affiliate managers asking to be excluded from the exclusivity clause due to the fact that their store did not stock all the products I wanted to promote. The response was not good. I could not put direct competitors on my site so I had to choose one program or the other. Exclusivity clauses are unusual. Use this example as a good reason to read the affiliate agreement!
In the end I chose MusiciansFriend because they had direct product links as well as very good prices.
The next step was to populate my articles with direct affiliate links to the products I am talking about. I also put a link to the general DJ section of the MusiciansFriend store on my links page.
I did not want to turn my visitors off by putting too many links up so I kept things subtle. When I optimized a page for a product keyword the only affiliate links I used were for that product. For example when someone searches for “technics turntables” they find my page on Technics turntables and direct product links to exactly what they want.