Affiliate marketing is, by its very definition, a business in which you, the marketer, are selling a product that is not your own. You didn’t manufacture or design it, and you don’t even have to stock it; providing technical support for that product, or dealing with quality control issues, are beyond the scope of your responsibility, as well. The affiliate marketer’s task is to promote another company’s products or services—period.
To say that your relationship to the product is detached or unimportant, however, would be erroneous. Actually, picking the right product is paramount to your affiliate marketing success.
There are three basic reasons for this. One is that your success depends on the product—so if it’s not a high-performance product, or if it fails to sell for any reason, you’re sunk. A second reason is that relevance is key; the product must fit with the niche and scope of your blog, or else your readers won’t latch onto it. Finally, your reputation is on the line; a bad product can significantly tarnish your brand and cause readers to lose trust in you.
Picking good affiliate products is of the essence, then—but how is it done? Here are a few battle-tested tips to try:
For starters: Just do your homework. This is one of those tips that seems like a no-brainer, except so many affiliates forget to do it that, evidently, a reminder is in order. Do some basic research into the product and the merchant. Ensure that the seller is reputable, that there are not a lot of customer complaints, and so on. This is basic stuff, but it’s basic for a reason.
Another tip: Make sure it’s a product that you can get passionate about. Your ability to get excited about the product will directly influence how skilled you are at selling it. Writing sales copy for a product isn’t going to go well for you, if you can’t get excited about the product’s details. As you look around for products, look for something you actually care about.
One way to find good products: Check out the stuff your competitors are selling. Look for other affiliate blogs that exist in your same basic niche—ones that you know to be successful, ideally—and see if you can get some good product ideas from them.
Look for products that will provide your readers with what they want—which is not the same thing as providing them with what they need! You have a niche, and a topic for your blog, and that’s what should dictate your product selections. Think about your field, and think about what kinds of products make sense for your particular readership.
Finally: Don’t waste time with low-commission products. 4 or 5 percent is simply not a good use of your time. Something like 30 or 40 percent is much better—and 75%, of course, is ideal. Don’t settle on products until you know what kind of money you’re going to make off them, otherwise it could all turn out to be a waste of your time.