Thanks to the many affiliate programs out there today, it’s easier than ever to find relevant products to promote to your audience. But figuring out how to decide what products to promote can be a bit more difficult.
There’s a lot of commission opportunities out there, but that doesn’t mean you can effectively convince your audience to buy. Effective affiliate marketers take the time to select valuable products that match their audience’s interests and needs.
Start with your own interests
Many people today get into affiliate marketing because they like the idea of making passive online income. They don’t care what kind of products they promote, as long as they’re lucrative.
And that’s a major reason why most affiliate marketers fail from the beginning. Blindly following the money-making products that you don’t have genuine interest or knowledge in is a recipe for disaster. Sure… you should factor in your earning potential when choosing products to promote, but don’t let it be the driving force of your choice.
So first, look into products that you already use, like, and know a lot about. Choosing a product that aligns with your own interests will make it easier to create valuable content that will encourage your audience to buy.
If you’re starting from square one and haven’t built a blog audience yet, choose an overall niche that relates to your interests (e.g. outdoor sports, health and fitness, cooking, home repair, etc.). As you learn more about the affiliate products available in this space, you can develop ideas for blog content that attracts the right audience.
Next, you can brainstorm product ideas related to your niche. Do this with the help of a long tail keyword research tool, such as Google Adwords Keyword Planner or KeywordTool.io. Here’s how to do it with Keyword Planner:
On the Keyword Planner main page, simply type in a base keyword related to your niche, such as “home improvement.”
Keyword Planner will then come up with a list of relevant related keywords:
This is a great way to brainstorm topic themes for your blog, but you can also dig down deeper into each keyword category. Pay attention to average monthly searches to get an idea of topic demand. If generating traffic through SEO is part of your strategy, you’ll also want to factor in competition.
It’s worthwhile to get ideas from more than one keyword research tool. Take your base keyword and Keyword Planner’s suggestions and plug them into another tool to get more ideas. Compile a list of relevant product-related topics to evaluate.
Find products on an affiliate marketplace
ClickBank is one of many affiliate marketing sites out there you can use to find products to promote. But it’s a recommended option for beginner affiliate marketers because it has a huge user base and a lot of insights into the profitability of potential products.
You can use it to search for relevant affiliate products related to your niche. If you’re starting from scratch, ClickBank has a list of product categories and subcategories you can choose from, such as “Home & Garden,” and “How-to & Home Improvements.”
Then you’ll see details of different popular related products:
To get more specific results, you can also use the keyword list you created to search the ClickBank database.
Once you’ve found a product that interests you, you can evaluate the ClickBank statistics:
Here’s a breakdown of the main statistics you’ll see for each product:
- Initial $/Sale: This is the average amount an affiliate earns from each sale. The value can include “chargeback.” Chargeback is when people spend more with the seller after purchasing an initial product — affiliates receive that as part of their commission as well.
- Avg %/Sale: This is the average commission rate of all sales from this supplier.
- Avg rebill total: Rebills come from products that have a recurring subscription, such as an online membership or software. The average rebill total is the average value of affiliate commission from rebills.
- Avg %/rebill: This is the average commission rate from rebills.
- Grav: Grav stands for Gravity. This is a metric based on the number of affiliates who earned a commission for promoting the product in the past 12 weeks. As a general rule, it’s advisable to avoid products with a Gravity score less than 20 or more than 100. A high Gravity score means the product has a lot of competition. A low Gravity score means not a lot of people are affiliates of the product, or they’re not earning a lot of commission.
If at first glance the product metrics look appealing to you, you should next check out the sales page related to it. Look at it through the eyes of a customer. Does the content appear convincing and make you want to buy?
Usually, a product’s sales statistics will be enough to tell you that the landing page is effective. But you should still check it yourself to see if it looks worthwhile for your audience.
Side note: other ways to find products
If you’re not impressed by the products you see on ClickBank, don’t worry, there are plenty of other platforms out there. Here are a few to check out:
You can also become an affiliate with some businesses directly through their website. Use Google search to find them. For example “[niche keyword] affiliate program” will return relevant results.
Consider market need
If you’ve already built up an audience for your blog, you should next evaluate how your product ideas measure up to their interests and needs. That’s who you’ll be selling to, after all.
If you’re still in the beginning stages of setting up your website and attracting traffic, it might make sense to have potential product ideas in mind from the beginning. But if you build your audience organically, you might find your blog takes a different direction than you planned from day one. So build your audience first, then start evaluating how they would respond to different kinds of products.
And even if you identify products that would be valuable for your personal audience, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily in high demand. Say you run a niche cooking blog and want to promote food mills as an affiliate product. Is very much of your audience actually interested in creating fresh tomato sauce by hand? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself to gauge interest.
You can also use Google Trends to monitor the search volume of keywords related to your potential products over time:
This can be a general measure of overall interest in products, but be careful here —- your niche blog audience doesn’t necessarily have the same interests as Google’s wide user base.
Other important questions to answer
The interests and needs of your unique audience should be the first filter you use to evaluate potential products. Beyond that, you’ll want to consider:
Physical or digital?
There are lots of opportunities to promote physical and digital products as an affiliate. Each has their benefits, and it really depends on your niche. If your niche is home improvement, for example, focusing on digital products only would greatly limit your options. There are a lot of physical tools and DIY products you can review and promote on your home improvement blog.
There’s also the issue of commission. The commission rate for physical products is often very low (less than 15%). Digital product commissions can be just as low, and/or soar as high as 75%. That’s appealing.
Here’s an example of a digital product with 75% commission and multiple upsells:
Lastly, there’s the issue of refunds. You’re going to see a lot more refunds when you promote digital products, simply because it’s an easier to do so. People are less likely to refund physical products because they have to repackage and ship them back.
If you do opt to promote physical products, just make sure you have the opportunity to use them yourself before recommending them on your blog.
High or low dollar?
At first glance, high dollar items seem the most appealing to affiliate marketers. But when you market less expensive items, you can reach a larger audience of interested people. Depending on your audience makeup, you may be able to make more money as an affiliate for a lot of inexpensive items than you would with high dollar products.
On ClickBank, you can toggle search features and attributes to view products with high or low average sale value:
Ultimately you’re going to need to consider the value of the commission vs the volume of sales you can reasonably make for a product. Selling a $3,000 product even one time will get you a huge commission. But how much of your audience is willing to pay that kind of money just because you recommend the product?
One sale vs recurring commission?
A recurring commission is great news for affiliate marketers. Promote recurring commission products and get paid over and over again each time your referral pays their subscription. Say for example a product costs $29/month and you get a 30% commission. You get $8.70 every month for each referral! What could be better?
In the Attributes section of ClickBank product search, you can set it to show products with one-time, recurring, and $1 trial billing types:
If you find relevant recurring commission products that sell well and make sense for your audience, then go for them. Just don’t prioritize recurring commission products over other, more relevant, one-sale products.
How many products should you promote?
Once you have an idea of relevant products to promote, you need to decide how many you should pursue. Always consider quality over quantity. In other words, avoid making a wide range of shallow endorsements on your site. None will lead to a lot of conversions that way.
Instead start with one main product that you optimize your promotion strategy for, then consider expanding. This is also a great strategy to warm your audience to high dollar purchases as well. You can tier related products costing $XX, $XXX, and $X,XXX.
Your products are only as good as your sales funnel
Once you’ve picked your products, you’re ready to start monetizing your blog as an affiliate marketer. You’re going to continue to provide the same valuable content that attracts your audience’s interests. Only now you’ll incorporate product suggestions into your messaging.
But building an effective sales funnel isn’t as simple as directing your blog readers straight to a sales page to buy. You need to build more trust, not just in you and your blog, but also the products you’re recommending. Warm your audience by marketing through email as well.
To do this, you’ll need to encourage email signups through calls-to-action on your blog and lead magnets. Use ClickFunnels to set up your squeeze page and connect it to your autoresponder.
It’s an invaluable tool because it helps you develop a sales funnel pre-designed for the type of product you’re promoting. All you have to do is follow the process Clickfunnels lays out for you. No coding skills necessary:
Once you’ve created your squeeze page, attract traffic to it to build your email list. Then offer your affiliate product suggestions as part of your email marketing message to “warm” your audience to the products and encourage conversions.
When it comes to finding a profitable affiliate product, there are a lot of factors to consider. Metrics from an affiliate program can tell you a lot about performance overall. But ultimately, you’ll want to think hard about the product’s value for your specific niche audience.
Pay attention to the topics and product areas that generate the most traffic and engagement on your blog. Make sure your potential affiliate products are relevant, in-demand, and have the earning potential you need. Then focus on building a sales funnel that nurtures relationships and maximizes conversions in the process.