Affiliate success hinges on many different factors.
One of the most crucial ones is choosing the right affiliate products.
Simply put, not knowing how to select which products to promote will likely make your affiliate promotions appear irrelevant, confusing, and spammy. This can, in turn, reduce your conversion rates, damage your credibility and reputation, hinder your progress, waste your resources, and ultimately ruin your entire affiliate business.
This might sound like a bit of a stretch, but I assure you, it couldn’t be more accurate.
The good news is that I’m here to help.
This article is dedicated to helping you navigate the rather complex process of choosing the right affiliate products that resonate with your target audience, ensure optimal monetization, and contribute to the long-term success of your affiliate marketing endeavors.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Promote Products You’ve Used
Having hands-on experience with an affiliate product will equip you with a profound understanding of its features, benefits, and limitations.
Such a tangible involvement comes with many significant advantages, such as:
- Higher Credibility: When you can speak from personal experience, your affiliate recommendations hold more weight. Potential customers are more likely to trust and follow the advice of someone who has firsthand knowledge of a product.
- In-Depth Knowledge: Hands-on experience allows you to explore and present a product’s strengths, usability, practicality, and unique selling points more thoroughly. This will, in turn, make your promotions more helpful and convincing.
- Quality Content: Being very familiar with an affiliate product will enable you to create high-quality reviews, tutorials, and comparisons that provide genuine value to your audience, increasing your traffic, trustworthiness, and conversions.
- Accurate Promotions: By being aware of a product’s limitations, you can refrain from making false or misleading claims, which can damage your credibility and reputation in the long run.
- Targeted Marketing: Direct product experience can help you tailor your marketing efforts to match the specific needs and pain points of your audience, boosting the likelihood of converting potential customers into actual buyers.
2. Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience enables you to gain invaluable insights into their needs, problems, and pain points. Such insights are indispensable when it comes to choosing the right affiliate products to promote, as they directly influence your ability to offer solutions that will actually be of value to your audience. This, in turn, boosts your credibility and reputation by positioning you as an invaluable problem solver in your niche.
Studying and understanding your audience can take place through various means such as analytics tools, surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.
Analytics tools offer quantitative data about your audience’s online preferences and browsing behaviors. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups, on the other hand, offer qualitative information, giving you a deeper sense of their real-life concerns and desires. These methods, in combination, can provide a well-rounded understanding of your audience.
Ultimately, the better you understand your audience, the easier it’ll be to identify which affiliate products they’ll actually value and purchase.
3. Focus on High-Quality Products
Promoting high-quality affiliate products is key to affiliate success for several compelling reasons.
First and foremost, promoting top-notch products reinforces trust and credibility by demonstrating a genuine concern for your audience’s satisfaction.
Secondly, pretty much everyone in the world, including you, would hate to invest in a product that fails to meet their expectations, right?
Well, the same goes for your audience. And if you’re the one who encouraged them to waste money on subpar products that led to unsatisfactory experiences, they’re extremely unlikely to trust your recommendations in the future.
Unfortunately, once lost, trust isn’t easily regained.
Furthermore, low-quality products generally have much higher return rates. This will certainly have a negative impact on your affiliate revenue as commissions are typically not paid on product returns.
Lastly, endorsing high-quality products aligns with ethical standards and enhances your professional reputation. This fosters enduring relationships with your audience, ultimately leading to more traffic and conversions.
4. Consider the Commission Rates
This one’s pretty obvious…
The higher the commission rates of an affiliate product are, the more money you’ll be earning for the same amount of effort. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll be investing time and resources into increasing your revenue so choosing products with generous commissions can significantly boost the returns on your investment (ROI).
The typical commission rate paid for services and digital goods falls in the range of 15% to 40%. Physical items tend to have lower commission rates, generally ranging from 5% to 10%. That’s because the costs associated with producing, storing, and shipping physical goods can be higher, which may limit the share available for affiliate commissions.
5. Pick Niche-Relevant Products
While commission rates are a very important factor to consider when selecting affiliate products to promote, you should always ensure that they’re also relevant to your niche.
Affiliate promotions that are irrelevant to your niche can create confusion, disrupt the cohesiveness of your message, decrease your conversion rates, and most importantly, damage your reputation.
Always keep in mind that a lower-paying product that perfectly fits your audience’s needs is likely to bring in much more revenue than a higher-paying but less relevant product, both in the short and the long term.
6. Go For Products With Recurring Commissions
Recurring commissions are the holy grail of affiliate marketing. That’s because they’re generated repeatedly for as long as the referred customer continues paying for the product or service you got them to purchase.
This creates a source of compounding passive income, fostering financial stability, reducing dependency on one-time sales, and ultimately enabling you to shift your focus from constantly pursuing new customers to building relationships with existing ones, which is generally much more affordable in terms of time, effort, and money.
Products that usually offer recurring commissions include, but aren’t limited to:
- Hosting Providers
- VPN Software
- Email Autoresponders
- Website Builders
- Design Software
- SEO Tools
- Online Course Builders
- Payment Processors
- & more
7. Analyze Seasoned Competitors
Another smart approach to choosing affiliate products is analyzing what your well-established competitors are currently promoting.
Seasoned affiliates in your niche are likely to have already invested substantial time and effort in experimenting with multiple affiliate products, so chances are that the ones they’re promoting right now are those that perform the best.
Figuring out which those products are could save you months, or maybe even years of trial and error.
On top of that, some competitors might openly share their income reports, breaking down how much they earn from each affiliate product they promote. Such reports can further help you zero in on the products that are the most lucrative and in demand within your target niche.
8. Consider the Product’s Reputation
Did you know that a single negative review can convince 94% of consumers to steer clear of a product?
Combine this with the fact that more than 99.9% of consumers look at a product’s online ratings and reviews before purchasing it, and it’s pretty evident that affiliate products with a poor reputation are extremely unlikely to convert well, if at all.
Therefore, make sure that the affiliate products you choose to promote have an excellent reputation.
Associating with reputable products and brands will not only positively affect your conversion rates but will also enhance your credibility, boost brand loyalty, increase repeat business, and help you position yourself as a go-to expert who provides valuable information and recommendations in your niche.
9. Check Cookie Duration
Cookie duration is a critical factor when choosing which affiliate products to promote as it directly impacts your potential earnings.
The term “cookie duration” refers to the length of time within which you can earn a commission from delayed conversions.
Unfortunately, most referrals don’t make instant purchases – some might take hours, days, or even weeks to make a decision. A longer cookie duration means that you have a greater window of opportunity to receive credit for a sale even if it takes place several days or weeks after you actually made the referral.
To give you an example, a 30-day cookie duration means that you’ll receive credit for sales generated by your referrals within 30 days of clicking your affiliate links.
Nevertheless, a short cookie duration isn’t definitive proof that an affiliate product is not worth promoting.
For example, while Amazon’s affiliate program offers a very short 24-hour cookie duration on all its products, its limited cookie length is compensated by the fact that you’ll receive commissions on all purchases made by your referrals within that 24-hour period.
10. Assess Conversion Rates
A profitable commission structure is worthless if an affiliate product doesn’t convert well. Simply put bad conversion rates = fewer sales = less money.
Additionally, poor conversion rates are usually a tattletale sign of low-quality products that might not satisfy your target audience and hurt your credibility. On top of that, products that don’t convert well usually require a lot more time and effort to market, as you’ll have to drive much more traffic to them to make a decent income.
As a rule of thumb, aim for affiliate products with conversion rates of more than 1%.
Affiliate product conversion rates can usually be found on some affiliate networks like ShareASale. The conversion rates of most standalone affiliate programs aren’t publicly available, but you may be able to get your hands on them by reaching out directly to their respective merchant.
The most accurate way to measure the conversion rates of a specific affiliate product is to actually promote it for a while and assess how your audience responds to it by gathering real-world data via the analytics tools of your chosen marketing channel.
11. Select Products That Offer Free Trials
Last, but not least, selecting affiliate products that offer free trials can have many advantages, including:
- Higher Conversion Rates: Free trials eliminate the financial barrier that often deters potential customers from trying a new product. This psychology of “try before you buy” can significantly boost conversions.
- Building Trust: Promoting products with free trials demonstrates transparency and a commitment to customer satisfaction. This builds trust and credibility, making audiences more likely to take recommendations from affiliates they perceive as genuinely interested in their needs.
- Quality Assessment: Free trials allow potential customers to evaluate a product’s quality and features without having to actually purchase it. This can, in turn, decrease the likelihood of unsatisfied customers and refund requests, ensuring more revenue and a positive reputation for affiliates.
- Passive Income: Free trials are mostly offered by subscription-based products which pay recurring commissions for as long as referrals maintain their subscriptions. This can lead to a consistent and compounding source of passive income.
Affiliate marketing FAQs
Affiliate marketing is an online business model that involves promoting products or services created and distributed by third-party online merchants in exchange for getting paid a commission for each sale you refer.
In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is the process of being compensated for helping businesses sell to more customers.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of how affiliate marketing works.
- You join a merchant’s affiliate program
- The merchant gives you a unique affiliate link that points to their e-shop
- You promote your unique affiliate link online (blog, forums, social media, paid ads, etc.)
- Every time someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase on the merchant’s e-shop, the merchant pays you a commission
There are thousands of successful affiliate marketers all around the world. Some of the most well-known ones are:
- Pat Flynn
- Matt Diggity
- Matthew Woodward
- Doug Cunnington
- & more
You can check out a roundup of my 17 favorite examples of affiliate success and their backstories right here.
- Billion-dollar industry
- Very low startup & operational expenses
- Huge income potential
- Flexible & versatile
- Passive income
- Simple to implement
- No technical background
- No customer support
- No physical setup
Affiliate marketers can be divided into five main income groups:
- Total beginners: $0 – $20,000 per year
- Low-level affiliates: $20,000 – $50,000 per year
- Intermediate affiliates: $50,000 – $100,000 per year
- High-level affiliates: $100,000 – $500,000 per year
- Super affiliates: $500,000+ per year
Some of the factors that influence how much you earn as an affiliate marketer include:
- target niche
- available resources
- previous experience
- marketing efforts
- & overall mindset
Here’s a rough income growth timeline of a typical affiliate marketing business:
- months (0-3): no earnings
- months (3-6): first affiliate sale
- months (6-12): $100-$500 monthly
- months (12-18): $1000 monthly
- months (18-24): $3000+ monthly
This timeline isn’t a guarantee of future performance but rather a mere approximation of the income growth of an average affiliate business. Your own timeline could be shorter or longer than projected.
Over the years, I’ve seen aspiring affiliates striking a gold vein just a few months into the industry. On the other hand, I personally know people who’ve been struggling to grow their affiliate revenue to $1000 per month for several years.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most affordable money-making models out there.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to get started as an affiliate marketer along with their associated costs:
- web hosting & domain name: $2.95/month (Bluehost)
- keyword research tool: $49/month (Jaaxy)
- expert guidance: $49/month (Wealthy Affiliate)
- email autoresponder: Free for up to 1000 subs (MailerLite)
Please note that on top of expert guidance, Wealthy Affiliate also provides free access to hosting and a keyword research tool so you don’t have to purchase them separately.
The process of getting started with affiliate marketing can be broken down into the following four simple steps:
- Pick a niche
- Launch a blog
- Build an audience
- Promote affiliate products
No, you don’t.
Affiliate marketing is very simple to get started with by virtually anyone regardless of age, education, background, available capital, tech-savviness, professional network, etc.
In fact, most 6-figure affiliate marketers were no more experienced than you currently are when they first ventured into the affiliate marketing industry.
Nonetheless, being knowledgeable in fields like marketing, sales, content production, business management, etc., could help you reach your financial goals somewhat faster.
In conclusion, choosing the right affiliate products to promote requires careful consideration of many factors including niche relevance, commission rates, product familiarity, reputation, quality, and much more.
Always keep in mind that the key to affiliate success is not promoting the best or highest-paying product but rather providing value. As counterintuitive as it may sound, the more your affiliate promotions help your audience achieve their goals and solve their problems, the more affiliate commissions you’ll be making.
The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.
Have any questions or need further help with your affiliate marketing endeavors?
Leave a comment below or drop me a line and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
All the best, and stay safe,
Harry, Founder & Creative Director at dearboss-iquit.com