Many bloggers hope to become millionaires from affiliate marketing. This is a realistic goal, but unfortunately few marketers ever reach that dream. A recent survey from last year’s Affiliate Summit found that nearly 40% of affiliate marketers make less than $5,000 a year. One of the largest reasons some affiliates are more successful is that they know how to find the right affiliate products to promote on their blog.
You need to find great products to promote to succeed as an affiliate. Here are some guidelines for finding and vetting affiliate partners.
How Do You Find Products to Promote?
There are plenty of great products that need awesome affiliates like you. Here are some tips to help you find the best affiliate partners.
Check Out Affiliate Networks
There are a number of great affiliate networks that you should look into. Clickbank, Commission Junction, Click Booth, ShareASale and PayDotCom are some of the most popular. You will find thousands of different products on each of these networks. ClickBank is arguably the most popular. Here are some steps for finding a product with it.
The first step is to start looking for products. You can do this by either navigating the categories page or searching by keyword in the search bar. Try using a number of different search terms if you are using the search bar.
The products will be listed in the center of the page. You will want to look at the different statistics to get an idea which products are a good fit for your blog. These are the stats that you need to look at:
- Product price and commission. The listing should list both the amount of money that you can make on a sale and the percentage commission of the total sales price. You will want to also pay close attention to the cost of the product to ensure it is within your readers’ budgets.
- The gravity weight. This is a measure of the number of affiliates that have earned a commission promoting the product in the last 12 weeks. Most experts recommend promoting products with a gravity weight of 20-100, because they are clearly products that customers are willing to purchase. However, it is a good idea to track the gravity of a product over time, because it can drop sharply if the market is saturated or many dissatisfied customers return it.
- Average % rebill. This figure tells you how much money you can make off a product if people continue to renew it. Find out what the cost of renewal is to estimate the total commission that you would receive.
You should always check the merchant’s site first to learn more about the product. You don’t want to promote it unless you are confident the product looks useful and the merchant seems credible.
Look for Other Affiliates in Your Niche
You can also find great affiliate products from your competition. Finding other affiliates will require a lot more research. Here are some ways that you can find competitors and start promoting their products. Over half of affiliates promote at least a few products, so you should be able to find a few good products by looking at their sites.
When you find other affiliate sites, you should avoid clicking the links to the merchants. It is better to navigate to the merchant site on your own, because the affiliate may be part of a multiple tier affiliate program which means that you will earn lower referrals if you visit the site through their referral link.
Search for Disclosure Pages
A simple Google search may help you find affiliates. The FTC requires all affiliates to disclose that they are paid commissions for their sales. You may be able to find the disclosure pages for sites on Google. Here are some search terms you may try:
- +niche disclosure
- +niche “affiliate links”
- +niche “affiliate disclosure”
Not all affiliates living in the United States abide by FTC laws and some are based outside of the U.S. so they may not be required to have such a page. Therefore, you won’t be able to find all of your competitors this way, but it is a good place to start.
Search for Reviews
Many affiliates also write reviews about the products that they promote. You can find their review pages with another simple Google search:
- +merchant name +review
Once you find the review page, you can start looking at the other pages on the site. You will probably find a number of other affiliate products to promote.
Backlink Analysis on Merchants
You may also want to look at the sites that link to the merchant’s homepage. Many of them will include the affiliates that you are trying to promote. Here are some tools that you may want to use:
- Analyze Back Links
- Link Diagnosis
Some of these tools limit the number of backlinks that you can analyze unless you provide a free trial. However, even the free trial can give you a list of a number of great sites worth checking out. You can easily find out which ones are other affiliates.
Look at Individual Companies
You may also want to look at individual companies in your niche. Many of them may have affiliate programs. There are a couple of ways that you can look for them:
- Conduct a Google search using key terms such as “join our affiliate program +niche”
- Look at ads in Google. Many companies that purchase Adsense ads also create their own affiliate programs.
- Email companies in your niche that may be interested in having affiliate programs. Some of them don’t advertise these programs and they are by invitation only. However, they may be inclined to work with you if you have a great niche blog with plenty of traffic.
Contacting companies in your niche will take more work. However, it could open the doors to a number of great programs that your competitors haven’t discovered.
What Should You Look for in an Affiliate Product?
There are tens of thousands of affiliate products and services that you can promote. However, finding products that are worth promoting is a bit more difficult. Every product you promote needs to meet the following characteristics:
Product Meets the Needs of Your Readers
Do you buy products that you don’t serve any purpose? I didn’t think so. Your prospective customers won’t either. You will need to find affiliate products that meet a need.
You need to make sure that any products you promote complement the niche of your blog. Sometimes it is easy to know if the product is a good fit for your site. Any affiliate worth his salt knows there is no point trying to promote a lawnmower on a dieting site.
However, there are times when it is a bit harder to tell. Your blog may have evolved into something that is much different than what you envisioned it. One blogger I know once created a blog for young entrepreneurs but eventually changed the theme to writing tips. He made the change because his readers expressed that they were much more interested in learning to write than starting a new venture. He wouldn’t have been able to promote startup resources to them even though that is what he initially intended.
Unfortunately, I can’t give you any surefire tips for choosing affiliate products that your readers will want. You are the only one that knows the people that read your blog. The best advice I can give is to engage with them to learn what types of things they are interested in. You don’t want to ask them what products you should try selling to them, but you can figure out what makes them tick and what needs they need to meet.
Merchant Seems Trustworthy
People are very skeptical about products that they buy online. They are also skeptical of affiliate marketers. You will need to make sure that you only promote products that are promoted by honest merchants. The product needs to deliver on its promises or people won’t purchase it.
This is a very important point to keep in mind. Your credibility as a blogger is at stake. If you promote products that turn out to be garbage then your readers will stop trusting you. I would recommend the following:
- Look for testimonials from previous customers. Make sure the testimonials look like they are written by real customers.
- Do a quick Google search to see if anyone has complained about the product.
- Consider buying a copy of the product and give it a try yourself. I started off doing affiliate marketing by promoting products that I had already tried, because I knew other buyers would be just as satisfied with them as me.
Unfortunately, if there are too many reviews then it may mean the market may be saturated and you may be entering too late in the game. However, it is safest to look for products that have some positive reviews before attaching your reputation to them.
It can be harder to tell if a new product meets these criteria if many customers haven’t purchased it yet. You might want to find out if the merchant has created any other products in the past. If they created great products in the past then the new product may be good too. However, you should probably pass on the product if nobody has purchased the product before or heard of the merchant.