If you are an affiliate marketing beginner you’re probably wondering how to choose the best affiliate programs. And if you’re a more experienced affiliate marketer, you’ll always be on the hunt to find new products to sell.
Here we’ll dive into the best types of products for affiliate marketing and how to make them part of your digital marketing strategy.
The Best Types of Products for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate products can include a variety of types of products and services including:
The first criteria you need to consider when choosing the best affiliate marketing products is what your audience wants and needs.
Understanding your audience and their problems, then offering products or services that solve those problems is the most important thing you can do to become a successful affiliate marketer.
If you try to sell something entirely different than the content your site or channel delivers, it will likely be seen as an annoying sales pitch or ad. Worse, visitors may leave and not return.
The niche in which you operate your online business then, will largely determine the best affiliate products to sell though there may be some crossover in niches.
Someone in the beauty industry may be able to market certain entertainment or travel products, for example. But it wouldn’t be smart for a Youtube channel about investing to put any marketing effort into selling beauty products.
No matter what your niche, you may be surprised by the diverse types of products and services your audience may be wiling to purchase. A blog about gardening might sell gardening products and plants, for example, but may also successfully sell online courses or e-books about growing certain types of plants.
According to the Performance Marketing Association’s 2022 Performance Marketing Industry Study, affiliate marketing investment grew to $9.1B in 2021, up 47% over 2018.
Following are seven popular niches with lots of affiliate programs to choose from. (Some of these are identified in the PMA study while others are recommended by affiliate marketers).
Financial products. Products like credit cards, robo investing tools or buy now pay later (BNPL) apps tend to pay higher commissions. This was the second largest area of spend identified in the PMA study.
Cashback. loyalty and rewards. This accounted for the largest percentage of spend.
Side hustles/business opportunities. Products here can include web hosting services, Wordpress themes, online courses, and tools such as invoicing or accounting software.
Dating. Numerous dating apps and sites will pay affiliate commissions. Dating services such as matchmaking or coaching may also be an option.
Real estate. This continues to be a very popular niche online, and there are numerous products, including investment offerings, that pay high commissions.
Travel. There is a lot of interest in travel post-pandemic and affiliate programs can range from credit cards with travel rewards, lodging, and travel booking sites and apps.
Retail brands. Retailers are using affiliate programs to help drive sales, and according to the PMA study, clothing is a particularly popular category here.
What Makes a Product Compatible with Affiliate Marketing
From the affiliate marketers viewpoint, there are three main question that determine if a product is compatible with their affiliate marketing strategy:
Does my audience want or need this product or service? (Or if I’m just starting out, do I have a solid plan to connect with an audience that wants the product?)
Does the company have an affiliate marketing program, or are they willing to set up an affiliate agreement?
Can I sell enough of the product to make my marketing efforts worthwhile?
Of course there are other questions you’ll want to explore as you choose affiliate products to offer, such as which products offer the highest commissions, the longest cookies, the best marketing support, etc., but if you can’t answer “yes” to those three questions you won’t be able to move forward. .
For businesses with products or services to sell, there are three main questions to ask to determine if your product is compatible with affiliate marketing:
Can I afford to pay an affiliate commission? You must have sufficient margins to make it worthwhile to pay sales commissions that are attractive enough for others to want to sell the product.
Is my product or service attractive for affiliate sales? In other words, is there an online market for what I have to sell?
Am I willing to set up an affiliate program and support it? If the offering is compelling, it may be necessary to hire an affiliate manager to manage the various aspects of running an affiliate program.
If you decide to offer an affiliate program, you can then manage it yourself or offer it through an affiliate network.
How Do I Find Affiliate Products?
You can use several methods to find affiliate products to offer.
The first way is to make a list of the different products you already use and would recommend to your audience. Then research whether or not the company has an affiliate program. If they do, you can review the terms and conditions. If it looks like a fit, sign up and sign up and start promoting their products.
Not all companies have an affiliate program, though some may offer referral bonuses, which are similar. If you have a large enough audience, the company may be open to creating a special affiliate partnership arrangement.
You can also check if the product is available through Amazon, in which case you can sign up for the Amazon Associates program to sell the product using an affiliate link. The payouts for the Amazon affiliate program are generally small, and the cookie duration is short, but it may be a good place to start. Similarly, you may find the product on ebay, in which case you can sign up for the ebay Partner Network.
Another way to find affiliate products is to simply look at what others in your space are promoting. The FTC mandates that if you are using affiliate links you must include a disclosure statement. That means everyone– no matter if they are a blogger, social media influencer, content creator, freelancer, small business entrepreneur, or something else– should disclose when they include affiliate product links in social or blog posts, videos or in email marketing. (Sometimes this disclosure is not tied to a specific product, though. In that case, look at the link URL to see if it includes a specific ID for the affiliate.)
A third way to find affiliate products is to use affiliate networks to find products you want to sell. Affiliate networks manage affiliate programs for various affiliate partners. The most popular affiliate networks include Awin, Shareasale, CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), Rakuten, Impact, and Clickbank.
Affiliate networks allow you to look at different programs and see key statistics such as conversion rates and average time until payouts. These stats can help you narrow down your choices to the best partner programs for your niche.
Finally, you can ask your audience. Survey them and find what they buy. You may discover products you can add to your affiliate marketing strategy.
What Are The Advantages/Disadvantages Of Affiliate Products?
There are many advantages and disadvantages involved with selling affiliate products. Many of these will depend on your business and the processes, equipment, and staff you already have in place.
Advantages of affiliate products:
Don’t have to set up or manage an ecommerce store, Shopify store, etc
No need to manufacture or source products
Avoid handling returns or refunds, credit card fees, sales tax, etc
No need to design new products
Relatively easy way to create an additional revenue stream
Can easy to integrate into what you already do
Disadvantages of affiliate products:
No control over the product
Commission structures or commission rates can change
Links may change resulting in lost sales
May need to sign up for multiple platforms and networks
Often need online bank account, PayPal or other accounts to receive payment
May get customer complaints if company has poor customer service
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. When you sign up with a company’s affiliate program, whether directly through a company or through an affiliate network, you will get or create affiliate links that track actions your audience takes.
You then include these links in blog posts, social media posts, videos, webinars, etc. This link is connected to you so when someone clicks on it, goes to the website, and buys a product you get an affiliate commission. Some affiliate programs will pay for leads (CPL) but the most common method is to pay for sales (CPA or CPS). A few will offer recurring commissions if your referred customers buy additional products; this can be a particularly lucrative form of affiliate income.
Once you’ve set up your promotions, you can continue to make money whenever customers complete the desired action using your link. This is why many online marketers say an affiliate marketing business offers a great way to earn passive income.
To be a successful affiliate marketer takes work, though. You must have a marketing platform whether it’s your own website, a social media following, or an email list, and you must create successful digital marketing programs that lead your audience to want to purchase through your recommendations.
You’ll need to constantly refine and optimize your marketing campaigns if you want to earn high commissions. And you’ll need to connect with your audience in a way that makes them trust you.
Done right, affiliate marketing creates an ongoing income stream for your business.