The affiliate marketing products you choose to sell, whether on your website, your email list, or through other mediums such as YouTube or podcasts, plays a crucial part in whether or not you’ll do well as an affiliate marketer.
In part 3 of my step by step niche website tutorial where I explain how to actually pick a good niche, I mentioned the importance of checking whether there are some good affiliate programs in your niche so that you can be fairly confident that you can eventually make a decent side income with your site (assuming that affiliate marketing is your primary earning strategy).
In this post I’ll go deeper into how you can actually find good affiliate marketing products in your industry by sharing the best of what I’ve learned from 9 years of testing, tweaking and seeing results as an affiliate for different companies.
For those out of the loop, affiliate marketing is one the most popular ways to make money online because it’s simple and it has lots of potential. It’s about promoting other peoples products and services and earning a commission on each sale that you refer.
It’s great because there’s no dealing with product creation, handling, shipping, or customer service, and literally anyone can get started with it to make some extra money online.
Some affiliate programs have stricter entry requirements than others, but most are freely open for anyone to join.
Chances are you’ll have to share your website URL when applying so I would put off actually applying to an affiliate program until you have a good base of content and a functional, nice-looking site so you don’t give them a reason to reject your application (it can happen).
Ok, so here are 7 different ways to find the best affiliate marketing products in your niche, starting with the obvious:
1. Start With Products You Know
First things first: if your niche is one that you have experience with then start by thinking of all the products and services you’ve actually used yourself and had a good experience or results with.
Then you simply find out whether or not those specific products have an affiliate program that you can join so you can start selling what you love.
Choosing affiliate marketing products to promote based on your actual first-hand experience is always ideal. Your endorsements will be totally natural, and it will be easy talking about the products or writing reviews if that’s your plan.
How do you check if a specific product has an affiliate program?
Simply go the product or brand’s website and look for a link somewhere named “affiliates”, “affiliate program”, “partners”, or “associates” which is often at the bottom of their homepage somewhere. Or simply search around on Google (see #5 below for the exact search phrases I’d use).
If the products you’ve used are physical products then you can probably find them on Amazon or another online store.
2. Physical Products? Consider Amazon
Amazon’s affiliate program (called Amazon Associates) is one the most popular affiliate programs on the entire web simply because of how big of a player Amazon is in e-commerce today.
They literally sell everything and anything so if your niche is related to physical products in any way then make sure to search around their range of products in your niche.
Alternatively you can type in the main keywords of your niche in the Amazon search bar and see what products come up.
Find the Best-Selling Products
Another thing you should do is check out the Amazon best-sellers list which ranks the top 100 selling products (updated multiple times a day) in different categories which will give you a good idea of what items people are buying the most in your niche.
From that main best-sellers page you can go as deep as you want into different sub-categories to find out the top 100 best-selling items for an exact sub-category.
For example, let’s say your niche is related to vacuum cleaners (pretty exciting niche, right?).
On the left-hand side of the main best-sellers page you’ll see a list of categories. Click on “Home & Kitchen”. Then click on “Vacuums & Floor Care”. Then click on “Vacuums” and voila: a list of the top 100 best-selling vacuum cleaners as of today:
Very useful data, but keep in mind that you don’t necessarily want to sell something just because it’s selling like hot cakes.
Yes, you definitely want to consider it because best-sellers will quite often also be quality products that people want and need in that field. But always do your research on what’s best for your audience and consider other things like customer reviews, reviews from places other than Amazon, or your own experience with the niche if possible.
In an ideal world you would actually buy the products that you’re planning on promoting and try them out, but this isn’t always practical especially when it comes to physical products because it could cost you an arm and a leg to do so.
For example, if you’re selling fridges you can’t exactly buy and try them all so the next best thing is to spend time carefully analyzing the current market and learning which products are the best buys and most relevant to your readers.
Whatever you do don’t just promote the first thing that catches your eye. Be a credible, trustworthy affiliate marketer if you want to be around for the long-haul.
Why Amazon’s Affiliate Program is a Safe Bet
Amazon’s commissions are generally not the highest going around (varies between 1-10% depending on the category and how many sales you make – get the lowdown here), and in some particular niches you may find better payouts being an affiliate for another online store (which you’ll find in affiliate networks – see #4 below).
But what’s great about Amazon is the huge trust factor; these days people have no hesitation buying from Amazon, even with products that you might not think people would buy online.
Making money with them is all about sending as much targeted traffic as possible to their site by linking to specific products, and letting Amazon’s highly optimized site take care of the rest.
A nice bonus is that since so many people buy on Amazon these days some people who you refer to Amazon will buy other random, unrelated items and you’ll get commissions on that too.
Their program is also easy to use, and reliable. Since I started as an affiliate with them they have never been late with a payment. Unfortunately I can’t say the same of all the affiliate programs I’ve been a part of over my journey.
Overall if I were you and your niche is related to physical products then I’d seriously consider Amazon’s program as either a primary way to earn with your site or as an additional income stream.
Niches that have higher priced items will typically require less traffic to make good money (although you’ve got to consider the commission percentage as well), but with enough traffic you could create a nice side income with most niches.
3. Search ClickBank for Digital Products
If Amazon is your best bet to find physical goods to sell, Clickbank is the current equivalent for digital products such as eBooks, membership sites, online courses, or software products.
Clickbank is an affiliate network, which is basically a matchmaking service between sellers (product creators) and affiliates like you and I.
To clear things up, basically there are two types of affiliate programs you can join.
There are those managed by affiliate networks like Clickbank, who handle payments and other admin stuff. Then there’s independent affiliate programs, like Amazon, which are privately run.
In my opinion there’s a lot of average products on Clickbank that you wouldn’t ever want to promote, but there’s also a lot of quality if you know what you’re looking for.
As I’ve said a million times, and will continue to say, if you’re considering selling a certain product always do thorough research into it (ideally buying it yourself).
The good thing about promoting digital goods such as what you’ll find on Clickbank is that commission rates tend to be a lot higher than with physical products. 50-75% commissions are pretty common.
What To Look For On Clickbank
Go to the Clickbank homepage, click on “Marketplace” from the main menu, and search through the products in categories related to your niche. Or just type in your main keyword in the search box.
Look for products that would solve a problem in your niche. If something takes your eye click through to the product’s sales page and get into research mode.
On the product’s site you should also look to see if they have an affiliate sectoin which may give you more details about how you can promote the product.
As you browse potential affiliate marketing products on Clickbank you’ll see a bunch of statistics which may look like gibberish. This is the lowdown on what they mean:
- The average commission rate you’ll make on a sale.
4. Browse Other Affiliate Networks
ClickBank is just one of many affiliate networks and browsing some of the other big affiliate networks out there is worth a shot to find opportunities in your niche.
Within these networks you’ll also find some big online stores to potentially promote (ie Amazon alternatives) such as Walmart, Best Buy, TigerDirect, Kmart, and Barnes and Noble just to name a few off the top of my head.
Most big companies, if they actually offer an affiliate program, will list their program within a network. There are exceptions though and some big brands will have private programs just like Amazon does. A couple of examples that spring to mind are Ebay’s affiliate program, Etsy’s (homemade and vintage goods), and Udemy (online courses).
Here are some of the most popular affiliate networks right now that you might want to look into:
These networks are unique because instead of paying you per sale you get paid per action or lead (CPA = Cost Per Action). They won’t be applicable to all niches and if you’re new I would simply stick with traditional affiliate programs, but if you have an established site with decent traffic they may be worth a look.
For example, you could earn money every time you refer someone to download a free software trial, or every time you get someone to sign up for an email list or fill out a certain form.
There are tons of CPA networks but these are 3 of the biggest and most popular right now:
5. Search for Independent Programs
Another way to potentially dig up independent affiliate marketing products in your niche that aren’t listed under networks is to simply do some searching around on Google. I would use phrases like this: (minus the brackets)
[niche keyword] affiliate
[niche keyword] affiliate program
[niche keyword] associate program
[niche keyword] partner
You never know what you might find. As always, do extensive research on anything that you dig up and ideally spend some time to actually test out the product and experiment with it.
6. What Are Competitors Promoting?
Another simple way to find potential affiliate marketing products to sell is to take a look at what other sites in your field are promoting. You may find some quality products that you wouldn’t have ever thought of.
Common areas where you can find someone’s affiliate recommendations is on an ad/link in their sidebar if they have one, on a “resources” or “tools” page where they list their favorite products in the niche (like my recommended resources page), through their email list as they may give affiliate recommendations through there, or actually within their content (especially pages on topics related to a certain product such as reviews or tutorials).
7. Reach Out for Private Partnerships
This is a little more advanced and not for everyone. If there’s a certain product you really want to promote for whatever reason but they don’t seem to have an affiliate program, you could try your luck with reaching out to the owner and to strike up some sort of private partnership.
I’d only do this if you have established your site a little, have some traffic coming in and the ability to start making them sales straight away. You don’t want to waste their time.
I’ve personally never had to do this so I can’t really comment further on how to go about it, but it’s rare that you would have to do this because most good products will have an affiliate program of some sort these days (if they know what’s good for them :P).
Did I Miss Something?
That’s all you really need to know about finding the best affiliate marketing products in your niche, but if there’s anything you’d like to add from your own experience then please let us all know in the comments below.
Do you know of another reliable affiliate network that I didn’t include?
Do you know of any other ways to find good affiliate marketing products?
Or perhaps you have a certain experience with a particular network or affiliate program that you wish to share?
Also, free free to share any general feedback or questions and I’ll do my best to help out where I can : )