How to Choose Which Affiliate Products to Market

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on April 23, 2012
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We previously discussed four lucrative affiliate-marketing programs that can help you monetize your website more effectively. Choosing the right products to sell, however, is even more important. Here are a few strategies for selecting affiliate links that will drive sales.

  • Link products to your site’s focus. If you write about, say, food and recipes, selling affiliate products such as baking equipment or dry ingredients is a no-brainer. Just make sure that the products you pitch complement your own brand’s message: If you’re preaching about the virtues of organic food, you won’t want to promote preservative-laden snacks.
  • Pay attention to seasonal events. Both online and offline shopping tends to surge around the holidays — this year, online retailers made nearly $31 billion in sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 16. Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, can also spark short-term sales increases. Capitalize on shopping trends by offering holiday-themed gift lists or placing holiday-related affiliate display ads on your site during peak shopping periods.
  • Try the products yourself. You’re likely to get a far better response to affiliate links if you can show that you’ve used — and enjoyed — the products. If the product is a book, write a review. If it’s a new tech device, shoot a video that shows how it works. On the parenting-focused site Classy Mommy, for instance, blogger Colleen Padilla often posts clips of herself and her children testing new toys and household products.
  • Consider your site’s demographics. If your site has a lifestyle or news focus (and doesn’t revolve around topics that can be easily monetized), think about who your audience is and what they’re likely to buy even if it’s not directly related to your site’s content. Signing up for a free account with Quantcast can help you determine your audience’s demographics and see what other types of sites they’re visiting. For instance, if you find that many of your readers also follow pet-focused sites, you might consider offering affiliate pet-food products on your site.

No matter what products you choose to promote through affiliate links, remember to abide by the FTC’s disclosure rules for bloggers: If you write a product review or an article that features a product and includes an affiliate link, you must clearly state the nature of your affiliate relationship. See Search Engine Land’s post on the subject for more details.

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