Choosing your first affiliate program
As you brainstorm products or browse through affiliate platforms, the most important criteria to keep in mind is that the product should be aligned with your audience, or the audience you hope to build. Ask yourself, is it something your target audience would find valuable? Does it fit with your area of expertise?
A food blogger probably wouldn’t promote beauty products, for example. A wide range of other products would make more sense, such as cookware, meal kits, gourmet ingredients, or even aprons.
Also make sure the product or service you’re promoting is a fit for the platform you’re promoting it on. For example, home decor and clothing are well suited to image-heavy platforms like Instagram. However, if you’re promoting more in-depth purchases, like software, your review may convert better on longer-form platforms, like a blog or YouTube.
Creating a plan to promote your affiliate offer
As we mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing revenue eventually can become a form of passive income, but you still have to do some heavy lifting up front. The success of your program will depend on the quality of your review.
To create a good review, it’s best to get personal. Share your experience in your blog, social media post, or video. If you’re writing a personal review, give a candid opinion based on your experience with and knowledge of the product. The more open you are, the more authentic you will be. People will be more comfortable following your advice if they feel they can trust you.
Trust is a key factor in your affiliate marketing efforts, because people need to trust you enough to act on your recommendations. The level of trust you’ll need to make affiliate sales depends on your industry and the products you’re recommending—for example, it takes more trust to be an effective affiliate for a $1,000 course than it does for a $20 t-shirt.
Beyond just sharing your experiences, you can build trust by limiting the number of affiliates you promote, or by only becoming an affiliate for products you personally use, and sticking to your area of expertise. For example, people trust my recommendations for Canadian financial apps, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to have much luck as a Sephora affiliate.
Talk to a product expert
Another option is interviewing others who use the product or service, or even interviewing the person who makes or sells it. This can give your review more depth, creating a narrative for the reader.
Create a product tutorial
While your success with affiliate marketing can depend on the overall size of your following, another way to drive higher-converting traffic is by providing a tutorial on the offer. People often perform “how to” searches on Google, such as “how to save money for college” or “how to decorate a laundry room.” If you offer a tutorial that solves a searcher’s problem and clearly showcases the value of the product, your referrals will make more sense in context and you’ll provide the customer with a stronger incentive to purchase the product you’re recommending.
Find relevant search terms
If you’re promoting an offer through a blog post, research which keywords someone might use in a search engine to find an answer to a related problem.Google Ads Keyword Planner is a good tool that can help. (It’s free to use, but you’ll need to create an account.)
Consider your angle
Depending on your offer, figure out how much energy you should invest in instructional or tutorial content, which is often a natural lead-in to someone trying a product for themselves. For example, you could record a video of yourself using and getting the most out of a physical product, or showing off the benefits of a digital product, like software. Unboxing posts are popular, so if you receive the product in the mail, document your experience opening it up.
Set your distribution strategy
Once you’ve written your promotional content, share it on your website or social media platforms. If you have an email list, you can create an email marketing campaign. And be sure to have an affiliate marketing hub on your website with a Resources page where you share a quick list of all of the tools you use and love.
Try offering a bonus
Sometimes marketers promote their affiliate programs by offering bonuses to anyone who purchases the offer. For example, you could give a free ebook you wrote to any follower who makes a purchase. Promotions like this encourage customers to buy by sweetening the deal. They’re especially persuasive if the bonus you offer is something you normally sell, because then shoppers can see its actual dollar value added value right on your site.
Adding a bonus can be a good way to stand out if several other affiliates are promoting the same product.
Congratulations on finishing this article on finding your niche and our full affiliate marketing guide. Click the link below for our suggested list of resources.