Hello guys! If you’ve been reading my affiliate marketing articles for a while now, you’ve probably noticed how frequently I advise against selling digital products. It’s almost a catchphrase at this point, right?
When I talk about digital products in that sense, I’m usually talking about poorly-written ebooks claiming to have a miracle cure for baldness or a magical weight loss formula. Those kinds of digital products are things that gave affiliate sales a bad name in the first place…and they are way too plentiful!
That being said, I’m no fool. I know that there are some digital products that still sell like hotcakes. These below, for example, are perennially popular on major e-tailers like Amazon.
If there’s one type of digital product that remains incredibly popular among buyers, it’s apps for mobile devices. They’re cheap, easy to install, and are generally viewed as secure compared to computer programs.
The good part about trying to sell apps is that there are tons of awesome apps for almost every purpose. So, doing app roundup articles will be a cinch. Moreover, most people use more than one app for a given purpose, which means you should expect double commissions on a single article.
Of course, quality still matters here, but for the most part, app developers already know this when they’re making something for people to use. That said, you don’t need to worry about having to settle for bad apps. Many top apps cost money and roll by the same rules as others, so there’s no reason to skimp on quality.
Movies + Music
Amazon Video and Amazon Music are both open to giving commissions to affiliate marketers who push their goods. With music, the same can be said when it comes to major e-tailers like iTunes. People love media, and consume it regularly.
Movies are a perennial moneymaker, which is why they are excellent topics to write on. Don’t believe it? Make some new music articles or articles about top new movies, and get back to me.
It’s often said that the internet holds more knowledge than humanity ever had available to it, all at your fingertips. Is it any surprise, then, that people want to find new ways to learn fun skills or find out how others do the things they do? It’s really not.
There are now several major platforms that are completely and totally dedicated to helping people learn new skills, including Masterclass and Udemy. Payouts for these classes are high, too, which makes this route a great choice for people who hold education in high esteem.
Much like apps, the beauty behind being an affiliate marketer for classes is the fact that there are classes for almost every topic imaginable. Since multiple classes can exist for similar issues
Content Subscription Services
Most of the digital products I’ve mentioned so far are single-use, or single-purpose in nature. That’s great, if you’re okay with a one-off, but many people aren’t. That’s why many companies are now rolling out content subscription services.
Subscription services act a lot like Netflix or Hulu+, in the sense that they give you access to all the content that a service has. For sites like Masterclass, this means you get an unlimited amount of classes. For Gaia, this means that you get access to spiritual content.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few subscription services that now have affiliate programs in place. By highlighting their value online, you can get a nice slice of that pie.
Online Discount Programs
Another popular digital product isn’t something you buy, but rather, something you sign up for. I’m talking, of course, about digital discount programs like Ibotta or Honey. These are programs that are used in free apps, that give people cash back on their purchases.
Because they work as a form of advertising, companies that offer these programs give a fairly good kickback to affiliates. You can get anywhere from $5 to $25 per signup, depending on how many people you market it to.
Though rare right now, there is a new trend of professional-grade software companies using affiliate marketing to help raise awareness about their product. Professionals need software that improves their workflow, and the software isn’t always cheap.
Just about every business imaginable needs some kind of software to make things work these days. Depending on the format and type you decide to market, you can get a seriously high income from working with business software.
3 Awesome Affiliate Marketing Review Strategies That Actually Work
I’ll be honest. Affiliate marketing can be downright intimidating when you first start out. It’s a little wild to think that you need to sell a product to a person who you can’t see and can’t speak to directly, right?
Like with most other types of sales, selling is all about strategy. If you go too heavy-handed, then you’re going to end up making your readers feel like they’re being sold to. If you go too light, then you won’t actually sell anything at all because no one will be engaged enough.
Today, we’re going to discuss affiliate marketing review strategies that work. More specifically, we’re going to talk about three formats that work remarkably well at converting sales and why they work. Let’s get started!
The Product Roundup
The first affiliate format that’s been proven to work has been a staple in fashion magazines since before the internet was a major conduit of information. A roundup is just what it sounds like—a collection of products that the marketer thinks are awesome.
The product roundup comes in a wide range of different sub-categories, including top tens, collections of products all relating to a special occasion, and gift lists. As long as there’s a general theme to the roundup, it’ll work well for you.
Product roundups work well because they are organized, let people learn about products they’re already interested in, and also happen to serve up info in a way that’s easy to digest. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the best X’s for Y’s are, then you’ll get why it works.
To make your roundup work well, you need to choose elegant photos and also give people a good idea of what each product offers in terms of benefits. Comparing and contrasting the products can also work, if you are doing a top ten review.
Reviews have become a mainstay among modern affiliate marketers, especially those that consider themselves to be up-and-coming influencers. The reason why is simple: it works on a personal level, especially if it’s done in a story format.
Studies show that people tend to remember stories better, and tend to get more emotionally invested in the product as a result. It’s also fairly obvious that reviews offer a far more in-depth glance at a product, giving people a better understanding of what they should expect if they buy it.
What really sells a review, though, is the personal touch. By showing yourself as a real person who is interacting with the product, you boost the trustworthiness of your review immensely. That, in turn, gives people a lot more reason to believe in you, your brand, as well as the product you’re hawking.
Reviews might seem egotistical to do at first, but they’re not. They appeal to users because they add a human touch to a type of sale that’s not usually very “human.”
This is an affiliate marketing method that is starting to pick up in popularity, and rightfully so. We all know that people don’t like the idea of feeling “sold to,” which is why some product roundups end up feeling too salesy to be effective. That’s where a how-to comes into play.
So, what does a how-to do? It’s simple. Think about the last time you went online to find out how to do something—a craft, maybe cleaning instructions, or a makeup look. Did you ever notice how many guides involve supplies that you may or may not have?
Makeup looks need special shades of makeup. Home improvement guides will tell you to get specific tools, paints, or cleaning solvents. Craft how-to’s will suggest that people buy up a bunch of different kits. See where this is going?
The how-to is a great way to sell without selling. You’re not explicitly telling them to buy something, nor are you sitting there, talking about how amazing it is. You’re just showing them what they can do if they owned that object.
The key feature here is that you’re providing actionable, SEO-friendly content that subtly shows the value of what you’re trying to sell. It’s the ultimate affiliate marketing format for people catering to crowds that may not be open to other affiliate styles.
Which Strategy Is The Best?
Here’s the thing that everyone needs to realize: different strategies will work for different people and products. Your best bet, if you want to get as many sales as possible, is to use all three in varying degrees.
A little variety can go a long, long way. So, give each a try. The more you work with each affiliate strategy, the better off you’ll be.
10 Signs You Shouldn’t Work For An Affiliate
Let’s just be honest here. I’ve harped and waxed poetic when it came to just about every aspect of choosing an affiliate. It’s literally the biggest issue that you will face as a marketer. Bad affiliate, bad time, no money. I mean it.
The thing is, there are so many different affiliate sites out there and so many products that you can choose to sell. We all know about the big ones like Amazon or ClickBank, but others still pop up that are new every single day. Sometimes, it can be hard to get an idea of whether or not an affiliate is worth it. These signs below indicate something might be up…
- You can’t find any reviews or information about them online. Every affiliate worth their salt will have at least one or two reviews from affiliate marketers who’ve worked with them backing them. If you can’t find a single ounce of information on them, you might not be dealing with a legitimate company.
- Any information you DO find seems to warn people against the company. If you end up finding nothing but bad reviews online, it’s better to trust the warnings others give you. It may save you from getting badly burnt.
- The promises are way too good to be true. Though affiliate marketing is fairly lucrative, it’s not going to be an overnight success. It takes months or even years to get a site that’s totally geared towards affiliate marketing to work. If you’re seeing ads telling you that you’ll earn millions, back away.
- People mention that it’s hard to actually get money from the affiliate in reviews. A very high minimum payout, having to jump through hoops to get your money, or being asked to pay a high fee for access to your account are all signs that you’re going to get grifted.
- The products are terrible. I can’t emphasize this enough, and it’s something I’ve spoken about at length when it comes to my other articles. If the product is crap, no amount of selling, hawking, and talking up will suffice. Bad products will only wear you and your business down. Skip bad products!
- Everyone in the affiliate market is selling the same product from the same affiliate. Back in the day, this was the issue that happened to some large affiliate networks. Their products became absolutely terrible in quality, and that meant that they had to trim down their wares. The problem is that this led to all of their thousands of marketers hawking the same product. The market was flooded and no one made any money.
- Their links and tracking system are glitchy. A company that has a reputation for glitchy or nonfunctional tracking is a company which will cost you more money than they’re worth. Unless you enjoy spending your time haranguing customer service or heading to court, you’ll avoid working for them.
- Something about the program just doesn’t make sense. If the program or product doesn’t make sense, seems too rough around the edges, or just doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. It’s better to go with a program you feel comfortable with than to go with one you don’t fully trust.
- The company asks you to buy a service in order to sell their goods. This is never a good sign, and in many cases, the company in question is actually making most of their profits from people buying the right to sell their goods. Companies that are worth a damn won’t ever ask you to pay money upfront just to sell their goods.
- You’ve heard the company’s name mentioned as an MLM. Affiliate marketing is not the same as multi-level marketing nor should you ever mistake the two. One will make you rich, and the other will alienate you from others while draining your bank account. If you start hearing about it as an MLM scheme, run and don’t look back.
Should You Hire A PR Agent To Promote Your Site?
As a person who regularly gets paid to post on blogs, I work with a lot of PR agents. They are people who are known for having large Rolodexes of client contacts and blogger contacts, specifically made for the purpose of getting companies and people blog exposures. PR agents are a unique breed of people, simply because their networking skills are so on point.
Over the years, I’ve seen a wide range of different companies turn to PR groups to get more exposure and clients. I’ve seen companies like Blue Apron do it. I’ve seen makeup companies do it. I’ve even seen adult film stars do it. It seems like everyone has a PR agent of their own, but is this a must for every site owner out there?
Honestly, it depends.
Hiring a PR agent isn’t cheap. Most solid PR groups will charge anywhere from $1500 a month to upwards of $5000 a month. However, that money is often well-spent. PR agents are able to get you news coverage and can coach you through major public relations crises.
If you are worried about being able to afford a PR agent for your site, calm down. They aren’t usually necessary, especially if you are just beginning your journey in the affiliate or dropship world. Most dropship sites don’t require a PR agent to succeed, but rather, tend to use them as “icing on the marketing cake.”
Generally speaking, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you don’t necessarily need to have a PR agent. Like, ever. Public relations professionals tend to be more appropriate for people who have dropship companies, white label product lines, or for people who want to eventually grow their business away from dropshipping as a whole.
Wondering whether you’re at a point where your dropship company could seriously benefit from professional PR? If any of the following are true, then it’s safe to say that you will most likely benefit from having on on your team:
- You have extra money and want to get your site some exposure you otherwise couldn’t get. Let’s face it, most people don’t have a roll of blog connects they can reach out to for airspace. If you want to see your site in news headlines, a PR agent is the fastest way to do it. PR agents should only be hired for dropship companies if you’ve already gotten a lot of profit.
- For one reason or another, your site is going through a major image crisis. Did you post something really offensive on your site’s feed? Did something happen with an affiliate that dragged your name through mud? If you want to salvage your site, asking a PR agent for a consultation is a smart idea.
- You have a white label product that you want to get off the ground. White label product lines change your site from a regular dropshipper to something a little more involved. When white label lines are involved, you have more at stake, which means that you have more of a reason to hire a PR agent to work with you.
- Your site is quite successful when it comes to dropshipping, but you want to start having your own proprietary items. This is a common reason why people reach out to PR agents. It’s a moment in your business’s life when you’ve realized that you’ve maxed out what you can do with other peoples’ products, and when you’re ready to start selling something brand, spankin’ new. Bridging that gap can be difficult, and having a PR agent who can help guide you through it often reveals immense results.
- The marketing concept that you want to use isn’t based on SEO or Facebook ads. Sometimes, the marketing route you want to take can be reason enough to get someone on board with your PR endeavors. If you’re trying to sell goods through an “ultra exclusive” angle or through a unique content campaign, having a PR agent makes more sense than you’d think.
- Celebrities and influencers are involved in your brand. Don’t ask me why, but a lot of celebrities and influencers won’t work with brands that don’t have a PR professional on deck. If you’ve been hoping to do some influencer marketing, getting a connected PR agent is one way to make it happen.
If it sounds like there are a lot of occasions where hiring a PR agent or a PR company makes sense, it’s because there are. Public relations people get their high paychecks because they know how to handle a lot of different situations. If you’re in a tough spot, they may be able to help you out.
That being said, this isn’t a move that most new websites or website owners should be concerned about. At the beginning stages, you’re better off getting yourself established rather than worrying about the PR moves you make. After all, you have all the time in the world to get your company to the spotlight.