• Step Two: Finding Affiliate Products to Promote

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Before we begin, I have a very short, very blatant promotion: I’m selling one of my niche sites. (See how quick that was?) Now, let’s begin:

Every niche, every search term, every forum, and every crowd of hungry buyers has a list of relevant products that you can promote as an affiliate.

Once you have entrenched yourself into a niche via forums and social networks, and you understand the mindset of your prospect, then you are ready to give them exactly what they want and make handsome affiliate commissions in the process.

There are two ways to sell stuff to a hungry crowd:

1) You can pick a product and attempt to jam it down the throat of your market.

Or

2) You find what the market already wants and give it to them.

Both of them work; we’ve all been “sold” on stuff. But remember that people LOVE to buy, but they HATE being sold. Therefore, sales method #2 is way easier.

With that in mind, there are an endless supply of affiliate networks and programs to match you with something that will sell well to your niche.

The most obvious is Clickbank.com, but it comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Evaluating products is difficult without purchasing them (something that you should do when promoting a product heavily), and its strict stance on selling only digital products makes it difficult to promote to certain niches.

Nevertheless, there are millions of dollars to be made on Clickbank alone.

Recently, however, I have been working more and more with Amazon’s affiliate program. At a 5% commission, it can look like peanuts in comparison to Clickbank sales (unless, of course, you are selling high volume or high-ticket items), but it allows you to sell a host of physical products, and it allows you to sell a very trusted brand.

In other words, it’s easier to sell the Amazon name than it is to convince someone to purchase an ebook that they’ve never heard of.

In addition to Clickbank and Amazon, there is Convert2Media, CJ, Azoogle, Clickbooth, and a few dozen other reputable affiliate networks to choose from.

To make things easier, you can do a search over at OfferVault, which will bring up results from many different affiliate programs to match you with an offer for your niche.

However, here’s a little secret of mine:

I have had the best results with independent affiliate programs that are specific to one company or product. In other words, I dominate in-house independent affiliate programs. Since these are rarely listed on any affiliate search engine, the best way to find these is by using Google.

For example, if you’re selling bird cages, you’d search for:

“bird cages affiliate program”

Doing so will bring up a list of affiliate programs, some of which will likely be in-house. The reason I’ve had so much success with them is a direct result from working directly with the product owners, in addition to having fewer competitor affiliates.

Of course, there are full-time business dedicated to CPA offers, digital offers, physical products, continuity programs, and the like… and you should promote all of them as long as they are related and desired by your niche.

Finally, allow me to address a common concern:

“How do I promote a program when I don’t know if it’s good?”

There are two ways to answer this question:

1) Quit overanalyzing.
2) Buy the product.

If someone in a forum (or social network, or Twitter) reveals his desire for a Green Autococker Pro Paintball Gun for under $500, and I give him my affiliate link to a Green Autococker Pro Paintball Gun for $437, I’ve done my job. If there’s a problem with the order, it’s between the buyer and the seller. Quit overanalyzing.

Of course, as an affiliate, it is my job to make sure that the buyer is happy and is getting products that are going to make his life better. Therefore, if you have a product that you plan on promoting for a long time, or to a lot of people, or it takes a hard sales approach, buy the program and evaluate for yourself. It will give you insight to write better reviews and better answers to customer emails.

In the process of dominating a niche, finding affiliate programs should be the least of your worries. Find a hungry crowd, and the commissions will be there.

Next week, I’ll cover the next step in the process: building a basic website.

(Or, in the meantime, you can just buy one of mine ;) )

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