Time to Jump In
After hearing about some wonderful successes with affiliate marketing, I decided it was time to give it a try. This post is about the very first step after opening an account with Clickbank (or any similar product directory). It is about how to pick a product or service that you can market and sell profitably.
In case you’re new to affiliate marketing, Clickbank is a web resource that connects manufacturers with people who want to market and sell the manufacturers’ products. Such people are known as ‘affiliate marketers’ or just ‘affiliates.’ Resources like Clickbank are sometimes referred to as product directories. Most affiliate marketers set up sales pages or websites to attract customers on the internet. However, it is perfectly reasonable to sell affiliate products through more traditional channels, if that’s your preference.
Clickbank has a nice assortment of software, memberships and other products suitable for internet marketing. What the affiliate has to do is to set up a “virtual store front” (i.e. a website or a sales page) for the product. Clickbank handles all payments and the manufacturer handles the delivery of the product. In other words, all the affiliate needs to do is to attract customers to buy the product on his or her website. Everything else is taken care of by Clickbank and the manufacturer. Clickbank sends you a commission check when customers buy through your site.
It’s free to set up an affiliate account on Clickbank and peruse their lists of products. Some of their top level product categories are: business to business, health and fitness, home and family, computers and internet, money and employment, marketing and ads, fun and entertainment, sports and recreation, and society and culture.
What Do I Sell?
But how do you pick a product that you’re likely to be able to make money from?
Follow Your Interests
My first recommendation is to pick something you’re already interested in. There are many reasons for this. First, you’ll be in a good position to distinguish good products from mediocre products and good deals from not so good deals. This already gives you a competitive edge. In addition, you’ll be able to write reviews and create informative sales pages and ads without a lot of additional research. Most importantly however, you’ll BE in your target market. The most important component to successful marketing is getting inside the heads of people in your target market. This can take months of research. You’ve got a head start that even professional copywriters don’t often have, if you’re in the target market.
Avoid the Top 10
I’d also recommend that you stay away from ClickBank’s (or anybody’s) top 10. These are the products or services on the first page or so when you sort by popularity. There’s going to be so much competition for these products, that it’s not a good idea for your first campaign. The cost of advertising will be high for highly competitive products. You’ll either pay too much for each click (as with Google Adwords) or you’ll need a very well developed website to attract customers away from the already established (and numerous) sites.
‘Gravity’ and Commission
So picking something a bit less competitive is a good place to start. However, you do want a ‘gravity’ (ClickBank’s proprietary measure of popularity) of at least 20 for the product you pick. You want there to be a substantial market, even if not a killer market.
You also want a commission rate of 50% or better. It’s more difficult to become profitable with lower commission rates when you factor in your advertising costs. It takes time to learn how to create ‘attractive’ ads and irresistable sales pages. So, while you’re learning the ropes, your chances of reaching profitability are more likely at 50%.
Just One Product to Start
It’s also a good idea to start with just one product. This is especially true if you plan to attract people to your site with a ‘pay per click’ service, such as Google Adwords. You’ll want to experiment with different ads and sales pages until you find an ad and sales page that reliably attract and land customers. This takes some time and effort, even for a single product. Once you’ve mastered the marketing skills to become profitable with one product, then it will be a lot easier to take on more.
The Niche is Nice
Finally, and most importantly, the best product choice for you may be something that you find extremely valuable — something you can’t resist buying yourself. As you peruse the product directory, do you sometimes find products that are so compelling, you want to buy them? These may be the hidden gems for you, particularly if they appeal to a specific (i.e. niche) market. Finding a good niche product actually makes profitable marketing easier. Maybe aquarium products are your niche? If so, then it will likely be easier for you to achieve profitability because there won’t be as many competitors as with a mass market item, such as satellite TV services. With a niche product, your advertising costs will be lower. This is especially true for pay-per-click ads, whose cost is determined by the highest bidders. Also with a niche product, it will be easier for you to attract visitors to your website. There aren’t as many websites devoted to aquarium products as there are devoted to satellite TV. So it’s easier to stand out in the niche market. But the product has still got to be something you’re enthusiastic about, and that many others will become enthusiastic about.
The Pot of Gold
Often the best situations are with new and unusual products. New products appear on Clickbank from time to time. If you find one that you find irresistable, and you can make it seem irresistable to others, then you’ve got gold. You may want to subscribe to multiple product directories and watch for these.