“How can I make money online if I don’t have a product or service to sell?”
This a question I get quite often from readers of this site.
I get it. Creating your own product can be intimidating and it’s not for everyone.
Fortunately, there’s a great alternative.
And that’s promoting affiliate products.
Why not leverage an existing product or service that you know sells well and just focus on the marketing instead?
This is a fantastic business model, available to anyone, and can be extremely lucrative if you know how to do it.
The main problem with promoting affiliate programs is that there must be thousands of them out there. And 99% of them aren’t worth your time and effort to work with.
What Makes a Good Affiliate Program To Promote?
So what’s the best affiliate program to promote?
This is where you need to do your research. For every product or service I choose to promote, I’m always looking for the following key characteristics.
1. It works for me – While this may seem obvious, there are so many products and services out there that don’t do what they promise. Or they do, but they just don’t work well.
Yet, people still promote these products because they are lured in by the promise of huge commissions or the rampant “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” mentality that is very prevalent in this industry.
Don’t do this. You will lost trust and credibility and it’s never a good idea for a long-term sustainable business.
2. I’ve used it myself – This relates point #1. I’m only going to promote a product as an affiliate if I’ve bought and used the product myself.
By using a product yourself, you will discover both the good and the bad of the product you are using which helps you write more credible reviews or case studies. And the more trustworthy you are, the more likely your readers will click on your affiliate links.
3. Trusted Brand – I prefer promoting affiliate products of company or person that I already know and trust. I know their products will be solid and that they treat their customers well.
Promoting products with good reputations helps with a lot of things. There are naturally more people searching for trusted brands and they are more likely to buy as well.
4. Evergreen – Some people make lots of money promoting product launches. For me, that is too much work. I like to focus more on long-term affiliate commissions where I keep earning commissions for many months or even years down the line.
That is why I typically avoid promoting products that will launch for a couple of weeks and then close.
If you find an affiliate product meets these 4 characteristics above, then definitely consider taking the time to promote them.
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs
Now that I’ve listed what I look for in a good affiliate program, I want to share some good affiliate programs to promote based on my own personal experience.
Email Service Providers (Autoresponders)
Which is great, is because ESPs are typically very sticky. Once you choose one, you typically will stay with it for years and years.
And as people you refer add more subscribers to their list, your commissions will also increase as well.
Email service providers are also very easy to promote. That’s because:
- They have high social proof – you can see what service people are using when signing up to various email lists.
- Easy to write reviews and case studies – It doesn’t take much effort to share your experience with using them.
- Free trials – Makes it more likely for a prospect to try their service with no risk to them.
- Sucessful businesses needs one – email marketing is easily one of the best ways to promote things online. And for that you need a good autoresponder.
Here are a list of some of the best email service providers to promote.
Drip – Free starter plan (under 100 leads) and 30% recurring commissions
ConvertKit – 30% recurring commissions
Aweber – Offers free trial and 30% recurring commissions.
GetResponse – Also offers free trial and 33% recurring commissions.
ActiveCampaign – Free 21 day trial – 10% recurring commissions
Infusionsoft – Can pay up to $500 per sale.
Landing Page Builders
There are several landing page building services out there. These products allow non-coders to build professional looking landing pages to collect emails, create sales pages and more.
It is very easy to demonstrate how these products work to your readers. Just start using them in your own business and write case studies detailing how they work for you.
These services are also quite sticky. Perhaps not as much as an email service provider, but customers usually stick around for several months if not longer when they find their favorite.
LeadPages – Offers 30% recurring commissions, with yearly and twice-yearly options for potentially huge commissions.
ClickFunnels – Offers 50% front end commissions which includes 4 upsells. Also gives you 2nd tier commissions for referring other affiliates.
Instapages – Earn 50% on initial payment and 30% recurring commissions for every month after.
Web hosting affiliate programs have some of the highest commissions out there.
Affiliate programs for web hosts vary quite a bit. Many offer a tiered flat rate commission per sale. However, a select few web hosting affiliate programs do offer recurring commissions. Promote these brands and you can earn some really fat checks.
LiquidWeb – Dedicated servers pay out 100% for the first monthly bill and 5% recurring commissions per lifetime of customer.
WPX Hosting – This is the hosting we use here at SmartBusinessTrends. Offers $70 for business plans, $150 for professional plans, and $300 for Elite plan referrals.
Hostgator – Get $100 per sale if you join through CommissionJunction. Or if you can push lots of volume, then you can earn up to $150 per sale through the in-house affiliate program. And that’s just by selling shared hosting plans that start at $4 / month.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
WordPress is the most popular CMS online. It powers many of the most popular blogs and sites you see on the web. With this popularity comes a huge ecosystem of WordPress themes and plugins.
Here are a couple of my favorite WordPress affiliate programs.
The Genesis Framework – The most popular wordpress theme framework in use today. Huge community of child theme and plugin developers. Can promote the framework and all Studiopress created child themes for 35% commissions.
Sell their Pro Plus All-in One Theme pack and earn a cool $139.98 from the sale.
Thrive Themes – Theme club and plugin developer started by Shane Melaugh who is one of my favorite marketers. Can earn 50% on up front sales and 25% on recurring commissions.
How do you promote these affiliate programs
Now that you have an idea of some of the best affiliate programs to join, how do you go about promoting them? Here are 24 examples of successful marketers promoting these types of affiliate programs.
Use these as inspiration and pick a method or two to promote your own favorite affiliate product.
2. Create a course around it
- How To Use Leadpages To Grow Your Email List & Bank Balance
- Mastering AWeber – Get Serious About Your Email
3. Put together a product giveaway
4. Compile a list of people using the product
5. Do a mega comparison post
6. Publish a product alternatives post
7. Write an in-depth product review
- Grammarly Review – The Blogger’s (Free) Secret Weapon
- 99Designs review – Is Crowdsourced Design Worth Trying?
8. Publish a ‘Why I Switched Post’
9. Do a product vs product post
- Aweber vs Getresponse – a detailed comparison of two leading e-newsletter creation tools
- Thesis 2.0 vs Genesis: The Battle for Premium WordPress Theme Dominance
10. Add the product to your Resource page
11. Create a product tutorial post
12. Create a Youtube video tutorial highlighting the product
13. Compose a detailed product case study
14. Include product as part of a list post
- 18 Powerful WordPress Plugins For Bloggers And Content Marketers
- 63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive
15. Build a comparison review site
16. Integrate it in as part of an ‘Epic’ How-To-Guide
17. Show earnings from product as part of a monthly income report
18. As part of a Best Tools Experts Roundup Post
19. Do a Training Webinar around the product
20. Make it part of a ‘Black Friday Deals’ post
21. Negotiate with owner for an exclusive deal for your readers
22. Sell product through email
23. Incorporate product as part of a ‘Tools I can’t live without’ post
24. Write a product updates post when new features are announced
If you don’t have your own product or service to sell, then promoting the best affiliate programs can be just as lucrative.
Have you had any luck promoting affiliate products on your own site?
I’d love to hear about any affiliate programs you have been successful promoting. Feel free to share in the comments.