Have you made any plans for 2014? The new year is an exciting time for anyone who has decided to get their idea off the ground. If your plan for this year is to become a content affiliate, you are off to a good start. 

If you have decided to operate in a particular niche market, that’s great! Before you take the plunge, though, there are some things you need to consider.

As a network that specialises in the health and beauty industry we deal with thousands and thousands of affiliates. All have different backgrounds, different objectives for their business and what they want to get out of it. The one thing they have in common is that they have chosen to specialise in the health and beauty industry.

Decisions, decisions

So what about you? Which market should you choose? How do you decide what’s best for you and above all can you make money from it?

The most important thing is to do your research.

Not all products with affiliate programmes are profitable and even the best marketing efforts can be wasted if the programme is not attractive to visitors or indeed pay a decent amount of commission. You could find a profitable niche market and then search for affiliate programmes that operate within that market. It is actually a lot quicker and easier to do it the other way round.  

Whatever you decide, it is important to choose a product you are interested in. You will find it very hard, if not impossible, to feature any product that you don’t believe in or have any affinity with its particular market.

Market research

Check the market. Google Adwords is a great tool to help you check keyword searches, the kind of volumes you can expect and the competition out there. Although highly profitable, specialising in one product is a high-risk strategy. I would suggest choosing a niche that has a number of different products within it to spread that risk.

Just because a product has low volumes it does not necessarily mean it is unprofitable. You just need to research a bit further to decide whether it will convert well.  Check on the merchant’s sales page. Short sales copy doesn’t tend to convert well.

Compare the copy with competing products. Is it convincing? Is the site kept up to date, does it look good and is it high quality? If competitors have better looking copy and a high standard site then there may be a reason why this product isn’t doing so well.

Product analysis

Research the product.  Where else can consumers buy it? If it is sold on the high street from giant retailers likes Argos or Boots or indeed online through Amazon then you have got enormous competition on your hands. A simple Google check will tell you this as well as competition from other affiliates, review sites and voucher sites.

Is the niche seasonal? Seasonal products will be highly profitable during certain months, but what about the rest of the year when the orders dry up? If you are looking to promote seasonal products, find data that will help you choose two, three, four different niches so you have an income all year round.

You may also need to think about the countries you will be promoting to. Do they have tough legislations? This may limit what you can promote in that market, so it’s definitely worth checking.   

Becoming a content affiliate can be extremely rewarding. If you are promoting a product that you would buy yourself and operating in a market that you understand, then you are half way there. 

The thing is that if you are new to affiliate marketing you will want to choose a programme that not only offers good rates of commission (look for commission above 20%), but with good support to help you on your way. This may then lead you in the right direction.