What are the Best Products to Sell Online?

Published: 10th May 2011
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For the purposes of this discussion, let me start by defining exactly what I mean by the terms "marketing niche" and "affiliate marketing." A marketing niche is nothing more than an opportunity to advertise a needed or wanted product or service to a group of customers who need it or want it and who may be having trouble finding it. Putting it another way, itís the law of supply and demand working in favor of the marketer. What would a canteen of water be worth to a man struggling across the Sahara desert at high noon and what would that same canteen of water be worth to a drowning sailor? In the first case, we have a robust marketing niche for the water salesman and in the second, we most certainly do not. What we are looking for is high demand for our item with low competition. What we are trying to avoid is the opposite.

Letís contemplate this in terms of actual products. We could sell to the "pet products" niche (high demand, high competition), the "dog collar" niche (moderate demand, moderate competition) or the "studded dog collar" niche (low demand, low competition). None of these markets meet our criteria (high demand, low competition). What if, however, purple, studded poodle collars quickly became "all the rage" because a famous celebrity was seen walking her famous poodle with one of these collars around her dogís neck and a matching one around her own neck? Say you just happen to control a warehouse full of purple studded poodle collars and you are the only firm that does. With efficient marketing, you could sell your entire stock in an hour and put your kids through a university with the proceeds!

Now, letís consider the term "affiliate marketing." An affiliate marketer sells other peopleís products for them in return for a commission. An affiliate marketer does not work directly for the person who has the right to retail the product or service but, rather, as an independent contractor who only gets compensated for making a successful sale. The affiliate marketer can elect to vend just one type of item (as a specialty) or a large assortment of separate kinds of services or products. In either instance, the objective of any successful affiliate marketer would have to be to market to a niche or niches that had high demand and low competition. "High" and "low" are relative terms and so, in the real world, the marketer may never unearth the "perfect" niche but always endeavor to be as close to that objective as possible.

The initial thing an affiliate marketer has to do is to get hold of a source of affiliate offerings to sell and then find out which of those products are aimed at the best niches. "Best", in this sense, means those niches most closely approaching an ideal niche as defined above. To do this, the marketer must first do away with all products that arenít selling very well and concentrate, rather, on items that demonstrate sufficient, proven sales volume so as to be worth the time, effort and funds that it will take the affiliate marketer to promote them profitably. From this list, the smart affiliate marketer then does away with all items that show a lot of competition. If 100,000 purple studded poodle collars are present on the globe and there are one million marketers trying to sell them, this would no longer be a money-making niche by reason of high competition.

Our example of the thirsty man stumbling across the desert may not be a worthy niche either, as it turns out, for the reason that there is only one customer and he is located very far from civilization. Putting it differently, the niche is too small to be profitable considering that the expenses to provide the desired item to that niche are too high. If this is making it appear that niche affiliate marketing is a bit more complicated than you first thought, you are right. Thereís more:

The difficulty with fad items like purple studded poodle collars is that they will 1) soon go out of popularity and 2) that when the word gets out that they are "all the rage," every company from here to Timbuktu will soon be manufacturing then in sufficient quantities to swamp this single, unique, money-making market, thus drowning it with competition. The affiliate marketer must, therefore, seek out products or services that would appear to possess a long lifespan. Toilet paper and dog food would qualify as products with a potentially long lifespan but they would be banned from the list for reason of high competition. All of these problems will quickly reduce the affiliate marketerís list to a small number of products, perhaps no more than 100 to pick from. The good news is that all of these hundred products are at least, potentially, money-makers.

As an online affiliate marketer, there are really two, broad product categories to consider: 1) physical products that must be boxed and shipped to the consumer and 2) informational products such as e-books and software that can be delivered straight away over the net at reasonable prices with no freight or storage costs. For the purposes of this discussion, Iíd like to focus on the second kind because of the advantages just stated.

The Internet, at its commencement, was called the "Information Super-Highway" It was not labeled the "Physical Products Super-Highway" because, to this day, no one has determined how to push a big box through a system of wires, satellites and fiber-optic cables. So, although you can sell physical products over the Internet, they lack the price-effectiveness and immediate deliverability enjoyed by informational and software products.

While there are multiple web sites where you can locate informational and software products to promote as an affiliate marketer, Iíd like to focus in on just one of them, as an example. That source is ClickBank.com and I mention it for the reason that it has several marked advantages to a web-based affiliate marketer. The most significant advantage of these is the capacity to show which of the thousands of offerings listed there are the best sellers. The best tool for this is a figure provided by ClickBank for every product called "gravity" which is a quantifiable, ever-changing number representing the quantity of recent sales. The larger the amount, the higher the sales. The obvious knee-jerk reaction is that an affiliate marketer should only sell those items with the highest gravity but that plan fails to take into account the fact that everybody and his brother (or sister) is going to be out there trying to sell those obvious winners. It is also frequently true that items at the very apex of the gravity listing may just be having their "moment in the sun" of popularity: Here today, gone tomorrow.

Gravity can run from a low of zero to a high of around a thousand. To dodge the competition, I like to promote products that show a gravity number no lower than 10 and no higher than 200. These are relative figures, so if I find a perfect product with a gravity of two fifteen, I am most assuredly not going to ignore it. Using this system, I have identified a listing of possible affiliate products to promote that are selling quite well and may not have as much competition as those products at the top of the list. My process of elimination is not complete yet, though. I am still required to find the ideal keywords for those items to use in advertising them. It turns out that each keyword is, n itself, representative of a niche. For example, the keyword phrase "pet supplies" would represent a huge niche with a lot of competition while "purple studded poodle collars" (a so-called "long-tail" keyword) would undoubtedly represent a small niche with far less competition.

So, your final job, then, in the selection process is to unearth keywords that represent niches with low competition and high demand. Using a keyword research tool you can detect which keywords have the greatest number of recent searches (highest demand) and, by utilizing a standard Google search using each of these keywords, one by one, you can determine the number of competing pages that exist for each particular keyword. Youíll find that figure right under the Google search box. As an arbitrary figure, I like to see less than 5 million competing pages across the Internet for any keyword. Good luck on your prospecting for the ideal affiliate product to sell to the perfect niche!

Bob Gillespie writes on many subjects including niche affiliate marketing. He is a full-time Internet marketer and author who lives on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Learn more about niche affiliate marketing at Bob's blog at:


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