I came across some questions this morning regarding how to sell physical products as an affiliate. They were the result of a conversation we had on Twitter if I remember correctly.
I'm not sure how they got tucked away, but since they're sitting here on my desk now... I thought we'd discuss the subject. 😀
To the left you see an example taken from one of Rosalind Gardner's affiliate blogs where she promotes physical products. Rosalind Gardner is THE super affiliate, and author of the well- known Super Affiliate Handbook.
Rosalind gives live affiliate site examples throughout SAH, just like the one you see to the left, that you can click through for yourself page by page. It's what inspired my first affiliate site for physical products, vs services & digital products (ebooks, membership sites, etc). That was quite a few years ago, and of course the first of many more since...
Q&A: How To Promote Physical Products
There were some great questions on the topic of promoting physical products as an affiliate, so we'll just dive right into those. If any of these topics raise more questions, or you have additional questions about promoting physical products, be sure to leave those below in the comment section.
Here goes - (and forgive me for not giving credit to the author of each question - many of them asked to remain anonymous)...
Ellen says: Lynn, I've done lots of promoting of physical products, but I end up with 5% of the revenue that I get from selling the same amount of info products. ie- if I sell 100 ebooks at $27, I get 50% commission, = about $1,350. On the other hand, if I sell 100 books on amazon, I'll earn about .30 per book, = $30! Thus, it seems to take a LOT MORE (maybe 100 times as much traffic!) to earn via physical products (at least earn more than a cup of coffee per day!) then to earn via info products.
The commisson rate for physical products IS lower, but they convert at a higher rate than digital products. Imagine trying to explain an ebook or info-product to someone who is not online as much as we are, or not familiar with them.
One of the reasons that physical products convert higher, outside of the obvious: familiarity, is because traditional media is doing much of the pre-selling for you.
Consider the book "Eat, Pray, Love" which has hit bestseller charts again with the new movie out starring Julia Roberts. It's being heavily promoted and basically pre-sold by offline traditional media, and should be converting very well for anyone promoting it online right now.
I am on a tiered structure with Amazon. I believe there are multiple structures, so that's something you may want to look into. The more you sell, the more you earn. So far this month I am only earning 6.5%, so a physical book at $12.95 earns me 84 cents in commission. That's almost 3 times what you said you were earning.
Considering it would only take 15 minutes, half hour at the most, to write a review - why would you not invest that time to make ~$1 sale? If you sold 100 copies, putting you in a higher earning tier, and earned $100 for that 15-30 minutes, is it not worth it?
I know what you're thinking: 100 copies of a $27 ebook would equal $1,350 in commission (gross, before payment processing fees). But let's consider the EPL example above, and the fact that the book is literally flying off the shelves at the moment with little to no sales work. It's MUCH harder to sell an "ebook", requiring more time on sales copy and resulting in a lower conversion rate. Meaning it also requires more traffic, and more marketing to get that traffic.
Try selling an "ebook" to that exact same market: women looking to enrich their lives, find deeper meaning and more fulfillment.
Keep in mind that the market is growing and evolving, and more people are shopping online than ever before. Those numbers will only continue to rise. You can now buy physical products from your mobile device! In fact, my daughter recently bought a pair of shoes from my smartphone while we were on our way to the grocery store... Time is short, people are busy, and convenience will win over.
Sidenote: A high commission rate for physical products would be 10-12%. You'll generally find 5-8% the norm.
"I would like to know how to create affiliate sites for physical products. I guess we could create articles around each product but if we're selling shoes, there are like a million shoes and I didn't know exactly how to write content for those million pairs of shoes. That's why we used Datafeedr. But I would love to hear (or see) how you go about creating content for a physical product affiliate site?"
To answer your question, I'll address the "million pairs of shoes" part first. You'd do well (read: better) to focus on a specific niche such as athletic shoes, women's designer shoes, basketball shoes, childrens shoes, etc.
It's hard to become a market leader in your niche when you can't define your ideal visitor very specifically.
You asked about writing content for physical products. You can easily get by with proper on-page optimization and a strong link building strategy. For even more ideas, including content solutions, see: How to Optimize an Ecommerce Site
How do you write product reviews without buying every product?"
You don't. And you won't necessarily need a product review to sell every type of product. You can do your research though and share that data with your visitors. For example, where they can get the best deal or free shipping on that product. You can compare specs between two similar products and point out the strengths and weaknesses of each. You can share a general analysis of consumer reviews.
You can also elicit reviews from consumers and even host contests. Off-site, you can ask on sites like Yahoo! Answers and MyLot.com and request permission to reprint their responses.
Of course personal reviews and case studies are going to convert better, but they aren't always practical. Particularly in the case of a site that features "a million pair of shoes". Read: How to Write a Product Review
"Is it okay to promote products from more than one affiliate in one blog post?"
Outside of a side-by-side comparison type review, no. Each page (or post) needs one specific call-to-action. Options create confusion, and your job as the affiliate is to make a strong recommendation. Know why you recommend one product or merchant over the other, and convey that to your visitors. They visit your page because they need help with their buying decision. Don't let them down! 😉
"What is the best promotion tactic... build your own e-store like wp-amazon? reviews? or any others? Also, what is the best traffic method - paid? seo?"
There are a variety of affiliate site options, from ecommerce style to blogging to squeeze pages. They all work. Which type you use depends on your product, your market, and the best way to reach them. I have examples of these in a recent post on Affiliate Site Examples.
Also see Affiliate Site Options for a more detailed explanation of the different types, and their best uses.
My own buying habits are what prompted me to promote physical products online. I purchase just as many, if not more, physical products than digital products. Do you shop online?? And if so, what were your last 3 purchases?
My last 3:
- a thank you gift (physical product)
- a baby shower gift (physical product)
- clothes (physical products)
And... I recently bought a video camera, ordered various cables & cases for my gadgets, and have another book order in queue! 🙂
p.s. Also read: How to Sell Products Online (as an affiliate).