One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that you have myriad options when it comes to choosing what you’re going to promote and sell. However, the sheer number of products to choose from can be a little intimidating. And even before you decide on what specific product(s) to recommend, there are bigger considerations to take into account.
You could choose to concentrate on information products, (such as online courses), or you could stick to selling physical products.
Both approaches have their pros and cons – the key is for you to figure out which is best for you. Knowing what’s involved in the selling of information products versus physical products will enable you to choose the right option, and help you avoid unnecessary problems along your journey to success.
In order to make the decision process a little easier, in this article we’ve compared both options, exploring the pros and cons of each. By the time you’re done reading, you will be in a much better position to make the right decision for you. Let’s start with information products.
Affiliate Marketing with Digital Products
Digital products include e-books, online courses, and audio or video material. They typically help people solve problems, or teach them how to do something.
For example, consider the product below, which promises to teach you Chinese:
In order to earn an income from marketing information products, you need to find a niche, and build trust with an audience. You’ll need to convince buyers that investing in your product will solve a problem for them, and that they will get good value for money.
- Digital products typically earn far better commission than physical products. Where you earn between 4–15% commission on physical products from Amazon, you could earn up to 75% on a book or course through Clickbank.
- The immediacy of information products, coupled with the lack of shipping costs, arguably makes them a far more likely impulse buy.
- The infrastructure is relatively easy to set up. It usually involves opening an account, creating your marketing content, and then setting up your affiliate links. (And then, of course, using Pretty Links to shorten and track your links easily.)
- It’s easier to refund a digital product, since there’s no shipping involved. This means taking the risk that someone will download the product, and claim a refund shortly afterward, effectively taking advantage to get a free product.
- Some digital product vendors are unreliable, and may even remove their products. You need to do some homework on the available options, and find a trustworthy partner.
- Digital products can have lower conversion rates than physical products.
Affiliate Marketing with Physical Products
Physical products, of course, are tangible things like clothes, sporting gear, or weight loss pills.
When it comes to promoting physical products, Amazon is the biggest affiliate partner out there.
As with information products, you’ll need to find a lucrative niche and build web traffic in order to succeed. You could opt for high value items, or cast your net wider and sell a bigger variety of lower cost items.
- Tangible items can be easier to sell, since people can see what they’re getting, and if you’re selling a well-known brand, it’s already a trusted name.
- Refunds tend to be less frequent because of the hassle involved with shipping something back.
- As a general rule, decent money can only be made on high-ticket physical products, which can be tough to sell.
- Commission is usually lower than on information products (between 4–15%).
Digital Products and Physical Products: Which Is Right for You?
Your success as an affiliate marketer depends on choosing the right things to promote. Once you’ve found your niche, the next step is to understand what your potential customers really want and need.
Let’s say you’re a musician, and this led you to investigate ways to make money that involve your passion. You could find affiliate partners that sell instruments, or you could go in search of an information product that helps your audience to learn how to read sheet music in double-quick time.
In the end, it’s really down to your goals. And the reality is that you don’t necessarily need to choose between either information products or physical products – there’s nothing stopping you from marketing both. The important thing is that you carefully consider your options and move forward on an informed basis.
When it comes to affiliate marketing and deciding whether to choose between digital products or physical products, there isn’t necessarily a clear answer. Much of your success may ultimately come down to trial and error, and some product types will fit your business far better than others. That’s the reality of the situation.
However, informing yourself on the pros and cons of information products versus physical products before you move forwards puts you in a far better position to succeed. With that in mind, let’s quickly recap the relative merits of each product type:
- Digital products often earn higher commissions, but tend to convert less readily than tangible products.
- Physical products can be easier to sell and involve fewer refunds, but your percentage commission can be lower.
Out of information products and physical products, which option would you say is better and why? Let us know in the comments section below!