There are plenty of categories and thousands of products and services that affiliate marketers can promote. For example, Commission Junction and FlexOffers list around thirty categories including automotive, clothing, home and garden, insurance, legal services, and much more. Naturally, most affiliates select programs that relate to the themes and topics they cover on their sites.
At chadtennant.com, I write and make videos about online business, internet marketing, personal finance, and WordPress. Also, I dabble in self-publishing and e-learning. During 2014 and 2015, I promoted popular affiliate programs related to these topics. For instance, email marketing, website hosting, and social media services. Furthermore, I experimented with random programs.
Today, I’m much more aware of how much competition surrounds email marketing and hosting services. With so much selection and competition, it’s hard to attract enough interest, clicks, and conversions to make promoting these services worthwhile. Moreover, email marketing and hosting companies have become commoditized—widely available and interchangeable—which lessens their value propositions. This makes it harder to influence purchasing decisions. For example, there aren’t many differences between AWeber and GetReponse or DreamHost and Bluehost except pricing and minor details.
Social media businesses, with exception to Facebook’s ecosystem, have mostly faded or face uphill battles such as Google Plus, Twitter, and Snapchat. As a result, the appetite for social media services has declined. I’ve been promoting Hootsuite—an excellent all-in-one social media service—for years, but haven’t gotten much traction.
As for promoting random affiliate programs—that did or didn’t relate to my blog—it was during my experimental phase, and I was willing to try anything to see if I could make money (not a great strategy).
High Paying Affiliate Categories & Programs
I’ve learned a lot about affiliate marketing over the years and am more adept at selecting profitable programs and categories. Here are a few to consider.
Education and E-Learning
Human beings have been developing their skills since the beginning of time. Professional and personal development are things millions of people focus on daily. Also, learning is universal, so citizens in America want to learn just as much as individuals in Germany and Japan.
Online learning, training, and courses continue to be a hot affiliate category. E-learning affiliate programs are incredibly diverse given the many topics and subjects available in the marketplace. For instance, I can promote business and marketing courses whereas a fitness blogger can promote health, fitness, lifestyle, and yoga classes.
I’m currently profiting from CreativeLive, Coursera, Treehouse, and edX. You can read my post for more e-learning affiliate programs.
Investing and Financial
Investors have been extremely sensitive and cautious about investing ever since the global financial crisis of 2008. Also, do-it-yourself investing is more feasible today than it was decades ago. Combine these two facts, and millions of investors yearn for smarter ways and tools to invest.
Many financial affiliate programs achieve high earnings-per-click (EPC) results. For instance, credit card companies and stock brokerages. I’ve been focusing on the still somewhat niche robo-advisor market. A robo-advisor (robo-adviser) is an online wealth management service that provides automated, algorithm-based portfolio management with or without access to a financial advisor (depends on the robo-advisor). Intelligent investors are moving billions from traditional advisors to robo and DIY-friendly investing platforms. I’m currently generating commissions from Wealthfront and Betterment.
Global remittance, sending money, and foreign exchange amount to a trillion dollar industry. Many individuals use companies such as Western Union, MoneyGram, and PayPal, but these companies don’t offer the best quotes and lowest fees. (See my post, “Cheapest Way to Send Money.”) I use, promote, and attract affiliate commissions from TransferWise. Also, I recommend Remitly for remittance activities.
I don’t waste my time actively promoting WordPress hosting services anymore. The market is saturated and engulfed by hundreds of providers and thousands of affiliates. Additionally, I stay away from promoting themes because users can access thousands of fantastic free themes. Where I am making money is with a couple of premium WordPress plugin providers—Thrive Themes and Elegant Themes.
Thrive Themes is the best premium solution on the market. They offer a suite of lead generation and marketing plugins which include opt-in forms, landing pages, quiz builders, countdown timers, and so on. They have no competition given all the plugins and themes they offer so attracting sales is easy. Thrive Affiliates can earn between 25 to 50 percent per sale.
Elegant Themes recently enhanced the marketability of their site. Their Divi theme and plugins are very popular with WordPress users. Secondly, their opt-in form plugin—Bloom—is a close rival to Thrive Leads of Thrive Themes.
Bonus Insight: Lead Programs
Most affiliate programs require you to convert a sale to generate a commission. However, lead programs require you to get someone to sign up to earn. Since it’s easier to get people to sign up compared with getting them to buy something, payouts tend to range and may not be as appetizing. For example, Grammarly offers twenty cents per lead while Pluralsight offers twelve dollars.
I like lead programs a lot because they help me to earn an extra $150 to $200 a month for not doing much work or convincing. Moreover, lead programs usually offer a sales commission structure on top of their lead base. Therefore, commissions can be made in two ways. Sweet!