7. Affiliate marketing

How to Become an Affiliate Merchant

If you want to become an affiliate program merchant and then make money by having affiliates sell your product, here are the steps to follow.

First, you need to have a product idea. I’ll show you a few ways to generate those ideas, based off what’s already popular, in the next section.

Second, you have to validate your idea. You could just go ahead and build your idea. What if people don’t even want it? An idea is only good if people want it to come to life.

Third, you have to create the product. Since creating a physical product usually comes with huge investment and risks, I’ll only show you ways to create digital products. These are the best place to get started since they typically only require your time and little or no money.

Also, once your product is created and released, you need to find affiliates to promote your product — this is where affiliate networks can help.

Step 1: Coming Up with an Affiliate Product Idea

If you want to make money with an affiliate marketing business, you can’t be attached to your idea.

Instead, just look at what products and services are already out there. Consider how you can improve upon them, by delivering something that solves the problems with those products.

You can, of course, always, choose a topic you’re interested or involved in.

Imagine you’re a stay at home parent, for a second.

Maybe you want to create a product that makes household chores easier. For example, you could look for a vacuum robot to get some ideas.

This is the first Google result, a review site for robot vacuums:

come up with an affiliate merchant idea


Just by looking at the individual reviews, you can instantly see what’s bad about these robots and what you could potentially improve upon.

how to come up with an affiliate marketing merchant idea

No virtual walls that tell the robot where to go and where not to go is a common problem, mentioned in six out of the ten reviews of the top products!

Lack of a remote control was also a common ‘con.’

However, the virtual wall came up again and again and again.

come up with an affiliate merchant idea

Therefore, a great idea could be to develop a virtual wall that works for all vacuum robots.

I imagine you could sell anyone who owns a vacuum robot a system that works as a virtual wall, so their robot only cleans a predefined space.

Now that’s a valid idea!

This works for anything, I’ll show you.

Another way to do research is to use a tool called Buzzsumo, which shows you what’s popular, based on social shares.

Even if you’re into building sandcastles, you can instantly see what content has been recently popular.

shares on buzzsumo affliate marketing idea

If you go on YouTube and search for ‘build a sandcastle,’ you’ll find thousands of results.

find good videos for affiliate marketing idea

Apparently, people really want to know how to build cool sandcastles. So, what could you do?

Record a series of videos where you show people, step-by-step, how to build 5 very specific, epic sandcastles.

Or, you can do a write-up of all of the tools you need to build epic sandcastles.

You could even come up with some forms or stencils that people can use to make building epic sandcastles a whole lot easier.

The question is…will people pay for it?

Step 2: Validate Your Idea

In order to not end up doing a great series of sandcastle videos that no one wants to buy, you have to first validate your idea.

How do you do that?

Simple: You ask people to pay you for it.

How do you find these people? Easy.

Take the URL from one of the sandcastle posts on Buzzsumo and plug it into a tool like Keyhole.

They’ll give you a list people who tweeted a link or about specific topics.

You can then directly tell them about your idea, by hitting the reply button…

Make sure to ask them whether or not they would buy your idea — not just if they like it.

Anyone will say that they like something just to be nice.

If they respond with a yes, you need to directly follow up with an ask to buy.

Saying they will spend money is not the same as spending it.

When people are interested in your product, give them a chance to buy. You can simply use PayPal and say you’re going to build it if you get a certain amount of orders.

Once you cross your threshold and make sure that people want it, you can start creating the product.

Step 3: Create the Product

There are a ton of steps to follow for creating a product and this isn’t an entrepreneurship guide, but I want to point you to some good starters.

I’m only give you resources for starting digital products, because I don’t want you to waste precious time and money on creating a physical product on your first try 🙂

Online courses:

  • How to launch an online course and make $220,750 in 10 days
  • How To Create & Sell Your Online Course The Right Way
  • SPI 136: How to Build an Online Course that Sells with David Siteman Garland


  • The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Your eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Platform
  • How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books – Real-World Case Studies
  • How to Start to Write an eBook and Actually Finish it in 30 Days


  • Podcasting for Beginners: The Complete Guide to Getting Started With Podcasts
  • How to Start a Podcast – Pat’s Complete Step-By-Step Podcasting Tutorial
  • How To Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Podcasting

These are good starting points. Creating digital products is a lot easier, since it just takes time and sometimes a little financial investment, but usually not more than a service fee or a one-time price for software.

Once you have the product created and delivered to your initial buyers, it’s time to open up the affiliate network.

Step 4: Finding Affiliate Program Partners

The tech part is the easy thing here.

With tools like Gumroad or Digital Product Delivery, you can easily set up affiliate program partners and allow them to collect commissions.

gumroad for affiliate marketing

The tough part is finding partners who have an audience that is interested in what you have to sell.

Let’s stick with the sandcastle guide example.

Do you think there’s anyone out there who sells something remotely related?

Actually, there is.

When you enter “learn to build sandcastles,” into a search engine, several sites pop up that sell educational material about it.

Loke SandCastle Lessons, which offers a classes on the subject:

find affiliate partners.

Partnering up with them on a sale together would be an easy pitch because it’s a perfect fit.

The more niche your product is, the easier it will be to pitch to fellow merchants.

You can simply send them an email, introduce yourself and your product and ask them if they want to partner on a sale together, where you’ll share revenue.

Pro tipAffiliate commissions of 50 percent or higher are very common with digital products because you have no cost of replication. Don’t be greedy here, split the pot evenly and everyone wins.

Googling “toy review blog” also gives plenty of results, where people write toy reviews.

toy review example affiliate marketing

What’s more, lots of YouTube channels review specific categories of toys. If you find one that reviews kids’ toys, they’d probably also be a good fit for your affiliate product.

affiliate marketing toy review research

Just try finding one person to partner up with and start your first affiliate promotion. You can adjust commissions and details later, the important part is to get started. Or if you need help, you can always work with an affiliate marketing agency that can help you kick start things.

However, you could also start the journey on the other side of the fence and just become an affiliate yourself.

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