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Does Price Impact Which Affiliate Products You Promote?

Posted By Darren Rowse 13th of November 2009 Affiliate Programs 58

When it comes to affiliate promotions do you tend to promote big ticket items or small ticket items (or both)?

I ask the question because while at lunch with a few bloggers recently the topic came up and I discovered that the answers to the question varied quite a lot.

  • On one hand some bloggers exclusively promoted big ticket items which could bring in large commissions for every sale. They didn’t get many sales but when they did it was certainly worth their while and they saw healthy commissions.
  • On the other hand where bloggers who did a lot of promotion of smaller ticket items. They tended to make more sales but the commissions were smaller.

My Approach

My approach is somewhere in between. I don’t base my choice on which products to promote on price – but rather the quality of the products I’m promoting and their relevancy to my audience.

  • For example last week I promoted a series of great photography e-books on DPS. Each e-book was only $5 and the resulting commission for each sale was only $1.50 – however the quality of the books was fantastic (I’ve had heaps of readers emailing me to thank me for recommending them) and the number of sales was great (we’ve sold over 2000 of them already). Some of my blogging buddies wouldn’t go near a product with that small a commission but the $3500+ won’t go astray.
  • On the other hand I’ve promoted a rang of other products lately including some one product that paid a $20 commission (I promoted it via email as outlined in last week’s post). This product has not sold as many copies (over 400 in a few months) but has brought in double the money (but over a longer period of time).
  • As a last example – when I promote bigger ticket items (like membership courses or training programs) for which the commissions can be several hundred dollars per sale the sales numbers tend to be quite a bit lower – but even a small number of them can earn several thousand dollars.

For me promoting a variety of quality products at different price points seems to work well. I find that in doing so I seem to be able to attract buyers at different price points and levels and the commissions tend to add up to collectively be a worthwhile exercise.

What about you? If you’re promoting affiliate products I’d be interested to hear whether price is one of the factors that you consider when choosing a product to promote?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Wonderful post Darren, but i thought that you’ll have to choose the type of affiliate programs according to your traffic. My blogs traffic is not very rich as they are small blog owners and can’t afford to buy expensive products so i don’t use costly affiliates. Till now that as been pretty good. I am planning to experiment with some high cost but quality products. Thanks for this post.

    Vishal Sanjay

  2. At the moment, because my blog is still new, I’m more interested in whether I feel I would use the product myself. If the answer’s no, then the rest doesn’t matter.

  3. Only getting started in the whole affiliate program business, but so far I’ve been basing it on the reported EPC figures more so than the commission per sale. If all else is equal, I’m still leaning towards the smaller items – I don’t think there’s much point trying to promote big ticket items in the first few months of a blog before you’ve built up some level of trust with readers.

  4. Interesting. I guess so much depends on who your readers are. Problogger has a good mix of new. medium level and experienced bloggers, so it’s no surprise that you make sales at each price point.

    With a blog that is, perhaps more focused towards new bloggers, I suspect the chances of selling a premium, several thousand dollar course, would be much lower.

    I agree with Hear Mum Roar as well – I wouldn’t offer a product unless it was something I’d bought and liked, or at the very least would use myself. But I suspect you’ve taken that as a given Darren.

  5. my blog is still new, i will hope do that in the future. thanks for best post.

  6. Well, I’ve yet to promote affiliate products (except for that Clickbank widget) on my blog but I do have lots of affiliate links on my niches sites and landing pages.

    Here’s how I determine my affiliate ‘traps’. I do not look at their prices. I look at current trends and demands. If the trend or demand is there, I will promote related affiliate products even though their prices can be quite ridiculous sometimes.

    That’s how capitalists think and they’re very successful. :)

  7. Promoting affiliate products all depends on your goals. If you want to help out your readers, you should be more willing to promote cheaper products or take a cut of sales to offer a discount. Big ticket items may work better over the long-term, so it may be better to leave them out of regular posts/newsletters.

    Even though an item may cost a bit less, it also doesn’t indicate that you’ll be successful at selling/promoting it, as it might not be in demand.

  8. Regardless of price, I only promote products that I have used, currently use, or would use.

    So for me, this is actually one of the very rare exceptions when price doesn’t matter.

  9. I’m sure I’ll come back to this post on pricing whenst I start affiliate link kind of promotion, as I come back to a lot of your posts the deeper I get into blogging.

  10. I think you hit on the key point that it’s not the price itself that determines how much revenue a particular affiliate promotion will generate, it’s the price and the quantity. If I can sell 100 units of something with a $1 commission that’s going to work out better than selling one unit of a higher-priced product that might have a $50 commission.

    When it comes to how well you can “sell” the product, it’s often easier to sell a cheaper product, so in that regard the price is a factor, but I wouldn’t let a particular price point be the sole issue in deciding whether or not to engage in an affiliate relationship.

  11. When I review a book (or profile an author) I actually link to the paperback version of the book, if available. I think most people buy paperbacks if the book has been out for a while, so why steer them to a hardcover version they don’t want.

    (Yes, I could link to various version, but that gets to the point of being “clutter” pretty quickly).

  12. Good discussion Darren!

    I’ve up to know been selling products from affiliate pograms that are less than $100.

    I’ve not yet tried to sell expensive programs simply because my new site is only 7 months old.

    In time, I’m sure I’ll find a great high priced affiliate product I can sell.

  13. Mike McMahon says: 11/13/2009 at 3:52 am

    Your title encourages me. I have trouble editing my posts before publishing and sometimes the spell checkers does not check the title.

  14. Great topic. Most times bloggers or promoter’s choose products that bring in big commission and not pay any attention to what the audience may need or enjoy.

    Here is the key.

    You can’t promote low quality products if you want your audience to listen to you. If you give them what they need or want, they will continue to get whatever product it is that you are promoting.

    The commission amount should be the last thing to consider. Get loyal users who will continue to get the products you promote or recommend. In the long run, you will make 3,4,5 times the amount of what you would be making if promoting only big ticket items with big pay outs.


  15. Have to say that this affects me.. promoting lower cost items in my head says I’m helping people for a lower price.

    I need to see the value in higher cost items and be ok with promoting them knowing they are great resources.

  16. I think your audience is what you should take into consideration when deciding on what products to promote because, let’s face it, there’s no need to promote a product that wont sell to the wrong people. I agree with Hear Mum Roar about promoting products that you would use yourself. If your readers are happy with the product, they will come back for more because they trust your judgment.

  17. I’m currently only promoting products I’m actually using or have purchased.

    I don’t feel comfortable promoting anything yet, but more comfortable at the low end than at the high end.

  18. Darren , I have the found a good internet marketing approach in that I,

    1. Find a market demand for what the public want.

    2. Package it in a nice way, a way that is attractive and edible.

    3. Then feed the market what they want.

    In other words the market tells me what they want to buy, whether it is a high or low ticket item, this is my internet marketing method.

  19. Because I only promote books, price does not enter into the equation when deciding which books to promote on my blog. That’s where books differ from other products, you can find the same book in different versions (i.e. mass market vs. hardcover) with some prices being lower than others.

    However, I only try to promote books I have read and can vouch for personally. I might promote a book that has gotten really good reviews and is relevant to my readers.

    Although, if I were blogging about consumer electronics, for example, and I only promoted high-end, pricey gadgets, I think readers would catch on and it would turn people off to my blog.

    I agree with you Darren, promoting a variety of products and different price points is the way to go.

  20. I promote only the products that I use on my blog or in my business. This way I know that my consumers are getting quality items. I don’t want to garner a bad rep for selling crap.

  21. Certainly money plays a big role but I think you have to check the demand of such products. If this is the product which can sold to 100 buyers every month than I would love to go fot it because income was coming on a continuous basis and that is the main factor for me.

  22. on my site I’d say price is definitely the most important, because they cap the electronics payout at $25 for computers

  23. I have just begun using affiliates, so I’m learning. I’m a consumer journalist, so quality is important. I started with REI. Next, I’m going to try and promote books that give consumer information.

  24. i think the most important thing is you know the product before you try convince people to sell it, like you say you willing to sell 1.50 commission product because it has good quality, that mean you know about the product so it can help people to make decision.

    what i don’t like about some marketer, they never try the product but keep telling the product is good, that just unethical and bad.

  25. If you sell a great quality product trough your blog affiliate, You maintain your loyal readers for sure. :D

  26. The price of comission shouldn’t affect whether you recommend it or not.

  27. Products I have bought myself, used myself and feel they are worth recommending regardless of price.

    I have bought a lot of products that I wanted to give a fair assessment of for my blog, but they haven’t all made it to recommendation status.

  28. It doesn’t affect whether or not I’ll write about it. In some cases, it will influence the amount of effort I put into the review. Generally, the cheap products have significantly less content. This really impacts what I can write about.
    I try to review the more expensive products because they have more content, and more to recommend. I also like reviewing, for free, for blogs like Problogger because its great for branding. All of their friends come on board and tweet and comment on the post and I get a bit of a rep for providing really comprehensive reviews.I guess it boils down to reviewing the best product for my audience. Currently, most of those products are expensive because I’m trying to target corporates who are willing to invest in quality information….

  29. Lucky my product niches range from about $50 – $300 so I generally focus on quality of product rather than price. But I admit I do promote the merchants that pay higher commissions and have extended cookie duration on the products. I occasionally sell books but only passively because as it’s not worth the few cents for the effort.

  30. You are right. I personally feel that one should only promote products that are of good quality if they are looking at a long term perspective. Focusing on only higher value product could mean that you are pushing products that are not so great in quality to your customers who trust you that you would only recommend good quality products. They would buy them initially but gradually when they realize that you are not worthy of trusting, they will start leaving you.

  31. I believe in promoting “small ticket – high quality” kind of items.

    Also I think that if your niche is really hungry and desesperate for “solutions”, promoting big ticket items that are high quality ones could be also a good strategy.

  32. I’d hope this is pretty obvious! But yeah, I will promote any product that is relevant. No point promoting Windows 7 on your Mac site! Small or big ticket items – it doesn’t matter, just keep it relevant and don’t stuff affiliate links down your readers throats ;-)!

  33. Hi Darren,

    You missed the letter ‘r’ in products in post heading..


  34. I believe if you promote quality products it really brings in the readers trust. I from a standpoint try to review the product or service at first hand and extensively look out for other reviews. I think pricing is always going to impact the readers but quality and trust will always bring them back. Good post Darren and glad you bought up this topic!

  35. The only important point for me is the quality of the product. SY

  36. It should be both, quality and affordable.

  37. Quality and Relevence are the key issues and not how much. That is always the problem with beginners is they want to make a bunch of money when the real issue is putting up valuable content.

  38. Darren,

    Nice post.

    It depends upon the product you select, I think.

    Still a beginner and need some time to take decision

  39. I have looked at many sites and not come a cross such a site as yours that tells you what you really need to know about affiliate marketing.

    I’ve added your feed to my reader, are there any other good blogs you’d suggest I read on the subject?

  40. My approach is to promote a low-cost informational product that provides loads of value and builds trust with my followers. Because, once they know I’m not ripping them off, they can feel safe buying other things I recommend.

    The other thing I make sure of is that I actually purchase and use the product myself. I don’t promote anything just to make money — it’s all about building trust and relationships.

  41. Great topic. Most times bloggers or promoter’s choose products that bring in big commission and not pay any attention to what the audience may need or enjoy.

    Here is the key.

    You can’t promote low quality products if you want your audience to listen to you. If you give them what they need or want, they will continue to get whatever product it is that you are promoting.

    The commission amount should be the last thing to consider. Get loyal users who will continue to get the products you promote or recommend. In the long run, you will make 3,4,5 times the amount of what you would be making if promoting only big ticket items with big pay outs.


  42. Cost and profit margin is definitely important if you promote using ppc. My cutoff is $15 commission per sale. If the product creator doesn’t pay out more than that
    per sale, no adwords promo.

  43. Promoting articles that go from low to high price ranges is of course the right thing to do, as long as the products are useful and exciting for your readers there will be at least some result.

    But I think the right “spread” automatically evolves if you have the user’s interest in mind. There are those things for beginners and those for more experient users/readers.

    On my blog about self releasing your record and music production / marketing in general most products tend to be rather expensive. Microphones and other audio euqipment I use, test or just recommend. But little items, accessories like headphones, cables etc. should also be covered in some detail, because they are just as important for my peer group.

    So I can’t think of any niches that wouldn’t give you and your visitors the opportunity for small or big price “features” = affiliates! Just take a moment to ask yourself what products someone who’s new would be interested in and willing to spend some dollars/euros.

    Daniel Lichter

  44. I tend to promote products I’ve actually used on my affiliate blog although I do include other products that I know have received good reviews on the net.

  45. I promote things based on the value to my readers (and myself first). I just recently promoted some items in an article and they did very well, but I did not take into account the commission structure. I only do that when everything else is equal.

    I figure in the end it will all work out between big, little, and in between.

  46. Till now I am not earning anything my promoting affiliate products, So I leave to promote them, better I am trying to make my blog more informative and in future I want to monetize my blog by selling ad space.

  47. Great articles, read many, you’re a great person. I often promote small and big products, from 10$ to 2000$ and that seems to work, tho hopefully, I’ll get more people on my blog soon.

  48. The best is still to promote products and services that you trust in. No point promoting something that you dont even want to buy.

  49. Hi Darren,

    We promote products which we have used in the past and we think are valuable. The profit margin is not our top priority. We look to create quality rather than quantity and over time I think this is a winning solution.

    Great blog btw, very informative and useful, we read it all the time.

    Cheers from Canada,
    Hans Desjarlais

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