There are so many different ways to go about running an affiliate marketing business, which is a wonderful thing—it means you can pick and choose the strategy that works best for you. But when you make money online and have such a variety of options to choose from, you’ve also got a lot of responsibility. People are counting on you for useful and helpful recommendations for products or services, so you want to ensure that you’re promoting things they’ll love and that are also of good quality!

Therein lies the dilemma: should you promote affiliate links for products you’ve not actually used before? Obviously, if you were to spend your money and buy every product you bought before using it, you’d have quite a high overhead. But if you’re promoting a lot of ineffective or poorly made products, you’ll find it hard to make any money online, too. The trick is finding the balance and conducting the right research before you write a blog post about something or post it to your Facebook fan page. With a little bit of digging online, you can find great products to promote without having to go out and buy them yourself.



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Learn More About The Company

Obviously, if you love your Camelbak hydration pack, you’ll probably feel pretty confident in recommending any and all Camelbak products in the future. People love brands that they know they can trust, so if you trust a brand—even when you’ve not held every one of their products in your own two hands—it goes a long way. On the other hand, if you’ve got experience with a brand and found their product to be cheaply made or not that effective, think twice before recommending something else of theirs on your site.

If you’ve never purchased from their line of products before, then try to learn as much about their company as you can. Research to see what kinds of materials they use and look up reviews on the company, either on Yelp or on social media or review sites. Overwhelmingly negative reviews are most definitely a red flag.

Try To Find It In A Store

So maybe you’re not able to make the purchase yourself right now, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to find it in person. Details on what it looks like up close, how it feels in your hands, or small details that simply won’t show as you’re looking at the computer are excellent bits of content to include when you include this in your affiliate website, newsletter, or social media platform.

If you truly can’t find the item in a store, then check out a few YouTube unboxing videos to see the product in detail. Unboxing videos on YouTube feature someone opening up the packaging and highlighting the pros and cons of what they’ve bought. A good unboxing video will feature closeups as well as a little bit of footage of it in action.



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Locate Reviews Online

Obviously it’s important to take online reviews with a grain of salt. There are many people who only ever write product reviews when they feel that what they bought was a total waste, and there are some still who will write shining reviews for just about anything. These types of responses are considered outliers—they are on the high end or low end of the spectrum and are not necessarily representative of the actual product itself.

Instead, look for reviews that are honest and list out the good and the bad. After all, you’ll never come across something perfect that everyone will love, so make sure you’re aware of the downsides to this particular item. Good reviews will come from people who are level-headed and provide more than just a sentence or two on their experience. Reading them should give you a better idea of what to expect from the product and whether or not it’s something that will resonate with your audience.

Ask Friends And Family

Do you know someone who has used this item before? You very well may, but you won’t know unless you ask! They could be a great reference point to learn more about it and to fully understand the consumer experience.

Especially with products that aren’t as common or items that are more expensive, it’s ideal to get some kind of reference point from someone you trust. If you know someone personally who will chat with you briefly about it, this can be ten times more useful than anonymous online reviews. If you’re able to meet up and see it in person, then great! But if not, ask some helpful questions and/or do a video chat with them to learn more.

Be Able To Answer Some Basic Questions

When it comes down to it, you and you alone will know which products are suitable for your business and which ones aren’t. But there are a few basic things you should know about this item before you publicly promote it. If one of your followers were to ask you a question about it, make sure you know the answers!

  • What is it made of?
  • What are the dimensions and weight?
  • Is it suitable for everyday use or is it a now-and-then type of item?
  • What does it aim to do and how does it work? What problem(s) does it solve?
  • What do you think are the best things about it?
  • What improvements do you think it needs?