Hey there Sea Changers. Today we are going to continue our journey into the world of affiliate marketing possibilities and investigate how to make money selling supplements online. The world of supplements has grown rapidly over the past few years with both the improvement if technology and greater access to information in regards to health, diet and weight loss. From an affiliate marketing point of view, these are products that people tend to purchase based on information alone and without reliance on touch and smell so a potentially more willing to buy online. Also, they appear at first look to be potentially effective due to the fact that they provide great opportunity to discuss them from all manner of angles including:
- Weight loss
- Muscle building
- Muscle toning
- Diet/calorie control
- Meal replacement
- Pre/post workout
- General health and well-being
So, with that in mind. Let’s have a look and see if there is any opportunity to create an effective online business with these products…
How do we get started?
Like anything that we want to sell online – or in person for that matter – there are a few things that we need to check out in order to give ourselves the best possible chance to make money. Affiliate marketing can take some time and consistent work in order to become successful so it is important to ensure that we are clear on what it is that we are trying to achieve as we move forward. If there is no real demand for online supplements then we need to identify this early so that we are not wasting our time. So before you get started, consider the following:
Is there a market?
Firstly, and most importantly, you will need to check that there is a market for your product/s – I.E. are there people who want to buy supplements – or are interested in supplements at all? Now you don’t need to go too deep into things here as you will be revisiting and refining things as you start to narrow down to your niche however in order to check out the market at this initial stage, there are two things you can look at:
1. Number of monthly searches
To start with, let’s see how many people undertake supplement related searches online per month. To do this, you will need to find yourself a good keyword tool (I use Jaaxy) and enter in the keywords that best describe your market. In this case, let’s look at supplements:
We can see here that there are roughly 6600 searches for ‘supplements’ per month. In my opinion, that is not a bad starting point. Now, if this is something that you may be interested in, let’s have a look at some niche related searches:
Diet supplements gives a few results. How about fitness and workout supplements?
Again, with over 990 searches per month within the fitness/workout supplement niche, whilst it is not the highest numbers I have seen, I still think we are onto something here.
2. Growth trends
Another important aspect of online sales and niche selection is to ensure that your site can be evergreen and that there is growth. To gain an insight into this let’s check out how searches for supplements is trending online.
So we can see here that over the past 5 years, supplement related searches have remained steady without spiking dramatically. This is a great sign as it not only shows that interest has been maintained over this time, but it does not appear to be a ‘fad’ product. This makes this a great product to market.
What is our niche?
Now that we know that we have a market, we need to start looking at breaking down our market into a niche. As listed above, there are a number of different types of supplements that you can discuss with your readers. In this case however where the use of supplements is so broad, we may want to investigate whether we need to target certain segments of our market in order to:
- Make it easier to attract specific visitors.
- Narrow our market if we can’t possibly cover all aspects of such a large market.
- Create our site and brand for specific areas.
- Stand out from the other sites marketing the same product.
For example, you may choose to write about supplements for weight loss or supplements for men or women, nutritional supplements for athletes or pure hard core muscle building supplements for the gym junkies. If you are unsure, I would suggest starting a little broader and letting your content guide you. Alternatively, let’s revisit out diet Supplement search in our keyword tool:
We can see a few searches here that can assist us. Diet supplements for men is a little too narrow, however we can make our niche ‘supplements for men’ and cover every aspect of their day – exercise, vitamins for busy guys, nutrition for those who don’t eat right etc. There are a lot of them out there – post baby Weight loss is a big market too – but whatever you are steering towards, keep the following in mind:
- Is it evergreen– this means that it can never go out-of-date or style.
- Are you able to solve a problem– Most people undertake searches on the internet to solve a problem – see next section.
- Does it have some, but not too much competition– Another way see if there is a market is to see if you have any competition. If not, then maybe it is because no-one is buying.
- Is it a subject that you have an interest, or knowledge in– I am guessing that you are reading this post as you know about, or have an interest in some sort of supplement. If you don’t have either of these, maybe consider another market as, to be honest, you might struggle to continuously write solid content if you don’t know much about them – or worse, have no interest in them.
What problem are we solving?
We have covered some of this in the previous section around determining our niche, but I wanted to explore it with you in little more detail here as it is such a critical influence in attracting people to your site. Think about your own search behaviours when you are online – I would hazard a guess that most searches you do are in order to solve a problem. These can be in a number of ways such as:
- You know what you want but are not sure which one to choose – i.e. “I know I want to build muscle in the Gym, but I do not know which protein supplement is best for me”.
- You have a problem and need a solution – i.e. “I am too busy to eat properly so what can I do to keep healthy?” or “I need to lose some weight and I don’t know how”.
Your goal here is to determine just what problem/s you are trying to solve for your readers. This may be one problem that spans your site or differ for each post that you write. For example, if you have chosen supplements for women for your niche, then problems might be:
- Supplements for weight loss
- Supplements for menopause
- Supplements safe for pregnancy etc.
In these cases, women would be searching for those topics based on having a problem and needing a solution. Your site would outline and review the best options for them.
Alternatively, if your site is about sports supplements, then you would be addressing the fact that I know I need a sports supplement but don’t know which one. You would then be outlining the best supplements for each aspect of the subject such as:
- Pre workout
- During workout
- Building lean muscle
- Building bulk muscle etc.
Note: You do not need to identify every possible problem that your readers may have straight away. In many cases, the more you write, the more ‘problems’ will present themselves so initially you really just want to make sure that there are some that may need solving as we have found here.
What do we need to do?
Ok, so now that we have our niche and know some of the problems that we can investigate, we need to choose and setup the media that we intend to use to sell our products. This can include:
Build a Website
Websites allow you to solve problems via blog posts, videos and/or how to demonstrations that people can view in order to identify the solutions that they need. The process here is simple, once you have built your website, you write a post for example on the benefits of a particular supplement to assist your readers with sleep, then provide links so that they can purchase them directly from the vendor (see next section).
Promote on Social Media
Social media is a powerful platform that can allow you to get your message out there into the big wide online world. It has the power to reach thousands and allows you to target specific segments if you choose the correct platform. In many cases, social media is used to drive traffic to your website rather than work in isolation. In some cases however, special media platforms such as YouTube can be used without the need for a website. It all depends I guess on where your target audience likes to hang out.
Tip: One of the problems that you may face in trying to sell supplements online is that people may want to know what they actually do and whether they work before they purchase. Visual and interactive sites such as YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram have proven quite effective within this niche.
Join like-minded groups
Regardless of the niche, there is usually some sort of social media group, online forum or membership page that you can join to gain you exposure to potential visitors and sales. Many groups that may be the target for the supplements market are popular on FaceBook (bodybuilders, mothers, baby groups, wellness forums etc.) and can not only allow you to interact with customers but also gain more information and education in terms of content ideas for your posts.
How do we sell them?
Ok, so we have an idea that we want to sell supplements, that there is a market and that we need some media within which to promote them. So now we need to consider what products we are going to promote. It should be noted here that the main process that I will be discussing is to sell them via an affiliate marketing arrangement. In short, this means that you will write about supplements and all of their problem solving goodness and then refer your readers to a link where they will purchase directly from the vendors. You then make your money via commissions from those vendors. Let’s have a look at some of the best avenues for supplement vendors:
Multi-level marketing programs
Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs are the mainstay of the ‘party plan’ world of products such as Tupperware, Mary Kay and Amway etc. and are also popular within the supplements market (predominantly health and nutrition). If you use them in their basic capacity, MLM programs mirror affiliate marketing platforms in that you make a commission on every sale that you refer to them.
It is however the secondary aspect of these programs – and where the multi-level influences come from – that can really boost your revenue earning capabilities. The process works as follows:
- You attract a visitor to your site and convert them to the sales page.
- They are offered an incentive to sign up as a member of the program (there are different names for this but they all mean the same thing).
- That new member is then placed ‘underneath’ you in a hierarchical arrangement
- You then gain extra commissions for everything they sell as well.
And yes, the less-than-glamorous name for this method of commission based selling is a pyramid scheme. The advantage of the online world however is that if you do it correctly by providing solutions to the problems of visitors to your site, you don’t have to hassle (and alienate) all of your friends that family.
Some of the more popular MLM programs in this niche include:
Vitamins, Weight loss and food supplements – also have skin care products if your niche is female orientated.
Predominately weight loss/meal replacements products. Interestingly, they also do essential oils.
South American based supplement giant – covers most supplement niches including nutrition, exercise and weight loss. Also have mens and cosmetics branches.
Note: One final consideration to be aware of here however is that most MLM arrangements require a minimum personal spend per month (typically around USD $100) in order to qualify for commissions for sales that you, or your down line refer. This can make things a little tight if your site is new and not making any money as yet.
Affiliate programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links.
To find affiliate programs in the supplements space, simply type “affiliate: supplements” into your search engine:
From here you can search through and find programs that:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality product.
- Have solid payment and customer service arrangement.
- Pay decent commissions.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:
- Your website name.
- Traffic levels.
- Why you want to join – (so I can make money by selling your vitamins is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
- How you plan to promote their products.
These programs can be very good for newer sites rather than the MLM examples above as there are no sales triggers. However, as the supplements industry suffers from a lot of skepticism there can be some solid distrust out there for the lesser known brands. That said, some marketplace programs such as Amazon and EBay can give you access to the bigger brands listed above without the need to join their membership programs – worth a look for sure.
Tip – Why not have both? Many Supplements sites will run under the MLM setups of the major vendors but also include affiliate links to other supporting products such as shaker bottles, towels and any other supporting paraphernalia.
If affiliate marketing or MLM programs are not your cup of tea, maybe you could try white labeling. This is a process where you actually purchase ‘brandless’ supplements from a vendor, add your own label and then on-sell them via your website or platforms such as Amazon etc.
This process requires a much higher setup costs as you will need to purchase your products, create and affix your labels and manage orders and shipment. Some however will affix the labels that you send them and then manage the packaging and shipment for you. This will cost you less to set up but obviously you will make less on the sale once they take their processing fee.
To find these, a simple search for “white label supplements” found the following:
From here you will need to follow the same process as with affiliate programs in determining whether they:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products
- Have solid delivery and customer service arrangements.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
Tip: This method can be very effective in driving online traffic and sales via the implementation of more traditional sales methods such as kiosks and market stalls etc. As people see and try your products, they can purchase from you there and then be directed to your website for future sales.
And there it is – How to sell supplements online. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
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Until next time
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