Whilst an ever-increasing number of people are working or spending their leisure time online, there is still a high proportion of the global population who do not have access to the internet. In addition, of those who do have access to the net, a significant proportion is either unwilling or unable to directly purchase products or services online.
In other words, there is a massive global market that people who promote only digital products online can never make a successful sale to.
Added to this is the fact that digital products of themselves are limited by their own format. For example, if someone wants to buy an e-book that teaches them 50 great ways of making fresh orange juice at home, then of course this can be delivered digitally. If, however, they just want to buy the orange juice itself, or the machine to make it, then this clearly cannot be delivered in the same way.
By promoting or selling only digital products, a significant market of people who are more interested in buying a real product or service is being ignored.
The final and most important point that is widely overlooked by most of the advocates of promoting digital products as an affiliate is competition in the marketplace.
I have no exact figures, but I would suspect that over 90% of new (and perhaps even existing) affiliate marketers put all of their efforts into selling digital products.
Whilst the internet marketplace is undoubtedly growing bigger every day, nevertheless this means that there are ever increasing numbers of affiliates who are pushing the same digital products and services.
This can be seen most clearly when one of the big-name ‘gurus’ releases their latest product. Generally, such a launch will be a mega-event, and you will inevitably see details of it all over the internet.
Every time you see such details on a website or blog, you know that it is yet another affiliate for the product who is fighting for their own share of the market.
Every one of these affiliates is in competition with each other for business. A customer will only ever buy this particular product once. In other words, there can only be one successful affiliate who makes the sale of this particular product to each customer.
Backing up a little, consider the person who is selling the e-book listing 50 great ways of making fresh orange juice at home. How many times are you going to buy this book? Only once, right?
If, however, you decide that you have neither the time nor the patience to make your own juice, and therefore buy the finished product, how often are you going to purchase this?
Once or twice a week every week is the answer. In other words, because orange juice is a consumable product, you will become a regular customer rather than a one-off buyer.
Whilst I can see that there are advantages to selling digital products, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of new affiliate marketers start off trying to do the same thing, and fail to do so successfully for all of the reasons I have highlighted above.
Affiliate marketing is a superb business model, both for the original product creator and for any affiliate who is successful in selling the product or service concerned.
However, focusing all of your efforts on only digital products is a mistake and is a major reason why in excess of 95% of new affiliates will fail. They are all fighting for a share of the market place where only one affiliate can ever be successful and even then they can only succeed once.