In the Loop: How to improve your targeting by following trends - Affiliate Marketing ProgramsIn affiliate marketing, spotting trends is an easy way to make your efforts both easier and more profitable. As an affiliate, it is less complicated to cater towards peoples’ already ingrained tastes than to attempt to cultivate new ones.

People may react less favourably if they feel they are being “sold” something, but would feel thankful if provided with the means to purchase something they already desired. To use a fishing analogy, your chances of hooking a bass are a lot higher if you know where bass live and what type of food they prefer than if you simply walked up to a stream and cast your rod.

To make the most of trend targeting, you should know items which large segments of Internet consumers desire, how seasonal variations may affect your efforts, and the influence of geography.

Finding out what people want to buy on the internet is an easy way to generate effortless affiliate sales. Resources like eBay Pulse, Google Trends, and Amazon’s best-selling products page will help show you just what people are looking to buy. eBay Pulse gives you the most recurring searches on eBay as well as the items being watched by the greatest amount of people. By being aware of the demand for products, you can market accordingly and more successfully.

If you are engaged in niche marketing, spotting trends may require a bit more effort. One particularly useful approach is to consistently post on forums pertaining to your niche. This way you can see what your potential customers are talking about, anticipate shifts in demand, and keep your marketing efforts ahead of the curve.

It is also useful to be aware of how your success can be affected by seasonality. For instance, if you are attempting to market winter coats to people in the summer, your chances of success are lower than you might expect. As economist Arthur Pigou noted, people have “defective telescopic faculties”, and often make decisions based on the immediate rather than the future, regardless of overall benefit. So while the deal you can provide on a winter coat may be great, chances are your consumers would react more favorably toward the promotion of a swimsuit.

Geography is one of the more subtle aspects of target marketing, but nonetheless can be very important. By not taking geography into consideration, you might not only lessen your chances of success, but actually render the whole of your efforts useless. For instance, many affiliates are unaware that PayPal as a payment option is not universal. If you direct your marketing efforts for a PayPal-only merchant towards consumers in locations where PayPal is unavailable, you waste both your time and profitability as well as your visitor’s time.

As with all things affiliate marketing, the more you know, the more you can sell. By paying attention to trends, geography, and seasons, you will be able to increase sales and maximize your returns with little change in actual marketing effort.

Nicole Young is an affiliate manager at the company Share Results. She entered the world of affiliate marketing after moving to Montreal in 2009. Originally from New Brunswick, Nicole completed her BBA at the University of New Brunswick with an honor in Marketing and International Business. Aside from building strong relationships with her affiliates, Nicole spends her days overseeing the growth of the programs she is managing, negotiating deals, blogging, assisting affiliates with the development of their marketing campaigns, and staying up-to-date with industry news and trends!