29 Nov

Coffee Affiliate Programs and the Affiliate Marketer: Perfect Combination?

I hate to say this, but this is probably the most uninspired Affilorama Niche of the Week post I’ve ever written. This week I am looking at the quintessential morning beverage, coffee — something that millions of people (myself included) consume before they're capable of interacting with people each day. I hear your groans, and I'm shaking my head, too. (Editor's note: Coffee is AWESOME. Drink more coffee.)

Are there any affiliate programs for coffee? How would you go about selling or promoting coffee online? And if you do, will you make a worthwhile income from it? These are the questions that swam in my feverish brain whilst drinking copious amounts of my comfort brew. I am, while writing this, fighting the common cold with a bottle of decongestant and endless cups of coffee. That's part of why I feel this particular post is uninspired, but hey, you shouldn't dismiss an idea without investigating it first — especially where writing is concerned. 

But I digress. I did find the answers to my questions — and now I'm going to share them with you. Let me show you how you can, in fact, make money from your coffee habit. Or at the very least, I'll show you how to pick a niche you know nothing about and build a site for it. And make money off it, to boot. πŸ™‚

The Coffee Market

It’s one of the most consumed beverages in the world. But how robust is the coffee industry?

You only need to look at the number of coffee memes on Facebook every morning to know that there are plenty of coffee lovers out there, including a fair few who swear they can’t start their day without having a cup. Coffee started as a little-known, and sometimes prohibited drink, in the 1500s, but these days it's everywhere. Not only is it everywhere — but it's in all kinds of forms, from your standard cup with cream and/or sugar, to fancy lattes with espresso, to iced variations.

Coffee - Google Trends Results Coffee - Interest Per Region

 

Going into Google Trends, you’ll see that the interest for this strong brew has been consistently high, with most searches coming from Australia, Singapore and the US. In the US alone, approximately 100 million people drink coffee every day. This translates to a billion-dollar industry, with the average coffee drinker in the US spending more than USD $100 each year on coffee.

People usually purchase coffee from coffee shops and supermarkets, but they can now buy their favorite coffee brands (including some more exotic choices) from online stores too, and they do. Shopping online has made it more convenient for consumers to get their hands on all kinds of coffee products, from  including equipment for brewing coffee at home.

Websites for popular coffee brands like Starbucks.com enjoy millions of visitors each month, a good chunk of whom will order specialty coffees. There are also so many blogs about coffee, including Sprudge.com and IloveCoffe.jp. Having your own website about coffee can be lucrative in that there is a wide demand for it, but you won’t be the first to put a site up, and you won’t be the last to do so. So you're going to have to be creative and unique, and do the work. 

A Cup of Keywords

We've covered coffee before on this blog. Here’s a look at keywords in the coffee niche then and now. The numbers have changed, but the competition remain strong.

Back in 2012 when I first wrote this Niche of the Week on coffee, I used Traffic Travis to search for keywords to target on my website about coffee.

Back then, “coffee” had a monthly global search count of 301,00. This is not surprising since coffee is one of the most-consumed beverages all across teh globe. What was surprising for me back then was that “coffee” as a keyword had low competition.

Traffic Travis Results: Coffee

 

For this post, I ran the same keyword using AffiloTools, and the global monthly searches for keywords with the main keyword "coffee" are still in the thousands. But the competition is much higher now, particularly for keywords that have buyer intent, such as "organic instant coffee" and "best manual coffee grinder."

Coffee Keywords - Affilotools Results

 

“Buy coffee” still has high competition. With only 1,300 monthly searches, I don’t think it’s worth targeting. I’ll probably still use it on one or two of my articles but I won’t really spend time trying to rank for it. How-to keywords, such as "how to make brewed coffee" and "how to make cappuccino at home," and the like have fewer monthly searches but competition is low, so it's good to mix these with the more in-demand keywords.

Buy Coffee - Affilotools Results

 

A popular niche will always have the downside of having high-competition keywords. In cases like this, mixing and matching keywords can do the trick. Incorporate some of the high-competition keywords with buyer intent while you focus on ranking for the low-competition how-to keywords. Keywords are only half of getting traffic anyway; how you drive traffic to the site matters, too. But we'll come back to that.

Coffee Affiliate Programs

It seems there are as many coffee affiliate programs as there are kinds of coffee. Below is just a sampling of what you'll find on various affiliate networks.

My first stop is always the ClickBank Marketplace, which (unsurprisingly) didn't have any affiliate programs on coffee. I then went to good ol' Google to look for other coffee-related affiliate programs.

Starbucks - Coffee Affiliate Program

1. Starbucks

Starbucks is known worldwide as a coffee shop, but the company also sells its own coffee beans and grounds, even the little coffee pods. Starbucks also offer an assortment of teas, along with coffee-making equipment and a line of coffee mugs.

How much can I make?
Commissions aren't disclosed on the Starbucks website, but further digging shows affiliates can earn 7% commission on coffee sales through the online store. The commission is 5% for coffee-making equipment and mugs.

How do I apply?
Starbucks has an Affiliates Page but you need to sign up with LinkShare to promote its products.

Koa Coffee - Coffee Affiliate Program

2. Koa Coffee

Koa Coffee started as a family-owned business in Hawaii. The company cultivates, harvests and ships out Kona coffee beans.

How much can I make?
Affiliates can make 20% commissions on orders. 

How do I apply?
You can sign up through the Koa Coffee Affiliates Page or join through ShareASale

Coffee.org - Coffee Affiliate Program

3. Coffee.org

Coffee.org is another family-owned business, offering not just a variety of monthly coffee and tea subscriptions, but pastries to go with your favorite warm drink.

Shoppers can also choose from a variety of gift baskets and coffee-making equipment.

How much can I make?
Commissions start at 8%.

How do I apply?
The site has its own Affiliates Page but you need to be part of the ShareASale network to join.

DirectEats.com - Coffee Affiliate Program

4. DirectEats.com

DirectEats.com is more of an online wellness shop selling beauty and baby products, food items and even pet care products, but it does offer herbal and organic coffees as well as teas.

How much can I make?
8% for each sale.

How do I apply?
This is another ShareASale coffee affiliate program.

ThreeAvocados - Coffee Affiliate Program

5. ThreeAvocados

ThreeAvocados.com is a nonprofit company selling coffee products and subscriptions. It's coffee with a cause: All net proceeds go into providing clean drinking water around the world.

How much can I make?
Affiliates earn 10%.

How do I apply?
This is yet another ShareASale coffee affiliate program.

Coffee Direct - Coffee Affiliate Program

6. Coffee-Direct

Another online coffee shop, this time UK-based, that offers both coffee products and subscriptions.

How much can I make?
As an affiliate, you'll earn 3% per sale.

How do I apply?
The affiliate program is managed through Webgains.

Illy - Coffee Affiliate Program

7. Illy

Illy is an Italian brand selling signature coffee beans, along with coffee grinders and coffee makers. The site also offers a coffee subscription service.

How much can I make?
6% of every sale.

How do I apply?
You can promote their affiliate program through Commission Junction.

Hawaii Coffee Company - Coffee Affiliate Program

8. Hawaii Coffee Company

Here's another coffee company hailing from Hawaii, offering the same Kona coffee, but crafting and selling its own blends.

Hawaii Coffee Company is known for its Lion and Aloha Royal coffee.

How much can I make?
Affiliates receive 20% commissions.

How do I apply?
This is another coffee affiliate program through ShareASale.

There are several more programs that we won't examine in-depth, but you can check them out all the same: Coffee, Bean and Tea Leaf, CafeBritt, and MyFlavia.com. All of them offer coffee products and subscriptions and are popular brands in their own right.

Of course, there is also Amazon.com, where you can purchase practically any brand of coffee and find almost limitless assortments of coffee-making equipment.

Getting Love from the Coffee Lovers

Social media marketing will probably be your best bet in getting coffee drinkers to visit, and buy from, your site.

It always pays to plan ahead.

That is true, in both life and business. Sure you have a great idea. But think it through. In my case, a website on coffee will not be worth anything if I am the only one that knows it exists. I need to spread the word and to do that, I need to have a link-building plan mapped out.

I like to think about what marketing and link-building methods I will use even before I have the website up. I tend to dilly-dally with decisions, and having at least a draft of what I'd like to do to drive traffic to my site helps me avoid nail-biting, what-do-I-do-now moments.

Some link-building methods I would consider include the following:

Social Media Marketing

Sharing those memes about coffee will have another purpose beyond expressing your love of (or need for) caffeine: they'll increase the likes on your Facebook page for your coffee website. Don't forget that you can also share coffee recipes on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Instagram is a great visual platform where you can share memes and photos as well.

There's plenty of training and tutorials on how to use social media as a marketing tool, including our own guide to maximizing Facebook's Boost Post, or the SocialMediaExaminer's recent article on Facebook marketing for the Holidays.

Content Strategy

This is important, and will come in handy once the website is fully up and running. You need good content to fuel your website and your social media presence. For that, you need a steady stream of content, be it memes, recipes, or new articles about great coffee or coffee equipment.

That kind of regularity requires careful planning and a good content strategy.

We've got the basic how-to covered: How To: Create a Content Strategy For Your Niche Site. UXBooth has a Beginner's Guide on Content Strategy that can get you started on mapping your content, too.

Ad Swaps

Make that competition work for you! Get other coffee bloggers and coffee website owners to run an ad that will take users to your site, or to your affiliate offer, in exchange for doing the same for them.

The only catch here is your website needs to have grown a bit in terms of traffic, so you can convince other affiliates and website owners the deal’s worth it. You can also start small, targeting relatively new websites, and once you get a following, then move on to getting the bigger, more established websites to advertise you.

Coffee Affiliate Programs: Too Hot to Handle?

Make sure to drink a full cup and have a clear head before going into the coffee niche. You'll need to keep your energy reserves high to stay in this highly competitive niche.


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A coffee affiliate site will take time to grow and it requires a lot of link-building to establish authority. This is typical of a content website. There is plenty of competition in the coffee niche, so you should already be thinking of ways to drive traffic to the site. I would recommend engaging users through social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. I also suggest setting up a Pinterest page and Instagram account for my site, to post to and find ideas from. You could also go around various coffee-related forums to look for more ideas and inspiration, as well as get to know your target market.

Need more help? You can't overlook our Link-building lessons on AffiloBlueprint. Hmmm… so many options; my head is literally buzzing with ideas. Or maybe it’s all the coffee I’m drinking! πŸ™‚

The commissions in the coffee niche may not be all that much, but keep in mind that a coffee subscription product may mean a monthly recurring commission. Also, specialty coffees sell for higher prices than the regular ones, and one online shopper may purchase several items. You could actually end up with a decent profit after all. 

The coffee niche is tough, mainly because of the steep competition, but a thriving niche like this one also means there is enough to go around for everyone. As always, don't go into this without a solid marketing plan in mind. You need a good link-building strategy to ensure you get a good portion of the existing traffic to your website. 

Do you like coffee, or are you more of a tea drinker? Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Would you go for this niche?

Cheers!

Source: affilate6

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