There are lots of Amazon affiliates in this space, mostly because it’s a strong hobby (i.e. passion) niche with tons of products. Which is good, since tons of these big stores are very general in nature, making it possible for big outdoors sites to possibly even pick one or two stores to recommend (this, in turn, might have other advantages, too, like negotiating better rates with those brands).
Darlene, you are 100% correct that you need to nurture the relationship once they're on your email list. It's important to mail more than once a week... You gotta think of subscribers as your best friends, you gotta keep them up-to-date on all the little things that are going on, sharing fun stories, sharing the ups and the downs... Being a real human being!
Great overall look at the current state of things. Was a little surprised to see a “possibly sleazy” mention for CJ, but NOT Clickbank… there are TONS of fairly sleazy products on Clickbank from my last look compared to CJ. Commissions are super high on CB (digital/info) products, of course, but the quality on offer there can be far lower than most items on CJ and others.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.