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Once you have made a list of potential niches that you would like to pursue as an affiliate, you need to find out if your niche ideas are profitable – and which are unlikely to stand the test of time. When properly used, a niche brand fosters customer loyalty, strengthens your online presence and gives you more opportunities to sell. Happily, there are seven simple steps you can follow to assess the profitability of a niche. Let’s take a closer look at the criteria you should use to scrutinize each item on your list:
How to Find Out if a Niche Is Profitable the Smart Way
1) Research Customer Buying Habits in Your Industry
Begin by identifying the most popular services and products in your market. Normally, this is easy to do by seeing what products are trending on Amazon. This will not always reveal the best items to sell, but it gives you a helpful point of reference.
Find Profitable Niches With Amazon
Just type your product or niche ideas into the search bar on Amazon, and note the number of reviews for the products that are displayed. Of course, many people do not leave reviews of the products they purchase. Therefore, as a general rule, you should assume that – for each review a product has – there are ten to 1000 paying customers. If you see plenty of products with thousands or hundreds of reviews, it indicates a thriving niche where people regularly buy.
Let's say that you are interested in the beauty niche, and you discover that people often spend money on tinted moisturizer. Consider whether you could do anything different to separate the products you promote from the crowd. Perhaps you could recommend a moisturizer that is similar to a popular brand, but that has a better skin enriching formula. Or, maybe you could promote tinted moisturizers that only contain natural ingredients. This would appeal to people who regard themselves as environmentally conscious.
In addition, you should note how many search results there are for your niche ideas on Amazon. The higher this number is the better, because markets with growth potential are ones that link to other related niches. For instance, kitchen furniture naturally links to patio furniture. Therefore, after you position yourself as a kitchen furniture expert, you can begin to recommend patio furniture. Ideally, you want as many similar products like this as possible that you can promote to people repeatedly.
Find Profitable Niches With Facebook
It is often said that a niche should have one million potential prospects or more to be viable for affiliate marketing. However, it is also vital to assess how engaged and active an audience is. You will be more successful in a niche with a thousand passionate fans than one with a million prospects, who only have a passing interest in the topic. To learn more about your target demographic, a tool such as Facebook Audience Insights is extremely helpful. This tool shows you how your audience behaves online, what websites they like and what their age/gender/relationship status is, etc.
2) Check Other Affiliate Networks
You can perform more advanced searches on affiliate networks. These networks are platforms where affiliates and brands can connect. The majority of them have databases or lists of products that affiliates can promote. Study these to find out more about the types of products available. ClickBank and ShareASale are two established affiliate networks with product databases you can search.
Check the Profitability of a Niche With ClickBank
The database on ClickBank can be used in a couple of ways – you can either search by keyword, or conduct a category search. Both methods will help you to find quality products associated with your niche.
All product listings include useful data, such as average total rebill, initial sale value and average earnings per sale, etc. This allows you to calculate the value of each product from an affiliate marketing standpoint. When analyzing these statistics, pay particular attention to the gravity score. This figure indicates the number of affiliates who have sold the product over the past twelve weeks.
If the gravity score is high, it shows that the product is in demand – so you can begin promoting it straightaway to make money. After you have identified a product with decent average earnings per sale and a high gravity score, visit its landing page. Once there, you will learn more about the product and be able to gauge whether it fits your niche.
Check the Profitability of a Niche With ShareASale
On ShareASale, independent retailers offer affiliate programs where consumers can advertise their products. It resembles a massive network packed with businesses and niches you can profit from. You have to register with ShareASale before you can view their affiliate programs, and you require a website of your own to do this. Assuming you have your own site, you can sign up here.
After logging into your ShareASale account, you will find thousands of affiliate products from independent brands. Many of these brands are household names, such as WayFair, Reebok, NFL, ModCloth, OptinMonster and WPEngine – to name just a few. Click the ‘Merchants‘ icon and ‘Search for Merchants‘, before typing your niche idea into the search field. Then, click on ‘Products‘ and the blue search icon. This will show you all the merchants and products in your industry. If you see thousands of products and hundreds of merchants, you have hit the jackpot. However, even four or five merchants is encouraging, because you do not require countless affiliate programs to earn money. In fact, just a single program can be sufficient.
You can drill down even deeper with your research on ShareASale, by clicking the ‘Full Merchant Details‘ link for each merchant displayed. Here, you will find information about the performance of their affiliate programs. The ‘Earnings per Click‘, or ‘EPC‘, indicates the average amount an affiliate earns from that merchant each time a prospect clicks on their affiliate link. When there are retailers in your niche and evidence that affiliates are earning commissions from these companies, it shows that the niche is profitable. Suffice to say, there should be nothing to stop you from making money from these retailers as well.
More Useful Affiliate Programs
CJ.com, or Commission Junction, has a lot in common with ShareASale – given that it is an independent website where companies run affiliate programs. Famous brands, such as HostGator, Zappos, VistaPrint, BlueHost, Trip Advisor and Verizon use Commission Junction to attract affiliates.
You have to sign up for an account, before validating your website. Once your account is approved, click the ‘Advertisers‘ link at the top of the page and type your niche idea into the ‘Keyword‘ field. Click ‘Search‘, and – if hundreds of independent retailers appear that sell products associated with your niche – you are onto a winner. Notwithstanding, you only need to see some signs of customer demand, so even a few retailers can indicate a niche with profit potential.
OfferVault enables you to look for niche related affiliate programs too, although these are focused on CPA (Cost Per Action) offers. With these types of offers, you make money by sending leads – or customer data – instead of earning commissions from product sales. The fact that these offers are slightly different is unimportant, because you just want to evaluate the profitability of your niche at the moment. Type your niche idea into the search field and, if any results are displayed, it is a positive sign. Make a note of the quantity and type of results that OfferVault displays for future reference. There's a reasonable chance that you won't see any results listed for your niche, because some niches do not lend themselves well to CPA offers. Do not let this deter you though. If you have found evidence that your niche is in demand on another network, everything should be fine.
With a bit of luck, once you have visited a few affiliate platforms, you will discover a variety of products related to the niche that interests you. If you fail to discover any products, or only find products of a general nature, it is probably because your niche is not profitable.
3) Assess the Competition and Demand
A profitable niche for affiliate marketing should have low competition and high demand. For you to make a decent quantity of sales, there have to be enough people who want to buy products in that niche. Also, you don't want to be competing with lots of other affiliates, who could capture the lion's share of the market.
The fact is that there are many fascinating niches available, with next to no profit potential. Consider the following two similar niches: dolphin watching and bird watching. Both of these are excellent subjects to use for a blog that could attract an audience of interested readers. You could talk about the best locations to find dolphins/birds, and provide information about their habitats and biology, etc.
However, at some point, you have to monetize that blog by recommending affiliate products – and this is where the niches differ. As a more popular pastime, bird watching has many related products that people can purchase. Examples include binoculars, cameras, camera lenses, etc. – all of which can be promoted on your blog. In contrast, dolphin watching does not have the same scope for monetization. Although you could recommend camera lenses, there are none specifically designed for dolphin watching that you can promote. Therefore, the profit potential for affiliates in this niche is lower.
Novice affiliates often ask, how reliable are niche rankings? Well, a quick search on Google can reveal much about a niche's profit potential. Simply type “[niche subject] affiliate” into the search box and check out the affiliate programs displayed in the results listings. If hardly any results appear, this is a sure sign that the niche is not profitable.
To properly assess the competition and demand for a niche, keyword research is required. There are many tools available to help you do this, and you can opt for one of your choosing. However, the Google Keyword Planner comes highly recommended, due to its helpful analysis and accurate data. This tool is extremely efficient and displays precise keyword competition and search volume information for all keywords.
To use the tool, log into your Google account (or sign up for one if you have yet to do so), click ‘Get search volume data and trends‘, and type in your niche keyword. This will bring up vital data that can help you gauge whether your niche has enough search engine traffic to be profitable. If you discover a low competition niche with fairly decent traffic, you can develop your online business around that keyword.
To take a fictitious example, keywords such as “online marketing” have lots of competition and high search volumes — so they are hard to rank highly for. For this reason, you should look for long-tail keywords with less competition and lower search volumes, such as: “how to optimize your landing page for SEO” or “copywriting advice for beginners” (NB: we are not suggesting that these are low competition keywords).
4) Identify Passions and Problems
In the social media era, there are niche communities for virtually every sphere of human life. As a result, affiliate marketers have many opportunities to communicate with their audiences. On platforms like Twitter, you can discover the phrases and words being searched for, to gauge the level of interest in products you intend to sell. For example, if you are promoting vegetarian recipe books, a high volume of searches for “make meat-free lasagna” would be encouraging.
Also, it is worth using websites like Quora and other social media platforms to learn more about the problems your prospects are facing. Check niche related groups on Facebook and Reddit, and use Instagram hashtags to discover what people are looking for. Ask questions of your own to see whether you have overlooked any competitors, and participate in group discussions to understand your audience's plight. By doing this, you will gain a valuable insight into how these problems can be solved through your marketing efforts.
Of course, Google is the largest online search engine and people use it every day to pursue their hobbies and find solutions to their problems. Fortunately, Google maintains a record of common searches and displays these when appropriate. For instance, if you conduct a Google search for kitchen furniture, you are likely to see questions about different brands and the cost of fixtures. This shows that the niche has got associated problems you can solve.
Likewise, if you search on Google for a passionate niche, such as cycling gear for men, you will see questions from people wanting to know what the best cycling gear is. This can provide great inspiration for a content marketing plan. You can address these issues through your website content and earn high rankings in Google, so you can engage with people.
5) Find a Gap in the Market (Essential)
In addition to problems, you need to find a market gap in your niche so you can position yourself as an authority in that space. If there is no gap in the market, you might struggle to connect with your audience – regardless of how hard you work. A market gap is best described as a promotional angle that allows you to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. It is an opportunity to provide a unique solution to something that people can't find elsewhere. This could be an innovative product, a DIY hack, or anything else that people require.
After you have determined what niche related phrases people are looking for on Google and social media, list each subject on a spreadsheet. BuzzSumo allows you to find the search volume, competition and trend for each subject, and identify the subjects your competitors have not covered. BuzzSumo is great for searching content, because it displays relevant information for every subject. With the help of this information, you can offer cheaper, better solutions to your audience that no one else is offering. In the eyes of your prospects, this will boost the credibility of your brand and make them more inclined to buy from you. Make sure there is the scope to do this in your niche, and your affiliate marketing results will be more successful.
6) Gauge Whether Your Niche has Longevity
When you have identified a niche with low competition and high demand, you need to check that it has longevity. It is important for your niche to be evergreen, so you can produce fresh content for your audience on an ongoing basis. A niche like cryptocurrency, for example, would be regarded as evergreen in 2021, but when it started to emerge in 2011, it would have been risky to promote it. Back then, nobody knew whether it would still be around in a few years. Once again, Google has another tool that can help you assess the longevity of your niche.
Google Trends is a great resource that shows the trending patterns for keyword searches. Type your niche idea into this tool to see how consistent the demand is. A niche with longevity will have a stable demand the year over.
Notwithstanding, be aware that some niches can remain profitable, even if they are less popular than they were previously. Certain products attract huge interest for a short period of time, if they go viral or get media coverage. Other products are seasonal in nature, so will not be in demand for most of the year. This does not mean that you can't make money promoting them though, so always establish why the demand has dropped before deciding whether to enter a niche.
There's nothing worse than spending countless hours promoting a niche that becomes obsolete a couple of years down the line. This is why you should avoid growing a business around a passing trend. Good examples of niches that are here to stay include family (bringing up children, pregnancy, etc), pastimes (skateboarding, gardening, etc) and finance (stock trading, pension planning, etc). For best results, try to use a combination of data from Google Trends and the Keyword Planner. Niches with high search volumes, low competition and consistent trends are like gold dust to affiliates!
7) Put Your Niche Ideas to the Test
There’s a limit to how much you can learn from interacting with people on social media and checking the popularity of search terms on Google. At some point, you have to get your feet wet to find out definitively whether your niche ideas work in your sector. An easy way to test a niche product's profitability is to create a squeeze funnel and landing page for it. If nothing else, a landing page can help you understand what your prospects want and what they like or dislike about your idea. If you manage to make some pre-sales as well, then so much the better.
With certain niches, you will find that the profit potential can be improved by adjusting the landing page design or changing your sales copy. In other cases, you will find that the niche just isn't as profitable as you predicted. When this happens, you should cut your losses and move on.
How to Know if Your Niche is Profitable – Final Thoughts
The above steps should help you whittle down your list of niche ideas considerably. At this point, it is wise to take a break from the exercise for a while. This way, you can mull things over and decide which idea feels right for you and the goals of your business. There is no ‘crystal ball' that can guarantee your future success.
However, if you have followed along so far, you ought to have enough data to make a decision and an insight into which approach will work best. Your next tasks are to create content, generate traffic and promote new products. All of these have their own unique challenges, but the process is far easier when you choose a niche with good profit potential.