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If you want to do affiliate marketing do affiliate marketing, finding a profitable niche should be your first priority. Choosing a specific niche market makes it easier to connect with advertisers and sponsors. Also, it gives your marketing efforts more focus and enables you to expand your audience quickly.
When novice affiliate marketers start searching for a niche, they often assume that they need to find a little-known market, or that profitable niches will be ones that other marketers are not currently involved with. After all, the most popular industries and topics are the preserve of established publications, which invest large sums of money each month into content creation, outreach and SEO. Websites like Healthline or WebMD, for instance, have the marketing budgets to hire teams of freelance writers to produce health-related content. In addition, they spend thousands of dollars on link building, paid promotions and other advertising methods. Suffice to say, competing with these brands would be impossible for the average marketer.
Notwithstanding, the best market niches to target are, in fact, the mainstream niches. These marketing niches currently have competition, high demand, proven longevity, plenty of findable customers, and numerous related products, social media groups, forums and websites. In the unlikely event that you find a niche that other affiliates have overlooked, this is typically because the demand is low – so customers are few and far between – and because the number of products available to promote is limited. That would be a challenge for a seasoned marketer, never mind a beginner.
You can build a successful website and stand out from the crowd by focusing on an industry sub-niche, such as ‘health tips for seniors’ or ‘healthy living for families’ – to reference the above health niche example. This way, you can use long tail keywords – that are passed over by the larger publications – to bring search engine traffic to your website and generate affiliate sales. This is a more sensible approach, because the niche is evergreen so you already know that there are profits to be made. Here’s how to find a profitable niche for affiliate marketing in seven easy steps.
How to Find a Profitable Niche for Affiliate Marketing in Seven Easy Steps
1) Consider Your Own Interests and Pastimes
When it comes to finding niches, the logical place to begin is with the things that interest you personally. In all likelihood, you already spend money on these things so you understand the mindset of customers. You just have to determine whether they are viable as an online business.
To quote a well-known phrase, “pick an occupation you enjoy and it will never feel like work”. Many people have succeeded in turning their pastimes into profitable niche businesses. For instance, gardening is an extremely popular pastime in America. The niche website SavvyGardening is owned by a few friends, who are passionate gardeners. They regularly publish content promoting affiliate products and make money through Adsense too.
Fishing is another popular outdoor activity in the States, with almost fifty-million participants in 2017, according to Statista. Fishing enthusiast Ed Hitchcock set up the profitable niche website TailoredTackle to help aspiring fishermen. The website shares fishing advice and recommends different products and tools to readers. It generates a substantial profit from Google ads, affiliate sales and the sale of other products.
Make a list of all your hobbies in a notepad and look through them carefully. You will be amazed by the number of potential niches this highlights. Consider how much you know about niches in the market you wish to enter. You do not require expert knowledge, you just need to know a bit more than your target audience. Ideally, if you will be creating the content, you should feel capable of doing this after research. Avoid entering a technical niche that you do not fully understand, otherwise it will be hard to publish articles frequently. Another option, obviously, is to recruit niche-specialist freelance writers to produce your website content. In this situation, you do not need to know much about the niche, however you should factor in the associated costs before taking this approach.
If you don’t have any hobbies or interests that readily translate into a profitable niche, visit the audience behavior platform Quantcast. Click the explore icon in the right top corner of the screen, then click on the ‘Top 100’ icon. This lists the top 100 websites online at any given moment. There’s no point in trying to imitate these websites, because they are too big for that to be viable. Rather, you should navigate to the subsequent pages and look for trends and niches among the businesses listed.
Often, you will notice several websites centered around the same niche, such as travel. A niche like this is too broad for affiliate marketing though. Thankfully, you can take that broad niche and visit the Quora website. Here, people can ask questions about any subject under the sun, and receive in-depth replies from the community. Type your broad niche topic into the search field on Quora and press the Enter key. This will bring up a list of questions asked by other Quora users about that niche. These questions reveal narrow niches within the broad category you have researched. This should give you plenty of good ideas about where to focus your affiliate marketing efforts.
2) Identify Potential Monetization Options Within the Niche
It is always wise to select a niche that has several monetization options, so you can establish multiple streams of income. This spreads your risk and ensures that you will stay in business, if one of your affiliate accounts is closed. Begin by evaluating the competition and note what monetization methods they are using. Conduct a Google search for your primary topic, then look at the top ten to fifteen websites that appear in the results. Ideally, you want these sites to be monetized with sponsored content, Google ads, Amazon products and their own membership areas, etc.
Next, visit Amazon to discover which products affiliates can promote in the niche. Click on the relevant category in the left-hand panel to display products that are suitable for your audience. These products should be high quality items that you would be comfortable recommending. Also, look for related products on other affiliate networks, such as ClickBank, Commission Junction and Offervault. You need to check that there are a wide variety of products to promote in the niche.
ClickBank, in particular, is a great website to check due to the sheer number of users on the network. To begin researching a niche topic, click the marketplace icon at the top of the screen. You could start by conducting a search for your industry in the search field provided. This will reveal some interesting sub-niches. However, also study the menu on the left-hand side of the page, because this already has curated lists of topics.
Once you have searched for your industry in the search field, or selected your category, the results will be displayed. The product information is shown on the right of the page, and the search results can be filtered on the left side of the page. Each product that appears here is one that you could potentially promote as an affiliate. It is best to use the ‘Gravity’ filter to sort the results. This measurement indicates how many affiliates earned commissions promoting the products recently. Examine the listed products carefully to determine whether any of them look appropriate for your audience. Try to choose products with high Gravity scores and a decent average income-per-sale. This is an effective way to analyze a potential niche for affiliate marketing and identify products that are likely to appeal to people.
3) Assess the Competition and Search Volume for the Niche
As already stated, niches with little competition are best avoided, because this usually means that the profit potential is limited. It is important not to confuse niche analysis with keyword research, which is an easy mistake to make. When researching keywords, you want to find phrases with low to medium competition, because you are attempting to rank highly for them. In contrast, with niche analysis, your goal is to determine whether the niche itself can make you money.
SEMrush is a good place to begin your research. Type the broad keyword for your niche into this tool and it will do two things. Firstly, it displays dozens of other keywords related to your niche that can help your analysis. Secondly, it shows you the keyword difficulty, cost per click figures and search volume for your specified keyword. The keyword difficulty (KD) reveals how hard ranking for a keyword is, depending on the authority of the current websites occupying the top ten search results. Cost per click (CPC) shows how much money, on average, marketers are prepared to pay for one click of a keyword. The search volume indicates how many times people search for a keyword on Google.
Ideally, you should look for keywords in your niche with a CPC of $2 or more, and a minimum search volume of 10K. This shows that the topic is popular enough to generate substantial returns, and that marketers are happy to pay a decent amount to display their adverts for these search terms. If many of the primary keywords in your niche have a high CPC, you can be sure that there are profits to be made there. Marketers who are paying a couple of dollars per click without a guaranteed sale must be earning lots of money. Of course, achieving high rankings for these keywords in Google’s organic search results is another challenge.
4) Gauge the Number of Traffic Sources Available
The importance of this step can not be overstated. You must determine whether your niche has a diverse range of traffic sources, because this is critical for the stability of your online business. The best way to establish this is to look at the top websites in your proposed niche, to see where they get their traffic from. SimilarWeb is a helpful tool for researching the traffic sources of different websites. Note whether the top websites are attracting search engine traffic exclusively, or whether social media users are finding them too. If the percentage of social media visitors is high, note which networks they are coming from. In certain niches, for instance, the top websites receive a large amount of their visitors from Instagram and Pinterest. These tend to be visual websites, with many images published.
Indeed, research indicates that just thirty-one percent of blog posts are discovered via search engines. The remainder are discovered through referrals, email lists and social networks, etc. Carry out a Facebook search to find Facebook Groups centered around the interests of your audience. After searching for your niche keyword, click the Groups icon to display the related communities. If your niche does have groups that are active, you can attract visitors to your website by joining these groups and posting content in them. There’s nothing to stop you setting up your own Facebook Group and growing it either.
Behind Google, YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine, so it makes sense to see whether your prospects are active there. It takes time to grow a YouTube channel, however many highly trafficked subjects and keywords are within reach, because video creation is more difficult. If you do not use this platform straightaway, you should bear it in mind for the future at least. Discussion websites like Reddit and forums can be a good traffic channel too. Check whether any conversations associated with your niche are happening on these sites. If they are, this is another potential traffic source. Your top priority though, should be to determine how you can build a list of passionate email subscribers, so you can send visitors to your website on demand.
These are all key issues to address, because a niche affiliate website with limited traffic sources usually has limited growth potential. In all likelihood, search engine traffic will be your main traffic channel, however you should identify other options as well to develop a low-risk, sustainable business. Good affiliate marketers do not depend on a single source of traffic.
5) Search for Market Deficiencies You Can Exploit
To profit from the niche you enter, you have to provide superior website content to the other websites in your niche. To do this, you should determine where the content produced by your competitors falls short, and devise ways to enhance it. Firstly, read the content published by the top websites in your industry and note down any problems with it. Then, consider how you could do it better. For instance, you might be able to include more videos, GIFs or images to differentiate the content from your competitors. Alternatively, perhaps you could make the content more in-depth by including some case studies and detailed examples.
In addition, there might be pressing issues about a subject that the top websites fail to mention. A good method to identify such omissions is to read the blog comments on these sites. The negative reviews of niche-related books on Amazon can shed light on what type of content your audience wants to read as well.
6) Check for Previously Sold Websites or Profitable Acquisitions
A fairly reliable yardstick of a niche’s merit is the quantity of successful businesses or websites in it. If eCommerce stores, blogs and other websites in your niche are being purchased regularly, it indicates there is profit potential. To discover this, visit Flippa – which is a huge website marketplace – then search for the main keyword in your niche, for instance ‘muscle building’.
To see the profits different websites are making, filter the results by ‘Monthly Profit’ and specify $1K per month as the minimum amount. If you are only interested in sites that generate an income from affiliate marketing, select ‘ClickBank’ and ‘Amazon’ from the ‘Monetization’ drop-down box. After you click the ‘search’ icon, a list of websites being auctioned on Flippa will be displayed. The results can be sorted by ‘highest-to-lowest price’ if you prefer. Here, you can view the websites’ performance statistics and analyze why they are successful. You can also identify areas for improvement that could grow the websites further.
This data can greatly benefit your niche research, because it reveals the diverse niches that people are entering to make huge sums of cash. You will be amazed by the profits that can be made in really bizarre niches. Be sure to make a note of any good ideas you come across. Search for websites that appeal to you personally, which sold for a high price. If somebody else can create a profitable website in a niche and sell it on for a big sum, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
Another good place to look for websites and online businesses for sale is Empire Flippers. This website has a marketplace where you can search for niche keywords and filter the results to see businesses and websites that sold recently. Without revealing the addresses of these websites, Empire Flippers displays their selling price and monthly profits. Also, by clicking on a listing, you can see lots of information about a website – such as its monthly visitors, income figures, target niche, and income/traffic sources, etc. Evaluating this data will tell you precisely how much different websites are earning in your industry, and how fast you can duplicate their success.
7) Decide What Your USP Is
Prior to making your final decision about what niche to base your affiliate website on, there is one last thing to consider. What will be your original angle? How will you separate yourself from the countless other websites online? How can you make people remember you? In niches that have lots of competition, this issue is especially pertinent.
Attempt to devise a relatable story that piques the interest of your website visitors. For instance, the niche for ‘make money online’ has thousands of websites, however MyWifeQuitHerJob resonates with people more than most other websites, due to its owner’s backstory. The same can be said of SmartBlogger, which is another top website in this niche with a fascinating story that appeals to people.
You can also differentiate your website by making it more eye-catching, or by gaining authority status in a sub-category of your niche. The owner of Backlinko, Brian Dean, was a late entrant to the SEO niche, however he developed his website into a leading SEO resource by producing highly insightful content. Likewise, BestReviews stands head and shoulders above other review websites, because the company tests products thoroughly before publishing reviews. Consequently, their readers trust their reviews more than those of a normal affiliate website that posts generic reviews with little research.
By one means or another, you need to stand out from the crowd by developing a unique identity. The niche you choose to enter should lend itself to this process naturally. This way, your audience will be more inclined to purchase the products you promote.
How to Find a Profitable Niche – Final Thoughts
As an affiliate, your role is to find promising niches, decide whether they are worth entering, then produce quality content that solves the problems of your prospects and positions you as a trustworthy expert. Hopefully, by now, you will realize that this is not as hard as many people believe. Remember, there is no such thing as a ‘saturated niche’. You can always generate profits by taking an original approach, or just by outperforming the competition. Rather than feeling daunted, simply roll up your sleeves, take heed of the above advice and start trying to find a profitable niche today. Make no mistake, a lucrative affiliate niche is a stone’s throw away.