Identifying a profitable niche to go into is the essential first step for new affiliate marketers. It is important to avoid already overcrowded niches, where the market is very difficult to penetrate, whilst not going too specific, where the quantity of potential customers is not lucrative enough. You also need to ensure you haven’t picked a niche where the potential for affiliate sales, and also the possibility to use your marketing to presell, isn’t actually there. In essence, you shouldn’t be selling a product you wouldn’t buy yourself and which other people wouldn’t buy either. Finding that priceless gap in the market, which is defined by high product demand but low niche saturation, is far easier said than done and most affiliates never manage it. This article outlines a general and easy to follow guide on how to find the perfect niche – it does this by identifying the primary factors that will determine your success and uses these to create a checklist for the ideal niche qualities you are looking for.
Are there actually customers for you to access?
As I’ve already mentioned, you need to be targeting a niche in which people are actually buying products. The best way to do this is to choose a niche where you are solving a problem for your customer. Overweight people are willing to spend money to get thin, Spanish learners to become fluent, golfers to play better and, for me, affiliates to make money online and so on. If you can promote and endorse a product which solves one of such issues then you really can make a lot of affiliate sales. You can check whether there are targeted customers out there with a simple check of the keywords which people are currently searching for. If you look on Google and there is nobody searching for the keyword ‘how to learn to fall over’, then this indicates the niche is probably not going to be a lucrative one! The very best niches, in contrast, will be provoking huge amounts of discussion all over internet forums, articles and blogs so spend a few hours checking different areas. I make myself a little table and rate the different niches in all the different areas I identify in this article.
How to check if your niche is already saturated
It is all very well solving your visitors’ problems but this doesn’t automatically make the niche profitable. Unfortunately the very best niches, such as weight loss and money making on the internet, have become overly crowded. The huge number of affiliates in these areas means there is a huge amount of competition and the market will be very difficult to penetrate. The established sites in these niches will likely have thousands and thousands of backlinks already so making an impression will take a great deal of time and effort on your part. My own way to immediately check your competition is to pick a popular affiliate program and check how many reviews have been written for it by searching on Google- if this is in the millions then you should steer well clear.
You could possibly achieve the market penetration you need by investing financially but this is not an option for most affiliates; in some niches, like online gambling, the level of this investment would have to be sky high to even make a short term impression. One suggestion to overcome the problem of overcrowded niches, without spending a lot of money, is to go more specific, focus on an untapped area within the larger niche but which still has the same qualities as above. For instance you could go into the sub niche of ‘how to lose weight through x, y or z technique’ or focus just on roulette, poker, blackjack etc. in the gambling niche. Also note that you will need to make sure there is still a large enough market to make a decent return in sales however.
Capitalise on the latest niches and affiliate products
Another way to avoid already saturated niches is to move into promoting only the very latest products, especially in terms of new technology. In the era of constant and rapid change that we live, in the opportunities are wide and infiltrate a huge range of niches. I myself made a good amount of money promoting iPad help guides and other e-books in the few months following the products release for just one such example. If there check here is a great deal of hype (again, check the forums and blogosphere) surrounding a product launch then you can probably find affiliate products to promote. I won’t go into great detail but I believe changes in online advertising away from Google AdSense and the increase in e-book expenditure will be two of the biggest changes in the coming years. Of course once the news of potential profits spreads then the niche gets crowded very quickly – if you can stay ahead of the competition you’ll be alright (and you will have a head start remember) or simply move on to a newly created niche. This does mean you need to recognise that these niches are not going to offer you a guaranteed income for the rest of your life – you are only jumping in early before niche saturation properly sets in.
Wherever possible, choose a niche you’re passionate about
My choice to promote iPad related products stemmed largely from my own knowledge and use of that product. This identification with the niche, and also the affiliate product you promote, is really important. Firstly, if you are passionate about the niche, the more committed you will be to marketing and researching within it. It is always better to work within a field you enjoy and of course affiliate marketing is no different; you can also stay up to date with the latest news and product launches which will help you to capitalise on new opportunities as described in the previous section.
The second advantage of being passionate about your niche is because it means you’ll be able to create good quality content around it. If you are planning on using article marketing, for example, you will need to be able to write in depth and relevant pieces – the search engines are valuing quality content more than ever before so being passionate and knowing the niche inside out really benefits you in the long run. Some affiliate marketers will tell you to follow the money and go into any niche, regardless of your knowledge and passion for it – to some extent this is good advice but the perfect niche, to me, is one which you also have some personal involvement with yourself.
My final point is to say that if you are using content for SEO purposes you probably need to pick a niche where the potential number of article titles is high – there is nothing worse than running out of things to write for an article marketing strategy. If you are marketing within a highly specialised niche you may want to write on a broader range of topics, but obviously you lose the chance to presell your products to your audience. If you feel the niche really could be lucrative in the long run, then you should adapt your marketing strategy to the product rather than the other way round.