In order to get started in affiliate marketing, you need to know in which direction you will be heading and that involves choosing a niche that is the right fit for you with regard to your particular interests.
This can be a daunting task for those just starting out in the online business world and getting this part right could mean the difference between success and failure but, it is a fairly straightforward process if you know what to look for and that is what I will be showing you in the following post.
What You Will Learn:
- What is an online niche?
- How to determine if the niche is the right fit
- How to choose one that is profitable
- What are the top niche markets?
- Where to find niche ideas
- How to narrow it down for greater success
- How to research a potential niche
What Exactly Is An Online Niche?
A niche is simply a group of people with a particular interest, passion, hobby or, problem who are searching online for information, solutions and, products to fulfill their needs or desires.
How Do I Choose A Profitable Niche?
Niches are all around us in our everyday lives and everyone is probably a part of one or more niches so, the best way to choose one is to take a good look at what your interests, passions and, skills are.
This is an extremely important step and one that shouldn’t be overlooked because the niche that will be profitable for you will most likely be the one you are the most passionate about, are already somewhat knowledgeable in or, have a strong desire to learn.
That is mainly because you will be researching, writing and, talking about your niche every day for the foreseeable future, possibly for years to come and during those lean times, especially in the beginning, when you may not see the money rolling in as you expected, the passion and desire you have will be the driving force that will continue to push you forward towards profitability.
This isn’t just about chasing after money, though. It is about helping people find the solutions to their needs, problems or, desires and if your focus is only on making a quick buck, you will surely fail.
Sure, if you learn well and put in the time and effort, the money will come.
Many people make a full-time income with affiliate marketing and some have made millions but, that is only the by-product of helping others.
There is a famous quote by Zig Ziglar that states:
You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
This is something you should think about again and again as it is a very true statement that will help you to keep your priorities in order as you create your online business.
Make Your Own List
Before I get into giving you examples of possible niche markets, I want you to grab a pen and paper or open notepad or something and quickly make your own list without thinking about it too much, just write.
I want you to include the following:
- Your interests
- Special skills – have you been educated in a particular field of study or received any special training.
- What are the jobs you have had in the past
- What do you do for fun or relaxation
- What do you do in your spare time
- What do you talk about or do repeatedly with friends and/or family
- Do you have any health issues
- Are you on a special diet or have any dietary restrictions
- Do you work out
- Do you play any sports
- Do you take vitamins or herbal supplements
- Are you a lover of specialty coffee, tea or, beer
- Do you regularly buy organic products
- Do you play a musical instrument
- What have you always wanted to learn more about
I know that these categories may have overlapped a bit for some people but, you get the idea.
Keep this list handy as this is a profile of who you are and will help you to identify which niches you may be the most suited for and later on, it may also help you to prioritize the time necessary to work on your business.
A Word To The Wise
When choosing a niche, it is important to drill down as much as possible into more narrow sub-niches.
Trust me on this one, if you laser target a smaller sub-niche, your chances of becoming an authority in your niche and, ultimately making money are much greater than if you go too broad.
I made that mistake when I first started, despite the warnings and, I suffered for it. Sure, I made some money but, not nearly what I would have made had I been more focused initially and then scaled up gradually.
The positive side to all of that was, in the process, I learned a lot and gained some valuable experience but, I didn’t quit.
Top Niche Markets
Now I will be listing some of the top niche markets and then showing you examples of how you can drill them down.
The first 3 are what we call evergreen niches. This means they will always be popular and will never go out of style.
This is a huge niche and can be very profitable. Many people want to feel better, look better, be more healthy or, have some type of health issue.
Of course, this is way too broad so, we need to try and narrow it down a bit. Some examples of health-related sub-niches could be:
- Herbal supplements
- Exercise programs
- Paleo diet
- Organic foods
- Exercise equipment
Some of above sub-niches may still be too broad so, let’s try and drill down a little further.
- Herbal supplements for weightlifters
- Exercise programs for women over 50
- How to lose belly fat for men
- How to lose weight for women after pregnancy
- Fruit smoothies
- Diet plans for those with diabetes
- Teenage acne
And the list goes on and on. You could probably spend 5 lifetimes in the health niche alone and never target all of the possible sub-niches.
Who doesn’t want or need to make more money? Everyone!
Possible sub-niches for the money making niche could be
- Affiliate marketing
- Drop shipping
- Resume writing
- Multi level marketing
- Social media marketing
- Work from home jobs
- Extra income for retirees
- Website design
And of course, many more
Many people are looking for that significant other or, want advice on how to deal with the one they already have.
Possible sub-niches in this category could include:
- Online dating
- How to prepare for divorce
- Romantic getaways
- Wedding favors
- How to attract the opposite sex
- Budget weddings
Sports is another biggie, many people are very passionate about sports, especially their favorite teams.
- Giants jerseys
- Yankees memorabilia
- Baseball gloves
- Mixed martial arts gear
- Golf bags
- Learn to scuba dive
- Accessories for women golfers
Of course, this doesn’t even skim the surface of the possible sub-niches in the sports category heck, I know someone who made a website about football snack helmets!
People spend tons of money on vacation packages and all that goes with it.
Some of the sub-niches for the Travel niche could be:
- Airline tickets
- Hotel packages
- Rental cars
- Site seeing tours
- Camping gear
Where Else To Find Popular Niches
One of my favorite tricks for getting niche ideas is to go over to the Dmoz mirror site which, is a directory of websites.
The actual DMOZ site of old has, unfortunately, ceased operation since the writing of this article, however, the site is being archived on a mirror site and is still a great resource to see the category breakdowns that will help you in selecting a niche.
On the homepage, you will see a listing of many broad categories.
Of course, these categories are way too broad so we will need to narrow it down quite a bit by clicking on one of the main categories.
In this case, I chose Recreation.
This brings up a page with 48 sub-categories.
Looking better but not quite there yet so, I decided to click on Fishing.
Ahh, this is more like it!
With these results, I could do a website about Bass Fishing, Ice Fishing, Salt Water Fishing or, Fly Fishing etc.
I could even drill that down further and do something like “Ice Fishing In Alaska” or wherever.
So you see if I were to have selected Fishing as my niche, it would have been way too broad.
I would have been all over the place with my content. It would have been almost impossible to rank well in the search engines and, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful as if I had targeted something more narrow like Ice Fishing, for example.
Another good place to look is the “For Dummies” books. I’m sure you have seen some of them before, their homepage boasts of having 300 million copies in print.
What you are doing here is basically leveraging their market research to come up with possible niche ideas.
A large company like that isn’t going to go through the expense of doing their market research, creating and, publishing a book where there isn’t much of a chance of making sales.
Clicking on their “Shop for books” tab will bring up an A-Z listing of every book they publish but, it gets even better.
They now have a “Learn by category” tab where they have some mini blog posts related to the category you have chosen and when you read one, they picture the related book on that topic.
This gives you an idea of the types of articles you could be writing for each niche.
How cool is that?
That website could be a valuable learning resource but again, be careful you aren’t looking at something too broad.
For example, they have books all about “Dogs” but as a niche, you would be better off targeting a specific breed like “German Shepherds”.
By now, you should have a fairly good grasp on how to choose and narrow down a niche that reflects your interests or passions and the ideas should be flowing right about now so let’s move on.
Doing Your Niche Research
You probably have several possible niche ideas so now you want to see which of your ideas may be profitable.
There are many ways to do this but what I like to do is to head over to Google and do a search for the niche.
If you see ads at the top and/or bottom of the search results, that is a good sign because, if people are spending money to advertise on a regular basis, it is a safe bet they are making money in that niche.
Also, make note of the “related searches” at the bottom of the page.
Now do another search for “your niche + affiliate program”
This will not only tell you if it is possible to monetize the niche but also give you an idea of the types of products that are available to promote as well.
Keep in mind that some affiliate programs may be managed by an Affiliate Network and may not come up easily in the search results.
In case you aren’t familiar with the term Affiliate Network, I gave a brief explanation in a previous article that you can look at.
Lastly, do a search for “your niche + blog”.
If you are going to go into a particular niche, then you need to start immersing yourself in it.
With this search, you will be accomplishing several things.
Take notice of which site comes up in the #1 position after any ads that may be displayed in the search results.
Visit that site and look at how they are approaching the niche.
- What types of articles are they writing and on which topics
- How is their site laid out
- What types of images are they using
- What are their menu and category items
- Are they displaying ads
- Are they linking out to specific products within their text
- Are they doing product reviews
- Are they adding fresh new content consistently
Read some of their articles and go back to some of their older ones as well.
Now, repeat that for every blog on page 1 and possibly some on page 2 as well.
Another search of “your niche + forum” is also good to do.
You want to try and find a fairly large, active forum where the members are asking questions and posting content on a daily basis.
Forums are one of the places where your target audience hangs out and you will be able to learn a tremendous amount from the questions being asked and the topics that are being discussed.
This is a great place to come up with content ideas and to find out the problems your target audience is having that they are seeking solutions for.
If you are already fairly knowledgeable in your niche, then log in and get involved in some of the discussions to get yourself known there without trying to promote anything.
Then after awhile, you may be able to put a link to your website in your profile. Be sure to read and follow the forum rules so you don’t get banned or accused of spam.
If you don’t yet know much about your niche, just hang out and learn for now until you are comfortable enough to start participating.
I know this may seem like a lot of work but, you should be able to look over a few sites fairly quickly and this type of research will be well worth the time and effort as you will be spending many hours working on your own site.
This exercise will give you a lot of valuable ideas about how to approach the niche and will also give you insight as to the type of information your target audience is being exposed to.
Again, you will have to trust me on this one. Don’t go into a niche blindly as the day will come when you are sitting at your computer staring at a blank page and wondering what to do but, if you have followed my advice, you should have a fairly good idea on how to approach things.
As you are doing your research, make sure you are finding blogs and not e-commerce sites because you are not trying to compete with Amazon or Walmart, you are competing against other blogs in your niche and later on, as you gain more authority and experience, you will be learning ways to work in cooperation with those other blogs.
If there are no blogs or if those blogs don’t appear to be monetizing their sites, I would be very wary.
Don’t be afraid of competition, because that is a good thing.
If others are doing it, that means there is money to be made.
There are over 3 billion people online, so don’t worry about competition or over-saturation because there is certainly enough for you to carve out your fair share if you do it right.
Throughout this article, I have advised you to go to other sites and research various things but, please keep in mind, this is only as a way to get your creative juices flowing so you can come up with your own ideas on how to approach your niche. Please don’t copy anyone.
Need Any Help?
I hope you have found this information useful. If so, feel free to share it with your friends and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the area below.
To Our Success!!