If you want to make money online (and particularly with affiliate marketing), you need a niche. Or better yet, several niches. But each niche needs its own site and/or blog, its own mailing list, and its own affiliate programs for you to promote.
If you’ve been an affiliate for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly heard this advice. But it’s amazing how many affiliates don’t follow through with it. Or they try to follow through with it, but their “niche” is nothing more than a product category, and they don’t tailor their marketing efforts to a specific market segment.
For the uninitiated, catering to specific niches might seem counterproductive. After all, by narrowing your focus, you’re limiting yourself to prospects that fit into a certain small group with specific characteristics. Wouldn’t it be better to offer a variety of products to a variety of people?
If you’re Wal-Mart, that’s not a bad approach to take. But for the rest of us, it’s just too difficult to appeal to people with different interests, from different backgrounds, and with different needs. If you can focus on a small group, you can better meet their needs, and that’s where your affiliate sales will come from.
Now that you know why working with niches is important, let’s explore how to choose niches that are profitable. In order for a niche to make you money, it has to possess a few important characteristics:
It should ideally be something you’re interested in. This is a topic you’re going to be working with a lot for a while, and possibly for a long while depending on your marketing strategy. If a niche bores you to tears or otherwise doesn’t appeal to you, you probably won’t do very well with it.
It must have a sufficient audience. There must be a reasonable number of people who are interested enough in the topic to seek out information on it. Without an audience, you’ll have no one to sell to.
It should not be saturated. This simply means that there should not be a lot of other marketers catering to the same niche. The more marketers there are targeting the same group, the lower your chances of breaking in will be.
It should either be evergreen or an up and coming trend. Evergreen niches provide the best long-term income potential.
Trends, which are on the rise, offer tremendous income potential in the beginning, but may or may not stand the test of time. It’s fine to work with either type, but if you’re following trends, be prepared to pursue the next big thing when you find that your current niche is on the decline.
The niche’s target market should be willing and able to buy online. There are some niches that obviously wouldn’t be a good choice for affiliate marketing, but for the most part, this is discovered by trial and error.
Once you’ve come up with a topic that interests you, you can start doing some research to determine whether or not it would make a good niche. A good tool for this purpose is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Just type in your topic idea, and you’ll be presented with a list of related keywords, along with a bar graph indicating the amount of competition for the keyword and its search volume. The best niches have low competition and high search volume.
When you find a niche that interests you and appears profitable, search for affiliate programs that would interest members of the target market. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the kinds of things you would be interested in buying. Then see what kinds of affiliate programs you can find that sell those things, and what percentage commissions they offer. If you like what you see, this could be a good niche for you.
There are no guarantees that any niche will be a winner. But if you do some research before jumping in, you can greatly increase your chances of success.