Hey guys! So today let’s take a look into how to choose a niche for an affiliate marketing venture.
As you are probably aware of by now, Affiliate Marketing is a form of online marketing where you recommend products or services to visitors of your website, and if they go on to purchase upon your recommendation, you may receive a small commission for the referral (at no extra cost to the visitor, might I add!).
If you’ve landed here and wanted to get a better picture of affiliate marketing, check out this separate post first and then jump back over to continue.
If all good! Then let’s get into exploring the process and considerations for choosing a niche that’s right for you and hopefully profitable!
As you can imagine, coming up with niche ideas, researching the topic and deciding on whether is it a good path to go down can be quite daunting. While there isn’t a foolproof method, there are several steps you can take and things to keep in mind that will help steer you in the right direction.
I aim to cover these points which should give you a running start in your affiliate marketing site.
A Quick Re-Cap On What We Know So Far
So just a quick refresher of the niche selection principles introduced in an earlier post.
- Pick your target audience before you pick a niche product or service.
- Think small and specific. It will be easier to reach your audience and help them.
- Develop a story that matches the world view of your target audience. Your message and offering is more likely to resonate with them.
- Always be thinking… how you could help your audience?
- In today’s world, people make purchase decisions based on a desire, feeling or emotion. They want it, rather than need it (even thought they might say the “need” it).
- What can you offer that stands out!? Identify something that is remarkable.
Keep these questions and thoughts in mind, while going through your niche selection process.
What is a Niche?
This is often confusing and can be left open to opinion, but let’s define the meaning of ‘niche’ that best explains our purposes.
So as we don’t over complicate things and keep a focus on the consumer rather than the product or service, a niche is really just a targeted group of people!
It is a well-defined audience, who often belong to larger markets and industries, and off course many other markets. Any one individual can be a consumer in many niches, and when you get a group of consumers focused on the same thing, this is your niche.
So, the characteristics of a niche are:
- It’s specific.
- It’s well-defined.
- It has a group of people interested in it.
For any given niche, this group then become your target audience, and this should be your focus.
Two Methods for Picking A Niche
There are two main methods for researching potential affiliate marketing niches:
- Internal – Looking at yourself and your world.
- External – Looking at what’s popular.
Let me explain…
Internal – Look at Potential Niches Relating to Your
This is where you focus on yourself, your spending habits and your attention. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is being promoted to you? – Directly or indirectly, through advertising, websites you visit (see the Ad’s that pop-up), the ads in Google search on the right and the emails your receive.
- What issues are you having? – What difficulties are you having with the products and services you use? Instead of just accepting or working around it… think… is there a solution to this?
- What are you currently in the market for? – What products or services are you looking for? Maybe after you have done all your research, you can put it out there for the world to see and make a profit from it?
The key is to always have your ‘marketing’ eyes and ears open. Train yourself, over time, to see these opportunities. Jot them down as you think of them!
External – Look at Trends, Best Sellers and Popular Items
This is where you focus on the outside world and look at what others are buying and interested in. Observe:
- The Amazon Best Sellers list – Narrow down to what departments interest you, or you have experience in. See what’s popular at the top.
- What is being worn, consumed, used, shared – Look at people’s spending habits.
- What are people having difficulties with, complaining about – Look at problems people are having. Can you help them?
- What are people raving about? – Look at what people love and enjoy. Can you get these things to them more easily, or improve it even more?
The key here is to be a keen observer of people around you, popular products on websites you visit, news that is being shown and conversations that are happening.
Why Not Both Methods?
Why not indeed!
A combination of something that you are interested in and is popular to others occurs very often. We all love cool and popular stuff right!?
By the same token, if there is something we are having trouble with, and many others are too, an opportunity is presented!
To give ourselves the best chance at success, we need to consider a healthy mix of both. I found it is easiest to pick something that I am interested in or know a lot about (from current or prior experience). This will make it easier to write content for the niche, otherwise you will need a lot more determination and research to get up to the same level. Not impossible, but not the most effective method either.
Consider internal factors, consider external factors and where the two meet is generally a sweet spot.
Understanding an Authority Niche vs. a Mini-Niche
Even though niches are well-defined audiences, there are still different levels of scale we must consider.
There are Authority Niches and Mini-Niches. Let’s take a look at what each means and some considerations when selecting a niche at each scale.
Considerations for Selecting an Authority Niche
Authority niches are more general, flexible in content and typically feature a broader target audience group. Such niches are evergreen and longer term, with room to grow and scale within the targeted market.
These niches however, aren’t too large that the target audience becomes undefined and difficult to target. They are still defined and typically consist of many smaller ‘sub-niches’ or areas of focus.
Here are a few things to consider when selecting an authority niche:
- The keywords relating to the niche should be in the order of several 100’s to a few 1000. This gives you plenty of room to grow and scale the content.
- The domain name for such a niche tends to be more general or a brand name, to avoid restriction or limit growth. Check out an earlier post about selecting a great domain name.
- The niche can be clearly divided into 3 to 10 main categories or focus areas.
- Each of these focus areas has potential to scale or feature considerable content.
- Check out competing authority websites. What do they do and can you do it better? Or is the competition too difficult and established?
Authority niches take time to grow and scale, and will ultimately involve your own personal growth and knowledge in the topic.
Considerations for Selecting a Mini-Niche
Mini-niches are much more specific audiences, often focused on just a few products or services. They can be temporary, seasonal or evergreen, but are generally limited in scope of offering and content.
These niches don’t have the same potential to scale and grow, but as a result, often have lower competition and an audience that is easier to reach and target.
A few things to consider when selecting a mini-niche includes:
- The keywords relating to the niche are in the order of a couple 100’s, but not often much more.
- The domain name could be more focused and even exactly matched to the main keyword of the niche.
- The product or service should be a “forgettable price“. Meaning it is in the range where most people are very comfortable to purchase online. This is typically the $40 to $70.
- Higher price is also OK, but expect fewer conversions that need to be made up by volume or a higher commission rate to be worth the effort.
- Prices lower than $40 should be avoided, as returns will be minimal for most commission levels. If however, commissions levels are higher…like 30-50%, it may be worth considering as long as search volume is there.
- It is often good to look at products or services that are popular or upcoming.
- It will be great if the product or service is often purchased by fanatics or hobbyist type groups. They are easy to target, and driven by passion (less on price).
- There needs to be a clear strategy on how people will come to your website. Will it be reviews, how to’s, guides or something else they need?
There will be a limit of content and offering that you can produce for a mini-niche, after which you will just maintain the website, as opposed to growing it. Then it is time to move on to the next endeavor, while the other one works passively for you!
General Considerations for Niche Selection
We’ve looked at internal and external methods for hunting out an affiliate marketing niche and explored some considerations for authority or mini-niches. Let’s now look at some more general considerations when selecting a niche:
Know Your Target Audience
We often lose focus on many other factors of starting an online business, so when this occurs… keep it simple.
Always come back to your audience, and put yourself in their shoes.
Understand what they are looking for, their mindset when searching for whatever it is, and what reasons are driving them.
Get this right, and their attention will be easy to gain. Ask:
- Who are they?
- What do they buy?
- When do they buy it?
- Where do they buy?
- Why do they buy it?
How Will Your Audience Find Your?
Consider the method by which your audience will arrive at your website. This is driven by the 5 W’s above.
What would they be looking for? How will you provide the help they need?
Utilize Google Trends
Enter keywords related to a potential niche in Google Trends to check the interest over time.
Utilize Google Search
Enter the keywords related to a potential niche in Google. Check the competing pages and who you are up against.
Are they big well-established websites that will be difficult to beat? If they are, probably best to avoid!
Consider the Buying Cycle of the Customer
At what point in the buying cycle are customers for your niche? Are the keywords relating to your niche “buying” type keywords.
- “I want ___!” – Customer’s initial thought
- “What is ___ about?” – Customer searching for information. Your can help them here, provide value and build a relationship.
- “Where to buy ___?” – Customer ready to purchase and wants to find the best option. Your can provide reviews, comparisons and point them to your recommendation. This is where you claim on the value provided and hopefully convert the sale.
Search Volume vs. Commission Rate vs. Product/Service Price
The amount of potential profit is dependent on these three main variables.
Search Volume & Competition: I show you how to perform your market research in this post.
Commission Rate: Check the availability of affiliate programs and the potential commission rate for products and services.
- Google “___product/service name___ + affiliate program”
- Search for merchants (sellers) and products in Affiliate Networks such as
- Search for products in Amazon and check out the commission structure for Amazon Associates (Amazon’s affiliate program).
Product/Service Price: A higher price may provide more profits, but will probably convert less. Remember the “forgettable price” guide?
Some niches, especially fan and hobby based, may have consumers that will purchase at all costs. They just “gotta have it”!
Each niche is different, so focus on the customer’s mindset and make a judgment from that. Some niches are very price-sensitive and others are not. Most are in-between, so understand where your potential niches lie.
Know Your Numbers
Ensure you perform your research and find the numbers to the following things:
- Product Cost
- Commission Rate
- Keyword Search Volume (per month) – for the main keyword, related keywords and any keywords your audience may be searching.
Now you can do a bit of a “sanity” calculation to determine potential profits:
Potential Traffic to Your Site (per month) = 0.17 x Keyword Search Volume (all potential keywords in your niche)
- Approximately 17% of search volume goes to the top article in Google Search Results.
- Assuming your get 1st result in Google.
Potential Conversions (per month) = 0.02 x Potential Traffic to Your Site
- Average conversion rate is 2% to 10% and depends on the niche.
- Let’s be conservative.
Potential Niche Profit (per month) = Potential Conversions x Commission Rate x Product Cost
And there you have it! Be careful with the number you see here, as it is dependent on a lot of factors. However, it does give us a good ball park estimate.
When you quantify it, you can make a better judgment on whether it is worth your time and effort.
Once you have explored a few niches, applied the considerations above and calculated your numbers, it is time to pick one.
Now the fun part begins and an exciting journey into the world of affiliate marketing!
Remember, success doesn’t happen overnight and there is a decent amount of work that needs to be put in up-front for affiliate websites, before you see any traffic let alone results.
Exercise patience, knuckle down and get to work, and consider the following points as you start your venture:
- Plan out the structure of your content and website – How will you break the niche down? What information will you provide? What posts should you start with first?
- What story are you going to tell you audience? – Ensure the story you tell matches their world view and is authentic. Create a story around the product or service. Remember, people don’t like being sold products, they like being told stories!
- Plan your strategy for attracting people to your website – Remember the buying cycle. Are the keywords you are targeting in your content, information seeking or buying type? Have a balance and provide value before you go for the sell!
- Have you thought of a strategy to bring people back to your website? – Repeat customers and visitors are not only good for sales, but also great for website trust, ranking and engagement. For example, recipes in a cooking related niche can bring back repeat visitors.
- What marketing channels will your utilize? – Check out the 7 forms of online marketing to see your options. Most affiliate marketing websites focus on SEO and Social (no cost), and once there is cash flow, expand in to SEM and PPC.
So I hope this article has given you a clear direction in choosing a niche for an affiliate marketing business. It can be a confusing and overwhelming process, but try to keep it simple with the target audience always in mind.
Your may have many more questions about the process, as there are many in-and-outs that you could come across. Please feel free to ask me in the comments below, or you can contact me directly and I will help you.
If you are looking for more training in affiliate marketing or online business in general, as well as community for support and maybe even the tools to get your website up and running? I have the perfect recommendation!
Check it out and see what it’s like! It has made all the difference for my online business journey, and it may do just the same for you!
Good luck with your niche selection and I’m always here to bounce-off any ideas or questions.
Are you ready!? Yes! Then get pumped, get inspired and let’s create a remarkable business!
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Let’s Do This!
Explore potential niches, while considering internal and external factors.
Decide on the pathway of an authority or mini-niche.
Apply the considerations to narrow down your selection and determine feasibility of a niche.
Calculate your numbers for the 2-3 potential niches.
Make your choice and plan your website.
Ask me any questions you might have.
Have you used any other methods to select a niche for affiliate marketing? Let me know your thoughts below!