The first all-important step in affiliate marketing is choosing a niche.
In the beginning, you might want to concentrate on having a single niche, so that you can devote time to building an online and social media following and gain some expertise in marketing to one area. But there is no reason to be limited in your thinking, you can certainly build out businesses in multiple niches.
It’s often productive to do so in related niches so that you can cross-sell to different audiences or upsell to the same audience. For example, if you were building a business based on a product that taught people how to trade on the stock market, you could also sell them products based on making money trading Forex, options, or Cryptocurrency.
Market Size And Trends
The first things to do when choosing a niche are to learn about it. You need to know the market size and trends in interest in the topic. If a particular diet was really popular three years ago but people are moving on, then marketing that diet probably isn’t the most productive approach to your business.
Market size is something that doesn’t really have a right answer. There are several factors that need to be taken into account. For example, a large market size means more customers. But it also means more competition selling. One example of this is the ketogenic diet. There are lots of ketogenic diet plans you can sell as an affiliate that is on the market. However, there are also lots of other affiliates out there selling the same products. So, it might be hard to stand out against the competition.
Another factor is what are the pricing points for products aimed at a given niche. When you are marketing to large audiences, the pricing points might be lower. That can be bad, or good. You might only earn $5 a sale, but you might be able to generate large amounts of traffic so that those $5 sales add up to big money. On the other hand, you might do better in a smaller niche where you can charge $400 a sale. Then you don’t need many sales to start making a full-time living from your business.
Let’s see the kind of information that you can get from Google trends. I am going to use it to study some trends in popular diets. So, the first thing I’m going to do is enter the phrase “ketogenic diet”.
Now, this is interesting! Everyone has been talking about the ketogenic diet lately, but online searches for the term are on a definite, downward trajectory over the past year. Sometimes people refer to it with the slang term “keto”, so let’s compare that:
When you do that, you get an entirely different picture. This gives us some insight – when you are thinking about niches you need to consider all the different ways that people will be looking for information about it.
You should also keep a record of your results. Later, we are going to be using keywords to drive traffic to our business. So, you should start keeping a list of promising keywords, either in a spreadsheet or even in a notebook. In this case, we’ve found that the phrases “keto” and “keto diet” are important.
The main thing to notice is that while the ketogenic diet was rapidly declining, keto and keto diet look steady, if not increasing a little. So, interest in the diet hasn’t waned, rather the jargon people are using to refer to it has changed. That’s another thing to keep in mind as you market over the years, something that worked two years ago (“ketogenic diet”) might not work now. You always need to be prepared to make adjustments!
When you are researching a niche, you are going to want to compare different angles. In this case, we are looking at diets. So, we’re going to want to see what diets are the most popular. For our example, we can check multiple diets, but just to illustrate we’ll add “Mediterranean diet” and “Vegan diet”.
Keto and keto diet simply blow away the other choices. In January most people are thinking about taking up a new diet:
Those are pretty stunning results. What that tells you is for every person that searched for a vegan diet, 26 people searched for keto diet and 100 for “keto”. Only three searched for the Mediterranean diet. Put another way, 100 times as many people are looking into keto compared with the vegan diet.
Of course, we’d have to dive in more deeply to see if that was really true, like with “ketogenic diet”, phrases like “Mediterranean diet” or “vegan diet” might not be the most ideal phrases – but what we’ve found out so far is pretty noteworthy.
There are many other keyword tools that are frankly a bit better, but Google Keyword Planner can give you the information you need. Google Trends only gives us relative volume, it doesn’t actually tell us how many people are searching on different topics.
We can check the keto diet, for example, and it will give us results like this:
Notice that these tools not only tell us the search volume on specific keywords, they also pull up related keywords. This helps us accurately determine how large the audience size is in order to determine whether or not it’s a niche worth pursuing.
Note Your Keywords
We have to remind you again to keep track of all the keywords – and not just for advertising purposes. A large part of your online strategy will be keeping a blog or website of some kind, and the articles you post on the site need to target specific keywords. Using the example above – “ketogenic diet food list” is an excellent keyword to target in an article or blog post.
Trying this out with Google Keyword Planner, we enter:
Unlike the other site, it only gives average monthly searches. Personally, we don’t find that as useful, which is why we opt for third-party tools. But when you are just getting started Google Keyword planner can be very helpful. It suggests a large number of related keywords – in this case, 918 – and you can download them into a spreadsheet. That would be useful for starting a business based on this niche because we could then use those keywords to create dozens of articles to drive traffic.
Another thing to note is the bid range. Keyword Planner is really there for people that advertise on Google and so they want to know the bidding prices to get on the top of the page. You can compare bidding prices for each niche you are interested in so that you can determine how competitive the niche is.
What you want to avoid is a niche that is small, and nobody is interested in marketing to. You should sell things that are already selling.
You are going to find that some ideas have a very small niche size. One example is horse training. Relative to a niche like a keto diet, it’s going to be very small. However, products for horse training might sell for $2,000, while products teaching people about the ketogenic diet might only sell for $35. Also, it might turn out that the ketogenic diet is a fad and doesn’t last for five years, horse training is more evergreen, even though it’s a narrow and small niche.
It’s possible to get success either way, but it’s going to be easier to attract attention when going for the smaller niche because there is less competition. While there are possibly hundreds of people searching for “keto diet” for every person that searches for “horse training”, it’s probably also the case that there are hundreds of websites promoting “keto diet” as compared to the number of horse training websites. That means if you started a horse training blog, you could probably rank for keywords faster and find it easier to generate free traffic.
But that should not dissuade you – the first and foremost consideration is your passion and interest – as long as you can find products that sell (and we guarantee there are training programs and books for the ketogenic diet that sell). If you are committed to a niche and can find a good affiliate program for it, then you can get success by taking the right steps even though there may be more competition. But these different factors can all weigh in on your decisions.
How you market is going to depend in part on the demographics. This will not only help you target your advertising, but you are also going to need to know who your ideal customer is. Of course, there are always variations, but just a guess, who is the average person who is interested in the keto diet?
One of your best friends in this regard is the Facebook ads manager. Even if you are not going to run Facebook ads, you should utilize the audience insights tool in order to get some idea of who the ideal customer is for a given niche.
To use one example, we searched on “keto diet app” as an interest on Facebook. Here are the results we got:
The first thing is the stunning gender differences. The audience is made up of 93% of women. Most are married and in the age range of 35-44. If we add in the more general “weight loss” the gender weighting adjusts to 80% female and 20% male. So, the first item we searched on maybe a little bit misleading, but the point here is we want to show you the type of information that you can get from using this tool. So, if you know ahead of time that most people searching for the keto diet are married women aged 35-44, aren’t you going to use that information to tailor your marketing and design your website?
Financial products are great to use for affiliate marketing, and one of the most popular niches in the financial area is Forex. If you don’t know what that is, it’s “foreign exchange”, and it’s a market where people trade currencies. So, it’s like the Euro versus the dollar and so forth.
Looking up some Forex related terms on Facebook Audience insights, we find that the makeup of the audience is extremely different from the one that we found for the Keto diet:
This time, the audience is 90% male. Not only that but it’s equally divided between married and singles.
The makeup of the audience and the ideal customer isn’t just important for marketing your primary niche. You should think about other things that you can sell people. Knowing that most people searching for Keto diet are women, you might want to try getting them to sign them up on an email marketing list, which you can use to sell products. And you would then sell products specifically targeted at women since you know 9/10 of your prospects are going to be female.
This can have all kinds of implications, such as the colors you use on any websites you create, and what kinds of images you display. For instance, you are going to want to show before and after pictures of women on the keto diet more than you are going to want to show images of men developing muscular bodies after weight loss.
Of course, there are many men following diets, but you would have to find the specific keywords that would lead you to target men interested in the keto diet.
So far, here is what you need to do:
- Write down three subject areas you are interested in.
- Do research to estimate the size of the markets.
- Find important keywords and search volumes.
- Use Facebook audience insights to get a picture of your ideal customer.