You’re decided, after watching countless YouTube videos and reading 100’s of blog posts, that you’re going to start an affiliate marketing business.
But where do you start?
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly where you should start with affiliate marketing. In addition, I’m going to give you a few tips to make your life a little easier.
Start with the niche. The niche is the most important aspect of affiliate marketing for several reasons. Before I continue, below is my eight-step process to affiliate marketing:
- Niche selection
- Platform selection
- Keyword research
- Create content
- Find affiliate programs
- Learn/ apply email marketing
- Analyze the analytics
- Repeat steps 3 – 7 until you’re successful
As you can see, step one is niche selection. Picking a niche is the most important step for a few reasons. First, it will help to determine which platform you use. Second, the niche will help you decide how much work will be required for success.
Picking a niche will help clear up a few more things including:
- How much do I know about the market?
- How much content will need to be created?
- Are there affiliate programs that are of high quality?
- Will this be worth it?
- Are people looking to have this problem solved?
- What will success look like in this niche?
Picking a niche can be a daunting process, but I feel like it should be addressed head-on so that we can move faster on the other steps of affiliate marketing.
In the next few sections, I’m going to spend some time discussing what is and isn’t a niche, a few ways to pick a niche, and other tips I’ve picked up along the way. Also, I’m going to answer some of the questions/ statements from above.
What Is A Niche?
So, what is a niche? A niche is almost any area, topic, or idea that can be bought or sold. While this is a vague answer, literally everything is a niche. So, now the definition is out of the way, let’s clear a few things up about the word “niche.”
While everything CAN be a niche, not everything should be a niche. For example, an iPhone 11 is a niche but not a good one unless you’re planning on creating all of your content on iPhones. While possible, creating a ton of content will be unless in 3 or 4 years isn’t a good idea.
A better niche is Smartphones, Apple products, or iPhones. While I think you should create a ton of content about the iPhone 11, you don’t want to paint yourself into a corner by being the ‘iPhone 11 guy’ when they release a new model every year.
Picking a niche is a weird thing to start. You don’t want to be known as ‘The iPhone guy,’ but you also don’t want to know as ‘The technology guy.’ So it would be best if you had a focus, called niching down, in the beginning. Then, once you can get credibility or domain authority, you can niche up and create content for a broader audience.
What Is Niching Down?
Niching down is the art of finding a level that allows you to create content that will appear in search engines. I believe that niching down is a critical step that most new content creators overlook or aren’t even aware of.
It is understandable that when someone starts affiliate marketing, they need to create content on the most searched content. The problem with this theory is 1. Many. Many, many people have already tried it, and 2. The major players are dominating that level with free and paid traffic.
For example, if you search “weight loss,” You will see paid ads for NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, and free blog posts by Health line, Webmd, and the Mayo Clinic. These are major players with very high domain authority. Therefore, you will have less than a zero chance of ranking for this keyword.
Some niches will allow you to niche down 4 or 5 levels. Here is an example of weight loss 5 levels deep:
- Weight loss
- How to lose weight?
- How to lose 10 pounds?
- How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days?
- How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days by drinking water?
- How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days?
- How to lose 10 pounds?
- How to lose weight?
Right now, you should be asking, “how do I know if I’ve niched down far enough?” That is a great question, and the answer is 2 fold. 1. If the autosuggestion/ autofill doesn’t have any results, you’ve probably gone too far.
Most search engines will try and guess what you are searching for. This is called autosuggestion/ autofill. Below is an example of autosuggestion/ autofill in action.
2. If you’re searching for “how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days by drinking Avion water,” it may be too far. Changing the search phrase to “Avion” may eliminate too many people, or you may have to compete with the brand itself, which you will never win.
Side note: ranking means appearing on the first page of the search results. Statistics show that the top 3 search results receive most of the page views, and hardly anyone ever navigates to the second page.
If you’re starting, your game plan should dominate a niched-down keyword (called long-tail keywords) then move up to the next level. Doing this will allow you to build domain authority and start getting organic traffic to your content.
If we’re using the above example, I would consider creating 30 or more pieces of content with the key phrase “how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days.” Below is an example of a spreadsheet I’d create for content considerations:
- How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days…
- … by drinking water
- … with exercise
- …without exercise
While this begins to bleed into keyword research, it’s important to understand how big the niche is before moving on to the next step. So, in the next section, I’m going to spend some time discussing the biggest niches.
What Are The Biggest Niches?
Most people believe there are 3 big niches: health, wealth, and relationships. I believe there are actually four” health, wealth, relationships, and technology. Technology is underestimated because most people don’t understand how massive the niche is and its impact on our daily lives.
Question: do you know all of the technology for you to read this sentence? This sentence requires the following:
- Computer hardware
- Hard drives
- And more
- Computer software
- Word processor
- Search engine
- Internet connection
- IP addresses
- Web hosting
Because most people underestimate this niche because they don’t understand everything that goes into these simple words, if you know even a little about technology, this niche can be a great opportunity for you.
Now that we know the biggest niches, does (niche) size matter?
Does The Niche Size Matter?
Niche size matters for two reasons: the amount of competition and the amount of money that goes in and comes out. The largest niches will have the greatest amount of money changing hands daily, but because of the amount of money, it’s also going to be the most competitive.
The level of competition is important when it comes to content creation and regulation. Health, for example, is heavily regulated by Google, meaning it’s challenging to gain domain authority without some time off outside credibility.
When it comes to content creation, you will need to create much more content in the wealth niche than something less competitive like underwater basket weaving. You will need to niche down 5 or 6 levels for the wealth niche, spend some time fighting up, and fight to hold your current spot.
Here is an example of niching down for the wealth niche:
Again, you may be asking yourself. “Is this worth it?” Put, yes, making content on “how to promote amazon associates on youtube” is worth it for a few reasons. First, if .001% of the internet population (4 billion) is searching for this answer, that is about 40,000 people looking for answers.
If 10% of that 40,000 purchase a course for $500 per person, that is 2 million dollars. Not to mention you’ll be building your domain authority and creating content with similar keywords.
Again, any niche can work. However, you need to spend the time to make it work. If you’re truly interested in making life-changing money, you must be willing to create 500 pieces of content before you see success.
In the next section, I’m going to help you pick a niche.
How To Pick A Niche
There is a belief that you should choose a niche that you’re passionate about. While this wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, I think you only need to be interested enough that you’re willing to create content consistently for 5 or more years.
Being passionate about a subject is a double-edged sword. Passion can get you to create a ton of content, but it can also make you overly sensitive to feedback and like a “know it all.” In comparison, you want to be considered an authority figure. As a result, you run the risk of alienating your customers.
Customers that feel uneasy in any way will not buy a product or service regardless of how much of an expert you are.
Side note: if you’ve paid attention to marketing, you will notice most marketers are trying to be “just like you.” They were recently in the same position, and this one solution (which they happen to have next to them) was the only way they could escape the problems they face.
This is marketing at its best (or worst).
Again, any niche can work, you just have to “work the niche.”
Niche Selection Tips
Here are a few tips that can help you find niches quickly:
- Recent purchases
- Wish list
- People watch
- Google trends
- Social media
Let’s take a quick look at each of these bullet points more in-depth.
Go to your favorite online retailer and look at the last 20 purchases and ask yourself these questions:
- Why did I buy this?
- How did this make my life better or worse?
- What pain did this solve?
- Did it work?
- Will I buy it again?
- How often will I rebuy this product?
Usually, we buy things because it relieves pain or it causes pleasure. Look at your recent purchases and decide which niches are associated with the products. This works great because you may have done keyword research without knowing it, and you can speak from a position of authority because you solved a problem.
Everyone has things they would buy if they had unlimited resources. What are those things, and which niche do they belong to? Like the recent purchases, do they relieve pain or provide pleasure? What is it about this product or service that makes it a wish list item?
If you’re like me, you’ve spent a ton of time reading and watching about a wish list item. My current wish list item was the 2020 Corvette. This is the first Corvette with the mid-engine and looks like an exotic.
You can use this item to create content for people that are interested in similar topics!
While this sounds strange, watching what people are doing, saying, and wearing can be another great opportunity to find a niche. For example, go to your local gym, what type of clothes are they wearing, what type of headphones are they wearing?
If you’re at a restaurant, what are people eating, what is the table next to you talking about? For the most part, consumers only talk about things that are “in.” So if they are talking about stock trends, write it down and look up the wealth -> stock niche.
Google trends have a ton of information to help you decide on a niche. Google trends can tell you what’s trending within the last hour, year, 5 years. Also, they can break out what’s trending by platform (web search, YouTube), niches and sub-niches, and country/ state.
In addition, Google Trends can tell you which direction a niche is headed. For example, table tennis spikes around the Olympics. Then, after the Olympics, it drops and stays low until the next competition.
Another example is video games, There is a lot of buzz around convention time (E3, Comic-Con), and right around a product release, interest plummets.
Write down a few of the things that are trending and move on to the next section.
What’s trending on social media? Usually, trending things can be tied to a niche, and that niche is making money. However, there are a few ways to find niches on social media. See your options below:
- What are your friends talking about?
- Which posts have generated the most responses?
- Are there common themes that keep popping up on your feed?
- Head over to what’s trending, work backward to find the niche
- Spend a few minutes scrolling through your feed to see a common theme
- Autosuggestion with hashtags
- Scroll and find common posts
- Try autosuggestion with hashtags
- Discover page
- Log out of Reddit (or incognito mode) and see what shows up on the main page.
- Look for “what’s trending” subreddits.
How Long Should It Take To Find A Niche?
The final question you should be asking is, “with all of these ways to find niches, how long should my research take?” DO NOT spend more than two days on this step. The longer you spend on this step, the more you’ll overthink it and not do anything.
For every moment you’re not creating content is a moment lost. So you need to get your content in the world and not waste time on this small but important step.
Besides, if this isn’t the right niche for you, you will know by the time you’ve created your fifth piece of content.
To conclude, start with the niche. If the item can be purchased, it is a niche. So, learn to niche down if you’re starting. But, understand that niching down too far will create a lack of customers.
The biggest and most competitive niches are health, wealth, relationships, and technology. You can find success in these niches, but it will require more time, energy, effort, or money.
If you can’t think of a niche, look at recent purchases, eavesdrop on people, check out social media or Google trends.
Finally, don’t spend more than two days looking for a niche. There is no perfect niche, and don’t overthink this.