Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money on the Internet. You don’t need any great technical skills to make a start, and it’s a business you can scale over time. Initially you’ll be selling other peoples’ products, but eventually you can develop your own ebooks and training courses for even greater profits. One of the questions I get asked all the time about affiliate marketing is what are the best niches to work in. Before I can answer that I have to clarify what exactly I mean by a niche in Internet marketing.
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What Is A Niche?
A niche is a segment of a market you can identify and target. As a rule of thumb, there will be less competition if you choose a narrow niche. Chances are the best domain names are already taken for the most popular niches, and generating traffic will be harder. For example, competition is intense in the diet and fitness niche, and you’ll have to work really hard to rank well in search engines and attract volumes of traffic. However, there are thousands of narrower niches in these fields where you’ll be able to make good money as an affiliate marketer. Examples would include paleo diets, fitness for the over 60s and losing weight after pregnancy.
Another way to think about an affiliate marketing niche is as a group of people with a similar interest or problem. This is good way to think of niches for marketing, as you’ll be offering products to satisfy their passions or needs. There’s a balance between choosing an affiliate marketing niche you’ll be able to compete in and there being enough market size for you to generate good profits. If you choose a market with just a few thousand people, it could be very hard to make enough money to justify the work required to reach them.
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First Steps In Choosing An Affiliate Marketing Niche
Broadly speaking there are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing a niche for affiliate marketing. Some people argue that you should simply follow the money. By carrying out some research you can identify products with high commissions and good profit potential. At the end of the day we’re out to make money, so there is some logic to this. The other way to pick your affiliate marketing niche is to think about your own interests and passions, and this is the route I’ve followed to build my affiliate marketing business.
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Follow Your Passion
I’ve had a passion for photography and cameras since I was a kid, and this was an obvious area for me to build a business in. One of the core activities of affiliate marketing is creating and distributing content, and I can write about photography with a high level of expertise and enthusiasm. You may choose to outsource content creation, and you don’t have to know anything about your niche if you’re prepared to do this. You can also research subjects you aren’t familiar with, but this can be time- consuming and boring. Personally I like to be in control of things and work with subjects I find interesting.
An alternative to choosing a passion is to think about a problem you’ve had experience of. Examples of this would be back pain, dealing with divorce or losing your job. Thousands of people use search engines to look for help with problems like these every day, and there’s profit to be made if you can offer solutions.
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Follow The Profits
It’s all very well if you’re an expert on a rare breed of cats, but is there money to be made from your knowledge? A little time spent on Google is a good place to start researching the profit potential for an affiliate marketing niche. If there are ads appearing above and to the side of the search results, that’s a good sign there is some commercial value. If your search term brings up pictures of products and results from sites like Amazon, that’s another indication there’s money to be made.
Taking the financial analysis a stage further, think about the potential profits you can make from each affiliate sale. You’ll have to sell hundreds of low priced items to make a reasonable return, and it may be better to promote premium products where one sale could generate hundreds of dollars. For example, an ebook on cat breeding tips might generate five dollars in commission for each sale. An ebook detailing a profitable gambling system might sell for ten times more and net you much higher commissions.
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What Products Do You Want To Sell?
Another thing to consider when selecting your affiliate marketing niche is the types of products you want to sell. Digital downloads, such as ebooks, are perfect for selling online. Customers can access them immediately, and this can increase your sales conversion rates. The bigger profits usually come from up-sales and cross-sales, so give some thought to additional products you might offer to customers after their initial purchase. For example you might sell an ebook about how to play online poker to build your customer base. You could then target buyers with a more expensive course on how to win poker tournaments.
There are plenty of opportunities to sell physical products as an affiliate, and these are ideal in some niches. You can of course offer a mix of digital and physical products. My photography website generates profits from the sale of ebooks and downloadable courses, and I also sell photographic equipment through Amazon as an affiliate.
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Follow The Trends?
Another consideration for choosing an affiliate marketing niche is whether to go for something ‘hot’ now or a so called ‘evergreen’ market. Examples of hot niches would include those related to new technologies or current trends, such as green living and solar energy. Hot niches can be great for making fast profits, but interest and sales eventually tail off. If you choose an evergreen affiliate marketing niche, such as Chinese cookery, you should be able to build an online business over a period of years.
So What’s The Answer?
Affiliate marketing should be viewed as a long term business, so give careful thought to your affiliate marketing niche before you start developing a website and building a mailing list. The subject should be something you enjoy and have some interest in, or running the business could become a chore. Remember that the goal is to make money, so avoid any ‘vanity projects’ where there are little or no profits to be made.