Wondering how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing?
If yes, then you’ve probably decided to embark on the affiliate marketing journey so you can sit on your couch as your bank account automatically swells.
A ton of people dream of the too-good-to-be-true life of making ginormous amounts of cash without lifting a finger.
But here’s the truth about affiliate marketing most people miss:
It requires a huge amount of work and patience before it actually starts paying off.
Plus, there are rules to follow to ensure you don’t end up a failure. (Did you know that only 10% of affiliate marketers are making 90% of the affiliate marketing profits?)
Don’t worry, though.
If you have the guts to stick with it and learn everything you can, you’ll thank your past self 5-10 years down the road, as you take mini-vacations anytime you want without worrying about a glowering boss.
I’m here to help you reach that goal.
So if you’re at the very beginning, dreaming your big dreams without a clue on how to reach them…
…the very first step is to learn how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Niche? (And Why It’s Important)
First things first.
Before selecting your niche from the hundreds out there, you need to know exactly what it is and why it’s important.
So, what is a niche anyway?
Simply put, it’s a specialized segment of a certain market.
For instance, let’s talk about the fitness and health market.
Within this market, you can find several niches such as:
- Weight loss
- Bodyweight training
- Clean eating
- Metabolic confusion
All of these are completely different from one another, yet all of them stem from the fitness and health industry.
So, why is it important to pick a niche?
Won’t you earn more if you stay in the bigger market, as you’ll be able to promote a much wider variety of products?
Well, technically yes.
But in any kind of business, spreading yourself too thin won’t work out. You’ll craft messages meant to be for everyone, and they’ll end up appealing to no one.
Think of it like looking for an expert to teach you diving.
Do you go to:
- A person who knows a little about diving, biking, horsebackriding, and all kinds of sports?
- A professional diver who’s competed in the Olympics and has dedicated his life to diving?
Of course, you’ll go for the second option.
The same is true of your audience.
Show them you’re an authority in your niche, and they’ll flock to you and ignore the people selling hundreds of different messages at once.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing: The Only 5 Steps You’ll Ever Need
Now the exciting part begins.
It’s time to choose your niche.
If you’re nervous, don’t be.
This part is mostly about you, your passions, and the name you want to build yourself. (A.k.a. It’s fun.)
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #1: Use Yourself as Inspiration
As I mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is tough.
It’ll take months or even years before you start seeing a profit. You’ll need to set aside time to produce consistent content, or money to hire someone to create it for you. You’ll need endless patience.
That’s why if you pick a niche you hate, it simply won’t work for you.
Also, if you choose a niche you don’t know much about, your audience will sense it and bail. (Trust me, they’ll smell your inexperience from a mile away.)
So, how do you use yourself as inspiration when choosing a niche?
There are two ways.
First, you can select something you’re interested in. This can be your specialty (your job, maybe, or the type of business you run), or your favorite hobby (travel, gardening).
This idea is great, as the chances of you getting bored and bailing on your affiliate marketing project will be slim.
For instance, take Nomadic Matt.
Matt is an affiliate marketer, promoting anything from bookings to travel insurance on his website.
But he isn’t sitting in his living room, typing “top 10 places to visit in Europe,” spinning the article, and stacking it mile-high with his affiliate links.
He’s out there traveling the world and writing about his experiences.
To me, that’s what makes affiliate marketing really worthwhile. When you can do what you love, share your experiences with the world, and make money at the same time, you’re 100% living the dream.
The second way you can use yourself as inspiration when picking your niche is to think of a problem you solved in the past (or are in the middle of solving right now).
This can be chronic headaches, the side effects of diabetes, going through a divorce, and so on.
For instance, if you struggled with starting your own blog and finally figured out a way to do it, you can pick a niche in the blogging industry.
Then, you can promote products that’ll help your readers perfect their own blogs.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #2: Balance Between Passion and Profit
“Cool,” you’ll say after reading step #1 on this blog. “My affiliate marketing website should be about me and what I love. I’ll go ahead and write about dying cats blue.”
If this is you, hold on a minute.
First of all, it’s probably illegal to dye cats nowadays.
Second, your neighbor the cat lady will likely sneak into your house when you’re asleep and slip arsenic into your milk jug.
But most importantly, no one cares about dyeing cats blue.
Which means, your blog and your affiliate marketing project will fall flat on its face.
“What?” you’ll say. “You told me to create content based on my passions!”
My answer: if your passion is dying cats blue, you should get another one.
On a more serious note, business is all about balance.
And affiliate marketing is no different.
You’ll have to balance your passion with how much profit you can make from it.
So before you jump on any niche, make sure to check it for profitability and monetization opportunities first.
To start, do a quick Google search.
Let’s go with your idea, “how to dye cats blue.”
Here are the results:
As you can see, there actually are ads on pet dye, which means this niche has some commercial value.
Oops! You were right after all.
So if dying your cat isn’t illegal where you’re from, and you have locks strong enough to prevent the cat lady from coming in…I’d say go for it.
But there’s another, more strategic way to make sure your niche is profitable.
This is through using a keyword research tool such as KWFinder. (You can get access to this amazing tool for only $29.90/month.)
Simply type your seed keyword into the search field. In this case, it’s “pet dye.”
What you’re aiming for is a KD (keyword difficulty) score of below 40, and a search volume of more than 10,000.
If “pet dye” matches the successful keyword criteria, you’re good to go!
To learn more about KWFinder, read our in-depth review here or watch our quick overview of what you can do below!
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #3: Determine the Types of Products You’ll Sell
Of course, affiliate marketing isn’t just blogging for the fun of it.
In the end, you’ll need to make sales with real products.
So before you choose a niche, you’ll need to determine which products you’ll promote and what kind of system you’ll use for upsells.
One strategy you can use (which I’ve used for a couple of my sites) is to promote a combination of low-cost and premium products.
For instance, if you decide to go for a photography site, you can promote photography courses as your low-cost product, then go for camera equipment as your premium product.
Here’s an example of how that works from SmartBlogger.
In the screenshot below, they’re promoting Astra Pro, which retails for $47/month.
In this next screenshot, they’re promoting a $997 course, Grow Your Audience.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is if you’re going for hot trends or the evergreen market.
On the one hand, hot trends like carb cycling give you the chance to earn a ton of money fast. However, people may lose interest in it once the next fancy diet comes around.
On the other hand, staying in the evergreen market may mean your profits will come in slower, but be more consistent over time. For instance, clean eating is a niche that’s been around for some time and will likely continue to be popular throughout the years.
The key is to sit down and give yourself time to think deeply on your strategy. Ask yourself how long you plan to be in affiliate marketing and what kind of outlook feels good to you.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #4: Choose Your USP
There’s no doubt about it.
The web is overcrowded.
Scary fact: 70 million new blogs appear on WordPress alone per day. Plus there’s social media. There’s email. There are millions of sparkling new podcasts.
Which means, there’s a huge chance you’ll be ignored online.
That’s exactly why you need a USP (unique selling point).
A USP is the key to standing out in a sea of noise. It’s that special factor that makes your blog different from all the others out there.
Before finalizing your selection of a niche, make sure you know your USP.
For instance, if you’re going into the finance niche, you can be like Ramit Sethi and call your brand “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.”
Then shock your audience by telling them they can buy all the lattes they want.
The key here is to find a unique angle to approach your subject with. Be daring. Be unique. Be 100% yourself.
If you find the secret to standing out and capturing your audience’s heart (and attention), you’ll be on the fast track to affiliate marketing success.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #5: Use Market Deficiencies to Your Own Advantage
This is related to the previous point, and involves finding ways to stand out from competitors in your niche.
(Remember, if you feel you can’t stand out in a certain niche, it might be better to move on and pick another one.)
The trick here is to spy on your competition.
Visit their websites and ask yourself:
- What is their USP?
- What’s special about them that I can’t find anywhere else?
- What’s lacking?
- Are there any gaps that my site can fill?
- Do they have any images and videos?
- Do they optimize their posts for SEO?
Doing these may sound too advanced for someone just picking a niche.
But it’s important.
In the end, you don’t want to spend a ton of work in a niche that you simply can’t stand out in.
So plan carefully, equip yourself with a detective’s pocket notebook, and go do some spying!
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing: What It Boils Down To
In the end, there really is no right and wrong when it comes to how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
Sure, there are rules and guidelines that’ll make it easier and help you make a better choice.
But what it boils down to is what interests you. What do you love doing? What could you do for many years without getting tired?
Then, are there other people who love the same things you do? Are there digital or physical products you can promote related to your niche?
Give yourself some time and space, answer these questions, and you’ll be closer to your affiliate marketing goals than ever.
All screenshots taken by the author, September 2021.