Welcome to the second lesson in Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and to the first actionable step in your journey, Niche Selection
So What Dictates Which Niches You Should Enter?
The selection of your market is absolutely crucial to your success. You need to focus on niches that consumers will purchase products or services through on a one-off or recurring basis; it needs to be a profitable or buyers niche.
Ideally, we want low competition, high traffic niches where people are hungry to buy.
Competition, in marketing terms, means the number of other people who are targeting the same product or service online as you. Whilst competition in a market indicates that it is a viable niche, it also means that the length of time and effort that you will need to invest to see any profit will be dramatically increased.
Examples of highly competitive niches are:
- Internet Marketing
- Self Help
Examples of low competition niches:
- Specific Workout Routines (ie – Kettlebells)
- Fashion (targeting specific brands or styles)
- Health / Workout Supplements (specific brands, new products)
- Electronics (new models are continually being released)
We will examine competition a lot closer when we start researching our keywords so for now, every niche is on the table provided it fulfils some or all of the other criteria below.
The cost of the product or service you are promoting also needs to be taken into account. If you are promoting Scrapbooking items for example, there may be low competition in the niche but the average sale may also be incredibly small, resulting in a tiny commission for you. Whilst this can be overcome by having greater sales numbers, it also means driving larger traffic numbers to your site which can be difficult.
Having a product that is too highly priced can also be a problem. Whilst most people may be happy to spend a few hundred dollars online, most people will stall at spending thousands and will most likely want to speak to someone running the site (if the site is not an established brand) or will research through your site and then buy from a known and reputable site.
You need to find a sweet spot that doesn’t require thousands of visitors a day to turn a decent profit or doesn’t price itself out of sales due to expensive items items. I recommend somewhere in the $10 – $20 vicinity and above for profit per sale. The product or service cost to get you this profit margin will vary depending on the terms of your monetisation method.
Multiple Product Lines
Having only a single product to promote is not necessarily an bad issue but if your chosen niche lends itself to promoting a number of brands, models or styles then there is a greater opportunity to make bigger profits. Ideally, for your first few sites at least, you should target a niche where you either can monetise the one subject in multiple ways or you have multiple products to promote.
Whilst not being a killer of your niche idea, if a product is available everywhere to everyone locally then they are less likely to look for it online. I wouldn’t recommend going into the Shovel niche for instance as people are more likely to go to their local hardware store than jump online to grab one.
The Embarrassment Factor
The anonymity of the internet can be perfect for finding solutions to medical problems or purchasing items that many may feel uncomfortable buying in person. Think rashes in certain areas or sex toys. This can be seized upon to make very good profits as people are far more likely to purchase a solution to their problem when there is no risk of embarrassment.
This again is not a deal breaker and, many marketers actually avoid it altogether but I recommend with your niche selection process that you try to pick a niche you are personally interested in. It does need to be something that is in a buyers’ market and fulfil the other criteria listed here though.
The benefit of picking a niche you are interested in is that you bring some prior knowledge with you and, when things get difficult (and they will), if you have an interest in the topic it will make it easier to continue on.
Is There Demand?
If there is no demand, there is no market! It is much easier to provide for an existing demand than try to create one. Fortunately for us there are free tools which let us know if the demand exists.
I will use Google and their tools throughout this course as they currently receive serve about 80% of internet users worldwide. You should not discount the other major search engines (Bing and Yahoo) but Google results are what we want to base our decision making process on.
You will need a free Google AdWords account which you can sign up for here. Simply follow the prompts to create your account.
Once you have your account set up, you’ll need to sign in to AdWords:
- Go to the AdWords homepage at http://adwords.google.com.au.
- Enter your Google Account email address or Gmail username in the Email field.
- Enter your password in the Password field.
- Click Sign in.
Click on the Tools and Analysis menu item and select Keyword Planner.
We want to find some ideas so we will use the first option, Search for keyword and ad group ideas. Click on it and in the first box type in your chosen niche.
We next want to set the options in the targeting box to the United States, English, Google and we do not need to add any negative keywords. All other settings remain the same.
Location, in general, has no bearing on whether you should or shouldn’t promote something. In fact, quite a lot of the time I will target the United States due to their population, the number of internet users and, more importantly, the number of buyers. Any English speaking country (or any country you can effectively communicate in) is open to you to promote within. We will look more at this in another email.
After you have clicked Get Ideas you will be shown Ad Groups for your chosen keyword and related keywords. The Ad Group title is on the left, the different keywords relating to that Ad Group title are next, the Avg Monthly Searches column is the combined number of monthly searches for all of the keywords within that Ad Group for the Geographic location you set in the last screen (United States for example), the Competition column is paid advertising competition is irrelevant to us at this stage as is the Avg CPC.
You can hover your mouse above the question mark symbols next to the column titles to get more information about each of them as well.
The small icon in the Avg Monthly Searches column is a Google Trends excerpt which shows the average monthly searches for that Ad Group over the time period shown.
Note: This is just a very basic excerpt of the data that Google Trends can deliver. If you want to further look into trends over time, geographic trends, etc. then visit www.google.com.au/trends, log in with your new (or old) Google details and type your keyword into the search box to break down the stats even more.
To determine demand you simply need to look at the avg monthly searches. As a rough guide to get us going, if there are over 1000 searches for your keyword or a related ad group, then your niche may be a good one. Below this number I would recommend staying away, at least for the moment.
Another thing to check is the trends over time. Hover over the icon next to the ad group and see if the keyword has received searches over a period of time. If it is a ‘flash in the pan’ keyword, something like Psy and Gangnam Style for instance, it may be a niche you want to avoid for the moment. These niches can be capitalised on but are not suitable for our learning purposes.
There is very little point in entering a market that cannot be monetised. This can be easily identified by looking for things such as:
- Affiliate programs within the niche, or
- Products, either physical or informational, which can be sold.
To find if there is an affiliate program available for your niche:
- Visit http://odigger.com or http://www.offervault.com and type your niche into the search bar. If it returns results then you’re in luck.
- Type “niche” + “affiliate program” into Google (replacing niche with what your niche actually is) and look for companies that have an affiliate program
To find if there are physical or informational products available for your niche:
- Sign Up at https://clickbank.com for a free account and browse the niches in the marketplace (Check the video here for a guide on how to use ClickBank)
- Visit Amazon.com and search their listings for your chosen product/s
- Type “product name” + “affiliate program” into Google (replacing product name with what your product actually is) and look for companies that have an affiliate program
I am personally interested in Home Workouts so let’s apply the criteria above to see if this is a niche I should consider. I recommend starting in a wide niche like Home Workouts and working your way down to a more specific area.
We can also use the Keyword Planner to do our niche brainstorming for us as well as determining if there is a demand. Please keep in mind though that the Keyword Planner is not designed to give you ideas of niches to enter, it just so happens that you can find niches in there. Open up the Keyword Planner again and type in ‘home workouts’.
Order the ad groups by avg monthly searches in highest to lowest by clicking on that columns title.
At the time of writing this the ad group Workout is at the top with avg monthly searches of 743,980, obviously a niche with some demand. A quick check of the trends graph shows that the interest in this niche is constant over time.
Clicking on the ad group title Workout, we are shown a list of all of the keywords within that ad group. Order it again from highest to lowest avg monthly searches by clicking on that columns title. The top result is insanity workout with 550,000 searches and kettlebell workouts with 33,100. I will disregard the first result because it is a single product and for the purposes of this course I recommend multiple product niches. I check the trends for kettlebell workouts and see that there is interest over time.
Our last step to check if this is a possible niche to pursue is if it can be monetised. With kettlebells being a physical product, I can head over to Amazon and see if they sell them which they of course do.
The niche is also about kettlebell workouts so I head to Google and type in kettlebell workouts + affiliate program. The first result is for Mahler’s aggressive strength which, when clicked on shows that they have an affiliate program. The page lists the kettlebell workout DVDs and eBooks you can promote and shows you can make between $8 and $20 per sale.
With this simple research done we have found that there is a demand, there is a decent financial return and the niche can be monetised in a couple of different ways. This is certainly one that we will write down for the next step in the journey, Keyword Research.
It’s now time to find your niches. To get inspiration you can look anywhere; magazines, personal hobbies, TV advertisements or just walking down the street. In fact, once you get started thinking about potential niches, you will see them popping up everywhere you go.
Another way to find ideas is simply to open Google and type in ‘niche’ or maybe ‘top ten niche’, replacing ‘niche’ with your own one. Search the listings to find something you are interested in and then go through the process of entering it into Google’s Keyword Planner to see if it’s a niche to consider.
I recommend using the above methods primarily for your niche inspiration and not rely solely on the Keyword Planner.
Follow the simple steps above and write down as many niches you can find that fall within the criteria. I recommend having at least ten before we kick off the next step which will be Keyword Research.
Good luck in your searching and I’ll be in touch in a few days with the next installment.