For most of you that just started on affiliate marketing, you probably have heard this word a lot.
As quoted by Collin Dictionary,
A niche in the market is a specific area of marketing which has its own particular requirements, customers, and products.
It is a sub-category of a specific market that contains related product and customers.
You can definitely target everything in the industry if you are a seasonal online marketer.
But for beginners, you need a stepping ground to get you started. A niche market benefits suit you for the fact that it is more targeted and focus which will accelerate your success and achieve some small wins.
Eventually, widening your target niche to other sub-categories in the same industry will be easy since you have established yourselves in the previous niche.
Identifying or finding your niche is the first step. It is not hard at all but you need to do it correctly before you pour in months of effort on producing content on it.
Here are my 4 steps to guide you through the niche selection process.
Step 1: Identify Your Passion and Pain
Majority of the marketers will find their first niche market through passion. Some will look for the pain and try to come out with solutions from it.
Just remember one thing that there is no good or bad niche! Every niche has it’s own potential to grow and perform if you do the right thing.
Now, get your pen and paper ready, or use the text2mindmap apps and start writing the following.
- Identify 2 separate industry that you are passionate or hate about. Example, Sports, Gadgets, Daily Commute and 9-5 Jobs.
- Expand it further to at least 2-3 stages in depth. The deeper you go, you will discover more options.
As you can see from my mind map above, I have expanded 4 different industry into 8 different sub-categories (in red).
If I am taking “Speakers” as my niche, I will start off by targeting one niche’s sub-category first which is the “Headphone and Earphone” category.
I will make sure that I cover every single bit of that category before I move on to the “Bluetooth Speakers” and “Home Speaker Systems”.
Drawing it on a mind map let you visualize and plan on what’s the goal and vision of your website.
Step 2: Market Evaluation
In this step, we will be evaluating the market of interest that you have identified from the first step.
Market evaluation is important while finding a niche market. If you are targeting a market, you need to make sure that there is enough audience to justified your time and investment on publishing great articles.
A standard market evaluation is where you get to the ground and get feedback from random people on the idea that you have. We are not doing this!
Introducing Google Trend!
Google Trend is a tool that was developed since 2004 to shows the tread of the keyword that was searched in Google.
Google uses the month keyword search volume to formulate the trend of that particular keyword.
The higher the search meaning that the popular the trend is in the current time.
Here is the trend from 2004 to present for the keyword “Speaker” since we are looking into the speaker niche.
The 0-100 scale doesn’t represent the search volume. It is a metrics which indicates how much search volume on that particular keyword.
The huge spike in the trend falls on every December of the year where speakers are very popular among Christmas gifts.
On the current tread, the “Speaker” niche is growing at a steady rate starting from 2012.
This is definitely a good sign for us to produce great content to cover this niche.
Did a couple of cross-checks on the trend of the sub-niche indicates that the trend is indeed rising and is hitting an all-time high in the recent years.
Google Trend only tells you the trend of the keyword search throughout the period but did not indicate that is the volume of it.
It might be 100,000, 1000, or even 10 per month. In this case, you will need to a simple verification of the search volume making sure that it has a decent traffic.
Traditionally, Google Keyword Planner Tool will be the most accurate ones, but you can only use it when creating your first advertising campaign with them.
I used Ubersuggest!
For a short keyword like “speaker”, it can be easily more than ten of thousands of searches every month.
There is no golden rule on the search volume. But in general, I am expecting at least 30k searches a month on the category keyword that I’m researching.
Cost per click (CPC) should not be used as one of the indicators on the popularity of the niche.
It indicates how much an advertiser willing to spend for a single click on their advertising banner. There are a lot of factors which will influence the value of the CPC.
The higher the price might be due to a few reasons:
- Fierce competition between brands.
- High searches or demands for products or services. (This is the reason that we are interested)
- The lucrative profit margin for every product sold.
One example is the CPC for the keyword “speaker” is $1 but for “water ionizer” is about $10.
Majority of the speakers are within $100-$500 range while the price water ionizer is at the range of $2000-$5000.
There are higher in terms of profit margin hence the advertiser are willing to spend big bucks on every click.
Step 3: Profitability and Affiliate Programs
I guess this is the part where everyone has the most interest, PROFITABILITY! 🙂
Well, it is usual that we all look for highly profitable niches.
You might even see some experience marketers advising people to choose a profitable niche, not based on your interest!
That’s TRUE if you have the ability to hire people to developed and write content for your website.
As a beginner, you will need bootstrap and write all the content on your own. If you have little or no interest in that topic, you won’t find a solution to solve people’s problem.
How Profitable Is My Niche
If you are selling physical products, you will probably be looking at becoming an affiliate on of the largest online e-commerce store, Amazon.
Here is the commission structure for the Amazon Affiliate Program:
For the speaker niche, only “Headphone” are available in the list which is 6% commission. It is likely that other speaker products will fall under the 4% commision on “All other categories”.
You can find the category information of a product in the Product Information section of every listing in Amazon.
6% is considered a decent amount of affiliate commisions in Amazon and other big e-commerce stores.
Don’t forget that you will receive a commission for other products that were purchase even though you are not promoting it.
Finding Affiliate Programs
Generally, affiliates from individual brands offer higher commission than Amazon. This is due to there is additional fees incurred in selling on their own website compared to Amazon.
As we shouldn’t be placing all the eggs in one basket, we should diversify our monetary strategy to other affiliate programs.
To search for other affiliate programs, just simply type in “<Niche> + affiliate program” in Google Search.
You can easily find a lot of the affiliate programs in the speaker category which offer a better deal compared to Amazon. This includes
- Better commission rates. (15% compared to 4% in Amazon)
- Longer cookie period. (Amazon cookie will expire in 24 hours.)
- Affiliate perks and discount rates on products.
- Negotiable commision rates if you are a highly perform affiliate marketers.
Using this method, you can identify great opportunity of earning huge commission on your niche.
Step 4: Identify Niche-based Competitors
Competitors, which is the competing website on the keywords that you wanted to outrank.
This step enables us to visualize how easy or hard to set up a fresh website and compete with aged websites where are in the niche.
Here are the two items that I looked at when performing brief competitor analysis.
- Website authority based on domain and page authority.
- Content gaps which can be filled.
This metric is used to gauge how strong the website and the page of your competitor.
I use Moz Tool Bar, a free tool to look at the domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) for the website.
The higher those metrics are, the stronger the site is.
I will find any product in the niche and add “review” behind to do a brief competitor analysis.
Generally, it is a good sign if you see pages that are having less than 50 PA and DA on the first page. This shows that you have potential to outrank them by producing greater contents.
Don’t be afraid or freak out when you see very high DA pages such as Amazon, Youtube or Quora.
Those sites are not content rich and it is a positive signal that Google did not find any high-quality pages to rank on that keyword. The rank because of their domain authority not because of their content.
Content gaps are the best indication that you can rank a page in Google and other search engines.
You have the advantage to produce comprehensive content on a certain product which you will be reviewing.
While most marketers prefer written content on their reviews, you can create a video content to outrank them. Studies show that video content increases conversion rate by 80%
Infographic has become a popular way for affiliate marketers to produce highly shareable content instead of written content.
These are just a few examples and technique that you can fill the content gaps in the niche that you are going into.
Niche Market Resources
Congrats on making this far. You have mastered the 4 crucial steps on how to find a niche market.
To help you up on building your mind map, here are some resources which you can expand the niche further to a deeper level.
Amazon and eBay Categories – Physical Products
You will see all the different categories listed on the left side of the page. These are the potential sub-niche that you can further explore.
Anyone of those might be the starting point of your website and eventually expand to a larger and more authoritative site.
Clickbank – Digital Products
If you are planning to promote digital products, you should not miss out on Clickbank. It is the heaven of digital products.
It is an affiliate network for digital products which you can find products that are related to your niche.
Similarly to Amazon and eBay, you can further expand the left panel category in Clickbank to view on the sub-category.
CAUTIOUS: Digital products are generally low entry barriers. There are a lot of crappy products which you need to aware of.
Spy On Competitor
Your competitors are always the best source of sub-niches that you can find.
Look for the category page of your competitors and you will have a good idea on how to categorize and create your mind map.
One example of the speaker category that I spy on my competitors. All these categories can be included in the mind map and eventually I can create a better content on each category after I analyze those pages.
There are many ways of researching a niche market and determine whether it is profitable to pursue.
You should make sure that it is not highly competitive and profitable before you start to invest your time and money on it.
Aim for the small wins by laser focus into small niches which are not that competitive.
When you finally got your first pay sales, this will be a great motivation for you to build a bigger and greater website.
Once you decided on your niche, you can build your own website and create content for it. Check out our guide on how to create a website for affiliate marketing.