Niche Picking

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Now we are ready to get started and dive into one of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing  is niche picking and deciding on the affiliate products you’re going to promote.

Niche research

Your “niche” is the general topic for your website. Like “dog training” or “online dating for women”. You’ll usually build a website around this topic, and promote affiliate products related to that topic.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing your niche topic without checking if there are any good affiliate products first. No matter how fantastic your website is, you’re not going to make money if there’s nothing to promote!

Instead it’s best to approach it from the other direction: Look at the available affiliate products first, and then zero in on a niche based on these products. For instance, if you see a lot of affiliate products for paleo recipes, you could decide to build a website about how to adopt a paleo lifestyle and become a “modern day caveman”.

A good place to start looking for affiliate products is at ClickBank.com.

ClickBank is an affiliate network with thousands of digital products you can promote as an affiliate.

For more information on exactly what you should be looking for here, the free Affilorama lesson “7 Steps to Finding Profitable Affiliate Niches covers this chapter’s topic in much greater detail.

Finding good affiliate products to promote

The first step in finding good products to promote is to look for products that are already selling well for other affiliates. This means that those products will probably sell well for you, too!

This is really easy to check in ClickBank using the Gravity filter. This is basically a measure of how many different affiliates are making sales of this product. We suggest setting this to a minimum of 6 to exclude all the products that are not selling well.

Next, take a look at how much you’ll earn from a product. ClickBank gives you a range of numbers to look at:

  • Initial $ Per Sale: This is how much you earn per sale before any “back-end” purchases are included. It’ll be your cut of the purchase price that you see on the sales page for the product.
  • Average % Per Sale: This is the commission percentage that you earn.
  • Average $ Per Sale: This is the important figure. It can be significantly higher than the “Initial $ Per Sale” because products will often make offers to their customers who have bought the first product. They might upsell them to a “professional” version of software, or offer great deals on their other products to purchase as a bundle. Products might also sell a subscription, which earns you monthly commissions rather than a one-off commission. All these come together to give you the “Average $ Per Sale”. You might not earn this much from every customer, but this is what you can expect on average over time.

When you’re looking for products to promote, we recommend you look for products with an average $ per sale of at least $15, and a commission rate of at least 50%.

8 - Niche Picking

We also recommend looking for at least three products that you could imagine promoting on your website. It doesn’t matter if not all your products meet all these criteria, so long as at least a couple of them do. (But of course, the more products you can find that meet these criteria, the better your chances of making good money!)

Can you succeed by promoting just one product?

We get asked this a lot, and while it’s possible, but not really recommended. This would be a case of “putting all your eggs in one basket.” If that product doesn’t end up selling well and you don’t have any others, you hurt your chances of making good money.

Another reason it’s good to have a few products to promote: You can make multiple sales to your visitors! This becomes especially lucrative if you run a newsletter, where you regularly email people about different products – more about that in Chapter 9.

Once you’ve found at least three good products you want to promote, and they’re all around a certain topic, you’ve found your niche! The next step is to have a look at what else is going on in that topic, so you can see how competitive it is.

Getting around competition with sub-niches 

New affiliates are often worried about how competitive a niche is. Is it so tough that you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle just to get any visitors to your website?

It’s true that where there’s a lot of money to be made, there will usually be a lot of other people trying to get their slice of the pie. But this doesn’t mean you should stay away! On the contrary — lots of competition is a sign of a great niche!

A lot of competition simply means that the more obvious marketing strategies will be a bit tougher — especially if you’re trying to get visitors to your website through search engines like Google.

The easiest way to dodge the competition in a competitive market is to get a little more specific. Instead of focusing on a topic like “weight loss” (a very lucrative and very competitive niche), you can focus on “weight loss after pregnancy,” or “weight loss for men.” This is called a “sub-niche.”

A sub-niche of a massive niche can still be wonderfully profitable, and still have a LOT of interest. So if you find a niche that seems to be ridiculously competitive, see whether you can dig a little deeper.

Is your niche evergreen?

Imagine that a while ago you built an affiliate site promoting VCR repair guidebooks. Do you think you’d still be making a lot of sales?

Imagine you built a website about creating great Halloween costumes. Do you think you’d get many visitors to your website in February?

When we talk about “evergreen” niches, we’re talking about topics that are ALWAYS going to be popular.

We strongly recommend that you pick an evergreen niche to focus on, so that you can have an asset that will continue to make you money throughout the year (unlike your Halloween site), and for years and years to come (unlike your VCR repair site).

For instance, people are always going to need to lose weight, so a weight loss website is “evergreen”. There will always be badly behaved dogs, so a dog training website is “evergreen”. There will always be people with relationship troubles, so a dating or relationships website would be “evergreen”.

A good test of whether a topic is evergreen is to ask yourself: Were people interested in this topic 10 years ago? Will they still be interested in it 10 years from now? If the answer is “yes”, you’ve probably got an evergreen niche on your hands!