*Update of a post published in 2017
Finding the best niche for your entrepreneurial needs is the first step to success as an affiliate marketer. And yet, the concept of a niche market befuddles many newbie Internet marketers. So, let’s start by answering the question, what’s a niche market?
A complete answer to this question includes:
- Characteristics of a good niche market;
- Niche marketing advantages;
- Examples of potentially profitable niches; and
- Actionable steps you can take today to define the best affiliate niche for you.
At its core, affiliate marketing is all about understanding and serving your niche. Consequently, your online business plans will remain at a standstill until you’ve made your all-important niche selection.
I hear this plea all the time – “Help! I don’t know how to choose my niche!” And I get it because I struggled with this concept myself at first.
But if you stick with me today, we’ll get you sorted out.
What’s a Niche Market?
Investor Words defines a niche market as, ” A narrow segment of a larger market defined by the unique characteristics, needs, and preferences of the consumers that populate it.”
Affiliate marketers create niche markets by identifying groups of people (prospective customers) with specific needs and desires for information and particular products. And, it sure helps if you’re a member of the targeted group.
It helps because you need to step into the shoes of your prospective customers and view the world from their perspective. So, exhaustive knowledge of their requirements, hopes, dreams, goals and pain points is amazingly beneficial.
Your mission is to satisfy the needs of your target audience for information, comprehensive solutions, and product reviews. Members of your niche are regularly performing searches online Successful affiliate marketers just connect people with stuff they’re searching for already.
Characteristics of a Good Niche Market
A good niche market is a narrow, well-defined sub-sect of a broader population or mass market. Going narrow is critical because your objective is to meet needs and it’s just not feasible to try to consistently meet the requirements of a diverse group.
Your goal involves connecting with core customers and doing that effectively means developing a clear image of who that customer is and what they’re looking for from you. Ideally, your ideal customer has needs that aren’t being well-addressed elsewhere.
To nurture a following, you must be able to publish a stream of articles that all appeal to the same core customers. Your focused content will encourage your targeted audience to keep coming back for more because your efforts are channeled.
An attractive niche market is one that has a lot of low-competition keyword variations. Remember, we’re connecting people with things they’re already searching for online. Keywords are simply the known search queries that consumers are typing into a Google search box.
The Advantages of Niche Marketing
Specialization distinguishes your blog and helps you leverage your expertise in a way that stands out. You can become an authority and fill a void. In the process, you’ll gradually increase your brand recognition which will fuel repeat visits.
Getting your content in front of the right people is far more important than getting it in front of a broader group. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best niche is highly focused and smaller is better.
By honing your content and product promotions, you can dramatically increase conversion rates. Small sub-sections of the market are often hugely engaged, hungry for targeted materials, and eager to spend money on their passions.
The moral: Find a small pond where you can thrive as “the big fish.”
Examples of Potentially Profitable Niches
Affiliate marketing is a $6 billion industry and growing. The vast majority of online retailers have affiliate programs that are free for you to join. Hungry niches abound with members who are frantically searching online for relevant information.
With the proper training, you can become a “go to” source of information and share your expertise and enthusiasms. Focus on helping your niche and your online business will grow and eventually become a steady income stream.
For further insights into profitable niche possibilities, I invite you to read these related posts:
- How to Make Money With the Kindle – Is This Your Niche?
- How to Make Money Selling Essential Oils
- What is an Amazon Fire Stick? Can You Make Money With Technology?
- How to Make Money With Legos – A Creative and Colorful Niche
But please don’t forget to come back and complete the steps below! 🙂
Steps to Define the Best Affiliate Niche for You
Okay, let’s get down to business. Pour yourself a steaming mug of coffee, grab a pad and a writing utensil, and let’s get this done.
I hope so because I guarantee this process will supply you with a splendid list from which to pluck your final selection. How can I make that pledge? Because niches are everywhere! My constant lament….
So Many Niches, So Little Time!
Here are the rules. Don’t sweat this! No filtering your responses (I can’t see your list! :)) And, don’t worry about prioritization!
The best niche for you arises naturally from a combination of your interests, achievements, the things you do best, and your past experiences.
Step 1 – Identify Your Favorite Pursuits
Take 60 seconds and jot down at least 5 activities you enjoy. Go!
Here’s my list:
aSpending Time with My Dogs
aCooking for Friends
Your list will be wildly different from mine (or maybe not). Either way, that’s fine. Remember, we’re not trying to target everyone. On the contrary, we want to celebrate our uniqueness! And, revel in our differences!
Step 2 – Drill-Down to Expose the Hidden Niches in Your List of Activities
My initial activity list represents broad topical areas with massive appeal. There are tons of large authority sites devoted to all of these topics, and the competition is vast. But, there are also untapped opportunities for finely-honed niche websites.
For example, under the broad umbrella of Hiking, I might consider far more specific topics such as:
- Desert Hiking Tips
- Hiking Vacations
- Hiking Tips for Women
We could go down the list and explore a multitude of niche ideas for each of my favorite activities. As another example, I know for a fact that Senior Women Golfers are an underserved market segment in the Golfing arena. And yet, there are substantial (and growing) numbers of us.
If you’re a gardening enthusiast, I’ll let you check out my previous post, How to Start a Gardening Blog for Fun and Profit, to get some viable niche ideas.
You get the idea, right?
Pets and pet products are hugely popular industries. But, they’re not niches nor are dogs. A niche might be a specific breed of dog like Shetland Sheepdogs. Or maybe, How to Train Your New Puppy.
A website based on puppy training techniques won’t appeal to people with older dogs, but that’s okay. Because at any point in time there are tens of thousands of new puppy owners that you can target and connect with in a meaningful way.
Similarly, if you love cooking, a generic recipe site faces alarming competition. But you can niche-down and focus on Recipes for the Carb-Conscious, Gluten-Free Recipes, or Barbecuing Tips. You’ll be addressing a distinct segment with identifiable needs. Moreover, you can limit your competition and grow your authority.
I’m confident that participating in this exercise will uncover numerous examples of potentially profitable niches,
Step 3 – Research the Niches You Discovered
Jump into Google and start searching your possible topics. Ask a number of relevant questions that someone who is a member of an identified niche and passionate about the subject matter might ask. Then check out the sites that come up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Ignore Amazon and other large retail sites for the moment and concentrate on the small niche sites that you spot (aka, the competition).
Take notes and ask yourself these questions as you explore existing websites:
- What topics do they blog about?
- Are their posts useful, thorough, and engaging?
- Would you return to their site if you have topical questions in the future?
- Most importantly, could you blog about similar topics and do it as well or better?
Be sure to pay attention to the suggestions Google makes at the bottom of each page for related articles. As you’re searching, you’ll also want to take note of the autosuggestions Google makes. If you spend some time reading articles and following links, you should be able to compile a fairly extensive list of blog post ideas.
Compile Your Findings
Organize your notes and research into several themes or categories for your website. For example, I might choose the following categories for a hiking site.
- Hiking Venues, Tours, and Vacations
- Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Hiking
- Hiking Safety Tips and Precautions
- Hiking Gear
- Tips for Hiking With Kids
- Hiking Gear Product Reviews
I’ve found categories to be stellar aids in organizing and focusing my thought processes. They also play a big role in broadening your topical coverage and ensuring variety for readers. Once you’ve identified categories, you can drill down and populate the categories with specific post ideas.
I might consider topics like
- 7 Tips for Hiking Safely in the Desert
- Cardiovascular Benefits of Hiking
- How to Recognize the Symptoms of Dehydration
- What is a Hydration Pack?
- How to Use a Compass
- The Best Hiking Boots for Women (Men, Kids)
Brainstorming a list of 30 post ideas is an excellent beginning. Google and the other major search engines will index blog posts based on keywords. So eventually you’ll want to use a research tool (I use Jaaxy) to fine-tune your generic titles and target popular keyword searches.
Step 4 – Brainstorm Products You Can Review and Promote to Your Readership
Think about the last time you engaged in your selected activities. What products did you use (tools, accessories, clothing, etc.)? And, what products would you have liked to have? You know, the wish list?
My hiking product list would include boots, a trekking pole, a sun hat (I hike in the desert), sunglasses, a Camelbak, sunscreen, a fitness tracker, and a cell phone. My wish list might add a nice pair of binoculars because the vistas are gorgeous. And, a better camera than the one on my cellphone to capture the wildlife.
Are you seeing some possibilities here?
My hiking forays are typically rather short (two to three hours). Serious enthusiasts who venture much further afield will have a far more extensive list of requirements like larger backpacks, a compass, cooking gear, tents, and the list goes on!
My Niche Market Advice
Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the niche selection process. Choose a specialty that excites you and holds your interest. But also recognize that the possibilities are endless. Your first niche may very well not be your last because many affiliate marketers either change tack or eventually operate in multiple niches.
Gain insights by following the steps above and then go with your gut instincts. Identifying a niche course of action allows you to progress and gain invaluable experience in website building, keyword research, search engine optimation techniques, and content writing. These are transferable skills that can serve you well in any niche or online venture.
Now that we’ve put the question what’s a niche market to rest and you have a workable strategy for finding your niche, you’re poised to take the affiliate marketing world by storm!
I hope you’ll share your niche ideas below. I’d love to hear them and to answer any additional questions you may still have. Do you know someone else who’s struggling which this question and decision? If so, I hope you’ll share this post with them and get them on the track to online success.
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If working online from home is your dream too, you may want to check out their free (no credit card required) Starter Membership and see what all the hype is about. It was a game changer for me!