When I started affiliate marketing, deciding on my niche was one of the most difficult steps of the process. My biggest mistake was jumping around from niche to niche and not settling in on one specific niche and focusing my energy there.
Most new people starting out in affiliate marketing will have a similar issue. In this post, I hope to help you find the right niche for you and avoid many of the common newbie mistakes made in this step of the process.
To find your perfect niche:
- Make a list of the topics you are passionate about, or at least interested in.
- Check if there are affiliate programs available within that niche
- Check the commission structure
- Check the variety of promotable products & services (low and high ticket items)
- Check if there is a healthy level of competition
Step 1: Identify a niche you are interested in
What makes a good affiliate marketing niche?
To find a good niche, you first have to know what you’re looking for. Ideally, a good affiliate niche has these:
- Your own interest*
- High-paying affiliates
- Low competition
- Enough interest to make it profitable
How much a “high-paying” affiliate pays depends on your goals. Personally, I look for affiliates that pay at least $20-$50 per sale or more. But if you’re just looking for a little side income, a smaller payout may be fine for your goals.
Additionally, I’ll accept a lower payment if the niche has low-competition keywords—meaning if the websites currently ranking in that niche are smaller affiliate sites without huge marketing budgets and a ton of already established backlinks.
Finally, a good affiliate niche has enough interest that it can be profitable. I determine interest by looking at how many people search for the main keywords in the niche per month.
You can research all three of these things using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. But rather than explain how to do that, I’m going to show you how to do this research almost passively—while you’re performing Google searches (which is something you’re likely doing anyway).
What is a Niche in Affiliate Marketing
By definition, a niche is ‘denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.’
In other words, it is a small section of a market that interests only a bunch of people.
In affiliate marketing – as you most probably would like to make money out of it – this bunch of people should be big enough to generate the amount of traffic that you can turn into a regular income by earning commissions.
Ideally, everyone would love to create a website in a niche that is;
- about something they truly enjoy working on
- a lot of people are interested in
- there is moderate competition
Pick a Niche You Love
So first of all, you should enjoy working within the niche. You can often hear that your first niche should be something that you practice and enjoy yourself ie your hobby, something you are good at.
It is good advice as you’d likely be working on this niche website for the coming months, if not years. If it is about something you know and cares about, and enjoy doing then it makes it a whole load easier to push through writer’s blocks, etc.
Size of the Niche
The problem is two-fold. If the niche is too small, then there won’t be enough people visiting your site, and you won’t be able to make enough sales.
If a niche is too generic, then it is pretty difficult to compete with big authority sites. No one would ever find your website. Like if my website was about ‘outdoor equipment’, despite the millions of people looking for outdoor equipment, I would hardly make any sales.
But if I, let’s say, targeted people who were interested in inflatable kayaks, then that’s a much narrower niche.
Start Small, Then Expand
On one of my sites, I started promoting outdoor equipment. It was a very specialized niche, and although some traffic was coming my way, the actual money I made on that site was zero.
So I decided to broaden my niche and started writing about different types of outdoor products.
In the previous example, if I started a website about inflatable sit-on-top kayaks, that may be too small a niche to build an entire website around them. But I can expand it and include other types of kayaks and canoes as well, and all sorts of water-sports equipment.
There is much bigger competition in that segment, as you can see. So it is a bit of trial and error until I find the size of the niche.
Over time I would build up an audience and a reputation with Google, so I could expand more. I could include reviews of great rafting locations and promoting specialized adventure travel packages, and so on…
Target a Smaller Segment of a Bigger Niche
The other way to find your niche is if you separate the audience by their sex or age, or any specific attribute of that group of people.
If you were in the ‘Lose Weight’ niche you could narrow it down to ‘Lose Weight over 40’ or ‘Lose Weight After Giving Birth’. There is a pretty good chance that you can find a ‘group of people’ whose needs are not catered for.
It’s important that a niche you go after has the potential for you to build a real business behind it. That means there should be multiple products and people willing to spend money on many different things.
Make sure you research how much competition there is in a market, but don’t be too afraid if you find some people already doing what you want to do. That’s actually a good sign, telling you that other people are making money in that niche. The likelihood for you to make money too is pretty high.
If you can’t find anyone, it probably means that it’s not a profitable market.
If you think that you have found your ideal niche, think about, how could you serve that audience. Can you list at least 5 common problems within that niche that needs a solution? That need an answer?
It is great if you can list more than 5!
It is time to do your keyword research. You should be able to come up with at least 25-30 different ‘low-hanging fruit’ keywords. You will target each keyword with a well-written post on your website.
These keywords have low competition but a sufficient amount of search volume. It means that they are relatively easy to rank for, and there is enough traffic to generate income through affiliate marketing.
Where Can You Find Affiliate Programs?
The easiest way to find affiliate programs within your niche is to search Google [your niche] + affiliate programs or [manufacturer or publisher in your niche]+affiliate program. This should come up with plenty of options for affiliate programs that you can join (probably not with a new website though).
The other way to find affiliate programs is to use a bespoke search hub as the one Wealthy Affiliate has. You can filter down your search by categories or search phrases. It tells you the average commission rates and shows ratings made by other affiliate marketers. It makes life a lot easier.
Final Remarket – Choosing Your Niche for Affiliate Marketing
Just to wrap up what I outlined above…let’s recap how to find an affiliate marketing niche. Before you start your new/first affiliate marketing website, I suggest you try answering these questions;
1. What do you love and care about enough to spend time with it every day in the next year?
Tip: if you don’t have any interesting hobbies, think about what have you searched for on Google the most in last few months. What phrases did you google? What answers did you want to find? Did you find them? There is a good chance that you can easily write 20-30 posts based purely on the research you already have done!
2. Are there any affiliate products in that niche that you can promote?
Amazon and eBay affiliate programs are easy to start with, however, there are other platforms like Clickbank, ShareASale or Skimlinks that are simple to join and earn money with.
If you are looking for info products, then – besides Clickbank – JVZoo and Commission Junction are your go-to places.
3. How much can you make per sale? How much traffic do you need to earn enough commissions? Are there any recurring subscription products you can sell?
Just brace yourself for the hard work ahead of you, get a pen and paper and do the maths.
If your click-through rate is 10%, the conversion rate is 10%, and your commission is $10 per sale then you need 10,000 clicks a month to make $1000.
4. Is there a good range of products or services that you can promote (low ticket and high ticket items)?
While it is tempting to promote high-ticket items for the bigger commission, actually, people are more often spend a smaller amount of money first. If you have not got the ‘entrance’ products, you may never make a sale. On the other hand, if you only have low-ticket items and no upsells, then you won’t make much money.
5. Is there anyone else making money within that niche?
If nobody else makes money, then there is a good chance that you won’t make any either. A healthy level of competition is a good indicator of a lucrative niche.
Try to avoid competing with large authority sites within your niche: find keywords that they don’t rank for, and narrow down your niche a bit.
I do hope that I could help you a bit in finding your niche for affiliate marketing!
Don’t forget, that you have plenty of tools to use and your very own common sense. Even then, there is an element of ‘trial and error’ and uncertainty that you can’t factor in. As they say, you’ll have to cross that bridge when you get there.