Written by: Guest author, Simon Slade
Would you build a house without solid foundations? Probably not. And if you did then it wouldn’t take much to bring it crashing back down to the ground. We all know that foundations are important for buildings, but what you might not understand is that the right “foundations” are also crucial for successful affiliate marketing.
So what are the foundations of affiliate marketing?
- Selling a great product (if the product you’re promoting isn’t very good then you’ll have a high refund rate, dissatisfied customers, or people just won’t buy it in the first place).
- A proven marketing method – whether you like to build multiple highly targeted niche affiliate sites or sell through a highly personal blog, it pays to stick to a method that is proven and which is known to work for others. Once you’ve found a great method, rinse and repeat it for increased profits over time.
- Sufficient niche research. Not all niches are created equal! Some are always going to be more profitable than others, some have more competition, others are fleeting yet lucrative for a short period of time, whilst there are always the tried-and-true “evergreen niches”. Picking the right niche(s) can make the difference between struggling to make money and lining your bank account with cash.
If there’s one affiliate marketing foundation I see people ignoring the most, it’s niche research. Many affiliates seem far too keen to dive straight into site building, content creation, or traffic generation. It’s kind of like jumping into a car and driving off before you check to see if there’s any fuel in the tank – you won’t get very far, and once the warning signs come up it could be too late!
The importance of finding profitable niches should never be underestimated. You will never regret spending that little bit of extra time in the early stages of niche research, as it will almost certainly result in you making more sales.
Let’s take a brief look at the mistakes that many affiliates make with their niche research:
- Not remembering that the long-term trend is your friend. It can be tempting to promote products in the latest red-hot niche, but often these can be here today and gone tomorrow. On the other hand, evergreen niches such as pet training, hobbies and sports, weight loss, and relationship help will almost certainly always have long-term appeal. This means that all your hard effort will keep on reaping rewards for years to come. Compare this with the frustration of building a website in a non-evergreen niche, where you might make lots quickly only to have your earnings taper off over time. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, or want to build a consistent and passive income, then start with niches that have long-term appeal. Think of markets that will be popular in years to come, and promote accordingly!
- Ignoring product quality. If you sell poor quality products then you will have the unpleasant experience of high refund rates, dissatisfied customers, and low earnings. However, if you do your due diligence and thoroughly check for great products that offer lots of value (and have top-notch customer service and support) then you’ll be on your way to making much bigger commissions. Keep an eye out for affiliate products that really deliver on their promises, and avoid anything that doesn’t have positive reviews from REAL customers (avoid relying on so-called “review sites” that are just soft selling the product). The best way to do your market research here is to look on forums or discussion boards in the niche and see what people are saying about the product in question. Don’t hesitate to ask the product owner for review access as well, so that you can thoroughly check it out for yourself. Some niches have far more quality products than others do.
- Avoiding or fearing competition. When you next have some spare time for more niche research, head over to any popular Internet marketing forum; one of the most common complaints will along the lines of: “I can’t find any niche that doesn’t have much competition. Where are all the ‘hidden gems’? Unfortunately, when it comes to online niches there aren’t many hidden gems left! Niches with low competition and high demand are in short supply, and the very nature of the Internet means it is difficult to hide any such niche from others for long. However, instead of fearing competition you should learn to embrace it. Competitive niches have high competition for a reason – because there is lots of money for the making. A great example of this is the fat loss niche; it appears over-saturated at first. However, when you think of all the various sub niches (lose stomach fat, get 6 pack abs, fat loss diets, etc) that are closely related yet different in terms of customer base, you will realize that there is still room to carve out your own little slice of the profit. These competitive niches also tend to have high quality products available to affiliates as well, which is an added bonus.
The secret lies in creatively seeking your own slice of profitable niches. If you can master niche (and keyword) research then you’ll do well in evergreen niches that still have that higher level of competition. The benefit of this approach is that you will build a lasting business that will continue to earn you profit for years to come. Long-term profitability is the biggest benefit of proper niche research!
About the Author
Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and internet marketing tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers. Now that Simon has explained why it’s so important to find a profitable niche (and the biggest mistakes that you might be making) it’s time to discover exactly how to find truly profitable niches. You can learn some of the best niche and keyword research methods with his free video training report called How to Find Profitable Niches. You can get it here free (and receive an accompanying PDF report too).