Profitable niche research online is the first step in building your Affiliate Marketing business.
This article will cover the profitable niche research, selection and evaluation for Affiliate Marketing.
- Understanding of the niche idea
- The essential ingredients of a profitable niche
- Consideration for selection of your niches – passions or money?
- How to succeed if you are not yet an expert in your niche area?
- 3 ways to become an expert in a particular area
- Identification of profitable niche ideas
- Evaluate the profitability of your chosen niche idea
Understanding of the niche idea
The first step in Affiliate Marketing is the identification of your niche area.
A niche is a very specific segment (sub-set) of a broader market. The niche market consists of a group of customers with special interests or with a set of unique problems to be solved.
In general, the formula for a niche is as follows.
Main Category > Broad Category > Narrow Category > Niche
Example: Hobbies/ Interests/ Activities > Outdoor Activities > Canoeing > Canoeing in the wilderness
Most of the profitable niches fall into one or more of the main categories below.
- Health & Fitness
- Dating & Relationship
- Wealth Building/ Making money on the internet
- Personal Finance/ Investment
A niche can usually be found by exploring the sub-sections from the broad niche market. This is where the needs of the groups may not have been adequately catered to by the broad section.
People prefer advice specifically targeted at them rather than information that provides for the broad (general) market.
Your chances of success in your online business increase dramatically if you can engage this specific group of people by serving them well with relevant information, product review and advice that cater to their needs or solving their problems.
The essential ingredients of a profitable niche
These are some of the items to take note of for the selection of your niche idea:
- A large amount of money being spent on the items online.
- People spend money in pursuit of their passions or to solve their problems.
- Many affiliate products available on the various online marketing platform.
- Clear business models where you can emulate.
- Websites, forums, discussion groups on social media where you may drive traffic from.
- Online competition of the products you intend to promote.
- Subjects that you have interests or knowledge of.
Consideration for selection of your niches – passions or money?
How should you choose your niche area?
Should it be based on your interests or the potential to make money?
My short answer to the above is: select a niche where you are passionate about and are interested in.
From experience of other successful online entrepreneurs, your chances of success are much higher if you pursue a business in the area where you have interests in, or where you have existing problems to be solved.
If you are building a long-term business, there will be considerable work and many hours of research, study, preparing contents, etc., in your chosen niche area. Therefore, it’s essential that you have some interests in.
While it’s important to consider your interests in the selection of your niche area, do not overlook the critical factor whether the niche you are going to pursue is viable (profitable) form the perspective of online business as you also want to be rewarded for the hard work you put in.
How to succeed if you are not yet an expert in your niche area?
One of the most common questions asked by online business entrepreneurs when just starting is ‘How to succeed when I have not yet achieved the expert status, and how do I compete with the existing experts in my niche area?’
The ‘’experts’’ you currently see were in a similar position as you are now.
The secret to success lies in knowing your target audience. You must know the competency of your audience for your niche area.
Armed with this knowledge, you then market your products or services to those whose competency level is below or similar to yours.
3 ways to become an expert in a particular area
1. By self-study and research using the Feynman technique
Nowadays, you can acquire knowledge of any topics through self-study and by research on the internet.
You can use the Feynman learning technique to learn faster any topic/ subject that you are interested in.
This technique was developed by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.
Feynman was not only a brilliant scientist, but he’s also a ‘great explainer’ – for his ability to translate complex scientific theories into easy-to-understand terms. He believed that ‘If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. This formed the basis of the Feynman technique.
Essentially, with the Feynman technique, you learn your selected topic by explaining what you have learned to another person. The rationale behind this theory is to help you identify gaps in your knowledge (in your chosen topic) to make the learning process more efficient and targeted. It’s a simple but effective technique.
2. Admitting your level of competency, be honest about it and continue to improve
You don’t need to be an expert to be known to provide information to the masses who know very little about the topic that you are passionate about if you have invested the sufficient number of hours for research and reading as suggested in Step 1 above.
The secret boils down to knowing your level of competency and experience on the topic and market your products and services to people with the level of knowledge similar and less than you do. In this situation, you are considered as a “relative expert” to them.
However, you have to be honest about your level of competency and do not try to exaggerate in the promotion of your products and services. If you are not yet an expert, do not pretend that you are one or trying to market your products and services to people whose level of expertise in the subject is higher than yours.
3. Leverage on the skills and knowledge of other experts to complement your own
There are people on the internet who know about anything and everything. Of course, that will include the topic of your niche. If you search through the blogs, forums, social media groups, you will be able to identify this person/ groups.
You may offer them an incentive (monetary or otherwise) to engage them to write guest-posts or create contents on your site, or partner with them in the promotion of your products and services. Always be creative in your approach and strive for win-win for both of you.
The ability to leverage on their expertise of others to expand yours is one of the fastest ways to build your level of expertise and knowledge on your topic.
Identification of profitable niche ideas
Characteristics of evergreen niches:
- Presence of online competition.
- Proven online track records.
- Many affiliate products are available on the popular shopping websites.
- A high demand for the products from the review of the sales figure on popular shopping websites.
- There are many websites, social media groups and forum groups on the topic.
Below are the 4 steps that you can adapt to find profitable niche ideas.
Step 1: Review of your interests/ hobbies, passions and problems
Write down your list of items under the following heading.
- My interests, hobbies and things that I’m passionate about (e.g. Scuba diving, golf, gardening).
- Problems to be resolved or to improve on (e.g. quit smoking, improve my stamina etc.,).
- Areas where you have personal knowledge or expertise.
- Porducts that you liked and have used.
Step 2: Put on your marketing hat and visit places
- Spend a few hours to walk around the commercial/ shopping places and see things from the marketing perspective.
- Take snap-shots/record some of the items that interest you.
- Take notes/ snap-shots/ records of the followings.
- Products on sales/ sales activities
- News that you heard on radio/ things that you watch on TV
- Places that you visited such as shopping malls
- Any other exciting events related to sales activities
Step 3: Review the online marketplace and the current trends
- Review the product and/or services available in the market and online.
- Review and identify the current/ popular trends.
- Visit some websites to gain niche ideas based on people’s online search results.
You may use some of the following websites to find niche ideas that appeal to you. From here, you may identify some profitable niche ideas based on the products on sales in the online marketplace.
Step 4: Compile the list of your niche ideas
Categorise your niche ideas from the 3 steps above to the three main areas.
- Topic-1 : Interests/ hobbies
- Topic-2 : Passions
- Topic-3 : Problems people have and trying to solve
With this compilation, you narrowed down your potential niche areas. The next section will show you how to evaluate the profitability of your chosen niche idea from the perspective of online business.
Evaluate the profitability of your chosen niche idea
The following are the 6 sites that you can evaluate the profitability of your chosen niche idea and assess the sustainability of your business.
1. Check the online search volume for your niche idea
The online search volume is a good indication of the profitability of a niche idea. Some of the tools that you can use for this purpose as described in the section below.
1a) Google Keyword Planner (free tool)
- Sign up for a free account to access Google Keyword Planner
- Go to ”Get search volume and forecasts” and type in keywords related to your niche area. For example: ”Making money online” > get started.
- Click on the ”Keyword ideas” and key in your keywords related to your niche area as before.
- Look at the list of “‘keyword (by relevance)” and their “Avg monthly searches”. The list contains all the search volume of all the relevant keyword ideas related to your niche areas for the last 12 months. You may download these keyword ideas (in an Excel file) for further review.
- The keyword “Making money online” has an average monthly search volume of 1,000 to 10,000.
- Record the search volume for keywords related to your niche ideas.
- At this stage, you are looking at the “demand” for your niche ideas to make it a viable business option. So, the larger the search volume, the better.
1b) Using Google Trends
- Choose ‘Worldwide” or any other countries for the last ‘Past 5 years’ and key in your ”search terms”.
- You may further filter for more specific results such as selecting other location and timeframe for trends, a specific category etc.,
- This provides a quick check on the trend (uptrend, flat, dying off etc.,).
- Look out for niches that are ”evergreen” with stable demand over time rather than the seasonal trends (fluctuation in demand at the different time of the year such as Christmas period).
2. Check the availability (number) and profitability of products in the online marketplace
- The profitable niches are the ones with many different varieties of products (both physical and digital) available in the online market such as Amazon, eBay, Clickbank, JVZoo etc.,
- Check out the affiliate products on these platforms and see the sales volume and variety of the products being offered. In general, we are looking out for some proof that there are buyers in the niche areas that we are interested in.
- Amazon provides information on the number of customer reviews for a particular product. If the products in your niche area have hundreds or thousands of review, it’s a good indication of popularity and profitability. These are the ”in-demand” products.
- For example: Sports & Fitness> Sports & Outdoors > Exercise bands has more than 9,000 customer reviews (see below).
- Ideally, your niche shall contain a range of products where you can market to customers from different segments of the market. The number of customer review provides information on the range of products available in a niche area.
- Do take note that not all customers will leave a review. It’s estimated that the percentage of customers leaving a review ranges from 0.001% to 10% (1 in every 1,000 to 10 for every product purchased).
- What’s important is to look out for products with customer reviews > 100 (at least) to indicate there is a healthy demand for the products.
- A quick look at the average board number of searches as below.
- Clickbank is currently the largest online retailer for digital products.
- Check out their affiliate programs for products that are in your niche area by entering the keywords in your niche.
- Go to “Affiliate Marketplace” and key in the keywords in your niche area.
- For example: ”Making money online”.
- The ”Results” shown that there are 656 products for this keyword search.
- Go down the list and examine in details the types of products available and what people are buying. In this category, the products available are courses, videos, ebooks, software, tools and membership programs.
- If you can find a few products in your niche area, it’s a good indication that there is demand for this category.
Sort the results by “Gravity” (Grav) which is a unique algorithm from Clickbank that take into account the number of a unique affiliate that have sold at least one of that product. The higher the ”Grav” number, the more affiliates are promoting these products which are also a good indication that this (and similar) products are in demand.
2c) Search on Google for proof of profitability
- Search on Google for proof of profitability on your niche ideas.
- Search for “keyword in niche area + affiliate program” on Google.
- An example: ”Sales of T-shirt + affiliate program”.
3. Popular websites and blogs to validate online activities
- The next thing to look for is the presence of authority websites and blogs for your niche idea.
- Websites and blogs are places where you can ”hangout” to engage and understand the needs of your potential customers and to drive traffic from these sites.
- Search on Google for the list of websites and blogs for your niche area by typing in “best NICHE blogs” and review the results.
- An example will be “Top making money blogs”.
- Take note of the contents of the top few blogs in your niche area for reference.
- List of things to look out for on these blogs:
- Are there any comments from readers?
- Do they get any sharing on the social media platforms?
- What are the products and services they are promoting?
- What are the methods they used to make money?
- Finding out the answers to the above questions will give you an idea of how profitable the niche area is and what are the methods that you can adapt to make money. Remember that you do not have to ”re-invent the wheel” but to follow and adapt what is already working well.
- Do take note that it’s important to have active groups online in your chosen niche area such that you have the opportunities to interact, engage and help them to resolve the problems they may have and make them your potential customers.
4. Forums and Messages Boards for passions
- Forums is another avenue where you can find out people gather and discuss the topics related to your niche area because they are passionate about the topic.
- When people are passionate about a topic, chances are they will also be spending money on this area, and potential area for you to market your products to them.
- You can use a site such as findaforum.net to search for the related forum in your niche area.
- For example: Go to > Categories > Making Money Online
- If you see there are many forums in your niche area, chances are that you can to find a website that related to your niche.
5. Social Media Hubs for interests groups
- You may start the search of your niche area using social media platform such as Facebook, LinkedIn etc.,
- If you can find many groups in your niche area, you have a better chance to be able to interact and understand the activities of these groups.
- Do a search using the search box. For example: “Making Money online”.
- You may use the filter function to refine your search further.
- Search on Google and see if you can find any advertiser for the products or services in your niche area.
- for example: ”Making money online 2019″.
- If there are paid advertising, it means there is demand for these products or services in this niche area.
This article was first published on 23 Feb 2019, updated on 12 Jan 2022.