Lost gold of the Incas? How about the Ark of the Covenant? All way easier to locate that those ideas for an affiliate niche in the new and shiny world of affiliate marketing. Things have changed. We now have to contend with those large affiliate brands. Voucher codes, cashback, and other large brands monetising on the affiliate model can make things seem impossible.
But it’s not. And frankly, if you think it’s impossible… great. I hate competition.
The tried and true methods of working out where you might find a lucrative little revenue stream are still broadly the same. And with affiliate marketing now seen as a mainstream marketing channel, there’s far more merchants to choose from.
So here’s my list of tips to find that teeny little pot of gold at the end of the affiliate rainbow. These days, you are unlikely to rival the lost gold of the Incas with a single site. But AM has always been a lather, rinse, repeat business. I think that now, you have to do more to earn less. But it’s still a job that’ll earn you “passive” income. The work is worth it.
Disclaimer: This advice is about pure affiliate sites. There is a difference these days between an “affiliate site” and a site “monetised by affiliate marketing”. I’ll get to the second one another time. Once I’ve actually done it properly myself. Which I’m happy to confess I haven’t yet!
Try To Engage With The Shopping Mindset
Can you still create a really small niche site, only monetise it with AM and actually get traffic? The short answer is yes (in my humble opinion anyhow). But you’ll need to be able to write content.
You need to develop a wide range of “interests” – niche spotting is about having your inner retail therapist constantly in the “ON” position. Listen to what people are talking about on social media, what are your friends buying and going on about? What is Aunt Mavis buying Uncle Geoff for his Christmas this year? Next time you are up the shops and see something that you think is really cool or clever, take note.
Finding niches is about the constant ability to look at things and think “who needs this” and to look at groups of people and think “what do they need”.
The Good Old British Press
If there’s a product that has been getting a bit of press, is relatively unique, and GLORY BE they have an affiliate programme. You are likely to have some success. However, here’s where you’ll need to get a bit clever. You’ll need to mooch around your niche idea and find ways to search for the product that don’t have lots of large newspaper and magazine sites present within them. If you are seeing other blog type arrangements ranking, and a few merchants – you have a much better chance of getting yourself placed with some niche search terms.
Release Your Inner Moron
If this is a bit nebulous for you – be your own customer at the start. You can think about things you personally would buy, or covet, make an ordered list, and check out the affiliate programmes around that. From there, run a few searches, look at the results and see who is there. Check out volumes using a keyword tool, see what you can find.
Also, subscribe to a few blogs about the stuff you like to buy, or areas that interest you. Observe the products they are talking about, use the posts popping up in your feed as your cue to have a little poke around the SERPS. While you are there, if you find an affiliate link or two in their posts pay close attention to what they are for. They aren’t there for no good reason. Engage the google site:url search term functionality. If they are talking about it in more than one place with affiliate links dotted around, then perhaps there’s something worthwhile there for you. Or maybe they’re a moron. It is the internet after all.
Practise lots. You’ll develop an eye for spotting areas that might just have some room for a small content site. And you’ll see a lot of stuff created by morons. The fact that you can actually see it will encourage you that it’s still possible to rank without a PHD in SEO.
Embrace The Weird
My own successes in this area are generally in super odd products I’d never heard about before. Of course right now, all those sites are old and unloved numbers that I’m slowly getting through and trying to update. I’ve not yet created a new one (although I have the domain and site set up and the blog ready to go). I’ll let you guys know what happens as soon as I’ve done it.
It’s my belief that you can still easily find affiliate niches. It’s just not as easy to exploit them any more. Content sites are labour intensive, you need to know how to organise them, and PPC and other paid traffic can be expensive and scary. I personally use expensive and scary traffic to test my niches. But that’s OK for me. I’ve got my big girl pants on and very rarely lose huge amounts of money (I have done in the past though).
One last thing – if you build these sites and you manage to get traffic, and even better – sales don’t give up the day job based on the money from them unless they number in the hundreds 😉