Affiliate Success Series – Part 1
Welcome to the Smart Affiliate’s 4 part training series in becoming an affiliate success and building a sustainable online business.
Before we get started, be aware there are a number of ways you can use to become successful as an affiliate and make money online.
Nevertheless, this 4 part article series will systematically lay out a process that I believe to be the most reliable and sustainable way to build a long-term online business as an affiliate while still being reasonably affordable.
Too many new or struggling affiliates often skip over the extremely important building parts. They start out by go straight for picking out some product and then immediately promote it. Somehow, they believe this is the way to make a lot of quick cash online.
Instead, it actually ends up doing the opposites. It sets your business up for failure and makes it really difficult to succeed. So make sure that you are not one of them by implementing the steps I present in the order that they’re intended.
After you have read each article in the series, invest plenty of time working on each part, take action every day to make it happen, and you’ll have a much higher chance of becoming a successful affiliate marketer!
Let’s get started…
Affiliate Success Step 1: Choose Your Niche
In this section, I’’ll cover the details of the first step which is a crucial part in determining whether you’re will be successful or not – and that’s choosing the right niche.
Also make sure that you invest enough time in researching a niche market before making a final decision about it. Many newbie marketers want to jump in and start making money right away – so they don’t put much time in on this step and then end up failing to make any money.
Instead, they rush to pick a product and then immediately start promoting it without thinking about the sustainability of it, or whether it’s something they even have an interest in.
So it is important when you are thinking about choosing a niche, to start by doing your research thoroughly.
The 3 Big Questions to ask yourself
There’s 3 big questions that you should be asking yourself before putting in a lot of time and effort into any niche you choose to do. Take your time to answer these questions completely before moving on!
First question – What do you have an interest in?
(hint: write down all those things you find interesting, don’t limit it to just one thing)
The reason for doing this is because if you’re not really interested in the topic, you won’t stick with it for very long. It just won’t hold your attention if it doesn’t hold your interest.
This is where you really wanna put a lot of thought into it before you move ahead. To be honest, this is where I failed when I first started online. I discovered it becomes even harder to make money from something you don’t have any interest in or even like!
Explore all interest possibilities you listed above to see of what’s out there.
Second question – Do people actually spend money in this niche?
If there is no one buying anything in this niche, you cannot sustain a business for very long. I will cover how to identify if there is enough of a market where people are spending money to make it worth your while in a minute.
Final question – are there products/services you can promote?
Obviously, you can’t very well be a successful affiliate if there are no products or services available for you to actually promote.
I’ll also cover how to find products and see whether it’s possible to make money in a niche you would like to promote.
If you can answer yes to all 3 questions, you will be much further ahead than someone who doesn’t bother doing it, and have a much better chance of building a sustainable business.
Four big markets to help you get started
Even though there are a ton of different topics that you can choose – these are four major categories that you can start to think about and explore to find the perfect match for you.
1) Hobbies like gardening, fishing, remote control vehicles, sports, and so on.
2) Health and fitness like muscle building, weight loss & dieting, anti-aging, stress reduction for example.
3) Relationships like dating, marriage, parenting, family, etc.
4) Money and wealth personal finance, budgeting, credit card debt, investing, real estate, and the like.
Think about your life and your areas of expertise. Ask yourself, which of the above categories would you be interested in and what topics within them could potentially be worthwhile for you to explore further as a niche.
The key here at this point is whatever you pick you wanna make sure that you’re gonna stick with it.
Remember, you’ll need to create content. You’ll need to be involved in the community, to be out there participating and interacting with other people within the niche.
To be successful, you cannot be completely passive by putting up a website, add a little bit of content, and then never touch it again hoping to continually make money as an affiliate with it!
Think about it as a long term business, something that you can invest your time and money. You’ll most definitely be investing money into your business.
Finding out if people spend money in your niche
People spend money in all kinds of different niches so the answer is most likely going to be yes.
On the other hand, there are a few really strange niches where you will not be able to monetize at all – where people are looking for information because they are just curious, or looking for something like quotes.
So what you want to start looking for is to see if money can be made in the niche is for paid advertisements. Anything from banner ads to Google AdWords advertisers (refer to illustration below).
As you can see, the yellow highlighted areas show plenty of ads. This shows that others are willing to spend money on advertising with this niche. In turn, that shows there most likely is money to be made with it!
Also look to see if there are magazines on this topic. If there are multiple magazines in that niche then it’s a great sign. Also look inside those magazines to see if there are paid advertisements. This shows that there is a big interested audience.
You can also check Amazon and see if there are books on the topic. If there are multiple books available and they are actually making sales, that’s a great sign! It shows that there’s opportunity in the niche.
Finding potential niche products to promote as an affiliate
Products can include anything from information products like digital download PDFs or videos to or actual physical products like t-shirts to video DVDs.
These products can be found on affiliate program sites like Clickbank, JVZoo, to Amazon, eBay, and even Walmart. To build the most profitable affiliate business possible, you should do a mix of information products and physical products together.
You are missing out on an opportunity if you’re only selling people products on how to do stuff or how to solve a problem. You want to also consider offering physical products that can complement the info product.
For example, you promote a complete workout program that include DVD videos (a mix of information and physical product). But you can also add exercise equipment that complement the workout video like a jump rope, workout mat, and so on. Even combine it as a complete workout package.
The sky is the limit! Ideally when you’re looking at a niche, you would like to have both information products and physical products available.
It’s not always the case, there’s some niches where you’re only going to be able to sell information. Other times, you might only be able to promote physical stuff.
Drilling down to identify a profitable sub- or micro-niche
This is one of the big secrets to success after you identify your niche, is by drilling down or niche down to find a profitable micro-niche.
What that means to you is less competition. Too many others try a broad market when they’re starting out and quickly become overwhelmed. They drown by the high level of competition.
There’s no chance for them to build an audience or gain recognition as a top authority for that broad of a niche.
Take general health & fitness for example. There is a ton of interest in this market with gobs of money to be made in it.
However to become an authority in it, you’ll be competing with huge businesses and highly popular celebrities. Both have deep pockets and a lot of prestige in that market.
You’ll never rank in search engines against really general terms like dieting, weight loss, or similar terms like that.
Drill down as far as you need to go
Instead, you need to go deeper as far as you can go. Ideally go 2-3 levels deep which I’ll explain what that means with the following example:
Continuing with health and fitness. Going one step deeper, you might consider something like dieting rather than fitness in terms of running, bodybuilding, or something like that. Those are examples of sub-niches within health and fitness.
However, even dieting is still way too competitive! There are still way too many big diet companies (Weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig) and a large number of big name celebrities. This makes it almost impossible for you to really compete with them – unless you have very deep pockets.
Instead, you can take it another level deeper and think about who you could target for dieting products. Who could you really talk to and identify with and become that audience’s go-to person?
Continuing with the above example, you could end up discovering a profitable sub-niche of “weight loss for new moms.”
There’s still a large enough market of new moms who are interested in losing weight on a limited budget. Or those within a limited amount of time – and you could become the expert for them!
You would speak to their needs, show that you can really identify with them and that they can trust what you have to say.
That’s where the real opportunity is going to be – just make sure that you still have a large enough market to work with.
I hope that you get the idea of what I mean by drilling deeper with niches. To find where the sweet spot is with the opportunity rather than going too broad and just finding that you can never break into that niche when it is too broad.
Just remember when researching a niche to get involved with, ask yourself (and answer) these 3 questions:
- What are you interested in?
- Do people actually spend money in it?
- And, are there (quality) product worthwhile to promote?