One of the hardest things when starting an online affiliate business is – well everything!
But besides from that, I think it is picking the perfect niche – that is the perfect niche for you and your online business! That’s why I put together these 5 simple steps to find your perfect niche.
I’ve seen people spend a huge amount of time bouncing around trying to decide what their online business should focus on. And until they make that decision nothing moves forward and they can’t create an income.
I believe if you follow these steps and answer the five questions below, you will have a much better idea of a niche for your business that will be just right for you. Remember everyone is different, and the opportunity for any online business is huge. So there is no need to jump into the first thing, or do what someone else tells you.
Simple Steps To Find Your Perfect Niche
Let me tell you a story about when I started my online journey. Like most people I knew nothing! I stumbled across a group that was promoting to teach you how to start your own online business.
One of the things that attracted me was you could sell their services as well. There’s that great catch-line – you get to earn while you learn! Makes it sound so easy doesn’t it.
The problem with this is that you have had someone else choose your niche for you. If you are going to learn online marketing, then immediately start selling their products to others you are in the MMO or ‘Make Money Online’ niche.
I learnt later that the MMO niche is by far one of the hardest to work in. It is super competitive and incredibly crowded by newbies all trying to make a buck.
Now there is nothing wrong with this niche. In fact it is hugely profitable, and there is still an abundance of opportunity. It’s the niche I ultimately choose to stay in. But that was after some soul-searching and a lot of questions to figure out if it really is the right niche for me (I’ll cover off those questions soon!).
But it is massively competitive! Given there is a lot of money to be made, it attracts a huge number of sellers. Many of these are big boys with massive budgets and big ‘authority’ sites, so competing when you first start is really tricky.
Not only that, given it involves money it attracts all the scammers and people with questionable ethics. The sad thing is when many newbies start and are desperate to make a dollar it is easy to fall into some very bad habits.
Of course the original group I joined were only too happy for you to jump into this niche, as you were selling their products. If you choose the dog grooming niche, then that would be one less reseller they would have (or is that just me being cynical?).
The point is I see this mistake with almost everyone when they start out. Something attracts them to have a look at starting an online business. They begin to learn the basics – but simply don’t know what to sell. So they fall into the trap of simply trying to promote that same training to others.
The truth is, if you really take the time to learn the skill of marketing online then you can sell anything to anyone you want.
Let me say that again….
Take the time to truly understand and learn the skills and techniques of online marketing and selling. Then you get to choose the niche and the products you want to sell.
Now that should be incredibly liberating. You are no longer tied to what someone else tells you to sell – you get to sell whatever you want.
Unfortunately with freedom often comes overwhelm.
So let’s break it down a bit and talk through the steps and tactics that will help you pick your perfect niche.
Just as a side note, I’m assuming that you don’t already have a product or service that you are looking to sell. Obviously that alone would dictate the niche that you are in. You would then need to focus on your perfect audience and your ideal customer – but we’ll leave that for another post.
We are going to cover off how to find your perfect niche for your business in 5 steps, by asking ourselves 5 simple questions. So let’s go…
So What Are You Passionate About?
This one is a bit of a double edged sword, but it is hugely important to cover upfront.
Let’s face it, if I said you had to wake up every single morning and grind away selling a product that you don’t understand, didn’t believe in or simply have no passion for, it is going to get tough very quickly.
Now I am not suggesting you take your favourite hobby and turn that into a business. You need to be very careful doing that. It can take an amazing pass time, one you use to relax, and turn into a chore. There is a big difference between a business you love and your hobby.
But having a level of passion for your business and the products you choose to sell is incredibly important. Why?
- You will probably understand and identify with your ideal customer. So you will be able to ‘speak’ directly to your customers’ needs through your content – something you will be doing A LOT of!
- You will enjoy the task of learning your products. You need to understand and learn as much as you can about the products you sell – so you know how best to promote them. Learning everything there is to know about fishing rods when you hate fishing would be very bad!
- Your marketing content will thrive. It is very tough to fake it until you make it. When you are passionate about something it will come through in your writing, in your videos or FaceBook posts. And it will be easy to do – thighs will begin to ‘flow’.
As a side note – this is why I love Affiliate Marketing. There is nearly always a product out there you can partner with in every niche as an affiliate. This just opens up the choice you have to find the products and niche you love.
What Is Your Current Job?
So what do you do every day – which is usually a 9 to 5 job of some sort.
This is a massive one that people nearly always overlook. They are so hell-bent on leaving their job behind they often miss what is right in front of them as an opportunity.
Now I know you might be doing all of this to escape your current job. But I think many people completely miss a golden opportunity here. Let me explain.
What attracted you to your job in the first place? Did you study or be trained into that profession? What was it that you saw as you entered your profession, and what is there now that makes you want to leave?
My wife started her career as a Pharmacist in Australia. Why? Should was really good at the chemical stuff, and understanding what makes a drug, what the interactions might be etc.
But what she really loved was simply helping people. She loved the interaction with her customers, helping them overcome whatever was ailing them at the time. And for some of the ‘oldies’ who were regulars, well that was simply to chat!
Then one day she told me she no longer enjoyed her career. It had somehow shifted and was not what she wanted to do anymore. But what changed?
It was when the people element changed that she started to dislike her job. When she was forced to spend less time with patients and more time on administration that she lost the joy in her work.
So for her the change she was seeking ways to get back to helping people. So what niche options might have been right for her?
- Helping people with nutrition.
- Helping people lose weight.
- Helping with alternative medicines.
- Helping increase immunity through supplements
The list is really endless. The point is she didn’t need to change completely to something like make money online – there were a huge number of choices right in front of her, in her area of expertise in the area that she was already passionate about.
So again, what profession or job are you currently in? Did you have a passion for it and is that still there somewhere – all you need to do is marry it with the right affiliate products and you’re ready to crush it!
What Are You Good At?
This is similar to the career question – but perhaps allows us to expand it a little.
When my wife trained as a pharmacist, there was very little actual training around customer interaction. And yet she found out later that her people skills were amazing!
Understanding what you are good at is so important, for a number of reasons;
- If you are good at something you are much more likely to stick with it.
- It is something you can probably talk to easily.
- It will be easy for you to be seen as an “authority figure”, and attract people who want to know more.
- It’s likely you will continue to learn about this area of expertise, and therefore stay ahead of the pack.
One of the thighs about owning an online business is that you need to be selling. If there are no sales then you don’t have a business. You simply have a free education site.
The more you understand a topic, and are good at it, the more you can easily talk about it. This means you have to do less of the obvious “hard” sell, and allow customers to be attracted to you.
When I ran a sales team in the tech industry we had straight sales people, who were coupled with tech support. The sales guys knew how to open doors and get the conversation started. But the tech support guys really knew the products and how the customer could best make use of them.
So who was really doing the selling? Let me tell you the customers always wanted to talk to the techie guys. When the sales guy rang it was like “what do you want now and how much is this going to cost me?”.
But when the techie guys rang a customer it was a completely different interaction. The customer actually wanted to speak with them, and was eager to take action on their advice – which funny enough was usually to buy something!
Knowing what you are good at will make your business so much smoother and much less of a struggle.
Is There a Market For It?
This question moves our thinking towards the real issue of who is my target audience. Remember – it is always all about the customer.
So it makes sense that you need to understand who you are going to be selling to.
Here are some things to consider when thinking about your ideal audience or customers;
- How old are they?
- What demographic do they typically fit into?
- Are they typically male or female – or doesn’t it matter?
- What issues are they dealing with?
- What problems do they have?
This last one should speak to a problem they may have that can easily be solved by a product you are looking to sell. By starting to think this way, you are beginning to draw parallels between your potential niche, the products that you might sell, and the customers who need them.
And that is a key point of success. Having a large enough group of people who have a common problem that is solved by the products from your business. Your niche helps you define who that group is, the problems you are solving and the products you use to solve them.
So how do you know how many people there are in the market. One way is to look at the search results. How many times are people searching for topics in this niche?
After all, one of the best forms of traffic you can get for your online business is ‘search’ traffic. These are people who are actively searching for the solution to the problem you are solving. To get to that point of searching they are highly motivated to solve the problem and more likely to buy something.
First go to the site answerthepublic.com. If you haven’t seen this before, this site simply takes a topic and gives you a breakdown of the types of search based questions people are asking.
Note that this is a great way to work out what content to create later in your business.
So for example if you type in “snoring”, it breaks it down into the type of questions people are asking; eg when, which, how, who etc. Then down to the actual questions;
- which snoring remedies actually work
- when snoring gets worse
- who sells snoring mouth pieces
And so on….
Now take any of the questions listed and type them back into google (you can actually click on the question listed on answerthepublic.com and it will jump straight to the search). Then take a note of the number of searches – this is how many searches are made per month.
This will give you an indication of how popular that topic or niche is. If no one is searching (or very few), you many need to rethink things.
Now the temptation is to keep looking for the biggest search results you can find. Be careful doing this as big search results usually result in big competition. So while there are a lot of potential customers, you may not be able to reach them around all the other competitor businesses in this space.
Another tool I use here is ubersuggest.com, from Neil Platel (king of SEO traffic!). You can type in some of the search terms you found before and ubersuggest will rank the keywords giving you a ‘difficulty’ score.
These are just a couple of ways I would recommend that you use to confirm;
- Is there an actual market in the niche you are considering?
- How competitive is it?
- How hard or easy will it be for you to rank content and get traffic to your business?
Ok, now you have an idea of the niche, your audience and the size of the market, you need to consider what products you can sell.
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What Products Can I Sell?
So now you have taken the time to flesh out some ideas around a niche, you need to find products to sell. Don’t forget sometimes you need to think a little left field here.
But this is a really important step as you don’t want to settle on a niche, get all juiced up and excited to find that there simply aren’t the products to sell. Or the ones that are available don’t pay enough.
The beauty of Affiliate Marketing is that there are products available in almost any niche that you can think of. You can find them by simply googling “your niche” + affiliate programs.
So if you choose to be in the exercise niche, but specialise in natural or vegan products then you might search for “vegan supplements affiliate programs”.
Let your mind wander and just keep making lists of what you find (save them is a spreadsheet for later).
Once you have say half a dozen products and their affiliate programs have a look at the commission levels they offer. Work out how much actual money you will be making per sale. This will let you figure out how many sales you need to make in order to hit your financial goals.
If you can make $100 per sale, and you would like $5,000 per month, you need to make 50 sales per month. Now this is 1-2 sales per day, which may be high especially when you’re starting out.
A little bit of research will help you figure out how realistic this is. Usually the affiliate programs themselves give some sales stats so you know if 1-2 sales is possible.
Now back on the actual products. Don’t be discouraged if there appear to be no products, or they pay too little commissions. You just need to think outside the box a bit.
A good friend of mine has a passion for helping people who suffer from sleep disorders. This could be snoring or more seriously sleep apnea. Now the tricky thing is many of the products to assist with these issues are physical and require a physical patient consultation to size and fit.
So how did he shift his business online? He realised that one of the biggest things causing problems when sleeping is obesity. Just the tiniest amount of weight gain could affect your breathing passage causing snoring or worse problems.
So while he could focus on building a local clientele for mouth guards etc, he could begin to solve peoples sleeping problems being an affiliate for weight loss programs!
Now here is a really interesting point. Weight loss is like the make money online niche – it is super competitive and hard to break into. But here’s an interesting lesson – you can tap into markets by coming at them from a completely different angle.
By ‘attracting’ an audience who are looking to solve their sleep problems he is reintroducing a solution they would already know about – weight loss. But when it is raised as a solution to another very real health problem they have, sleep apnea, they just might be compelled to take action.
So What Next?
Well the simple answer is to JUST GET STARTED!
Once you have followed the 5 steps to picking your perfect niche, the only thing left to do is to simply take action.
There are so many things when it comes to affiliate marketing that can slow you down. Picking your niche is just one of them. But each hurdle can easily derail you and stop you from moving forward and taking action.
Go through the steps a couple of times if you need, to check and refine your thinking;
- What are you Passionate about?
- What is your current Job?
- What are you Good at?
- Is there a Market – who is your audience?
- What Products can you sell?
But once you have done this then step 6 is really to just get started. Start producing content on your favourite platform. If you like to write, start blogging, if you like video, start on YouTube.
Here’s the thing, the ‘truth’ around your niche will only reveal itself AFTER you have started. You may need to refine your approach, or find new products or ‘tweek’ your content and messaging to suit your audience.
You won’t know any of these if you don’t start. I know people who started training people on social media and found that being more specific on instagram was their true niche. Or a friend of mine who started focusing on personal training, but found that power-lifting was where his niche worked best.
But none of this would have been revealed if they simply didn’t start.
I hope that helped, and I hope you now have an idea of the niche that truly excites and inspires you – because it’s yours!
Let me know what niche made most sense for you in the comments below.