Wondering how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing?
If yes, then youve probably decided to embark on the affiliate marketing journey so you can sit on your couch as your bank account automatically swells.
A ton of people dream of the too-good-to-be-true life of making ginormous amounts of cash without lifting a finger.
But heres the truth about affiliate marketing most people miss:
It requires a huge amount of work and patience before it actually starts paying off.
Plus, there are rules to follow to ensure you dont end up a failure. (Did you know that only 10% of affiliate marketers are making 90% of the affiliate marketing profits?)
Dont worry, though.
If you have the guts to stick with it and learn everything you can, youll thank your past self 5-10 years down the road, as you take mini-vacations anytime you want without worrying about a glowering boss.
Im here to help you reach that goal.
So if youre at the very beginning, dreaming your big dreams without a clue on how to reach them
…the very first step is to learn how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
Lets get started!
What Is a Niche? (And Why Its Important)
First things first.
Before selecting your niche from the hundreds out there, you need to know exactly what it is and why its important.
So, what is a niche anyway?
Simply put, its a specialized segment of a certain market.
For instance, lets talk about the fitness and health market.
Within this market, you can find several niches such as:
- Weight loss
- Bodyweight training
- Clean eating
- Metabolic confusion
All of these are completely different from one another, yet all of them stem from the fitness and health industry.
So, why is it important to pick a niche?
Wont you earn more if you stay in the bigger market, as youll be able to promote a much wider variety of products?
Well, technically yes.
But in any kind of business, spreading yourself too thin wont work out. Youll craft messages meant to be for everyone, and theyll end up appealing to no one.
Think of it like looking for an expert to teach you diving.
Do you go to:
- A person who knows a little about diving, biking, horsebackriding, and all kinds of sports?
- A professional diver whos competed in the Olympics and has dedicated his life to diving?
Of course, youll go for the second option.
The same is true of your audience.
Show them youre an authority in your niche, and theyll flock to you and ignore the people selling hundreds of different messages at once.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing: The Only 5 Steps Youll Ever Need
Now the exciting part begins.
Its time to choose your niche.
If youre nervous, dont be.
This part is mostly about you, your passions, and the name you want to build yourself. (A.k.a. Its fun.)
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #1: Use Yourself as Inspiration
As I mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is tough.
Itll take months or even years before you start seeing a profit. Youll need to set aside time to produce consistent content, or money to hire someone to create it for you. Youll need endless patience.
Thats why if you pick a niche you hate, it simply wont work for you.
Also, if you choose a niche you dont know much about, your audience will sense it and bail. (Trust me, theyll smell your inexperience from a mile away.)
So, how do you use yourself as inspiration when choosing a niche?
There are two ways.
First, you can select something youre interested in. This can be your specialty (your job, maybe, or the type of business you run), or your favorite hobby (travel, gardening).
This idea is great, as the chances of you getting bored and bailing on your affiliate marketing project will be slim.
For instance, take Nomadic Matt.
Matt is an affiliate marketer, promoting anything from bookings to travel insurance on his website.
But he isnt sitting in his living room, typing top 10 places to visit in Europe, spinning the article, and stacking it mile-high with his affiliate links.
Hes out there traveling the world and writing about his experiences.
To me, thats what makes affiliate marketing really worthwhile. When you can do what you love, share your experiences with the world, and make money at the same time, youre 100% living the dream.
The second way you can use yourself as inspiration when picking your niche is to think of a problem you solved in the past (or are in the middle of solving right now).
This can be chronic headaches, the side effects of diabetes, going through a divorce, and so on.
For instance, if you struggled with starting your own blog and finally figured out a way to do it, you can pick a niche in the blogging industry.
Then, you can promote products thatll help your readers perfect their own blogs.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #2: Balance Between Passion and Profit
Cool, youll say after reading step #1 on this blog. My affiliate marketing website should be about me and what I love. Ill go ahead and write about dying cats blue.
If this is you, hold on a minute.
First of all, its probably illegal to dye cats nowadays.
Second, your neighbor the cat lady will likely sneak into your house when youre asleep and slip arsenic into your milk jug.
But most importantly, no one cares about dyeing cats blue.
Which means, your blog and your affiliate marketing project will fall flat on its face.
What? youll say. You told me to create content based on my passions!
My answer: if your passion is dying cats blue, you should get another one.
On a more serious note, business is all about balance.
And affiliate marketing is no different.
Youll have to balance your passion with how much profit you can make from it.
So before you jump on any niche, make sure to check it for profitability and monetization opportunities first.
To start, do a quick Google search.
Lets go with your idea, how to dye cats blue.
Here are the results:
As you can see, there actually are ads on pet dye, which means this niche has some commercial value.
Oops! You were right after all.
So if dying your cat isnt illegal where youre from, and you have locks strong enough to prevent the cat lady from coming in…Id say go for it.
But theres another, more strategic way to make sure your niche is profitable.
This is through using a keyword research tool such as KWFinder. (You can get access to this amazing tool for only $29.90/month.)
Simply type your seed keyword into the search field. In this case, its pet dye.
What youre aiming for is a KD (keyword difficulty) score of below 40, and a search volume of more than 10,000.
If pet dye matches the successful keyword criteria, youre good to go!
To learn more about KWFinder, read our in-depth review here or watch our quick overview of what you can do below!
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #3: Determine the Types of Products Youll Sell
Of course, affiliate marketing isnt just blogging for the fun of it.
In the end, youll need to make sales with real products.
So before you choose a niche, youll need to determine which products youll promote and what kind of system youll use for upsells.
One strategy you can use (which Ive used for a couple of my sites) is to promote a combination of low-cost and premium products.
For instance, if you decide to go for a photography site, you can promote photography courses as your low-cost product, then go for camera equipment as your premium product.
Heres an example of how that works from SmartBlogger.
In the screenshot below, theyre promoting Astra Pro, which retails for $47/month.
In this next screenshot, theyre promoting a $997 course, Grow Your Audience.
Another thing youll want to consider is if youre going for hot trends or the evergreen market.
On the one hand, hot trends like carb cycling give you the chance to earn a ton of money fast. However, people may lose interest in it once the next fancy diet comes around.
On the other hand, staying in the evergreen market may mean your profits will come in slower, but be more consistent over time. For instance, clean eating is a niche thats been around for some time and will likely continue to be popular throughout the years.
The key is to sit down and give yourself time to think deeply on your strategy. Ask yourself how long you plan to be in affiliate marketing and what kind of outlook feels good to you.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #4: Choose Your USP
Theres no doubt about it.
The web is overcrowded.
Scary fact: 70 million new blogs appear on WordPress alone per day. Plus theres social media. Theres email. There are millions of sparkling new podcasts.
Which means, theres a huge chance youll be ignored online.
Thats exactly why you need a USP (unique selling point).
A USP is the key to standing out in a sea of noise. Its that special factor that makes your blog different from all the others out there.
Before finalizing your selection of a niche, make sure you know your USP.
For instance, if youre going into the finance niche, you can be like Ramit Sethi and call your brand I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
Then shock your audience by telling them they can buy all the lattes they want.
The key here is to find a unique angle to approach your subject with. Be daring. Be unique. Be 100% yourself.
If you find the secret to standing out and capturing your audiences heart (and attention), youll be on the fast track to affiliate marketing success.
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing Step #5: Use Market Deficiencies to Your Own Advantage
This is related to the previous point, and involves finding ways to stand out from competitors in your niche.
(Remember, if you feel you cant stand out in a certain niche, it might be better to move on and pick another one.)
The trick here is to spy on your competition.
Visit their websites and ask yourself:
- What is their USP?
- Whats special about them that I cant find anywhere else?
- Whats lacking?
- Are there any gaps that my site can fill?
- Do they have any images and videos?
- Do they optimize their posts for SEO?
Doing these may sound too advanced for someone just picking a niche.
But its important.
In the end, you dont want to spend a ton of work in a niche that you simply cant stand out in.
So plan carefully, equip yourself with a detectives pocket notebook, and go do some spying!
How to Choose a Niche for Affiliate Marketing: What It Boils Down To
In the end, there really is no right and wrong when it comes to how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing.
Sure, there are rules and guidelines thatll make it easier and help you make a better choice.
But what it boils down to is what interests you. What do you love doing? What could you do for many years without getting tired?
Then, are there other people who love the same things you do? Are there digital or physical products you can promote related to your niche?
Give yourself some time and space, answer these questions, and youll be closer to your affiliate marketing goals than ever.
All screenshots taken by the author, September 2021.