A Real Business Or Profitable Hobby?
A good idea when starting out is to approach affiliate marketing as a profitable hobby and then extend that into a full time business after things are rolling in the right direction.
It’s never a good idea to quit any job you’re currently in, or pull yourself out of any income-generating situation you already have to pursue those hopes of making it big in the affiliate marketing industry.
Approach this as a class you’re taking in your free time. It’s very tempting to want to just blaze through everything and dive right in head-first but you’ll find that doing that is probably going to cause you to drown.
Everything you need to know to get an actual affiliate business operating is inside this training best affiliate marketing course. It’s all laid out in steps so you only need to follow them and with some creative thinking on your part, you’ll start to see progress in very short time.
Branding is important, there’s no doubt about it. However, as an affiliate marketer you don’t really have to concern yourself with it in many cases unless the style of marketing you do lends itself to branding.
Here’s what we mean…
Let’s say you run a review website for some line of products in a niche of your choosing. Now, whatever the products and niche are don’t matter in this case. What matters is that your site has consistency and is helpful to the consumer.
In a case like this it actually would be helpful to build a brand for your business so that anyone who is in the market for the products you review (and sell) would come to you specifically for guidance and a place to make a purchase. Even if you’re just pointing the buyer in the direction of another store, they will first come to your website to reach that final destination because they know and trust your brand.
As human beings we are creatures of habit which means that we’ll often times go for what we are already familiar with as well and what we like or prefer. This is why there are so many of the same products available in stores under different brands… branding works when it makes sense.
On the flip-side however…
Let’s say you’re in the business of “launch jacking” (something we’ll cover later) and your business model revolves around throwing up a bunch of “one-off” sites designed to capitalize off of a trend or some hot new product or service which will only be around and making money for a predetermined amount of time. In a case like this branding is just not necessary and might even hurt you in the end.
Branding is not hard to do. All it really requires is a logo and a name for your business entity. A lot of times people don’t even register the “business name” they use for their websites and stuff. They’ll just throw something up which sounds nice and is recognizable then roll with it.
You could do this for some short term things, but if you plan on building out an authority site or something really big then it’s a good idea to register the name so you own it and nobody can take it away from you.
What was just discussed was the topic of Trademarks. In order to register a trademark in your local area (or wherever your business is registered) you’ll need to look up specifics online. The process isn’t too difficult, and it’s also not really necessary in many cases. But in the event you feel you’d benefit from it, it’s mentioned here simply so you’ll know it exists and is something to consider.
Branding can work on the trademark level just as it can work on the business name level. An example of this is the company Coke. You probably recognize the brand of the soft-drink but the actual business name is also registered under something similar. Not only that but Coke also owns a number of other brand names which all have their own brand recognition.
One of the most common questions from affiliates just starting out is “which niche should I get into?” and that’s a very reasonable question.
It can be difficult to determine which niche to start promoting offers for, so we’ve dedicated an entire lesson to it in order to help you make a wiser decision in order to see higher profits.
Let’s jump right into this.
Why The MMO Niche Is Bad For Beginners
It’s very tempting to want to jump in the deep-end and earn a living doing what you know (online & affiliate marketing) but the truth is that you’re going to be competing with GIANTS as well as everyone else on the planet who has the exact same idea as you… and that’s a whole lot of people!
This is not meant to discourage you from giving it a try, if you really wish to that is. However, you will have your work cut out for you.
You’ll be much better off jumping into something more manageable and then venture off into the MMO niche down the line once your marketing skills have been sharpened.
The K.I.S.S. Rule & Marketing
With all the options available to you as an affiliate marketer it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The key to reaching your goals is keeping things as simple as possible while still performing all the necessary tasks required to get the job done.
Affiliate marketing can get very detailed and even difficult, those are your competition based on your niche selection. The good news is that you don’t have to do what they do, at least not at first.
A simple plan of attack could be something like this:
- Pick a profitable niche
- Build a very simple affiliate marketing blog based on your chosen niche
- SEO the heck out of that blog
- Fit that blog with Ads or Promotions to monetize it
- Start a YouTube channel and make it look presentable
- Pick out your 12 most profitable keywords from your affiliate marketing blog
- Make 1 video for each keyword & SEO your videos (more on this in the future)
- Have a link in each video’s description point back to each page of your blog
- Wait for traffic to roll in while you monitor results
The steps above are somewhat simplified, but they are the basic outline for one very common method of affiliate marketing.
We will be going over this method in more detail in the near future, just in case you would like to learn more about it for ideas & inspiration.
Niche Hunting The Easy Way
Let them do the footwork for you!
The following method is not new, nor is it anything fancy… but it works!
Picking a niche to jump into can be a tricky thing at first. It’s probably one of the biggest sticking points for most new affiliate marketers so this entire section is dedicated to squashing that hurdle for good.
Clickbank.com Category Hack
Head over to clickbank.com and login to your account.
Look at the very top of the page and find the link which says “Marketplace” which looks something like this:
That link will direct you to the Clickbank Marketplace which you’ll be able to use to browse a whole bunch of niches which have been shown to be profitable based on their gravity scores.GIF
The example above shows the following:
- The red links on the left of the screen are the main categories
- When clicking on the tiny arrows each main category expands to sub categories
- All of these are potential profitable niches you could test out for yourself
- The sections being highlighted by the mouse near the end are “gravity scores”
The Idea Here is Simple…
Navigate through the different categories & subcategories to find something you might have an interest in promoting and building a blog or website around.
When looking at the “gravity score” it’s pretty simple. Just look for a niche which has a number of products with a gravity score above 10.
You could experiment with lower gravity scores if you wish. Technically speaking, just about all of the categories within this list on Clickbank could make for a profitable niche to build a profitable business around, but the idea is to make things a little easier on you when starting out.
Not only is this a good method to find a niche to jump into but it will also give you a selection of products you can begin promoting right away!
Amazon.com is the largest marketplace on the internet and because of this you can bet they pour a lot of money into testing everything in an effort to optimize their profit margins.
What this means for us is that they do all the hard work and we can swoop in and reap the rewards!
To view the entire category & niche section for all of Amazon simply follow the example shown below.GIF
Look toward the top of the page on the Amazon.com homepage.
Move your mouse pointer over the link which says “Departments” and a drop-down list will pop up.
Move your mouse pointer to the bottom of that drop-down list to where it says “Full Store Directory” and click on it, you’ll then be redirected to the directory of every category on Amazon.
Each one of these is a potential niche you could jump into. If you dig deeper into any one of these you’ll also discover sub-niches of niches, potentially up to a few levels deep if you desire to “niche down” that far.
One more detail to note is the Amazon “Best Sellers” page.
Not only is this page good for spotting trends within Amazon’s most popular categories but it’s also helpful to choosing some of the more competitive (and in many cases high profit) niches for consumer products.
It’s important to keep in mind that Amazon is only a single source which specializes in physical products. If you don’t wish to deal with physical goods then you could still check with Amazon for niche related research and then locate other products such as info-based-products which could be marketed to that niche.
The Alexa.com website is used primarily for traffic & demographic statistics for a large number of websites. Some people like to add it to their affiliate marketing toolbelt, and it can certainly be helpful. However, a lot of their data is estimated based on a number of data points that only they actually know.
We won’t be using them for this purpose however, this is the section on finding a niche you can begin promoting offers in, so that’s what we’re going to use them for right now.
The idea when using Alexa.com is to spark a broad idea which you can then dig deeper down into.GIF
When on the Alexa homepage do the following:
- Locate & move your mouse pointer over “Features” near the top of the web page
- Locate & then click on the link called “Top Sites” just as demonstrated above
- Locate the link which says “By Category” near top of page & click on it
- Select your 1st choice while keeping in mind you’ll be redirected to sub-niches
- Repeat the last step just above this one as some categories have multiple sub-niches
Once you have something you’d like to explore you can scroll down the page and see a list of “top sites” which are ranked by Alexa.
Some of these web sites might even have affiliate programs of their own for future reference when it comes time to begin promoting offers… so take note of this, it could be useful to you.
The Answers.com website has been around a long time and though it may not be as popular as it once was, it’s still an excellent source when deciding on a niche.GIF
The steps needed to find a whole bunch of possible niche related categories is to look at the upper right corner of the page… you’ll see “ALL SECTIONS” click that.
All of the sections on the entire website will now be visible to you. Each one of these can be opened up even further if you click on the tiny arrows to the left of each word.
If you click on the words themselves they will act as links and may open up a new page instead of expanding the list further so just be aware of that.
This technique isn’t so much about finding a niche but instead looking one up to see if it’s worth your time.
Navigate to the Google Trends web page… It tends to change the way it looks quite often so what’s depicted in this lesson might seem different from what you’ll see at any given time, but the method works in the exact same way.GIF
Once you have the Google Trends page loaded up you simply need to type in whichever search term you had in mind and press the enter key on your keyboard. (Example Image Above)
Something to notice also are the extra terms which come up as you type your search term into the bar. They are usually very closely related to your original term so you might get a bonus idea or two this way.GIF
When you reach the results page it will look something like the image above.
At the very top / left you’ll have a panel with your search term in it.
Directly to the right of that you’ll have a 2nd panel which you can use to add another term if you wish to compare data between the two terms.
Under that you will see:
- Past 12 months
- All categories
- Web Search
Each of these will open up a selection box which you can scroll through, or simply type in the results you want instead. When you take advantage of these four options you will change the results of the graph below them.
The image of a graph above is where you’ll get the majority of data necessary to decide if the niche you picked is worth your time or not.
You can change the amount of time this graph covers by adjusting the “Past 12 months” option just above it. There are a number of pre-built ranges to choose from, or you can make your own with the custom option at the bottom of the list. See below for a quick demonstration of this in action.GIF
As you can see, when the time frame was changed from 1 year to 5 years the graph changed to a downward slant (every keyword and time-frame you pick will give a unique result). Nothing too drastic in this case, that steady decline over 5 years does show that the niche chosen for this example “cake decorating” might not be the best, but it’s still do’able.
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to determining if a niche is something you should or should not work with. If you ask a dozen people you’ll get about half a dozen answers… because half of them would have come up with some arbitrary “rule” and the other half would just be copying them!
The one thing to keep in mind is that the numbers you see on the Google Trends site are not actual search-volume figures. Instead, they’re just a percentage of the whole search volume which has been divided up into the different regions.
In order to see what the search volume is for any given keyword you’ll need to use the Google Keyword Planner, and by doing so you will get a rough estimate. We’ll be covering that in the very next lesson just after this one wraps up.GIF
Take a look at the image above, see how the mouse hovers over different parts of the map while a box pops up displaying different numbers.
That number is a percentage and each location on the map will show a different percent. When you add all the numbers together you’ll get 100%
So, we see things like… 16% and 14% and even 65% way over in Australia.
What this information is good for is things like knowing which countries to target more heavily when running PPC ads. Since certain territories favor a certain keyword more than others it may be a very good idea to target those favorable areas of the globe and then expand outward from there with the 2nd best and 3rd best results and so-on.
Just keep in mind that ALL the numbers on the Google Trends results page are a percentage and not actual search-volume. Again, you need the Google Keyword Planner for that.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner is something all affiliate marketers become familiar with at some point in their career.
You should already have an account now, but here is something worth taking note of.
The Keyword Tool is part of the Google AdWords platform and if you plan on using this platform to run paid-advertising at some point in the future then you’re going to want to set yourself up with a proper account… remember, you can basically own as many Google accounts as you’d like (within reason) and because of this fact you can have a few “throwaway” accounts and a few serious accounts you need for serious tasks; such as your master Gmail account.
If you want to be cautious with this step then it’s recommended you make yet another Google Account and be sure to use your real personal details upon signing up. Your credit card details, mailing address and etc. will all be tied to this account as it will be the one you use Google AdWords from.
A quick note…
You don’t need to ever use a credit card on any of your Google Accounts if you never plan on running paid ads.
If using a credit card is an issue then simply ignore those parts but just know that in the event you ever do want to use paid advertising with Google you will need a credit card to process your payments for those ads.
In the previous lesson we discussed finding the search volume for a given keyword so let’s do that right now.
Log Into Your Account:
Navigate To The ‘Tools’ Section & Select Keyword Planner:
Get Search Volume Data:
You may have noticed there are a number of settings you can change, details you can specify and though it may be clear for some just based off the images above… let’s go over what these details are right now anyway.
- Option 1: Enter Keyword – This is where your actual keyword goes
- Option 2: Upload File – If you have a spreadsheet with keywords it goes here
- Targeting: This is composed of a few parts and they are as follows
- Location: This is for targeting specific countries if you wish to
- Platform: You will see “Google” as the default but you can also use search partners as well as Google to expand your reach
- Negative Keywords: If you know there are words you don’t want to target then this is where they go, this works well for long-tail keywords
- Date Range: This is customizable however it’s typically best left alone for the fact that when searching terms in the keyword tool you’ll usually want data for just a single year
The information provided above is simply for the sake of finding “search volume” for any given keyword. If you’ll recall back to the lesson about using Google Trends, you’ll remember that the numbers shown are a percentage of some mysterious number… this is how to find that number.
Google Keyword Planner
(for niche research)
The keyword planner is usually used for keyword research with the intent of SEO and PPC. However, it is also possible to get some very solid niche ideas and we are going to review how to do that right now.
Let’s go back to the beginning by loading up the Google Keyword Planner just as before so we can start a fresh search.GIF
Navigate to the “Tools” menu at the top of the page and click on the “Keyword Planner” option when it shows up. The page will for the keyword planner will load and we’ll be ready to begin.GIF
Once on a freshly loaded page you’ll see the familiar sight of three options which you can choose from.
Go ahead and click on the option at the top which says “Search for new keywords using a phrase…” and then enter your keyword of choice into the text-box just as demonstrated in the image above. Take into consideration that it’s usually a good idea to use broad keywords for this step, but not too broad. For example:
“Weight loss” is very broad and although it might be worth checking out you might find it hard to “niche down” with just that one keyword alone.
“Keto diet” is much more specific and is already a sub-niche of “weight loss” so it would give you more specific results which is a good thing.
You can always try both of these things and then take notes on the results you get, using new keywords you find to keep digging deeper… that would work really well.
Notice that there are other options you could use instead of just typing in a keyword.
You could input a web page URL if you wanted to. If you did this then Google would analyze that page and pull keywords it determines to be correct based on the data that was on that specific page. This is usually a good way to get keyword ideas as a starting point if you’re out of ideas or don’t know where to start.
The image above has the web page URL highlighted in bright-yellow so you know where to copy them from. Every browser you use will have this same “address bar” where you can copy the URL from. (URL is just another way of saying ‘website address’)
Just find a competitor’s website, plug-in a page or two of theirs which you think could give you good results and let Google provide you with keywords which you can then expand upon with more research.
There is also an option to search for keywords using Google’s own ‘category list’ but this option isn’t used very often because it’s very restrictive. If you wish to browse through it and give it a try just to see how it works then feel free to.GIF
The next thing to look at is the “Targeting” section which is demonstrated in the image above.
There are 4 boxes under this section and the very first one is where you can pick your location. If you do not pick a location the search will default to All locations and that could give you inaccurate results based on what you want to see. If you don’t need to get specific with this then leaving it on “All locations” could be a good idea.
The last 2 boxes which say “Google” & “Negative Keywords” can usually be left alone when performing this sort of research. If you wanted to input some Negative Keywords such as “free” to prevent them from showing up in the results page just to save you some time sorting through them then that would be fine but it’s optional.
Just to the right of the “Targeting” section is the “Customize your search” section.
There are 3 boxes under this section and the 1st one can be ignored in most cases. It’s called “Keyword filters” and it will let you filter out your search results based on the options within it…
The images above are what you’ll see by default (left image) and what you’ll see when you click on the “Keyword filter” box (right image).
As you can see… you have a number of different filters at your fingertips. Unless you had very specific reasons to use these, they’re pretty useless for this type of research. Feel free to play around with them if you’d like, each option does as it says.
- Average monthly searches: Filters results & only targets what you specify.
- Suggested bid: Does the same thing but with respect to bid price
- Ad impression share: The number of impressions you’ve received divided by the total number of searches.
Just below these options are the different “Competition” settings which can be checked off for “High” / “Medium” / “Low”
Competition can be a decent indication of profitability for any given keyword and it’s “market intent”. This is not always the case and it will be left up you to to determine these things which get easier to do over time with practice and experience.
A general rule of thumb however is “if the competition is low for any particular keyword then it may not be a profitable keyword to use as advertisers are choosing to NOT spend money on it”.
Again, this is not always the case so you’ll have to rely on further research to determine this sometimes.
The final box “Keywords to include” is completely optional. You can use it to be sure that your search results return keywords which always contain a specific word, but this will drastically limit your results and is not advised in most cases.
Once everything is set up the way you want it just click the button to get your results. The image below demonstrates what a typical keyword search looks like.GIF
So, what are we looking for here?
Google archives a lot of data… A LOT!
Because of this fact it’s also a pretty reliable resource to draw ideas from since it does a fantastic job of archiving and cataloging everything.
Ad Group Ideas
After looking up a keyword, either by typing it in or using the URL of some niche-related website we are going to look up Ad Groups.GIF
The image above shows where the “Ad Group Ideas” tab is located, go ahead and click on it to see the list of ideas Google has compiled for you.
What you will find (in most cases) is that there are a lot of really good ideas for sub-niches you could jump into and begin building marketing campaigns and even entire websites & businesses around.
All Ad Groups are listed on the left side (Ad groups by relevance) and if you click on the blue links they will load a new page with all the keywords within your selected Ad Group.
One great place to look for ideas is in the vast number of forums out there online. The trouble is the actual hunting process, it can take forever!
That’s where this very cool website comes in handy… Findaforum.net
In order to find the categories available (which also act as a niche selection tool for you) just follow the example below:GIF
Near the top of the page you’ll see the “Categories” tab. Simply click on that and you’ll have access to the entire list of all the categories this website keeps track of. The great news is that this handy website only indexes active forums which means you stand a much better chance of picking something worth testing and ultimately marketing with than if you were to just start “Googleing” forums on your own.
Evergreen Niche vs. One-off Niche
Maybe you’ve heard the term “evergreen niche” before and aren’t sure what it means. In simple terms it’s a niche or market which has a constant demand for the products sold within it. It doesn’t rely on trends, it doesn’t rely on holiday seasons or any other temporary timeframe.
If you’ll recall the Google Trends method of niche research we discussed how to read the line graph to see if a trend is steady, climbing or dying off over a given amount of time. This can oftentimes be a fair indication of an evergreen niche vs. a one-off niche.
It’s true that both of these types of niches can be profitable but you do stand a better chance of longevity if you decide to go with an evergreen niche. This is not necessary and you may not even want to, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Below is a list of some evergreen niches, it’s by no means complete, but there are 129 good starting points to help create a shortcut for you.
5. Anger Management
6. Anti Aging
13. Back Pain
15. Bass Fishing
16. Become A Nurse
17. Bird Training / Train Your Bird to Talk
18. Boating & Sailing
21. Camping and Hiking
25. Chicken Coops
26. Chronic Fatigue
27. Classic Cars
30. Cure Hemorrhoids
35. Dog Training
37. Eating Disorders
40. Get Your Ex Back
44. Hair Loss
46. Heart Disease
49. Horse Racing
50. Horses Training
51. How To Be Confident
52. How To Budget
53. How to Get Rid of Panic Attacks
54. How to Learn French
55. How to Learn German
56. How to Learn Guitar
57. How to Learn Italian
58. How to Learn Spanish
59. How to Play the Piano
60. How to Play the Violin
64. Insurance (home/auto/life/pet)
65. Interior Design
66. Invest In Gold
69. Lawn Care
70. Learn The Guitar
71. Learn To Dance
72. Learn To Sing
73. Life Coaching
74. Low Fat Recipes
75. Magic Tricks
76. Marriage Advice
77. Martial Arts
79. Memory Improvement
81. Mental Health
82. Model Trains
85. Mountain Biking
86. Multiple Sclerosis
88. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
89. Organic Food
97. Public Domain
104. Saltwater Fishing
106. Scuba Diving
107. Self-Sustainability (solar power/wind-power/water filtration)
108. Single Parenting
113. Stop Smoking
114. Stop Snoring
117. Tattoo Removal
119. Time Management
122. Wedding Planning
123. Wedding Speeches
124. Weight Loss
125. Weight Training
126. Wine Making
Powerhouse Affiliate Forum
This might seem obvious but it’s worth mentioning. The forum right here at Powerhouse Affiliate can be an excellent resource to shoot ideas and questions back & forth with other affiliates just like yourself!
Think about it, we’re all in the same boat, we all start off with the same set of tools but eventually branch off and pick up unique skills which can be very beneficial when shared with the community. If we all pitch in and help each other out then there’s no limit to how powerful the forum can be as a resource.
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