At AffiliateWP we always like to gain insights into the pain points of our audience – and one of the things affiliate marketers seem to struggle with most is choosing a niche.

What is commonly referred to as a niche has traditionally been referred to as a target market, but now the two terms seem to be somewhat interchangeable amongst affiliate marketers. Before we can have a meaningful conversation on the topic, we should make a clear distinction!

In this post, we are going to consider niche as being on the business side, rather than a specific group of people you are trying to target with your marketing. For example, if you’re an activewear business, your niche might be middle-aged women’s activewear – and your target market middle-aged women who want to keep active.

In this case:

Niche = what you’re selling

and

Target market = who you’re selling to

There are some arguments that a target market is broad and a niche is very specific, but in actuality, your target market can be as broad or as narrow as required.

Now, let’s talk about three important elements of choosing an affiliate marketing niche.

1. Passion

Despite what some internet marketers say, affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick strategy or hands-off form of passive income. In reality, affiliate marketing requires plenty of dedication if you want the results to be truly worthwhile. This is why the element of passion is so important.

But when I say passion, I mean a few different things:

  • What you’re interested in
  • What you’re good at
  • What you already spend your time on
  • Where your knowledge and expertise is

In this context, passion can even mean a hobby or pastime.

The point is:

The affiliate niche you choose should be something that you naturally want to invest your time and effort in.

This is not only because creating an affiliate website or landing page is a lot more fun when you enjoy the topic; It’s also because you’re going to have a much easier time coming up with content and marketing your affiliate products if you’re working with things that naturally interest you.

I could say, “Do what you love.” I could also say, “Do what you already do.” Either way, this can translate to affiliate marketing!

Questions to answer:

  • What are your existing hobbies, interests, and passions? In which areas do you have expertise or industry authority?
  • Which of those things would you actually enjoy creating content around?
  • Have you already created content like blog posts, videos, or podcasts that speak to a specific niche?
  • Do you have an existing audience or social media following that you can use for affiliate marketing?

Of course, you don’t have to factor passion into the equation; Many affiliate marketers simply choose a niche based on earning potential alone – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, in general, passion adds an extra dimension to your affiliate marketing efforts that makes the whole experience more enjoyable (and more rewarding) from start to finish.

2. Profitability

While choosing a niche that you’re actually interested in is important, profitability is still a crucial element – that is, if you actually want to make money!

Determining the profitability of an affiliate marketing niche involves assessing two things:

Competition and demand.

How saturated is the niche you’re considering? Are there a lot of other affiliates vying for the same audience? If you choose a broad niche with a lot of competition, it can be very difficult to gain traction.

On the other hand, if you choose a niche with very little competition, it doesn’t necessarily lead to success if there isn’t high demand as well.

So, how do you figure this out? Well, are people searching for topics related to the niche? Is there actually an audience for what you want to promote?

You can find out by perusing question-and-answer sites like Quora to see if people are looking for information related to your prospective niche. You can also use Google Keyword Planner to research things like the average number of monthly searches, competition level (high to low), and suggested bid (cost per click).

From there, you can glean:

  • how much traffic a specific keyword is generating,
  • how difficult it might be to actually rank in search results for that keyword, and
  • the general value of the keyword.

If you’ve joined an affiliate marketing network like ClickBank, you can also research the average sale prices of specific niche products and see how well they are selling.

All of this gives you enough information to determine whether or not any given niche is profitable enough to be worth your time!

In short:

Low-to-medium competition and high demand (traffic) is ideal.

3. Longevity

For many affiliates who put together blogs, websites, and other content, the longevity of a niche is a key factor. After all, who wants to go to great efforts to create content and get a website up and running for a niche that is here today and gone tomorrow?

On the other hand, certain niches are ripe for exclusively short-term (or periodic) gains – just think about trending or seasonal products, for example.

Holiday promotions can be some of the most lucrative opportunities out there that work well within very limited windows of time, while other time-sensitive items such as event merchandise tend to lose their allure after the events have passed.

When considering which niche is right for you, it’s helpful to have an idea of which strategy you want to use. Alternatively, your passion for a specific niche may entirely dictate whether you take the short-term or long-term approach.

Sometimes, a niche has longevity simply because it allows room for versatility. For instance, choosing a niche that has endless topics to write about can be more beneficial than choosing a high-performing, but very narrow niche that brings in traffic from a single source; More diversity can increase the overall value of your content and give you access to a wider audience.

Well, within reason. A broader focus also has the capacity to dilute the effects of your marketing efforts, too. This is why it’s so essential to do your research on profitability, no matter which route you choose.

To recap

Choosing the right affiliate marketing niche – one that you’re actually passionate about, that has the right mix of competition and demand, and offers the longevity you’re looking for – is one of the most crucial parts of building a career in affiliate marketing.

Remember to ask:

  1. What is the niche (or niches) you are passionate about?
  2. How profitable is that niche in terms of competition, demand, and overall performance?
  3. Does the niche have long-term staying power? (If not, are you happy with short-term or periodic gains?)

Finding that sweet spot can be magical, but making the right choice doesn’t happen without some serious thought and careful research. So, be aware that some work is required upfront to bring you the best results!

How did you choose your own affiliate marketing niche? Do you have some insights to share? We’d love to hear from you, so be sure to drop us a comment below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy Jones is a content creator at Sandhills Development, a music maker, and founder of Looplicious. A Minnesota native, she's a frequent traveler and animal lover with a passion for creative work and digital business. When she’s not writing blog posts for Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP, she can often be found hanging out with other people’s pets.

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