Market research is one of the essential steps in building a profitable affiliate marketing niche website.
It’s important because if you pick the wrong niche, all your efforts to build your site and try to get traffic will be in vain. In most cases, your path to building a stable online income will be an uphill battle.
When you choose a profitable niche, everything changes.
Gaining traffic, generating leads, and sales will then be a lot easier and faster.
Over the years, I have refined my research method into a precise three-step plan for finding profitable affiliate niche markets.
I’ve used this formula to research hundreds of affiliate marketing niches, and it works fabulously.
Three steps for finding profitable affiliate niches:
Step 1: Determine the buyer’s motivation. Look for niches where the money is already being spent. (Find out what’s already selling well.)
Step 2: Assess the potential size of the market. (Find out what the monthly organic search volume of the niche topics is.)
Step 3: Evaluate the competition. (Investigate the competition for high rankings in Google’s organic search results.)
Below we will cover each step in detail. We’ll discuss why they are so important, how to execute each step, and how each step fits together to form a good final judgment of the affiliate niche market.
To make it easier for you, I’ll give you an example from one of my affiliate marketing niche websites.
I used the same three steps to research the Labrador market.
I set up this personal website back in 2011 and honestly haven’t done much about it since then. Yet, this website is generating sales month after month on autopilot.
One of the main reasons the website is still performing so well is because of the market research I did previously.
I love this formula because it works every time you apply it in the way I describe it. In fact, I’ve used it to discover dozens of profitable affiliate marketing niches in a wide variety of different businesses.
The formula never changes, and you can apply it to as many niches as you want. I’m going to show you step-by-step how you can do this.
So, without further ado, let’s discuss step 1: Where is the money!
Step 1: Determine the buyer’s motivation.
We are looking for niches where people are already willing to spend.
In this step, we’re going to assess what I like to call “buyer’s motivation.
Don’t worry about whether there is competition in that marketing niche. At this stage, we first want to investigate where the money is being spent.
In the next steps, we will determine the competition and the size of the market.
So, let’s get started!
How to Explore Profitable Affiliate Marketing Niches?
There are many ways to explore the market. Below are some of these methods:
1. Buy a new magazine once a week
Buy a magazine on a topic you usually don’t read or aren’t interested in.
The goal is double. First, you will gain ideas that you might never think of, and second, you will broaden your horizons.
2. Look around on Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, Ebay.com ShareASale.com
These are all 100% free resources to discover profitable niches.
Look for the bestsellers books and products on Amazon. What’s trending right now? What do people buy? Ask these same questions on eBay and ShareASale.
This is an essential part of your market research on what to really do. Spend enough time looking through the material.
3. Keep your ears open.
Listen to what people are saying. Visit forums and blogs, and check out Twitter and Facebook. What are the discussions about?
Are there particular problems or topics that stand out? Do people have specific questions or concerns about a specific topic?
Ideas will automatically come up once you do the market research process regularly.
4. Write everything down.
Do yourself a favor, and don’t rely on remembering everything. Grab a pen and paper (or open a Google doc, if you are modern) and write down all the ideas. You may forget an idea that later turns out to be a hot niche before you know it.
YouTube is also an excellent resource for discovering niche topics.
People use YouTube as a search engine when they are looking for information. If something is popular on YouTube, then there is interest in the topic.
All of the above suggestions are great methods to find profitable niches.
We don’t yet know if the niches we’ve found meet all the criteria necessary for us to move on to the next steps. But this step is a great starting point.
Once you’ve put together a list of potential niche topics, you should start researching which of these niches have a good variety of affiliate marketing products you can offer.
The reason why Step 1 exists is to reduce the risk by finding products that are already selling and thus niches where the money is already being spent.
By properly analyzing niches and where the money is already being spent, you will significantly increase your chances of success.
You also sort the bad apples out and ensure that you spend your time only on profitable affiliate marketing niches.
I can tell from experience that there is nothing more annoying than spending a lot of time, energy, and money on a niche that has no potential to be profitable for a long period.
Why search for niches where the money is already being spent?
In short, because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
If something has worked in the past and is still working now, it will likely work in the future.
The great thing is that you can set up profitable niche websites too if you just follow these three steps.
There are plenty of places to find out what’s selling right now, but Amazon is one of my favorites. It gives me all the information I need to determine the profitability of a niche quickly and easily.
Now you know how to find profitable niches, so we’re going to explore the market’s size.
Each step of the market research is designed to refine your list of affiliate marketing niche ideas so that only the best niches remain.
Step 2 – Market size
We are going to assess the potential size of the market. We want to find a market in which money is not only spent but which is also large enough to make a profit in the long term.
So, first, we found over a hundred niches where the money is spent. Now we will narrow this list further by examining whether these potential affiliate marketing niches can generate profits for an extended period of time.
Ultimately, after these three steps of our market research, we want to end up with a list of niches that meet all three criteria of our market research:
- Products that sell.
- Products with high customer demand.
- Low competition products.
Profitable affiliate marketing niches always meet all 3 criteria, not just one or two.
These are the niches where you have the best chance of making money quickly and easily.
Our goal is to answer a simple question: Are people interested in this niche?
You could find a niche topic where products sell well, but then the market size is not large enough to make a long-term profit.
You can assess the size of the market differently. Look in the books section of Amazon.com.
When researching a niche, see if there are multiple recessions for the products you find? You can also visit forums to research a niche. Are these forums active? Do they have many members?
Why are these indicators of the size of the market? Simply put, if many people are interested in a topic, it generally means that the market can be quite large and thus profitable.
The more product reviews or activities you see on forums, the greater its size and potential customer base for that affiliate niche.
While these techniques are useful indicators of the market’s size, the results are not always consistent.
None of these methods are “scientific.” To get real answers, we need a scientific method. That is the only way to really determine the size of a market.
The fastest and easiest way to find the statistics we need is to use Google’s keyword planner.
With this tool, we can find out specific search volumes that immediately tell us the market size.
While I used Amazon and Youtube for my research into potential markets, I came across the ‘Labrador’ niche.
Now we’re going to investigate whether the market is big enough to set up a potential website for the long term, and Google’s keyword planner will tell us.
Go to Google’s Keyword Tool, log in or sign up and click on search for new keywords by the phrase, website, or category.
Enter the keyword (your affiliate marketing niche subject), select filters, and only display closely related topics.
Then click on “generate ideas.”
Note, I enter both the singular and plural of the term “Labrador.” This ensures that we get all the results we want to see.
Once the results are displayed, click on the “Keyword Ideas” tab and look at the average monthly searches to determine the market’s size.
To do this, click on the “Avg. Monthly searches,” so the results are displayed from high to low in terms of the searches number per month.
Now see if the top 10 search terms add up to more than 9,000 searches per month. This ensures that the market is large enough to proceed to step 3.
If the number of searches exceeds 9,000, then our potential market meets two of the three criteria for finding profitable niches.
Important Tip: Do not overestimate the number of searches per month by adding duplicates or variations of a keyword. Avoid counting these search terms as individual terms. Google can display the number of searches for both the singular and plural of the keyword.
We have now refined our ideas list to niches where people are motivated to spend money, and there is big customer demand. The third and final step of our three-step plan is to analyze the competition in our niche.
Step 3 – How to Analyze Affiliate Marketing niche competition?
The less competition, the easier it will be for us to get a top 10 position in Google and form a stable flow of targeted visitors to our website.
After completing the final step, we will be left with affiliate marketing niches with:
- a large market size,
- where people are willing to spend money,
- but still have very little competition.
This means that when we set up our niche website, we will:
- attract visitors easily (thanks to the low competition),
- attract many consistent visitors (due to the size of the market),
- and ensure a stream of sales (because these visitors are passionate buyers).
Remember that each step builds upon the previous one, so don’t skip anything.
Remember, the purpose of these steps is to find the best affiliate marketing niches the internet offers, and then build simple websites that rank high in the search engines.
These can be either affiliate websites where you sell other’s products and receive a percentage of your product websites where you sell your own goods.
This is one of the easiest and most effective models for generating a passive online income. Yes, some people make $10,000 a month.
When you use the process – you will be able to discover niches that fit this model perfectly.
The advantage of this market research is that it is based on numbers and not intuition. Ultimately, this means that it is an objective process rather than a subjective one, which implies you can apply it to multiple niches without really thinking about it.
We now turn to the final step of the market research – analyzing the competition. Again, we want to find out how competitive our markets are in the organic search results.
I’ve already talked about the benefits of focusing on the organic search results to drive quality traffic (highly targeted traffic). Plus, traffic is relatively easy to get if you know how to do it.
Page Authority & Domain Authority
One of the simplest and easiest ways to determine the competition in organic search results is to look at the average PA (Page Authority) and DA (Domain Authority).
In a nutshell, the Page Authority is an indicator that determines how well a web page ranks in Google search results. Domain Authority is an indicator that indicates how a site ranks in search engine results.
Domain Authority and Page Authority are indicated on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best score.
We can use DA and PA to evaluate the competition in the affiliate marketing niche (or any niche, for that matter). The higher the PA and DA of a given website, the more difficult it will generally be to outperform those websites in the organic SERPs (search engine results pages).
I say “generally” because there are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to SEO.
To get a good overall picture of the competition in a niche, let’s first research the top 3 keywords.
Next, we will look at the average DA and PA, many links, and On-page SEO of the first ten websites that appear when we type these keywords into Google. You can use free tools like Ahrefs or UberSuggest.
We use the top 3 keywords, as these usually give a good representation of the market as a whole. In other words, if your top 3 keywords are highly competitive, chances are the affiliate niche as a whole will be very competitive as well.
If this all sounds a bit complicated, don’t worry. The process itself is fairly straightforward once you start practicing. We’re going to walk through the process step by step together.
To discover the DA and PA of our competitors quickly, I use the Mozbar plugin.
Download and install the MozBar and create a free account so that the plugin will display more details.
After installing the plugin, activate it by clicking the “M” button at the top right. It will then turn blue.
We begin the process by determining the average PA and DA for the top 3 keywords.
To do this, go to Google and enter the first keyword. The MozBar then displays the DA and PA of the first ten websites. We want to know if we have a chance to get on the first page of Google for that keyword.
If the PA and DA of the first 10 results are lower than 10, then we have a very good chance of making it to Google’s first page. A position on the first page means more visitors, which in turn leads to more sales.
If the PA and DA are higher than 30, it becomes a lot more difficult to beat them.
Now that we have a specific score for our market’s competitive level, how can we interpret this score?
To do this, you can use the scale below, which will give you a rough idea of how quickly you can expect to get good rankings in the organic search results.
Again several factors determine this, but in my experience, this is a reliable and straightforward way to predict how quickly you are likely to see results.
- DA – PA 0-10 Very easy
- DA – PA 10-20 Easy / Medium
- DA – PA 20-40 Difficult
- DA – PA 40+ Very difficult
The above scale tells you how easy or difficult it will be to get to Google’s first page for keywords you are targeting.
By this, I mean setting up pages that focus on individual keywords, that are SEO optimized and where you then apply a backlink strategy.
For now, it is crucial to keep in mind that this should not be an intense or very time-consuming backlink strategy.
On the contrary.
For every new niche website that I personally set up, I apply a basic backlink strategy.
It is essential that you focus on the best keywords in your niche.
Going back to our scorecard from above, I recommend targeting the least competitive markets, as this is where you can rank the easiest.
As a general rule, I will go for markets with an average PA and DA less than 40 (the lower, the better). I rarely enter markets that score more than 40 because they are just too competitive in my experience.
It does not necessarily mean that you cannot achieve good results in these niches. It just means that it usually takes much longer and a lot more work (and money) to see results in the organic search results.
Beating the competition
The next to last step aims to determine how well the competition is optimized concerning SEO. Is it a coincidence that they rank so well? Or are the websites designed in this way?
One of the most crucial on-page SEO factors is the title tag.
The title tag is the title of a web page – what you see at the top of your browser’s roof.
Google first looks at your title tag when it rates your page so that Google knows what the page is about.
Suppose a page has a particular keyword in the title tag. In that case, it usually means that they can be reasonably SEO optimized for this keyword.
If we go back to any of the keyword tools we used in a previous step (Ahrefs, UberSuggest), we can analyze the first page and see if these potential competitors use the keyword in their title. I bet at least 9 out of 10 do.
We have now gone through our market research to find profitable affiliate marketing niches and applied a simple yet proven method and filters to screen the market.
The nice thing about this method is that it is based on numbers and not conjecture (in other words, it is accurate and not prejudiced).
I have already mentioned that I have applied this method to multiple affiliate websites to build profitable niche websites.
This formula works.
In the case of the labrador niche, we have concluded that it is a niche where people are willing to spend money. It has a large target audience (labrador owners), yet stiff competition in the organic results.
I’d enter this market (which I have) as the search volume is large enough, people are very passionate about labradors.
Moreover, willing to spend money on it.
Just keep in mind that this is just one of the thousands of niches out there. The internet, believe it or not, is still a playground for niche exploration. Savvy affiliate niche marketers take advantage of these opportunities.
I hope you’ll use the above method to analyze your affiliate market niche and find the best micro niche for your business. It will save you a lot of time and money and will ultimately result in faster and easier sales.