Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finding Your Affiliate Marketing Niche

by Andy Crofford

Does the idea of working for yourself, being your own boss, have great appeal? Have you been considering the concept of affiliate marketing? If you answered yes to these two questions then by all means keep reading.

I have been working independently for fifteen years and I can tell you without reservation that being your own boss gives a sense of satisfaction like nothing I have experienced in my long and varied career. But be forewarned, once you have tasted the freedom of working for yourself there is no going back! Creating an independent professional life affords you the ability to work when and how you choose. Freedom!

But maybe, like so many others who would love to have their own business, you don't have the funds or the inclination to go it all on your own. There is an answer to this dilemma and that answer is affiliate marketing! You get the best of both worlds with affiliate marketing. You are your own boss, yet you have very little overhead and lots of support.

If you have been considering the concept of affiliate marketing, let me give you some good advice. Find a niche. Don't spread yourself thin, watering down your efforts by signing on with a bunch of affiliates and slapping banners and ads on your website or blog.

You will make little to no profit this way. Affiliate marketing, to be successful, requires focus and dedication, and finding a certain niche product or service allows you to concentrate all of your efforts on that one thing. This is one of the keys to affiliate marketing success.

As you can see, this makes finding the right affiliate program, the niche product or service you will represent, one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

You will notice that I didn't say, "sell," I said, "represent," because the key to success in affiliate marketing is dedication to the niche you have chosen. This will require much more than just selling.

As seasoned pros will attest, if you really dedicate yourself to the niche product or service you have chosen you may come to feel as if you and your product or service are often one and the same.

Enter the concept of branding. Branding is another key to your niche marketing affiliate success. However, you need not concern yourself with branding when you first start out. If you are totally behind the product or service you have chosen to represent then branding will be a natural result of your marketing and networking efforts.

The only thing you need to do at first in regard to branding is to create a marketing plan, a vision of how you will present yourself and your product or service. That is what branding is all about, customers and potential customers growing accustomed to your marketing endeavors, learning to recognize you and your product or service and building trust in both.

But that is for another article!

The product or service. I can't stress enough how important it is to find something you will not lose interest in, a niche product or service that you can get behind, that you believe in. What is the sense in choosing a niche you know or care nothing about? And what is the point in choosing a product or service that few people are searching for?

You are probably asking yourself right now, "Where do I find affiliate programs in a niche I am passionate about?" And "How do I know if the product or service I decide upon has the potential for a long term career and for profit?"

I have a couple of great answers listed below:

Google Hot Trends

Yahoo! Buzz Index

Google Zeitgeist

SEOmoz Top Searches List

Check these sites daily. This will enable you to see which niche products and service affiliate programs are working and what consumers are searching for. It will also help you learn about the newest programs as they come out.

Just make sure you do your homework before you pick a company to become affiliated with. Use the search functions at affiliate marketing forums, like Digital Point Forum or Five Star Affiliates Forum, ask questions, research.

Once you have made your choice and have signed up with an affiliate, after doing the things I have suggested, you will be well on your way to niche affiliate marketing success!

About the Author

Andy Crofford own BANS Hosting, a company that specializes in helping those new to affiliate marketing to get up and running with Build A Niche Store software.