Niche Affiliate Marketing
There is still a lot of money to be made in niche affiliate marketing. Don’t let all the naysayers fool you. Yes, it can be extremely competitive, and in some markets completely oversaturated (good luck running a mortgage or credit affiliate website). What you need to do is rise above the noise and set yourself apart from the rest. Luckily most of the web is garbage – you can do much better than that. Just follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to niche affiliate marketing success.
- Sign up for some affiliate networks. I’d definitely start by signing up with Pepperjam and Commission Junction. I also recommend and have had good success with eBay. I’ve also used LinkShare with some success – your mileage may vary and I’m sure it just depends on which advertiser programs you want to sign up for.
- Take a look at the available advertisers in your affiliate networks and start joining affiliate programs. You’ll want to try a bunch, it may take a few tries to find the ones that work best for you. If your affiliate network provides program payout history, be sure to follow this closely – you want to weed out the bad eggs (there are a lot of advertisers I don’t trust). You want to choose niche affiliate markets that payout a good amount of money (face it… you can only make so much off $5 items…. go for something you can get commissions that make it worth your time). But at the same time, avoid things that are likely too competitive. Do some Google searches and research your top competitors. See if you think you can beat some of them. Also it’s best to pick niche markets that you’re knowledgable about and like. This will come in handy for step #3…
- Create your website and make it better than the typical affiliate site. If you’re going to be lazy and throw up a few affiliate links without much thought and effort, you’re just wasting your time. Keep your site’s focus on 1 or 2 related markets – if you want to get into more niche affiliate markets, then create more websites. You don’t have to be a expert on your niche, but definitely put a little thought and effort into this part. If you don’t have a nice-looking website, be sure to check out some free templates you can use at a site like www.oswd.org. Now add some content! Write some reviews and add your own descriptions. Try adding some social networking components – user-generated content (if moderated) can be great. Make your site look professional and clean (that does not mean complex and complicated!). Have a friend look at your site – if it looks spammy, clean it up! Make sure you know a little something about SEO (search engine optimization) – start by reading some of the great articles at SEOmoz. The content on your site is really going to help for step 4…
- Now drive traffic to your niche affiliate site! Experiment with some PPC campaigns. Google Adwords is the best. Try Microsoft AdCenter as well – they don’t have the traffic but often have decent conversion rates. I’d try Yahoo as well but I’d be very careful – I’ve noticed more click fraud – you have to monitor and block certain domains. The content you created is really going to help your quality score in Google AdWords. Make sure your landing pages target the keywords you bid on, and make sure your ad text matches up as well. You can definitely do some SEO and start building some backlinks – nothing beats “free” traffic. But whatever you don’t do, don’t completely skip out on running ad campaigns. You need to get some traffic and test out your advertisers and see what converts.
- You gotta have conversions. Now that you have some affiliate programs that look like they could work, you need to get your conversion rate as high as possible. Optimization is a must – you have to get used to testing everything! Look into doing some split testing, rotate ads, change out content. Move things around! Target more longtail keywords – they often have the highest conversion rates! Research your competition in the same niche affiliate market and find out what they’re doing. Make sure you have some sort of stats installed on your site (Google Analytics are great) to monitor your traffic. Find out what keywords your visitors are coming in on. Find out your bounce rate and try to keep it low. Find out how visitors navigate through your site. Testing and optimization are the name of the game!
I hope this helps you get started in marketing your niche affiliate sites. I tried to keep this relatively short, although there are a vast amount of resources out there on every aspect of this. I’ll try to go into more detail on some of these items in the near future. Good luck finding your niche!