Sat, Oct 17, 2009
When you are first starting out as an affiliate, or opening your first e-commerce store, you have to determine what you are going to sell and who your ideal website visitor will be. This goes hand in hand with your keyword research, and analyzing the competition. You want to find a niche that is highly searched and not too competitive. If you are selling a product that you create, such as knit hats, you can still find a part of that niche that fits these requirements, by finding long tail keywords that are moderately searched but not too competitive. For example, worsted (or boiled) wool knit hats, or knit hats for newborns.
There are two schools of thought when choosing a niche, and anyone you read that is instructing on this will be on one side or the other. Number one is to pick a topic based on what products are out there and selling well, and Number two is to start an ecommerce store based on what you’re passionate about, interested in, and draw traffic to the store. We’ll present both options to you, the pros and cons, and teach you how to operate your store either way.
1. Find out what people are looking for, and put it front of them. There are so many ways to do this. Before long, you’re going to find yourself constantly on the look out for the next hot thing, the next thing you can sell on your blog. Watch TV. What is showing up over and over on advertisements? When you’re at a bookstore, look at the best sellers, what topics are popular right now? What’s the newest diet, the most popular workout video, the hottest dating system? These are all things you can start promoting and getting an affiliate commission for on your blog. Look at amazon.com, and look at their Best Selling Product List. What are the hot ticket items right now? When you watch movies, notice what the stars are wearing, talking about and doing. These will all become popular quickly. (When Sex in the City was on, every week there would be a huge run on whatever type of shoe Samantha wore and discussed that week!). These industries (books, TV, movies) know and dictate what the hot trends will be, so keep an eye on them for things to sell on your blog. You can also check out what people are searching for on the Internet in general. You can do this by looking at Google’s Hot Trends.
EXAMPLE (for affiliates) by Ashley C.: Today, as I’m doing this, the term “Play Club Penguin” is on the list. I clicked on it to check out what it is, and found out it’s a Disney game that kids can play online. I went over to Google’s External Keyword List to see how often that phrase was searched for, and it had an exact match of 33,100 searches last month. My next step would be to find out if they have an affiliate program, so I searched “Club Penguin Affiliate Program.” Lo and behold, they do. Apparently you can upgrade as a member in Club Penguin and play more of the game. Knowing that I could make $10 off of every person that came to my site and ended up purchasing a Club Penguin Membership by clicking on one of my affiliate banners, and knowing the number of people searching for club penguin related keywords makes this a very attractive idea to me. My next step would be to do some competitive analysis, and if I found that this wasn’t a very competitive niche, I would start setting up a club penguin membership review site. First, I would buy the product, play it for a while (or let my kids play it!) and then review it. I would put banners up on my site, text links, and do on page optimization and backlink building to rank for the relevant keywords I had found during my keyword research. Wahlah! I would have an affiliate blog earning me extra cash each month!
Another way to go about this is to sign up for affiliate accounts and see what is selling well. A well known Internet marketer, Ed Dale, went with this strategy, and found that information products for male yeast infections were selling well. This obviously wasn’t his passion (or maybe it was, who knows!) but he made a killing selling these ebooks.
Once you have found something hot that is selling, you can either become an affiliate, or find someone who dropships and start an e-commerce store using their products.
2. Sell something you are passionate about. With the other method, you know that you are going to get traffic to your blog (provided you are ranking for the keywords you found). If you are simply writing about what you are passionate about, you are more likely to write more, and keep up with putting unique information on the blogs in a consistent fashion. However, before you go this route, you have to make sure you are really taking time to do related keyword and competitive analysis research. If you are passionate about cooking, and would like to blog about cooking, you’re going to have to work hard to either promote your blog through social networking sites, or finding long tail keywords to rank for, because you’re not going to rank for highly searched cooking words, they’re too competitive. If you are deeply passionate about making art from discarded street signs, you’re likely not going to find any keywords that people are searching for, so you won’t get the traffic that you want. So, if you decide to go this route, tread carefully and do your research.
EXAMPLE (for ecommerce): We have a good friend who is very passionate about what she refers to as “Homesteading” She has a blog that discusses how she raises chickens in her back yard, bakes her own bread, and stores food in case of emergency (which was recently very useful when her husband was laid off). Though her blog is very interesting to read, it took some creative thinking to come up with how to monetize it. How could she make money off of her unique pizza dough recipe or her ideas on keeping the foxes from getting her chickens? And then how would she find the correct keywords for those topics? She ended up doing so in a variety of ways. First, because she was so passionate about the subject, she wrote a detailed 40 page e-book on how to raise chickens in your backyard, and set up a separate page to sell this ebook. She then did her keyword research and optimized that page for highly searched keywords in this niche. (Don’t worry if you aren’t a writer and don’t want to write an ebook! You can do a series of videos-which we’ll teach you to do- or have someone write the book for you!) In addition to this, she became an affiliate for other instructional e-books that were related to her topic. She also became a reseller for items that she loved to use, like her grain mill and Bosch mixer. Finally, after some time doing this, she opened an e-commerce store selling these items herself (as a dropshipper, which we’ll also instruct you on how to do). Through each of these, she was able to create a size able income using an ecommerce store based on what she was passionate about.
Once you have determined what niche you want to move forward with, whether it’s based on a product or your passion, start doing your keyword research and competitive analysis, and become an affiliate or set up your store!