How Affiliate Marketers Need To Consider New Niches

6 minutes read
6 minutes read

Finding your footing in affiliate marketing can be both exhilarating and daunting, especially when cultivating a dedicated audience from scratch. Fortunately, there are tried and true strategies that lay the foundation for scalable growth for affiliates exploring new niches. 

Jeannine Crooks, Partner Acquisition and Development Manager of global affiliate marketing platform Awin, joined Phonexa CMO Talar Malakian for an instalment of Phonexa’s Amplify webinar series to deliver a step-by-step breakdown of the key strategies necessary to establish a presence, engage a new audience, and to ultimately carve out a niche affiliate venture poised for success.

Let’s say you’re just starting out in a new niche, don’t have any traffic, and struggle to find an effective approach to building an audience. What do you do?

The insights shared during this enlightening conversation serve as a roadmap for newcomers and seasoned affiliates alike to navigate the intricacies of affiliate marketing in uncharted territory. 

Let’s unpack some of the key takeaways.

Determining Which Niche Is Right for Affiliates 

For affiliates looking to enter a new market, it’s imperative to thoroughly evaluate the niche’s revenue potential.

According to Crooks, there is a set of criteria to consider when analysing a market from an affiliate marketing perspective, beginning with assessing the traffic for that particular niche. This can be achieved by answering the following questions:

  • How many people are searching for keywords related to this niche?
  • How great is the longtail list of keywords? (e.g. car insurance for drivers with good credit instead of simply car insurance)
  • What kind of searches are being conducted?
  • Are people actively looking for this product? 

Crooks implores affiliates to do their homework before pursuing a specific market by keeping an eye on what the competition is doing. This helps pinpoint the best approach for entering a new market by seeing what competitors are doing, and what you can do differently.

“What can you bring that somebody else isn’t doing right now? Are you passionate about it and able to convey in your language and tone that this is a product you really believe in?” asked Crooks. “People are going to pick up on that, and they’re going to respond to it.”

Malakian summed this approach up perfectly.

“If you’re doing a competitive analysis, don’t do it to look back – do it to look forward,” said Malakian. “Ask ‘what is my path to achieving this without replicating what’s already been done.’”

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Establishing Affiliate Expertise

Learning and finding opportunities are intertwined when analysing the landscape of a particular niche.

During the process, you’re also learning a lot about the product and educating yourself, sometimes around something that you don’t really have expertise in. Therefore, affiliates and publishers must become expert learners in order to extract that information, understand it, and then deliver captivating content.

“I’m a big proponent of really getting to know your [niche] … you need to have inherent knowledge of the product,” said Crooks. “Take enough time to really know that product to where you can go and have a conversation with a salesman and [educate them] about it – then you’re ready to start pursuing a niche.”

By educating yourself and establishing expertise, you’ll be better prepared to identify which merchants you want to work with and differentiate who’s selling good products that solve a need and who’s just selling anything.

Establishing a rapport with your audience is key to thriving as an affiliate. It’s crucial for your consumers to trust you, knowing they can rely on your recommendations and seek your advice whenever they encounter challenges – they’re looking for effective solutions.

“It’s important for you to know and understand what [their] challenges are, the right products or services for whatever the challenge is, and where to research to find that [information],” said Crooks.

Engaging a New Audience

The conversation spotlighted essential strategies affiliates can employ to build and engage a new audience. 

Crooks suggests that new niche affiliates begin by conducting keyword research to identify the issues people are encountering. Then, they can create content tailored to address those challenges or provide solutions to enquiries.

“Don’t try chasing the big keywords when you’re getting started,” said Crooks. “There’s going to be a lot of competition for those – anybody else who’s already established in that niche is going to already have a leg up on you for those big keywords – so start with the little ones as a blog post topic … then you’ll start ranking on the bigger keywords.”

Crooks also emphasised that conscious consumers will want to see your credentials when determining whether to trust your offerings. She explained that a strategically crafted About Us page can sway consumers in your favour.

“That’s a place where you can really make your sales pitch on why you’re amazing and why the recommendations you’re giving are to be trusted, so don’t make it just fast, and don’t make it too salesy,” said Crooks.

Monetisation After Engagement

Once you’ve engaged a new audience, you can carefully craft strategies for monetisation. But what if you still don’t have a large audience?

Crooks explained that niche affiliates don’t have to have a huge audience to be successful – they just need an engaged audience. When scaling and aiming for growth in a new niche, affiliates can either go wide or deep into their topics.

“If you have a site about pasta or cooking and want to go wide, you can talk about different kinds of noodles – spaghetti, angel hair, elbows, lasagna, [etc.],” said Crooks. “Or you can go deep [by discussing] wheat noodles versus egg noodles versus vegetable noodles versus lentil noodles. You can always find those areas to go deeper or wider on any given topic.”

Malakian echoed those sentiments by touching on how affiliates can leverage their expertise on a specific topic to provide multiple options to their audience.

“I can help tell you if you want X, Y, and Z, this is an option. If you want these other things, this is also an option,” said Malakian. “I think being able to help people see through the weeds is that role that you’re playing and can also help you scale considering you’ve now provided more options, and that’s going to create more monetisation opportunities.”

Crooks added an effective strategy for monetisation.

“Any noun can be an affiliate link, and I find that text links outperform banner ads … if you can put in a text link, you’re more likely to have somebody click on it than an ad,” said Crooks. “Interestingly enough, if you’ve got a banner ad on the same page as a text link for that product, the text link will perform even better.”

Measuring Success

The final stage of the roadmap for affiliates starting in a new niche entails identifying crucial KPIs and determining how to track them.

“I pay attention to what topics people are reading and focus on those topics…I also look at how many pages they’ll go to so I can do a lot of cross-linking within the site,” said Crooks. “Do you have just one page on that [topic], or can you get them to go to [multiple pages]? [Search engines] want to see if people are continuing to find information on your site.”

Crooks also identified time on the site as a key metric because it signals to search engines that people are finding valuable content and it’s worth their time in further exploring. 

“Keep putting out more content … I go for quality over quantity because it will help me with those other metrics,” said Crooks. “People are going to want to spend more time reading that whole article that they really love … they’re not going to go to five different useless articles just because you’ve got five on your site.

“I would rather put up one or two really good posts a week than put up something every single day that the reader could’ve gotten anywhere.”

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