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Affiliate Marketing - Pick Your Product Niche

Updated on May 8, 2011

Affiliate Marketing To-do list

Affiliate marketing is a way to make money online from your online Internet home business. A beginner's step by step guide will help get you started making money online now by helping you pick your product niche. There are tens of thousands of affiliate marketing programs, web sites, groups, forums, and ebooks that will tell you what you need to do, and vaguely how to do it, but they still want you to click on something or spend some money to get the step-by-step instructions.

This hub is a follow-up to: Affiliate-Marketing-Beginners-Guide-Step-by-Step-to-do-list

I didn't make that a click-able link because I want to use it later, and I don't want to be flagged for too many links. You will see it later.

Your first Goal: Pick a product niche to start with.

Research using Google's Adwords and Keywords searches

Affiliate marketing Product research
Affiliate marketing Product research

Remember your checklist? Let's deal with the #1 item - "How to pick your product niche".

Capsule summary: To begin your affiliate marketing career you needed to pick a product niche to start with. We need to pick an example to use, so let's say you decided you know a lot about Collectible trains, and use that for our discussions.

We will be using three Google functions to do a little research Google's Keywords, (a CPC estimator for Keyword $ value), Google Adwords, (a keyword demand estimator), and Google Internet search, (to see public search demand).

We have also decided that "to get our feet wet" we will begin with promoting physical products because that is the easiest category to sell. Think; ebay, Amazon, retail merchants.

Now we want to narrow that focus to an area we think will be the most profitable. Two things we do not want to do.

  1. Dive into the most competitive areas
  2. Promote cheap, low profit, low commission items.

Even though our efforts will apply to all the Internet resources, Yahoo!, MSN, etc., we will focus on Google examples.

First we will do a Google Keyword search for collectible trains using Google's Adsense Adwords Keyword tool. (You should bookmark this link in your Google Bookmark Folder)

I'm not going to reprint the data returned, you will see it for yourself when you do the search. You are going to look at two columns after each word/phrase:

  1. 2nd column - Advertiser Competition - this bar shows how many advertisers are competing to get that word/phrase. You don't want the most competitive phrases. That means there are a lot of people competing for it. You don't want the least competitive either, that means there is probably very little market demand. Something in the middle is just right.
  2. 3rd Column - Local Search volume - this gives results for your local country, which is where you want to focus as a beginner*. And you want the same "middle bar" indicator as mentioned above. (*you can go international later)

Combined, these two columns will tell you how much competition and search demand (read - potential customers) there is for this area of your niche.

OK, you were supposed to actually click that link and do the search so you can follow along here.

You can see that "collectible trains" was the most desired phrase, but, "collectibles trains" had four times as many searches. That "s" made a huge search difference, so that's where you start. Collectibles Trains.

Now scroll down and you will see additional words suggested by Google. You will see that "toys trains" had huge search volume and only medium high advertiser competition. So let's combine the two phrases and do another keyword search on "collectibles toys trains"

This time we're only going to look at the first step to see that the search results were a lot less than just "collectibles trains"

Now let's do research step two, and do a Google search on those phrases:

  • Collectibles trains - approx. 1 million results
  • Collectibles toys trains - just under a million results

Not really too many competitors considering the volume on the net, but let's try narrowing the field by adding a brand, Lionel.

  • Collectible Lionel Trains -93,000 results - not a really crowded field, but what is the top brand? do a Google search "top collector’s train brands. - Looks like its Lionel, Bachman, Hornby, Basset-Lowke, and Corgi.
  • Ok now Google search: "most valuable collector's trains" -
  • Lionel - 93,000 results
  • Bachman - 6200 results
  • Hornby - 7300 results
  • Basset-Lowke - 296 results
  • Corgi - 10,000 results

Looks like we should check out Hornby, Corgi, Lionel. Back to the Google keyword search tool; enter each brand followed by collectibles trains.

  • Corgi - not enough data - nobody searching that term
  • Hornby - Hornby trains - 5400 searches
  • Bachmann - Bachmann trains had 540,000 searches.
  • Bassett-Lowke - Bassett-Lowke - 390 searches
  • Lionel - Lionel model trains - 9900 searches, Lionel - 1.5 million searches

Still with me? From this data I would decide on Bachmann Collectible Toy Trains. Bachmann has the best competitor to search ratio. In other words there are a lot more search customers available for each competitor.

My Product niche keyword title phrase word be: Bachmann Collectibles Toy Trains.

Important note: Did you notice that the Google search results were almost entirely corrected to the more correct spelling of "Collectible Trains", the "s" was dropped? This is a piece of valuable data for you. The people searching had the "s"; the competitors didn't, so if you have the "s" you are going to be a closer search match than your competitors. Ah Hah!

If I lost you there, you can go back through each step to see the process of elimination we used.

  1. We want a niche with good demand but not too much competition, so we looked for the ratio that had the most searches per competitor. Less people fighting for each potential customer.
  2. We want a high value product for the best commission dollars. We want to earn more dollars for each sale instead of a fighting for a ton of sales with fewer dollars for each sale. It's just more work for now.
  3. By the numbers, Bachmann is less of a mass-market brand than Lionel so its collectors are likely to pay more for new and collector’s pieces.

Think about your research results
Think about your research results

Your Affiliate Product Niche

  • Whew! My brain is tired after all that. Let's do a quick summary and then take a short coffee break before we move on.

Ok, you've picked a niche keyword phrase; now let's see if there is a market of products to promote.

Go to ebay and enter the search phrase; Bachmann collectibles toy trains.

  • I had to shorten the term to Bachmann trains to find 3300 listings. Not too many by ebay standards. Now click the "completed listings" search option on the left sidebar. Completed listings average sale price was $30 - $40. Not bad.

Now do the same search for Lionel to get some comparison ideas.

  • 2700 listings, average sale was $15 - $20, BUT there were a lot of "high end" pieces that sold in the hundreds. Hmmmmm...

Ok, let's do the same thing for Amazon.

  • Amazon doesn't give the same numbers data as ebay so you have to browse the listings to get a feel for the product
  • there were lots of Bachmann listings and most were "high dollar" items $50 and up, with lots of $100 plus items

Do the same thing for Lionel (again, for comparison data.)

  • Well now... lots of Lionel items, but most were "high dollar" sets, not individual pieces, and the sets were in the $200 - $400 range. Hmmmm, again...

Ok, now do a Google search for each, Bachmann and Lionel, and let's look for companies selling these items.

  • Bachmann - 253,000 results
  • Lionel - 736,000 results

Are you beginning to get a glimmer yet?

Based on this little 60 minute research session, I have decided to change my product niche keyword phrase back to "collectibles trains", but I am going to promote both Bachmann and Lionel. Maybe...

I said maybe because there is one more research step before we make a decision. But let's take a short break before we continue.

Now let's get a cup of coffee and relax for a minute.

Affiliate Network Sites
Affiliate Network Sites

Affiliate Networks - The next step.

and we're back...

Commission networks - I hope you did your homework from the original hubpage, Affiliate-Marketing-Beginners-Guide-Step-by-Step-to-do-list because now you need to sign on to a couple affiliate networks to see if there are any affiliate opportunities for your choice. So you will need that user/account name decision I told you about previously.

Go to, Commission Junction (, and Sign up with each network. You can check Commission Junction and Clickbank right away, but your account will have to be approved by Pepperjam which can take a few days. (there are more affiliate networks, but these are the most known and popular)

Now do a product search on these networks to find advertisers offering affiliate links for your product niche. Depending on your search results you may have to "refine", or (aacchh) completely abandon your product niche.

These network search results will be the final factor in your decision. Good Luck!

Pick a product niche
Pick a product niche

One BIG Caveat about picking your product niche

Before you experienced affiliate marketers beat me up, Listen!

I have led you through this process of picking your product niche not because I think it is the best and most profitable way to become an affiliate marketer, but because I think it is the safest and easiest way to get a start. As I said frequently, getting started is a lot of work, a lot, and the learning curve can be steep. You will be just a blink away from getting so overwhelmed and frustrated that you'll either fail miserably or throw up your hands and quit.

Anything that you can do to help your confidence or lessen that learning curve will enhance your chances of success. I think working in an area that you at least know something about when you start will enhance your chances of persevering until you can reach more goals and gain a little experience.

Once you get rolling you will be bettered prepared to jump into some of the most profitable niches:

  • hot trend items
  • market education courses
  • ebooks and how-to landing pages
  • high value subscription services
  • PPC and Impressions programs

I hope this hubpage has been helpful. There is more information on affiliate marketing by G.A.Wickham on my blog at ATD Affiliate Marketing.(the link is below)

A very thorough Complete affiliate marketing program that I can confidently recommend is Dave Bailey's 4-Day Money Making Blueprint. This is not your typical "glitzy" landing page with all the bling and bonus' that want you to spend $97.00 for their vague information. Dave is a humble guy with a good program for beginning affiliate marketers. You can check out my article and see part of an interview I did with Dave on Picking your Product Niche here.

But whatever you do...just do something! Get started now! You can't succeed or fail if you don't try, and you could go on researching and planning forever, so stop it now and do something to get started!

Check out my original Hubpage on this topic at: Affiliate Marketing - A Beginner's Guide.

For more affiliate marketing info visit: Affiliate Marketing Tips and Tools

ATD Affiliate Marketing Programs
ATD Affiliate Marketing Programs

Leave me a note. What did you think of this page?

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    • profile image

      cleon123 7 years ago

      I believe choosing a niche is hard sometimes , but thanks for the detail info it helps

    • profile image

      Affiliate Income 7 years ago

      Thanks for the great information that you have shared , i have learn this but it just seems as if i have just been school....

    • EasySales profile image

      EasySales 7 years ago

      Thanks-this really goes into specific details of keyword selection that many "quick intro to affiliate marketing" don't really cover. I've had more success selling products directly vs. affiliate marketing myself so I'm pushing that more, but I've also got an eye out for affiliate opportunities.

    • Louise M profile image

      Louise M 7 years ago

      Wow that's a VERY thorough hub, I'm impressed! I also have a blog about affiliate marketing at but I don't explain stuff. lol I'm kidding. But your hub is indeed very good, I mean that.

    • efficientwebsite profile image

      efficientwebsite 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information. You rock!

    • emilybrooks profile image

      emilybrooks 7 years ago from Chicago, US

      Wow this hub sure has a lot of great info. Deciding which niche to choose has been a problem for me. This will help me a lot. Thanks.

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      imayadash - glad it was helpful. good luck with your home based business to make money online

    • profile image

      imayadash 8 years ago

      Excellent step-by-step guide, wow!! i'm about to start giving it a try right now.

      Thanks for the solid infos!

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      glad it helped, thanks for the visit

    • profile image

      scheng1 8 years ago

      Now I know where I go wrong, thanks for the hub

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      johnmce - you're right about the trail and error part. If my "misses" were lucky first time "hits" I'd be on the beach now.

    • johnmce profile image

      johnmce 8 years ago from Brighton, UK

      great intro to affiliate marketing. I think the biggest challenge is not necessarily finding niches but finding programs in those niches which convert at a decent rate, thats the bit which takes the time and usually trial and error for me anyway.

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      Glad you liked it

    • alexchia01 profile image

      alexchia01 8 years ago

      Wow. Lot's of information here. I love this hub page. Thanks.

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      viryabo, I'm glad it was helpful. Thanks for visiting, and the kind comment

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      I just read this hub and i find it quite informative. I dont know why the low score, but i think you've got info put across in an easy to learn manner. I have just learnt how to use column 2 & 3 more effectively. Makes great sense.


    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      Thanks all for the supportive comments. I'm still perplexed about that 1-day 50% drop in score. Alas, it is what it is.

      AEvans - LOL also from the forum thread, I have yielded to the possibility of being wrong. all but one link have been removed. Thanks for your eval.

      Jyoti - thanks for your positive comment, not to worry about contacting hubpages. I'm much more perplexed than stressed.

      jonmarsh - thanks, as above, this hasn't stressed me, just puzzled. My first concern was being "rated down" by visitors, for what reason I couldn't imagine.

    • jonmarsh profile image

      jonmarsh 8 years ago

      Hi Appletreedeals, I think it is a very informative hub. Not sure what's going on with the hubscore, but don't let it get you down.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur


      This is a superb hub. I came from the forum link. I can not understand why this fantastic hub has such low score. It may be because of mistake of computer. YOu may write to hubpages authorities.


      Thumbs up.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 8 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      It provides very informative information and I honestly do not see an errors with it the only thing I can see is there are to many links referencing Google keywords you are limited to two and it is o.k. to link your other hub. :)

      You also need a pic or pics that represent your hubs. :)

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      Thanks for your comment. and the Fan. I recipricated.

    • jabyrd82 profile image

      jabyrd82 8 years ago from Farmington,New Mexico

      Great hub thankS for sharing!!

    • Appletreedeals profile image

      Appletreedeals 8 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      Drop me an email if you decide to check out Dave Bailey's Program and I would be glad to follow-up with you as you get started. If you would like any further help that is. Just use the email link at the start of this page.