How to Brainstorm for Profitable Affiliate Niche Ideas
Figuring out which niche to target is the stumbling point for a lot of wannabe affiliates. As I mentioned in my post on how to research a niche, I've stumbled on some of my niches completely by chance – others I found and targeted.
If you're reading this article, then you likely didn't stumble upon a niche by chance. Instead, you're looking to find and target a niche – to find profitable website ideas. But how?
You can find a list of obvious niches anywhere. We all know there's money in finance and weight loss. Unfortunately, finding a good, lesser known niche is hard work. And finding a niche that is both profitable and achievable? Well, you're not going to find anyone handing those out.
So how do you find that elusive, awesome niche for your affiliate business?
PDF download of this post > How to Brainstorm to Find Profitable Affiliate Niche Ideas
How to find kickass niche market ideas
I won't hand you a good niche on a platter – but I will give you some tips for finding one on your own.
Look at your hobbies
I can't do a post on finding a website niche without stating the obvious. If you have a hobby or something that you truly love doing – looking at how you could potentially turn that niche into something profitable for you is the first place to start.
But not everyone has a profitable hobby. Me? I puzzle (yes, seriously). Despite being an avid puzzler, I know I don't spend time reading blogs about puzzling, nor am I looking for the latest news on puzzling. When I want a new puzzle, I go to Amazon and buy one. I suspect most other puzzlers are the same. Not to mention the volume of puzzles I'd need to sell at 5% commission on a $10 item to make any decent money.
My hobby wouldn't make a great niche website idea – so don't feel bad if yours doesn't either. ;-)
Look at your friends' hobbies
Poll your friends, family – poll via your status on Facebook if you need to – and find out what the people you know spend their spare time doing. But don't tell them why.
It's not that I care if they know I'm looking for niche ideas – it's that telling them I'm looking for a new profitable niche and then asking them the question means they might filter their answers looking to give you an answer that they believe would be profitable.
For instance, let's say you have a friend who likes to homebrew their beer. They might look at your question and think “he can't make money home brewing beer” and not answer the question. When in reality, you're not seeking to make money from actually doing the hobby yourself – you're looking to make money from selling people like your friend the supplies. And brewing beer from home can be a pricey hobby.
Getting their answers without predisposing them is important. It's up to you to research their interests for potential profitability.
Look at all kinds of hobbies
Doing a search on Google for “expensive hobbies” or “pricey hobbies” or “most popular hobbies” or “unusual hobbies” will give you a ton of potential niche ideas if you're willing to dig deep into the results. You're looking for something on those lists you could see yourself getting into if the profitability is there.
Pay attention to supplies to find demand
A quick search on whatever your favorite (robust) keyword tool is for “supplies” can be pretty revealing. Running that search on SEMRush brings me back over 56,000 results. People looking for supplies are looking for them because they need them to do something. They use them in a niche.
Scouring through those results can help you identify a “something” you could get behind being interested in. And you can sort the results by estimated CPC or traffic volume while doing so.
Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
People buy accessories for all kinds of things. When most people hear “accessories,” they think things like clothing and phones. But, a search on SEMRush returns 32,000 search terms with the words “accessories” in them for items you may not have even known existed.
One that caught my eye as I scanned the results was “garage slatwall accessories” – what the hell is a slatwall? It turns out they're systems for hanging stuff on the walls in garages, offices and other open spaces.
A quick subsequent search shows me that “slatwalls” has a decent traffic volume for such a niche item, the estimated CPCs are pretty dang high, and the SERPs for the term are totally doable. To me, this would be worthy of running through the complete niche research test.
It's possible a site targeting garage organization might be in order. And I'm betting there are tons of other organization systems in addition to slatwalls that could help folks get the task done. Keep the domain broad and you can expand into other areas of home organization if the site goes well.
This is one idea generated from what I saw on the first page of results for a term that returned 32,000 results. Dig deep and you can find some real gems.
Find a magazine
There are tons of niche magazines out there. If they're printing a magazine for a niche, then there is a probably a monetizable audience surrounding said niche.
You can head over to a site like Magazines.com and browse through the thousands of magazines they offer subscription options for. I certainly had never even heard of “woodturning” before much less knew there was a magazine dedicated to it (along with some search volume, okay CPCs, and not much strong search competition).
Scour the affiliate networks
This task can be time-consuming depending on how well organized the network is, but you can often find unique markets while looking through the various merchants that are running affiliate programs for niches you might not even have known existed.
For instance, I had no idea that buying lobsters online was a “thing” until I started seeing a ton of affiliate programs popping up for – would you call them lobster retailers? – a few years back.
Pay to access professional market research
Not every idea for niche research is free. In professionally done market research you can often find much more in depth information than what you sometimes can piece together online via reports like the The 2012-2013 Leisure Market Research Handbook and the State of the Industry: Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores in the U.S. – whatever the niche, there is likely a market research report centered around it that tells you exactly what consumers are spending money on (and how much of it).
If you get serious about entering a niche, it sometimes can be well worth the purchase.
So you think you've decided on a niche
Be sure to run the niche research test to make sure the revenue potential for the niche is there. And I'd also recommend checking out my article on ensuring you have what it takes to be successful in a niche before diving in.
Please note – I use affiliate links on this site. This means I might earn a commission if you click on a link and sign up for something.
Brilliant idea searching for supplies and accessories and seeing what common keywords go with them. That never even crossed my mind! I’ve used magazines for content ideas before but never niche site ideas. Thanks for the actionable non-vague tips.
You are very welcome Julian – I’m glad you found the post useful. :) Yeah – there’s a ton of articles on finding a niche out there, but I wanted to do one that gave more information than “follow your passions”. ;-)
“Look at your hobbies” – This. A thousand times this. When you just can’t bring yourself to sit down and work, this is what has made all the difference for me in the past.
Not to mention content ideas come so much more naturally.
Totally agree Neil – if you have a hobby with profit potential. :) I always used to say back in the day I could learn to love anything that made me money, LOL. But, for sure, a site is much easier to market when you actually “into” what you’re marketing. :)
Rae–These are great ideas for honing an idea about a blog. They’re useful for newbies. Dead tree magazines are great for ideas about niches, posts and headlines. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen
Thanks Heidi – glad you enjoyed it. And ditto on magazines… I use niche mags to find topic ideas all the time as well. :)
Magazines are my go to for ideas because yes, if it’s being published, people are buying. And it’s amazing that in this very, very digital world of ours folks still publish paper for some of the most obscure niches (some very high ticket).
One thing that magazines really offer an affiliate marketer is a look at related niches that sometimes can be grouped on one site. Just take a look at who’s advertising: In a food mag you’ll find display ads for appliances, travel, financial services and the like. And those small back of book ads uncover truly niche products that appeal to the same demo: Advertisers wouldn’t be spending month after month with no return.
How much more market research can I get for a few bucks?
Yep – I love looking at ads. I always used to joke that I’d spend as much time looking at the ads for merchant programs in Feedfront magazine as I would the actual content (an affiliate magazine for those who don’t know). Yeah, the classified sections can contain some really one-off style products. And they usually have zero grasp of marketing online effectively. :) #opportunityknocks :)
This article is helpful and timely. Love it. Passed it along to Cre8asiteforums because I know the members there will benefit from it too. My daughter and I are launching a new website soon and affiliates is part of the game plan. Thanks a ton Rae!
No problem Kim! Thanks for the share and good luck with the new site!
The real problem for me is not finding a niche but determining if I want to work with that topic. I’m not a full-time affiliate so motivation is a big factor for me.
Daniel – totally understand. In the researching an affiliate niche article I did before this one, I listed some questions to ask myself before entering a niche to see if I have the motivation (and ideas) to truly compete within it. But, if you want to really make a go of affiliate, you just have to decide on something and run with at. Worst case scenario, you learn some things and increase your knowledge level. :)
Supplies and accessories. I like that idea. I have a hard time drilling down so those are good for me. A picture really tells a story and the pic you used in this post is perfect.
Ha, despite having some tricks up my sleeve, I think finding a niche makes everyone feel like that picture. ;-)
There are so many Ideas here that i am spoilt for choice thanks to you. great work Rae as usual. Thanks.
Finding a good niche within the hobbies category is a great idea because even though I don’t have many hobbies of my own, there are a lot of hobbies I would have liked to have gotten involved in. So I can sort of experience the hobby vicariously through being an affiliate in that area, learning everything there is to learn about it and sharing that knowledge with others. And if it turns out to be not very lucrative as an affiliate niche, well, at least I will have learned a lot about the hobby! :-)
LOL, I’ve definitely found a hobby or two over the years via participation in different affiliate niches. :)
Under hobbies, I find Photography very feasible. It is very competitive though.
Apart from Amazon and Clickbank where else can I find good Affiliate offers to promote?
Hey Abhirath – I did a whole post on that here. Hope it helps!
Rae, are you related to Ana Hoffman, the owner of trafficgenerationcafe, you guys have the same writing Tone. Keep it Up
Thanks and nope! No relation. :)
It’s official I am now on information overload! Great ideas. Thanks for your help. You have eliminated hours and hours of the best way to research and hours of frustration. I has some concerns about becoming an Affiliate but no more. Thanks for you ideas and help.
Is there a good place that newbies can go exchange ideas?
Really enjoyed this read thank you so much, gave me a few ideas I hadnt been thinking of. So far selecting a niche has been my biggest halting factor. It seriously hard to find something and commit. Analysis paralysis has gotten to me time and time again. I have literally spent weeks trying to find a good niche to go into.
Nuff rambling, thanks for the great content.