Why Are So Many Niche Affiliate Marketers Working Backwards?

27 replies
Here's a simple shift in mindset that may be beneficial to some of you and it goes against a lot of what's commonly being taught in most IM products.

This is how I've done things for years now.

For me, the old "find something your passionate about" doesn't cut it and selecting a niche, then finding a way to monetize it feels like you're working backwards.

When I go through affiliate marketplaces, I always start with selecting a product I want to promote FIRST then going back to conduct some niche/keyword research, and putting a marketing plan together.

Doing it this way I've gotten involved in some very profitable long-term promotions that I would have dismissed completely if I was just looking at a few specific niches or thought I needed some level of "passion" to get involved.

Most of this stems from when I first got involved in Internet marketing and was promoting a physical product for the inventor (he was a local guy). The niche chose me. I just had the product and some bullet points to go on. It was up to me to build a site, find the audience, and drive sales.

I take this same mentality when promoting digital products as an affiliate. I let the niche choose me by selecting a product that looks viable. Then I think along the lines of: "this product creator has commissioned me to sell their product, how can I reach a targeted audience and sell it effectively?". (Basically, you can treat this like you're the marketing company they chose to promote their product.)

Some of you may be doing some version of this already, but I don't hear it talked about too much outside of building 'sniper' style sites or launch jacking that's why I wanted to throw it out there.
#affiliate #backwards #marketers #niche #working
  • Profile picture of the author John K
    Perhaps when starting off from first sites, the find something your passionate about - works. After a few sites the process becomes more systematic and your own feelings towards the niche are not that relevant anymore?
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    • Profile picture of the author danp142
      I've tried building niche sites that I wasn't passionate about but could be an excellent opportunity.

      After spending a few weeks building the sites I would get very bored and uninterested in what I'm writing about. Eventually I would just give up because I couldn't stand to read or write about the subject any more.

      If you are able to spend months writing about something that bored you to tears, then I'm very jealous! Unfortunately I have to hold an interest in any niche I write about.
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  • Profile picture of the author TopTier Profits
    I've never bought into the whole "pick something your passion about" talk.

    I'm passionate about making money. That "passion" allows you to enter ANY niche you want.

    Why limit yourself? I'll take a slice outta all the pies.
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    • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
      Originally Posted by TopTier Profits View Post

      I've never bought into the whole "pick something your passion about" talk.

      I'm passionate about making money. That "passion" allows you to enter ANY niche you want.

      Why limit yourself? I'll take a slice outta all the pies.
      I think that's more geared towards people who want to build an authority blog which requires a lot of content. If you're not passioante about it you'll get bored pretty soon (unless you can pay for content).

      For simply promoting affiliate products on simple niche sites this approach is definately better.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
        That's the beauty of niche marketing, you can get in where you fit in.
        That's why the "should you have a passion or not" debate will go on forever.

        Because there is no right or wrong answer. It's all up to the individual. Different strokes for different folks (last cliche here I promise).

        The main thing is to take action. Whether your priority is having a passion first before you tackle a profitable niche or just having a profitable niche (that alone is enough to automatically fire passion in some). Or maybe a mix of both. Front to back or back to front. Just do it.

        You'd be shocked how many people neglect to take action because their frozen by paralysis of analysis.

        That's why my personal philosophy is the best niche marketers have the the most interests. So get out there and develop a cocktail of different interest and you'll have the best of both worlds.

        Read different magazines, watch different T.V programs and movies. Go to different restaurants. Drive a different way home, etc. Grow your passions and the niche opportunities will follow. At least that's my experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author online only
      Originally Posted by TopTier Profits View Post

      I've never bought into the whole "pick something your passion about" talk.

      I'm passionate about making money. That "passion" allows you to enter ANY niche you want.

      Why limit yourself? I'll take a slice outta all the pies.
      Perhaps this (go with your passion) works when you are just a beginner and learning the ropes of affiliate marketing but later yeah.. You are right.

      I'll always go into niche where the money is. When the competition is high then I know that there is tonloads of money to be made.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    Study upon study have demonstrated that if you aren't passionate about the subject matter, you are more likely to fail at whatever business you start, so I can understand the reasoning behind starting with something that you're passionate about.

    I don't see why one has to come before the other, though; I've been at this a long time and I generally start with things that I'm interested in / passionate about and almost immediately I go into the market place and perform my due diligence on what the potential competition is doing, what products and services they are selling, and making a list of potential JV partners, etc.

    RoD
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    I agree with the steps you take Mark. There are some niches that just don't make sense to pursue from a marketing standpoint.

    If you find a great product that fills a need, solves a problem, or feeds other people's passions it may be perfect. It might also turn into something you become passionate about.

    Why not develop a passion for Internet marketing? That way you enjoy what you are doing even if the specific niche is not what you might personally have picked.

    I also think in some cases there is value in keeping your passions separate from your business. Over the years I have lost interest in some things only because of spending too much time trying to promote them to others.

    If you can be promoting something you have a personal interest in great - but follow Mark's steps first before you make a final choice.

    For those that argue you must be passionate about something first I would suggest they talk to the best copywriters. They can write compelling, sincere and engaging content about ANY subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elvis Michael
    I'm glad it's worked for you, Mark.
    You're right; people could potentially miss out on some seriously profitable niches if they refuse to acknowledge them merely due to a lack of passion.

    That said, the whole thing is also subjective, as The Niche Man stated. What works for you may not necessarily work for others.

    So if you happen to be passionate about something that's also profitable, then consider yourself very lucky.
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  • I think you are doing the wrong thing.

    " I take this same mentality when promoting digital products as an affiliate. I let the niche choose me by selecting a product that looks viable. Then I think along the lines of: "this product creator has commissioned me to sell their product, how can I reach a targeted audience and sell it effectively?". (Basically, you can treat this like you're the marketing company they chose to promote their product.)"

    You know what, it is about the people in the niche.

    That is why it is about passion.

    Because people want it, people are going to buy it.

    For example, shoes.

    They need something to wear. That is why they buy it.

    They want to make a collection of fashion, that is why as well.

    If you have no idea about the niche, you are blunt.
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  • Profile picture of the author twilightofidols
    I actually agree with you 1000%. I go where the money is, if I happen to care about the subject that's even better.

    That mantra is because people who write about subjects they don't care about usually produce lower quality content.

    I think you can become passionate about a subject as you study it and research. Plus you can hire an expert in that niche to write content for you. Every piece of content is a one time investment on a site that could potentially make money for years to come.

    I'm passionate about philosophy. I would never try to monetize that niche, when I could make money selling weight loss products with 1/8th the effort and make 100 times the money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    Much like Rod has alluded to I try and pick niches where passion and money intersect.

    I have tried working on sites where I had no real interest but that I saw profit and potential in and got bored with them VERY quickly.

    I've also gotten into niches I was passionate about but had limited monetization models and later given up of them as they just weren't working out.
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  • Profile picture of the author fcf360
    Passionate pursuit of niches is extremely important when someone is starting out. It is just a starting point. Then, later they learn to purse those niches that have huge buyer demands, as well as low hanging niches where there is virtually no competition etc.

    Thus, the manner in which you select your niches evolve as you evolve. And eventually, as a true internet marketer, all you really care about is how easily you can get access to buyer traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author LarryHaywood
    I can see your point but have to say that passion is important. Maybe not necessarily in the short term but long term I have to say you should be passionate about what you are selling. The passion is felt by those you show the offer to. Now, I'm not saying this is the only way, I am sure it's not, but it's just the way I look at things.

    Believe in what you are selling, know it inside and out, tell prospects how it can solve their problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    I've done the same as the OP several times with great success. I really like that approach. However I tend to cherry pick products I like and use... It makes promoting them easier.

    I've also tested many products within a niche and if one sells particularly well I'll create more campaigns promoting it as much as possible.

    That said my main niche I'm building out this year is one I enjoy and chose it on that basis. Fortunately it's profitable so I have long term plans with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheFranchiseMarketer
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    Mark Hess, what a great post. I find that the whole make money with your "passion" is bull crap. It is an extremely useless way to go about making money online and is not very realistic. Budweiser makes money because people love to drink, Tobacco companies make money because people love to smoke, Baseball players make millions because people have to support their favorite player no matter what. And guess what? I have a passion for none of these.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Mark you make a very good point. In my experience the passion model works for a lot of successful niche bloggers and those same bloggers are also very good at marketing. Then there are a lot of successful niche bloggers that are not good at marketing. The major difference between the two has always come down to a substantial income.

    In my opinion the passion model is great advise for all beginners because it can be a good start for most beginners. Passionate beginners often do not know how to write an article that readers enjoy, but the passionate beginner does learn how to write articles that readers do enjoy. As you already know, the same articles must also be written to earn an income which is also fundamental marketing.

    After time and hard work, the passionate beginner learns both.. how to write good articles for readers and how to monetize the articles that earns an income. That in itself is good and usually proves to be a success for passionate beginners.

    There is always "the next step" or what some people call "the next evolution" in niche marketing. You hit the nail on the head when you speak of "the niche chooses you" and you explained it very well. In my own experience, the passionate beginners that reach this step do evolve into becoming very good niche bloggers outside their own passion model. They already know enough about what works for their own model and can very easily evolve into niches that they are not passionate about and realize some if not a lot of success and income.

    One person here said something about "taking action" and that is definitely true. However, I prefer to see passionate beginners advised to.. "take the right action." That statement to me is better than a beginner "taking the wrong action." That also leads to the question.. "What is the right action?" IMO, the right action depends on some basics. The list is long, but two of the major basics are: the market is always changing and keep your pulse on the market. Essentially, I tell folks that means: always posture your business for major changes and posture your business for "take the right action" immediately.

    Personally, I do not think so many niche affiliate marketers are working backwards. Nor do I think some of the more experienced niche affiliate marketers advise the wrong model. It appears to me and I could be wrong that the most experienced marketers be it niche marketing, affiliate marketing, etc. are advising beginners about what worked for them.. start with a passion. However, I do see a lot of very inexperienced niche affiliate marketers advise beginners to start a niche business based solely on a passion and that is all the advise the beginner receives.

    Very good post Mark!

    Jeffery 100% :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    I go where the money is.

    I usually get my best ideas from current news. I pay attention to what the masses are passionate about. If there is enough money being spent I figure I know how to get some.
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    • Profile picture of the author Niche Blogger
      For years I've promoted any product that I found to be profitable whether I had an interest in it or not, and did so on smaller niche sites. It's what worked best for me when starting out and if I was starting again today that's still what I would do. It's much easier as a newbie to focus on a proven niche even if it's not one that you're interested in.

      Now that there's more of a focus on authority sites though I'm starting to move towards choosing niches that I'm passionate about (but that are still profitable). I write alot of my own content and when building up a following of readers and subscribers it's easier being in a niche I know about and love.

      I still build small niche sites though on a variety of topics and products that I wouldn't necessarily be interested in. They're still profitable but not as long term as authority sites. Both ways work.
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  • Profile picture of the author mcb247
    Totally agree Mark sometimes that law of attraction kicks in and you would be a fool to ignore it .. Obviously some research is always needed to make sure its a profitable niche but otherwise once you have a system in place it should work no matter what the product.

    This actually happened to me a few weeks ago ... in the online security sector of which I knew very little but now Im involved in what will be a huge ongoing income stream... of which I would have normally stayed well away from ...

    Thanks for sharing Mark ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Aristocratic
    Originally Posted by Mark Hess View Post

    Here's a simple shift in mindset that may be beneficial to some of you and it goes against a lot of what's commonly being taught in most IM products.

    This is how I've done things for years now.

    For me, the old "find something your passionate about" doesn't cut it and selecting a niche, then finding a way to monetize it feels like you're working backwards.

    When I go through affiliate marketplaces, I always start with selecting a product I want to promote FIRST then going back to conduct some niche/keyword research, and putting a marketing plan together.

    Doing it this way I've gotten involved in some very profitable long-term promotions that I would have dismissed completely if I was just looking at a few specific niches or thought I needed some level of "passion" to get involved.

    Most of this stems from when I first got involved in Internet marketing and was promoting a physical product for the inventor (he was a local guy). The niche chose me. I just had the product and some bullet points to go on. It was up to me to build a site, find the audience, and drive sales.

    I take this same mentality when promoting digital products as an affiliate. I let the niche choose me by selecting a product that looks viable. Then I think along the lines of: "this product creator has commissioned me to sell their product, how can I reach a targeted audience and sell it effectively?". (Basically, you can treat this like you're the marketing company they chose to promote their product.)

    Some of you may be doing some version of this already, but I don't hear it talked about too much outside of building 'sniper' style sites or launch jacking that's why I wanted to throw it out there.
    The concept of starting with something you are passionate with first is to help newbies stay on track better; they are more likely to stick to the grueling tasks of content creation if they are actually interested in what they are writing about.

    But I see most courses offering multiple starting points with the 'start with a passion' approach being one, but the 'finding a hot product' being another.

    Ultimately, I think they/we are trying to teach someone the process of research, but there has to be a starting point somewhere. You could start with a product and find that it is too competitive as a newbie, or a single individual for that matter, to enter too so not like one method is backwards and the other not; just that one method is generally easier to start and explain and even gives a good foundation to do the alternate methods.

    I too have gone your approach and prefer it because then I've cut out the part of the research process that is finding products or if there is products in a niche, but I have more fun and tend to develop out more my sites that are my passion or hobby sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrgoe
    Nothing new, really.. I`ve done things this way for a while.. but a thanks for a nice article that could actually help someone
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Mark,

      Thank you for your thoughtful post.

      I have always subscribed to the philosophy that everything starts with demand.

      Why? Because if there is not demand for a particular product everything else you do to promote that product is meaningless and a waste of time and effort. Smart marketers know that they can't typically create demand for a product - it is in the market place or it's not.

      If you pick a product first, you are essentially saying that you know the market has demand and you know your product is going to sell. That is a dangerous starting position since you have done no testing, no research into the niche, and you have not attempted to listen to what your potential customers are asking for.

      Same holds true for the product creator. If you are an affiliate, you don't know how well the product creator has tailored his solution to the needs/wants of the audience.

      The idea of starting with demand is that you are letting the market tell you what it wants - you're not guessing or picking products to sell based on hunches, notions, or because you fell prey to a convincing sales page.

      But there's more to it than that. The process of doing market research first also allows you to identify where you should target your advertising, what competition there is among sellers in the niche, and where there are holes or gaps in marketers serving that audience. You know none of this when you pick a product first.

      Which leads to the question . . . do you want to begin a campaign from a position of knowledge, insight, and knowing there are buyers waiting for your solution (product)? Market research puts you in that position.

      Or do you want to start from the position that you hope this product is going to sell. Picking the product first suggests you are willing to spend time and effort based on a hunch, or a guess but with no research.

      I personally would rather begin knowing that my approach has been validated because I have proven demand.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author jeremy49
        Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

        Mark,

        Thank you for your thoughtful post.

        I have always subscribed to the philosophy that everything starts with demand.

        Why? Because if there is not demand for a particular product everything else you do to promote that product is meaningless and a waste of time and effort. Smart marketers know that they can't typically create demand for a product - it is in the market place or it's not.

        If you pick a product first, you are essentially saying that you know the market has demand and you know your product is going to sell. That is a dangerous starting position since you have done no testing, no research into the niche, and you have not attempted to listen to what your potential customers are asking for.

        Same holds true for the product creator. If you are an affiliate, you don't know how well the product creator has tailored his solution to the needs/wants of the audience.

        The idea of starting with demand is that you are letting the market tell you what it wants - you're not guessing or picking products to sell based on hunches, notions, or because you fell prey to a convincing sales page.

        But there's more to it than that. The process of doing market research first also allows you to identify where you should target your advertising, what competition there is among sellers in the niche, and where there are holes or gaps in marketers serving that audience. You know none of this when you pick a product first.

        Which leads to the question . . . do you want to begin a campaign from a position of knowledge, insight, and knowing there are buyers waiting for your solution (product)? Market research puts you in that position.

        Or do you want to start from the position that you hope this product is going to sell. Picking the product first suggests you are willing to spend time and effort based on a hunch, or a guess but with no research.

        I personally would rather begin knowing that my approach has been validated because I have proven demand.

        Steve
        I totally agree with Steve.

        Too many products (the vast majority) are built without real market research as to whether there is a profitable demand.

        Even if you build a product that solves your own problems and there is demand from other users, it often still does not result in a profitable product. Market research also helps you get the right message about your product across and where to find your customers.

        For someone starting out, market research may sound daunting but it does not have to be. It can be as straightforward as finding 5 to 10 potential customers and interviewing them in a structured manner. Testing if they would be genuine buyers, testing how painful the problem is that your product solves, etc..

        Note the word "Testing". It's important because if there is one thing I have learned, is that I am not a mind reader. I cannot predict how customers think or use a product. What I can do is find out evidence of what they think by asking questions and then testing their answers.

        E.g If they say yes, this is a really big problem for me and would buy your product. Latter on in the interview, I would ask how do they get round this problem now? ~Often you get a response that says they do nothing. Bingo - you know its not a painful enough problem for them to have taken action and therefore probably not profitable.

        If on the other hand they say they do x,y,z then you know that this is a problem worth investigating and if you can solve it, it may be profitable.

        Notice I talk about problems instead of niches which was the point of this thread. People do not buy niches, they buy solutions to their problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Al amin
    Old is Gold. Selecting something on the basis on passion worked, work and will work. But if your concern is maximizing profit and you feel you got some product to promote and which will make you more profit you can try that. The problem you will face is doing research, reading and writing content for it. If you can pay for doing those. Thats ok.

    For me. If I need select a product beyond my passion. I would list some products which I want to promote and will do some research on target market. If I find that product will solve some problems and their is demand. I would try that out.

    Thanks
    Al amin
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    There's a difference between a business where you are making money and a hobby where you spending time on a passion.

    It's great when the two intersect and you can make money from your hobby, but a big mistake to confuse the two - which is why pursing a passion when someone is wanting to make money often results in failure.

    This:

    putting a marketing plan together.
    is basic but something far too many fail to grasp, understand, and implement.

    .
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  • "Old is Gold". I like that idea.

    Stick with what you are good at.

    No tension is the best.

    If you feel frustrate, lay off.

    Ideas may come.

    It happen to me.

    A skuxx moment.

    keep it up, follow your dream
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