I’ve got only one solid financial advice from my father that was related to anything resembling affiliate marketing niches: “Invest in food and coffins. People will always need one of those”.
That sounded profound when I was young until I learned that he didn’t follow his own advice. So I stopped paying attention to this and many more of his teachings. But recently it got me thinking: is there any merit to it in a world online marketing?
Not literal, obviously. Apart from pizza deliveries, food is not something you search for on the Internet first. And I don’t see many coffin ads during my online travels but maybe I simply haven’t come to this part of the Internet yet.
But are there any affiliate marketing niches that are almost guaranteed to bring you money?
Yes, otherwise it would be a waste of a perfectly good introduction to the article.
Let’s discuss what those niches are and how to find them, shall we?
Niches vs verticals
Your intuition is already on the right track: things that people want the most are love, money, and time to enjoy both in good health. The order of these needs depends on what they miss the most.
These three exemplary categories are called ‘verticals’.
Vertical is the first thing you pick when you plan your campaign.
But, like in the famous Inception meme, you have to go deeper.
Advertising “health” as a concept won’t bring you money. There are no general “Just get healthy” affiliate offers. You have to pick a specific subcategory of a given vertical, called “niche”.
There can be niche products and niche audiences. The first ones come and go, while the second ones tend to stay.
Niche audiences in a health vertical are for example nicotine addicts, diabetics, balding males.
Exemplary niche products are nicotine patches, acne cures, anti-hair-loss wonder pills.
Identify profitable niche audiences and you can market to them different products. Easier said than done? Not with this article!
How to find a profitable niche or how I learned to ask
At first, there is always an idea, a spark of intuition that there is a certain problem people want to be solved.
Research the problem and the people
This idea may come from your own experience.
Read magazines or online articles, watch TV,
Follow the ‘love-money-time’ trope from the beginning.
Approach people directly. Even offline. I know it’s scary but nothing beats hearing someone’s first-hand testimony.
Use a vast array of Internet tools to know what other people search for. Search Quora for topics related to your vertical or other thematically-related sites.
Then you may discover that, for example, people still haven’t found a good way to deal with their smoking habits.
If you know someone who tried to quit smoking ask them about the products they used and the issues they had. Maybe they’ve already found a brilliant solution that you could advertise.
Look for answers to this problem online.
Each domain of human activity, no matter how exotic, has blogs, forums, and social media groups dedicated to it. Get there and investigate. Or better yet, post statements – especially the wrong ones.
Write: “Nicotine patch is the best way to quit smoking” and people will rush to correct you and tell you what actually works.
Go to any big retailer’s website and dig into drill-down levels of product categories. You will most likely discover a product type that you didn’t know existed. You can also look at their suggestions in a search bar.
There is a tea that helps you quit smoking? I had no idea!
What is a profitable niche anyway?
There are some indicators of a healthy market:
- Lots of easy to find customers. You know what they read, what online places they frequent. You know where to place your ad.
- Plenty of information in the form of search result pages, monthly searches (2000 a month is a good start), blogs specific to this topic, Facebook groups, related hashtags and other signs of online presence.
- Competition. This is a good sign, contrary to what you may think. Every niche has already been discovered, it is really unlikely that you will be the first one. But if no one is marketing in that niche, it may indicate that it cannot be profitable.
- A stream of new offers is appearing all the time. Make sure you have a choice and a new offer in store in case the old one dies out.
Fed up with the theory? We now move to the core of this article: what works in 2020.
List of evergreen niches and verticals
The following is the most up-to-date and most awesome list of main affiliate marketing verticals and their niches. They are evergreens, which means that they are not subject to seasonality.
Time spend in health and beauty.
Let’s start with love.
Source: Christian Connection
Wait, isn’t dating the most saturated niche on the market? Well, no. Adult content is, and you can still find your way in this vertical.
60 million US singles use or have used an online dating service. These services are responsible for 40% of relationships. Give them a couple of years and the Internet will be the main reason for the continued existence of the human population.
Online dating is not only a new form of courtship but also a 12 billion industry.
Recommended ad format: display, push
- Senior dating
- Single parents
- Military niche
- Farmer niche
- Christian/Jewish/Muslim/LDS/Atheist dating
- Dating niches related to hobbyists (gamers, book lovers, sports fans)
- Dating niches related to a lifestyle (vegan, yoga, highly-skilled professionals, sports enthusiasts, ex-pats)
Regardless of finding their soulmate, getting money and spending them on things that bring joy is ranked high on everyone’s list.
20 years ago only professionals could trade financial commodities. Now everyone can buy bitcoins, stocks or foreign currencies. And the industry has changed as well.
Blockchain technology tries to revolutionize traditional banking and other industries.
Outside the realm of financial services, there are other ways to invest money and save them in the long run, such as alternative energy sources.
Why not capitalize on this brave new world?
Recommended ad format: native
Tiers: 1, 2
- How to make money blogging or via YouTube/TikTok
- Retirement/senior living
- Solar power/renewable energies/mobile power
- Women in transition
- Loans for veterans
- Medical loans
- Loans with no credit check
- Ebooks on financial habits: savings, frugal living, house flipping
Health and nutra
People want to enjoy life in good health and good shape. Not necessarily by exercising and changing their bad habits, but by spending money. This makes the ‘nutra’ market a behemoth – it is estimated to be worth more than 300 billion dollars by the year 2023.
This industry is changing, as everything else is. Maybe even more rapidly than everything else. A lot of well-known niches, such as weight loss or muscle building have already been dominated by marketers. You’d need a seriously revolutionary product to make your way in these niches.
But there are other niches.
Mountains of untapped potential.
People may have problems that you have never thought of.
Did you know that parasite treatment is a popular niche in south-east Asian countries? No? You should travel more.
Recommended ad format: native
Tiers: 1, 2, 3
- Reproductive health
- Home drug tests
- Cannabis for seniors
- Sustainable foods
- Anger management
- Medical home
- Digital detox apps (yes, I get the irony)
- Wellness travel
AM niches to choose from
There are other verticals that span over the love-money-time triangle. There are also verticals such as:
- Sweepstakes (niches: occasional waves of hype for the new products: new iPhone + sweepstake offer)
- Ecommerce (niches: luxury items, handmade treats for pets, 3D printing, eco toiletries for babies)
- Travel (niches: budget traveling, volunteerism, ancestry tourism, bleisure, destination wedding, gastro-tourism)
- Gaming (niches: cloud gaming, next-gen consoles, e-sport, gaming furniture)
- Education (survival courses, real estate management courses)
- Sport (niches: fantasy sport, golf, hiking, memorabilia)
… and more. The point is that more and more people get connected to the Internet (finger’s crossed, Elon!) and more and more people move their activities online. All markets are getting bigger and more diversified.
Best niches for the COVID pandemic
With the COVID situation defining year 2020 and probably the next one, you should think which niches work great in this far-from-normal environment.
Some niches are dead or at least on hold: travel, outdoor entertainment.
But some are on the rise. The most obvious ones are:
- Finance (earning money while staying at home, improving work qualifications)
- Ecommerce (food delivery, PPE)
- Adult (tube sites, adult dating)
Think about what you and your friends need in the current situation and try to find related products to advertise.
Advice for the new decade
What would my father’s suggestion sound like in 2020? Invest in cannabis products for the older population and loans for veterans? People may not always need those but they are surely willing to pay for them right now.
Fashion and people’s habits change. They become more detailed, more specified. A good marketer is always ready to find new perspective products and/or audiences. What works in 2020 may be a thing of the past in 2021. But the Internet will still be here, and so will be ads.