There are several ways to brainstorm potential markets for affiliate marketing. I highly recommend you keep a notebook with you at all times as you go through this stage, because once your mind starts rolling, you’ll have plenty of ideas. Here are a few sources for market ideas:
Personal Hobbies & Interests
Think about what hobbies and interests you and your friends or family have. Are there any particular products or product categories in those hobbies that stand out as potentially interesting to pursue for affiliate marketing?
For example, maybe you’re a golfer. Every golfer needs a glove, shoes, balls, tees, a bag and of course new gloves. Plus they want to learn new strategies, improve their skills and play great courses. Each of these is an affiliate marketing opportunity and I guarantee you there are companies with affiliate programs for each of these products or services.
Choosing a product or market that you already know something about and has already proven itself interesting is a great path to explore. Affiliate marketing is hard work, but if you find the subject interesting, it will seem more like fun than anything else.
Another great way to explore potential markets is with the use of Google Trends. Visit google.com/trends to get started.
With Google Trends you can enter any search phrase and see a graphical representation of the traffic for that phrase over time. This is especially meaningful if you suspect that your market may be cyclical or likely to fluctuate based on current events.
If there’s enough historical data, Google Trends also provides links to relevant news stories for the given phrase to provide some context the the search trends graph. You can also compare two searches phrases to see how they differ and to what degree one search term is more popular than another.
For, example, do a search for golf shirt and you see that the phrase is rather cyclical with traffic spikes in late Spring and early Summer. You’ll also notice that a majority of the traffic is in South Carolina and Alabama – not surprising since these are big golf states.
Now add a comma to your search and include a comparison with polo shirts. The most obvious take-away is that searches for polo shirts are twice and much as those for golf shirts. You will also see that there is a second spike for polo shirts in late Summer, when weather is still hot yet golf season is definitely waning.
This type of analysis is a fun exercise to get your head around the relative traffic volume for a given phrase. It’s also great to help you brainstorm other variations on that phrase or product as a result of the information Google Trends provides.
With one of the largest collections of products for sale online, Amazon is a great place to research potential products to promote. Yes, Amazon has it’s own affiliate marketing program, Amazon Associates, but more than that, it has a ratings system and product reviews.
These ratings and reviews can help you justify promoting one product over another based on actual customer feedback. They can also help you learn what’s important to customers when they are buying that product or buying anything with the broader category … both tangible and intangible.
Of course, the simplest way to see what’s selling on Amazon is to search for a product or category and order the results by Best Selling or Most Popular. This is a dead giveaway, right?
Take note, that other affiliate marketers will also be attracted to the top product. It may make sense for you to focus on the 2nd or 3rd products and sell them as an alternative to the #1 product. People often like to buy alternatives if you can spell out why it’s equal to or better than the competition.
Major Affiliate Networks
This is a really great advantage over Amazon, because you can see which products perform well from an affiliate’s perspective. Also, an individual product’s performance can be measured across all categories, so you know if it performs well within it’s category and how it compares to products in different categories.
Again, because everything is so well organized and easy to navigate, these affiliate networks are a great place to brainstorm ideas.