“What’s your favourite niche to promote?” I’ve been asked this same question so many times that it’s a wonder I haven’t snapped up the domain FinchSellsDatingSoSTFU.com
“Whatever you’re not working on.” is my new default answer.
It sounds like a spiteful retort but it’s actually quite true. I do spend a vast amount of my time running like a little girl from the heaving masses of affiliate marketing competition.
When you first sign up with an affiliate network, you could be forgiven for assuming that the world revolves around dieting, dating, getting rich at home and MMORPGs. The large majority of my income has been generated in these niches so I’m not going to turn in to a contrarian snob by suggesting that you’re a fool for pursuing them.
What I would say, however, is that the further you run from the herd of affiliates, the easier your life will become for a number of reasons.
I’ve ventured away from the standard arbitrage mindset in recent months. I’ve been developing a business strategy of finding and mounting the sleeping giants in niches that very few affiliates dare to enter. Now what the hell does that mean? It sounds like I’ve been galivanting on some sexual adventure of epicly seedy proportions, which would probably make for a standard blog post from my pen.
By sleeping giants, I’m referring to websites that are run with all the best of intentions, and offering all the right content – but those that are simply resounding failures when it comes to the owner’s ability to monetize his creation. A sleeping giant in marketing terms is a website that COULD make the owner a fortune, if only he knew that he had a business asset on his hands.
These are my absolute favourite kind of websites. I like to invest in them, I like to copy them, and I like to sit at my desk salivating at the prospect of how my filthy affiliate paws would spend the money I’d make from them.
Do you know what happens when you try to launch an “authority” website in a niche like weight loss these days? Without an eye watering monetary investment, you’ll end up with about six hits per day. Four from your own IP and two from the poor bastard who clicked your Digged review by mistake.
There’s money in the niche but you know what? There was money in being the first man on the moon too. In relative ecommerce years, you’re about five decades too late. It’s happened. It’s gone. So get over it and find something else.
Go find yourself a sleeping giant. Some of the qualities I look for in a potential investment are as follows:
1. Is the owner likely to undervalue his website?
Because if the owner is wise enough to see the money in his creation, I might as well just use my investment to build something similar. I’ve spoken to countless forum owners about buying their creations. Many of these people simply don’t understand the potential in having an email list of 10000 active targeted users in a highly profitable niche. Forums can be great “sleeping giants”. Particularly if you search out the messageboards that have been dead for months.
Forum webmasters rarely value their sites in realistic currency. They value it by the egotistical kick they get out of being head admin. If it no longer satisfies their ego, the price drops. Somebody like me can step in and monetize their creation in the matter of hours. Blogs that have been dead for a couple of months are another of my favourite targets. If the owner was only in it for the hobby of blogging, and he’s no longer blogging, he’s likely to let the site go on the cheap.
2. How major are the changes I would need to make to see increased profit?
I recently purchased an “Adsense automated” site in an obscure niche where I had a directly relevant product to promote to the site’s audience. The owner was claiming $150/month profit from Adsense. I’ve been claming close to four times that figure just by promoting a product instead of shitty Adcents. One small change can make a wealth of difference. If somebody is selling their creation, and the only revenue stream they have is from Adsense – Take a good look! You might find yourself another of these mythical sleeping giants I’m raving about.
3. Is the niche going to present me a legitimate business opportunity?
Take a look at this list. Do you feel it inside? Come on, we’ve all felt it. The temptation to invest in some bat shit crazy microniche just because there’s an interest from 45000 local searches on Google. That feeling…is the affiliate’s desire to hoard fucking with you. It’s easy to spend a lifetime investing in new web assets. But if you’ve got no viable business plan for monetizing them, you’re not waking a sleeping giant. You’re just wasting your time. And giving GoDaddy another reason to ping you an expired domain notification twelve months from now.
Affiliate marketing is a mere tip of the iceberg when it comes to making money online. Yes, there are plenty of opportunities in following the tried and tested niches. But there’s also a lot of money to be made in taking the knowledge of referral marketing and applying it to websites where affiliates wouldn’t normally bat a glance of interest.
Once you know how to monetize assets effectively, you simply need to find the right opportunities to invest. With hundreds of forums and blogs falling abandoned every single day, are you telling me there’s not a bargain to be had out there? Put on your best Duncan Banntyne scowl and get to it.
Recommended This Week:
If you haven’t read it from front to back already, snap up a copy of the brilliant 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Inspiring stuff for any affiliate marketer.
If you’re looking to explore some very different but potentially very profitable micro-niches, take a look at ShareASale. It’s like a CJ that isn’t run by a bag of dicks.
Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch.