Mastering Your Niche

This is a guest post from a friend of mine Eric D. Gray. Eric is a long time affiliate marketer that typically stays under the radar.


My business is building affiliate sites. I don't build your typical Amazon stores or throw up a bunch of products. I'm an expert, not just in one type of business, but about 25 different types of business. Let me give you an example. I currently have a website teaching people how to make money on Fiverr. The website has multiple links to Fiverr through an affiliate program that currently pays out $15.50 for anyone who signs up and makes a purchase (not sure if I get paid if they sell something).

To make this profitable I write about many different ways to make money buying and selling on Fiverr. I give people advice on what gigs are good to buy, I do gig reviews where I actually buy the gig, show the results and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. This site alone isn't very profitable, yet. This site isn't the only one. I'm not just a "Fiverr Expert", I'm an expert in many things.

What Does it Take to Master Your Niche?

1. Expert Status

Typically when you know more than someone else, they consider you to be an expert. This can be leveraged to your advantage and you'll find there are a lot of people that know less than you about many topics. To be an expert you just need to know more than the next guy.

This isn't going to be a live question and answer where you'll be stumped by real experts, you're just giving out the knowledge you have. For me, my expertise on Fiverr is that I've bought and sold gigs.

You are the expert because you have a website that is devoted to this topic. If you don't know a lot about a topic, pick a new topic, or start reading. I have a site about carpet. Before starting the site, I knew nothing about carpet so I read a few articles and now I have "Donald Gray's Expert Carpet Website" (not the real name 😉 )Eric Donald Gray

2. Monetizeable Topic

Is "monetizeable" a word?

This is important but not a deal breaker if you can't figure out a way right now. It will come later, in fact here is a link to a tutorial. If you can get people to come to your website, you can monetize it, that's a fact. I've never seen a website that has real visitors that couldn't be monetized in one way or another.

I don't sell carpet on my website, but I do sell "Eric D. Gray's $10 Guide to Save $4000". That's not the actual name of course, but it's in the same idea. Since I don't sell carpet, I needed another way to monetize the site and so I sell a guide that is jam packed with money saving carpet tips. The average person will save well more than $10 when they need to buy new carpet. For example, the most expensive carpet pad isn't always the best even though it's the thickest. The total weight of the pad usually indicates the quality more than the total thickness!  That's what an expert sounds like!

3. Planning

When creating your website you need to start with "Pillar Content" these are the articles that will stand the test of time. They're not 'news' or anything that will be outdated. For the carpet site it could be pages such as, "10 Ways to Save Money On Carpet", "5 Sneaky Tricks They Won't Tell You", and "The Most Important Piece Of Advice I Can Give You".

After you get the pillar articles done, you can start with the lighter and easier blog posts. You always want to make sure that you're writing for the readers, not for search engines. People are what will ultimately make you money when you monetize the site.

As you're working on the site you'll have a lot more ideas that you can put into practice.

A few ideas that I can think of right now:

Paid membership directory broken down by city and state.

Sell leads for specific cities that you rank well for.

Premium advertisers for online carpet sellers.

Mailing list to promote the website and ebook

4. Commitment

The main problem people have with affiliate sites is they aren't a get rich quick scheme. You won't make money in the first few months, but you'll need to devote a few months to the site in order for it to ever make money. I tell people that it needs to become a hobby, you think about it and spend at least a couple hours per week writing, answering comments, posting comments on related blogs, guest posting, etc. You want to be the expert, right? Experts live and breathe their industry. Stainmaster is on sale at Lowe's this month? Tell your mailing list and your blog readers!

After a few months you should have at least 30+ blog posts and pillar content. You should also have 50+ comments on other blogs and a few guest posts on industry related blogs. If you have engaging content and have devoted yourself to the industry you should be able to make money. You can realistically expect to earn $500+ per month with a single site. That would be through a couple different forms of advertising and maybe selling a couple of your own products or affiliate products if there are some in your industry.

After you have the game plan down, you start doing this in another industry. You can hire a writer to keep up with the first site or you can keep doing it yourself. Don't get overwhelmed thinking that if you can do one site, ten sites will make $5000. You're only one person and you spent a LOT of time devoted to this site. You don't have that same time to devote to 10 sites. Start small and scale your business.

I think that's it for now, that's Eric D. Gray's Business In A Box. Maybe I need an "How to make money online" website!

Have you ever tried something like this?

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How to Monetize a Niche without a Product or Offer

Jason posted a comment asking, "What if your niche doesnt have any relevant offers available that are related? What if the offers that are available suck?" Well Jason, I have two tips for you. One I don't think you're going to like, and the other might help you generate some revenue for your niche.

1. Pick the right niche. I realize that if you've already invested time and money into ranking in the top 3 for your keywords, it's hard to abandon ship and move to a more profitable niche. If this is you, you need to learn how to pick a niche before jumping in with both feet. This problem can easily be avoided by doing your niche research before starting to build your site.

There are many tools that show you how much you can expect per click, but the most important thing is to search for your keyword (or key phrase) and look for Adwords advertisers. Do you see 5 or more? If not, this might not be a niche with a product or market. If your search reveals 3 or less advertisers, you need to strongly consider a new niche. This particular market might not have the products to support it as a profitable market. If this is the case, ranking #1 might bring you a lot of traffic (3k uniques per month in Jason's case), but if you can't get them to buy anything, that's just junk traffic.

2. Swing to other trees. Imagine you're a monkey, you get hungry and eat all of the bananas in your tree. After the bananas are all gone from your tree, is it easier to get down on the ground and walk a mile to find a new tree, or is it easier to swing to the tree right next to you? Of course, jumping to the tree next door is much quicker and easier. I admit, my analogy skills are sub-par.

So in the case of the monkey, it's easier for you to move into a related niche since some of the work you've done can still relate. Blogs and parasite pages (wordpress.com, blogger, WPMU sites, etc) can still be used for your new niche. Relationships with other webmasters can still be utilized and the content you've written can be repurposed.

How do I pick a related niche?

If you don't know how to pick a related niche, there are generally two ways.

1. Keyword (contextual) based related niche. This method will have you finding other keywords that use your existing keyword. Here's an example.

Current key phrase with no product: Lawn Mowing Service in Arkansas
Other possible niches to break into: Lawn mower reviews, Arkansas Lawn Mowers, Yard Service

This are strong related possibilities because they are using one or more of your existing keywords.

2. Latent Semantic Indexing. This method will have you finding your keywords based on related words that people would normally associate together, for example, bird/parrot/Cockatiel/cage/seed.

Current key phrase with no product: Lawn Mowing Service in Arkansas
Other possible niches to break into: Bermuda grass seed, Arkansas sod companies, gardening gloves, wheelbarrow wheels

Now What?

So you found a related (either contextual or LSI) niche that you're ready to jump into? Here is a quick rundown of what you should do next.

1. Domain. Unless your domain is an exact keyword match, I would suggest trying to adapt it to fit your new niche.

2. Links. If possible, change your best links to use a new anchor text. Once you've done that, start grabbing some new links on strong domains that are indexed well. Web directories are great for this.

3. Content. Keep all of your old content on the site and start adding new content related to your new niche.

4. On site SEO. Make sure you change your meta tags, alt tags, title tags, etc. You don't want to confuse the Google bot that comes to check out your new site.

So if you find yourself where Jason is currently, I hope these ideas can help you make some money!

Brandon Hopkins offers Fresno website design as well as many SEO services including high performance linkbuilding. You can contact him at brandonchopkins@gmail.com

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Breaking Into Small Niches

Scott recently wrote about saturated niches. If you missed that post, make sure and read it, especially the last paragraph. Niche marketing is without a doubt the way of the foreseeable future. Google makes that perfectly apparent. Gone are the "Wal-Mart" days of sites like Buy.com that stock everything but specialize in nothing. Here to stay are the small sites that sell a few of the best products at good prices, so how do you break into those niches?

Here are a few pieces of advice from someone who has successfully broken into niches with no budget and competed against companies that spend thousands per day.

  1. Start with something you know. The easiest way to build a presence in a niche is through expertise. While you may not be an expert in the niche you've chosen, it's easy to fake if you know something about that niche. You may not have ever purchased office furniture, but if you've sat in it and used it for the last five years, you know something about different chairs, desks, layout, filing systems and more. Start with something you know and writing for and promoting in that niche is much easier.
  2. Build a strong base before showing your colors. It is a common war tactic to try to lure the enemy into a trap. With your niche, your website is your trap, it's what wins the war (generating you a profit). So before you try to get those visitors to your website, have something to show them. If you're starting with an empty website and paying for customers, they'll leave without giving you a chance. I always have 5-10 pages of the website ready and waiting before doing any kind of marketing. This gives new customers something to look at and gives you a professional presence.
  3. Never stop writing. While 5-10 pages of good content can get you a long way in your niche, you can never outgrow any niche. You might disagree, but I have been writing in one niche for 4 years. To date I have nearly 400 articles on a niche that is pretty small. Most of them are long tail keywords but just about all of them brought in a few visitors, and that is what you want.

In niche marketing you may never have the advertising budget of a Fortune 500, but that doesn't mean you can't compete with them and steal some of their customers!

Brandon Hopkins has websites dedicated to over 100 different niches and is currently working on a free website hosting project called 22 Gigs.

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Make Money Selling Credit Cards

Yes, I said it. Selling credit cards and other financial goods and services online is a good money maker. I recently checked out CashFlowFromCreditCards which is a multi-level marketing platform where users can earn money in two very different but equally as lucrative ways.

First, you can earn commissions by promoting credit card applications, free credit reports, auto loans, and a slew of other financial goods and services. An affiliate to the system made a video titled "Double Your Profits in 20 Minutes" where he not only doubles his initial investment but he more than quadruples it. After watching this video it dawned on me that it really is possible for ANYONE who signs up to make their initial investment back at the very least by following his step-by-step instructions here.

Second, you can make money by promoting the actual CashFlowFromCreditCards business opportunity. You can earn up to $65 per referral to the CFFCC system which is a really nice payout especially considering the new embeddable flash video they have made available to affiliates for promotion. Take a look at the FLV promo video below, as you can see this video carries my tracking code so if any of you sign up for the CashFlowFromCreditCards system by clicking through the video I will be credited for the referral. This tool harnesses the promotional power of videos online and is sure to change the way video promotion is practiced online.

Overall, I recommend giving credit card marketing a chance, especially during such rough economic times. The financial services industry is a 5-billion dollar industry annually and is growing each and every year. Check out CashFlowFromCreditCards and own your own piece of the multi-billion dollar financial services industry today!

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Beginners Luck? Affiliate Marketing… Not Hard, Just Confusing.

Hi Everyone,

The name is William. I've known Scott for awhile now and I love his blog, so I thought I'd ask him to let me do a guest post because I used to own a blog long ago but sold it for quick cash. I've been trying to get my new blog set up but every coder I've tried to hire ran off and I've never heard from them again, so I miss writing to the masses.

Anyway, here's what I want to talk about today: with my recent success at Affiliate Marketing (which you can read about on the forums here "Killafawks Journey"), everyone was interested in how I did it and really how I started killing it over night.

Well, I'm going to tell you how I set up my campaigns and how I went about turning profits over night.

But first we've got to clear some things up...

Affiliate marketing is a tricky business and can be rough to break into but it's not impossible. If you're going to tell yourself that you can't do it then you probably shouldn't be in the field. I used to tell myself that affiliate marketing was too "big" for me and that it was already saturated. I blew it off for years and spent most of my time trying to make that next big hit website. While I read stories of people making $100, $500, $1000 a day doing affiliate marketing, in most cases within months, this amazed me. So of course I wanted to know how to do it.

I finally gave it a go and failed at it and lost a good $100 or so. I left affiliate marketing never giving it a second thought. I went back to Adsense and was fighting just to reach $10 a day. Still, people where showing up every day on forums like Digital Point and writing out their success stories all over the forum, and it wasn't long before I saw Scott's success story on there. Scott and I used to share website ideas and whatnot months before and to see Scott now take a huge step up the ladder with affiliate marketing really intrigued me. Scott was in a similar boat as me not to long ago trying to make money through Adsense and to sustain a suitable income online and now he's posting about making $1,000 a day with affiliate marketing. That just told me that this stuff is real and possible. I gave it a second chance and with the help of Scott starting me off on the right path I was on my way to where I am right now.

Anyway, I am carrying on way too long. The point is - we live in the technology age and since the internet is still young in terms of the possibilities it holds, RIGHT NOW is your only shot to make it big unless you plan on going to college for 4-6 years and trying to secure a high paying job cutting people open. Even then, some 17-18 year olds make more money than some of the best doctors in the world.

Let me repeat again - most likely, never again will you get an opportunity like the present to take a chance and make money from the internet. They may say the markets are saturated and from an online marketers view, some markets are. But not in terms of how many people are actually in them. Right now I would guess the number of online individual marketers is insanely low in terms of how much money can be made from it. The rest of the offline world thinks making money off the internet is a ridiculous idea; most still think it's either from porn or you've gotta own something like YouTube to make money. We are fine with that because there is more money than anyone could imagine and we don't need any more people trying to mine from the money pit. This is a once in a life time chance to make it big, GO FOR IT.

You can't do this half-assed. Dedicate yourself to it. Once you have gotten yourself motivated and dedicated to do this, hold to it. The money is real and the possibility of living in that dream house could be a couple days or months down the road. Not 4-6 years.

Let the Journey Begin

Once you are ready to start this exciting adventure, there are some things we are going to need to make you successful.

1. Website (in this post we will be using ringtones).
2. Affiliate Network (I suggest AzoogleAds or NeverblueAds).
3. Advertising Network (Google or Yahoo; I suggest Yahoo because of its ease of use and it's not as strict as Google).
4. Advertising Budget (I know everyone wants free free free. Sorry, no free lunches. You either fork up money to spend or you can sit at your computer desk for 5 hours a day writing articles to drive traffic to your website. Either way, time is money. Is your time justified by writing 10 articles a day to only get 1-2 sales a day or would you rather fork up $50 and make $100-150 back in 1-2 hours of setting up and testing?).

Now I am going to run through the steps one by one on how to get you up and running for Ringtones (which we will be covering in this topic, you can use the method for any niche just make sure you test).

1. Website / Domain - You're gonna want to register a domain at your favorite domain registry. We all know how to do this I hope but make sure when you register a domain to make it related to your niche. Since we're doing ring tones, do something with ringtones in the domain.

2. Affiliate Network - Azoogle has the best offers for ring tones and Neverblue has its own strong points. I suggest you sign up with both just so you can switch whenever you feel like it and test offers from both networks.

3./4. Advertising Networks / Advertising Budget - I suggest you set up a Yahoo Search Marketing account for this experiment. Go search online for the free $100 Yahoo voucher. There are higher ones I think but you might have to pay to buy those off of someone. I wouldn't suggest it because of the amount of scamming that goes around from this kind of thing. Just pay the 30$ sign up and get $130 in your account and move on to the next step.

Get Your Campaign Going

1. The first thing is to get your website content. What you're gonna want for this test is a Ringtone Carrier Page. You can either get one professionally designed for about $80 or make your own... or if you're feeling bastardly you can look at other landing pages and copy their templates from their own site and change it up enough to not seem obvious.

Once you've got your template set up, make sure you have buttons for all major carriers. Just look at other landing pages to get an idea of what the top carriers are and model it off that. Get everything set up and when your template is complete with buttons and everything is looking good, head over to your affiliate network (in this case, Azoogle).

2. Once you're in Azoogle, look up ring tones in the offers page. Now you will notice there are all kinds of offers for ringtones. Personally, I've had good success with Thumbplay and Dada Mobile. So go ahead and look up those offers and click "promote these offers by search," the little blue button on the bottom of the offer page.

*Important* This is one thing I overlooked when I first started: For most offers you will notice that they have more than just one landing page. I never noticed this since the landing page changer was a drop down menu and it's on the very bottom!

Also Remember that not every offer accepts all carriers. The top paying offers only accept the top tier carriers like Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. So pick a high paying offer like Thumbplay for your top tier sites and Dada Mobile or another offer for your low tier offers.

Once you have looked through both offers' landing pages and you've got the two landing pages you want to use for your top tier and bottom tier, save the affiliate links and put them in their corresponding places in your landing page (Example: For the Sprint button, put the top tier offer jump link so when they click, they get sent to the top tier offer).

Once you have sorted out all the links to each button you can go ahead and close up your template and you're finished with it, unless you want to add some things to it like click tracking software (I'll cover this later on down the line).

(Optional) iFraming. Personally, I just started using this method not too long ago and it's shown some great results. iFraming will basically make it look as if the affiliate landing page is part of your site, which is great way to improve trust and conversions among visitors and it hides your affiliate link at the same time. I highly recommend it but iFraming doesn't work too well with a lot of offers, so test test test.

Here's some example code for iFrames:

<html><head>

<title>Sprint Ringtones - Step 1</title>

<script>window.status = ' ';</script></head>

<frameset rows="100%,*" frameborder="0" border="0">

<frame src="affiliate link" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="auto" noresize>

<frame src="UntitledFrame-2">

</frameset>

<noframes><p>Sorry, but it appears you are using a Web browser that does not support frames.<br></p></noframes>

</html>

Let's say your site is coolringtonesdude.com. Make a carrier for each sub page, like "Sprint, Verizon etc." so it will look like this: coolringtonesdude.com/sprint.html. In your button links, point your jump link to that page so when they land there you can put something like "Sprint Ringtones" as your title and if they see the address bar, it looks legit.

Do this for each carrier and watch your conversions increase!

3. Next let's get your Yahoo campaign going. First thing you're going to want to do is get some keywords for your campaign. Since we are doing ringtones, you want something related to ringtones.

Now for keywords. If you have a Wordze subscription that would be great but I actually like to use Google Keyword Tool more; it displays search volume along with advertiser volume.

For this experiment, we want ringtone-related keywords, but don't aim for the high volume ringtone keywords. They are way too saturated with other advertisers and it's very easy to lose money with them. Let's try getting keywords for popular artists and songs. Start typing artist names in and download the 150-keyword-return list and save the keywords. Get about 15-20 of these going. Now once you have 15-20 groups of different keyword groups for different artists or songs, we can set up the campaigns.

Go back to Yahoo and set up a campaign and ad groups within for each artist. Input the keywords and bid anywhere from 10-30 cents (whatever you feel safe with). For me, it's about 15-25 cents depending on the volume of the searches Yahoo predicts. If it's low, I'll bid higher to secure top position, so when ever it does get searched I can get top 3 spots. If it's a lot of clicks I can lower it and get a good amount of clicks still.

Once you have set up all your campaigns, talk to your affiliate manager over at Azoogle and go into your Yahoo account and get your tracking code. This is where my click tracking comes in handy. They can place the tracking code in the actual landing page you are sending people to so you can find out exactly what keyword was it that converted for you! This is all I use to track keywords.

Now that you got all your campaigns up and your landing page perfect, go pass some time, watch a movie or if it's late go to bed early and pray for good stats in the morning to look over.

4. The big day! When you wake up, it's always exciting to see where you are in your daily earnings. Here are things to look out for:

a. Total spending vs Earnings - If you're in the red, don't worry it's normal. Don't get mad and quit. Getting profit the very first day is pretty damn rare. If you're converting, that's the best thing you can hope for at this point. If you had your tracking code installed, check which keywords converted and write them down. Typically I will only let a keyword rack up to around the amount of a payout before I trash it. So if there are high volume keywords that haven't converted for one payout yet trash it and repeat step 3 (keyword part) again. The point here is to eliminate needless spending and get converting keywords.

b. Your Bounce Rate and eCPC - Look back at Scott's bidding calculator and find out what you should be bidding and go back and tune your campaigns to match it. Not exactly but roughly.

c. Delete the 100 or so keywords you know didn't convert well and add more keywords and repeat the process. You might be thinking: how am I going to get rich over night doing this? This is gonna take forever! Well, you aren't going to get rich over night and you won't get rich at all unless you do this, so no excuses. This is how people generate keyword lists that convert at 1:10 and they've got hundreds and thousands of them so do the math.

5. If you're a total control freak, you can even make sub pages for each keyword group with detailed content for each ad group. This is recommended to improve conversions. It can be tedious work but it could pay off in the end. It's worked so-so for me but I no longer do it. You should test it though as it's highly recommended but honestly I hate dealing with anything website-related so I tend to stay away from it.

6. Remember, try testing out new ads. Higher CTR is good because it means you get more clicks and if those clicks are converting keywords it's just more money every day. Never stop testing and this goes for your landing pages, too. Add some nice little tricks to your landing page, like putting high trusting logos with text related to your site on there, like a Forbes logo that says something like "ring tones are a new way to express yourself." People who will notice the logo will think your site is trustworthy and will feel safer putting in their cell numbers.

That's it.

Just test new keywords every day and delete ones that don't work and next thing you know, you've got 20-50 keywords in a week that convert and you're making 2-3X the money you put into it. It's really that simple. The same method can be applied to any niche. It's really all about a decent landing page and good converting keywords. Once you reach a certain point like $100 a day pure profit from ringtones, you can go into the dating market with the same approach and work till you get it right. Next thing you know, you've got ten offers that bring in $100 a day each and you're earning $1,000 a day profit.

What are you waiting for? Go test!

Hope you enjoyed the long article and I hope it helps everyone who's new and wants to get into the field.

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