This post is part 6 of The Ultimate Guide To Finding Your Profitable Niche.
In the previous chapter, we talked about how to find a niche market.
You should now have a list of niche ideas and it's time to do some simple evaluation to see which are profitable, with my 7 step guide..
So you can figure out whether this niche is profitable. And whether you can find your target audience online. So let's look at how to find if your niche is profitable now…
You should 100% be following along, step by step, with me as I go through this. Do the short and easy tasks in this post as you read through so that you don't miss anything. Just grab a notepad and pen or open a Word document and take notes. That way you'll have validated your niche by the end of this post. And will 100% know if it's profitable or not. Plus it will save you time doing it again later.
First Check Google Search Volume For Your Niche Idea
Finding out just how many people are searching for your niche idea and related keywords or search phrases on Google is a first good step.
They are the biggest search engine in the world where a lot of traffic is going to come from.
Although keyword research is NOT the full picture, actually a small part of a bigger process, it shows instant demand. So we start here before digging deeper by doing this…
Using Google Keyword Planner: Free Version
Using the Google keyword planner tool here you'll first sign up for an account or log in if you have one.
No need to pay for anything or add credit. Once that is done you'll then click 'Get search volume data and trends.
Google Keyword Planner
Then simply enter your niche idea or keywords.
Before you search choose the location as 'USA' or whichever country you'd like to target.
I tend to stick with the USA as it's the largest English-speaking market and where the bulk of spending on the internet is.
But searching 'All Locations' or your home country will work just fine too.
Remember, we just want an idea if this is something popular or not so don't get too caught up in what you choose.
Choosing the USA to get data
Then press the blue "get search volume" button.
Results will display but be sure to click the "Keyword Ideas" tab as you see here…
Choose the Keyword Ideas tab
The tool will display the volume of people searching, in Google USA (or whatever region you chose), for your niche idea/keyword every month.
But you'll end up with vague results like this…
Vague keyword volumes with a free Google Keyword Account
Yep, it's just telling us between 100,000 and 1,000,000 people search for the term every month.
Pretty vague, right? (more on that in a second)
But we can tell it's a BIG number over 100,000 so we know the demand is there.
Write down the volumes you get for your niche ideas in your notepad or Word document for later.
And here's the deal:
For core niche ideas/keywords, like "Survivalist" or "Beekeeping" or "Yoga" for example you want to see searches of at least 10,000 per month.
These are broad terms and you'd expect large volumes of people searching.
Remember right now you are NOT trying to figure out how competitive the niche is.
Nor are you doing keyword research analysis just yet.
You're simply figuring out if there's a big demand for your niche ideas.
And for the broad terms like this, you WANT big demand otherwise you're going to be scrapping around in small niches that don't have as much money being spent.
So the bigger the better here so far.
Here's the deal with Google's vague numbers:
Unfortunately at the current time Google is no longer allowing 100% free access to their Google Keyword Planner tool.
For years it was the best free, and accurate, option as the results came direct from the source themselves.
It's currently only allowing full access to paying Adwords customers who want to advertise on Google.
This was the reason the tool was designed in the first place but it had long been free for everyone to use.
If you use it without being a paying customer you'll get broad and very limited data.
But this is NOT a problem for you right now as all you are doing is validating your ideas have large search volumes, and the data still shows this.
Remember all you're doing at this stage is validating if your niche has high demand and a lot of interest.
And knowing it's between 100,000 and 1 million as in the example above still shows that.
So you don't need the exact accurate data right now.
Now move on to the very simple step 2 below…
Check Google Trends
A quick check on Google Trends to make sure it's not dying off-trend is a good idea.
It's better to focus on evergreen niches than trends that come and go.
Just enter your keyword or niche idea in the search bar at http://www.google.com/trends
And check whether it's a rising or at least a stable niche.
You want something that looks more like this…
And not something on a downward trend or a fad for example that looks like this…
Though it's worth keeping in mind that just because something is not as popular as it once was doesn't mean it's no longer profitable.
Some things have huge spikes of interest due to being all over the media or going viral.
Other get spikes at certain times of the year due to being seasonal.
Then the interest drops off.
It doesn't mean they aren't profitable but it's worth considering WHY the trend is going down or spiked before trying to make money from the niche.
Write down what you found in your Word document or notepad.
If using Word then you can grab a screenshot too for easy future reference.
Ready to move on?
On let's move on to this very important, but quick and easy, point 3…
Are There Products on Sale?
The best niches are ones with both physical and digital products available on sale and lots of them.
Though many niches will only be one or the other and that isn't a problem as long as there's a good selection of products and a demand for them.
For example, internet marketing is one of the most profitable niches available, but it's pretty much only digital products on sale.
I'm going to show you in a second how to check affiliate networks like Amazon, eBay, ShareASale, CJ.com, Clickbank, and JVZoo (for internet marketing niches) to see that there are already products on sale and that they are selling well.
There's no specific volume or number you should look for.
You just want to see some proof that people do buy in this niche and in high volumes.
Here's how to quickly check…
A. How To Check On Amazon For Profitable Niches
Amazon allows you to see the number of reviews a product has, which is a sign of profitability.
Simply enter your niche or product ideas into Amazon's search bar.
If you're seeing lots of products with hundreds and thousands of reviews it's a good sign.
Seeing 1000s of reviews is a good sign
It's estimated that for every 1 review anywhere between 10 to 1000 people have actually bought the product, as not everyone leaves reviews.
So look for several products with lots of reviews (preferably many with 100+) and it's a sign of a healthy market where people buy.
And don't forget:
Quickly take a note of the rough average number of customer reviews the products on the front page have.
It doesn't have to be exact or that accurate it's just for reference later so you don't have to do this task again.
Also, write down the number of search results for your niche that comes down for later reference…
Number of Amazon search results
Ideal markets are ones where there's not just one single product to sell but many you can sell to your visitors time and time again.
So look for related products on Amazon you might be able to sell too.
Note down any ideas you come up with so you don't forget them later.
And take a quick note of which product types appear to sell best, based on the number of reviews.
It will be useful to know for when you promote them later.
Then quickly check this next network too…
B. How To Check For Profitability on Clickbank
If your niche revolves around digital products check Clickbank.com as it's the largest retailer of digital products on the net.
You can view their affiliate marketplace and search for how many products match your niche idea.
Simply go to https://accounts.clickbank.com/marketplace.htm
Then enter your niche idea or keyword and search…
Clickbank Search for Survival Niche shows 347 products
The screenshot above shows 347 results for the Survival niche.
Write down whatever number you get, for future reference, in Word or on your notepad.
And what TYPE of products people are buying…is it ebooks / info-products, video, software, tools, membership.
It'll be useful for you to know later and save you time.
Seeing even 3 or 4 of products is enough to know there's some demand as people wouldn't create products if they couldn't sell them.
Another way to know for sure is to sort your search results by "Gravity"…
High gravity shows a product is popular
The Gravity number is a unique algorithm from Clickbank that takes into account the number of unique affiliates who have sold at least 1 copy of that product in the past 7 days.
So the higher the gravity of a product the more affiliates are promoting it and making sales.
A very high gravity score
Which means just one thing, right?
It's popular and most likely profitable.
Seeing lots of products in your niche with high gravity scores is a good sign as affiliates, like you, are making money.
Take note of whether there's plenty of products with high gravity in your Word document or notepad.
You can also check this other network…
C. How To Find Profitable Affiliate Programs On ShareASale
If you're not familiar then ShareASale is an affiliate network where independent companies run their affiliate programs allowing you the consumer to promote their products.
It's like a huge affiliate network filled with niches and businesses you can make money from.
ShareASale requires you to sign up and verify your account using your own website before they let you browse their affiliate programs.
So if you have a website you can do this now by signing up here: http://www.shareasale.com/merchantsignup.cfm
If not then don't worry, you can skip this point now and move on to the next as it not 100% essential.
Here's the deal…
Once inside ShareASale, you can find 1000's of affiliate programs from independent retailers including many big brands like Reebok, WayFair, ModCloth, NFL, WPEngine, OptinMonster, and more.
Once registered simply log in then click 'Merchants' > 'Search For Merchants'.
How to find merchants on ShareASale
Then enter your niche idea in the search box and be sure to click "products" before pressing the blue search button…
Then you'll see how many products and merchants there are related to your niche…
Number of merchants in your niche
If you're seeing hundreds of merchants and thousands of products you're on to a winner.
Write the number down quickly now for future reference.
There's no set number you need to be looking for.
Even 4 or 5 merchants is a good sign as you don't need hundreds of affiliate programs to make money, even just 1 can be enough.
You can even take it one step further and click on "full merchant details" of any merchant you've found in your search…
Checking out the merchant performance
And you'll see the details of how their affiliate program is performing.
The 'EPC' means "earnings per click" and is how much, on average, each affiliate is earning for every click they send through their affiliate link to the merchant.
So in the screenshot above, over the last 30 days on average, each click an affiliate has sent as been worth $5.46.
And the average commission paid has been $2.21.
If you find retailers and proof that there are affiliates making money from these retailers.
Then there's no reason YOU can't make money from them too, right?
It's a sign of a profitable niche.
Write this information down if you want to refer to it later, it'll save you coming back to look later.
You can see also our in-depth guide to finding profitable niches on ShareASale here.
I'd also recommend a quick look here if you can…
D. How To Use Commission Junction To Check For Profitable Niches
Commission Junction or CJ.com is very similar to ShareASale in that it's a 3rd party platform where businesses host their affiliate program.
Big brands like Zappos, HostGator, BlueHost, VistaPrint, Verizon & Trip Advisor use CJ.com for their affiliate program.
Top Brands on CJ.com
You'll need to register an account first then validate your website to get approved to do this step.
If you've no website yet just skip to the next point as this is not 100% essential either if you did the Amazon task.
So you can safely skip on to the next point without worry…
If you have a website and would like to do this point then go to CJ.com to register.
Then once approved click 'Advertisers' and then simply search for your niche idea in the 'keyword' box like you see below…
Seeing independent retailers with affiliate programs is a good sign
If you see 100's of retailers coming back that sell products related to your niche you've hit a goldmine.
Write the number down in your notes quickly.
Seeing even a handful of retailers is fine.
You're just looking for signs of profitability and a handful of retailers show there's customer demand.
Again you can check the individual merchants to see what sort of numbers affiliates are getting from promoting products with them.
See this screenshot below…
Showing the results of the affiliate from promoting this network
It shows the average "earnings per click" affiliates are getting over a 7 day and a 3 day period.
So for every click they send, on average, they are earning 26.01 EURO.
As well as what your commission percentage is, 7% in this case.
Looking at these stats will help further validate if there's money to be made in the niche.
As remember, affiliates making money means what?
Yep, that there's no reason you can't make money as an affiliate too.
If you know you won't remember these merchant's names and the data later then I recommend writing them down now.
And guess what, Google can be a gold mine too…
E. How To Use Google To Find Other Signs Of Profitability
You can also use Google to find other products on sale, that you might not have discovered on any of the affiliate networks.
Googling the niche topic and checking out websites in the rankings to see what they are selling.
Survival Affiliate Programs on Google
Or searching for a “niche + affiliate program” (change 'niche' to your niche of choice) may bring up some products, not on any of the big marketplaces.
This next network isn't so well known but it's filled with profitable offers…
F. How To Use OfferVault To Validate Your Niche Ideas
www.offervault.com also allows you to search for affiliate programs within your niche, with a focus on Cost Per Acquisition offers or 'CPA' affiliate offers.
With CPA offers you're paid for sending a lead, i.e. getting a customer's information, rather than for having to actually make a sale.
But that's not important right now as all you're doing is evaluating if your niche is profitable.
So simply search for your niche in the search box and if you see results it's a good sign:
Not all niches are a good fit with CPA offers so you may not see any listed here.
But don't be discouraged.
Here's the thing:
If you've seen proof in some of the other networks then don't worry.
Write down how many results OfferVault threw up too in your notes and what was on offer.
Here's what to examine next…
G. So Are There Products On Sale?
So if you've seen that there are products on sale, especially across multiple networks, and they show signs of selling well…
…you've probably found a profitable niche.
And there is definitely money to be made in it.
But here's the kicker:
You need to know that YOU personally can make money on it.
As there is a difference.
And that's where point #4 below comes into it so keep reading…
If you've found little sign of products across the networks.
Or not many reviews or signs of affiliates making money then the niche has less potential.
But it doesn't mean it's not profitable just yet.
So I recommend taking things one step further and doing point 4 too …
Remember just because your niche is for example “weight loss for men over 50 with heart problems” you don't have to see products that are EXACTLY tailored to that type of person.
General weight loss products for men or men over 50 are sufficient.
Products tailored at men with heart issues would work too.
Even though you are getting very specific in your niche choice doesn't mean every product you sell has to have been created with your core audience in mind.
A weight loss program helps people lose weight regardless.
Supplements that lower cholesterol will work on everyone from young to old.
You can market these general products to your niche audience.
Now obviously if you find products that are very specifically catered to your niche audience, i.e. weight loss for men over 50 with heart problems, then fantastic.
Look For Popular Website & Blogs To Validate Online Activity
If there's a lot of authority sites and blogs on your niche topic it's a good sign there are customers online and places to find them.
You want to be able to easily find hubs where people hang out so you can network with the owners and drive traffic from those sites.
Go to google type in your niche ideas and hit enter.
Or to find a list of the best blogs use terms like "Best NICHE blogs" and you'll find results like this when you type "best survivalist blog"…
There are lots of blog lists on the internet
You can then easily find out what some of the top blogs are on the subject if you don't already know.
Look at this handy list…
A list of the top survival blogs
You can take note of the top 5 blogs now for reference later, they will be useful for inspiration.
If you have a moment extra to spare then quickly jot down some of the article titles too for future reference.
It can give you ideas for your own content and save you from revisiting them later.
Now check out:
You can see how interactive this niche is online and whether it will be easy to connect with them.
Because if you can't find them and you can't talk to them it will be difficult to sell to them, right?
Plus by examining what they are selling and how they are making money will give you some ideas too.
And you'll see how profitable it is.
Then try step 5 next…
Look At Forums & Message Boards For Passion Goldmines
Sizable forums with active members mean people are passionate about the topic and willing to discuss it and ask questions in the niche.
And when people are passionate about something they'll nearly always spend money on it.
Simply because it makes them so damn happy!
Use FindAForum.net and Boardreader to find forums or simple Google searches such as “niche + forum” or “niche + message board”
FindAForums 'Advanced Search feature has some handy features like allowing you to search for forums with Adsense enabled or who ask for donations.
See the screenshot below…
That will allow you to get some insight into further ways you can profit from your niche.
If there are forums already making money from Adsense and Sponsorship, then you most definitely can from a website in the niche.
They also share some other handy tips on how to find forums with certain monetization options…
Tips from FindAForum on finding profitable forums
Take a note of the URLs of the forums now for future reference, and the membership numbers.
Most forums will tell you somewhere usually on the front page or in the footer.
If you wanted to quickly jot down some of the popular topics from the forum that would be useful too as you might want to create content around them later.
Now let's quickly do point 6…
Most niches have a lot of activity on Facebook though not all are most popular there.
But I always start there when doing niche research on social hungs.
Because if there are groups on Facebook, or other sites, around your topic then you've got an interactive niche who likes to connect.
Log into Facebook.com and type your niche into the search bar then choose groups…
Facebook Groups in your niche
Again there's no set number you're looking for just signs of popular groups in your niche.
Facebook shows the member numbers underneath the group.
But doesn't seem to show the groups in any logical order or the most popular first.
So you may have to scroll to see the biggest ones.
These will come in handy later if you decide to profit from this niche as you can share content with them for traffic.
So take a note of them now in a Word document or notepad.
Not every niche is best represented on Facebook.
So you can also check for groups and pages on Reddit, Pinterest, Scoop It, Tumblr, Google Plus, and Instagram.
For example, Reddit & Google Plus has a lot of tech-savvy users.
Tumblr is more younger female orientated.
Pinterest has a bigger concentration of at 30+ women, interested in fashion, food, shopping, etc
And Instagram is a bit hit with the health and fitness crowds
Here's how to search the other platforms:
Use the 3rd party Reddit Search here as it's far better than the internal search by Reddit.
You can search for Scoop It here.
The Tumblr search here.
And Google Plus page search here.
And search for Pinterest categories here.
And Instagram Hashtag discussions here.
Then checkpoint 7 as it's a GREAT sign your niche is profitable…
Are People Advertising on Google?
When you search for your niche on Google are there ads displaying at the top and side of the search results?
You ideally want to see a lot of ads like this…
Advertisers on Google
If people are paying to advertise there it's likely they are doing so because there's money to be made.
You don't use paid advertising if you can't make any money back.
Note down how many ads you get and who is advertising and what they are selling.
You may be able to promote their products later as an affiliate so it's useful to know.
Now you need to pull all the information you gathered in this section together…
A Quick Reminder…
Just as a quick reminder, be aware of this common misconception…
A lot of people think they have to find a niche that no one else knows about.
So you can be the only one or first to market in it.
But there's pretty much no such thing as a new niche…
…it's only new to you.
Someone else ALWAYS knows before you.
And let's say you did find a relatively new and untapped niche that no one else knows about.
It's going to be hard to make money, isn't it?
As you're going to struggle to find products to sell that have affiliate programs.
There's going to be a lack of customers to sell to and you won't easily be able to find them online.
There will also be a lack of blogs, social media hubs, and forums to drive traffic from and network with.
So it's better to stick to niches there's already a proven track record for making money in, products on sale, an audience to tap into, and places online to find your customers.
That way you can much more easily make money.
Now pull everything you've learned here together…
Pulling It All Together
That was fun, wasn't it?
Now go through your data and see whether you're getting positive signs from each of the points you did above.
After looking at all these factors you'll be closer to knowing whether this is a profitable market or not.
A profitable niche will have most if not all of the following:
If you're seeing positive results from each you know there is money to be made.
You still don't know yet if YOU personally can make money from it.
Because there is a difference which you'll only discover by reading chapter 7.
In the next chapter, we will go over how to figure out if you can personally compete in the niche.