It’s very easy to get excited about niche marketing. After all, how can you argue with working only a few hours per week while enjoying a full week’s (or even a full month’s) income?
As impressive as the idea of online passive niche marketing income may be, achieving this reality is another thing entirely.
This guide dispenses with all the hype, exaggeration, and big promises.
Instead, you get the framework you need to achieve greater success with niche marketing.
How to Pick a Niche the Smart Way
Far from learning a collection of quick hacks you can use, you learn how to build a self-sustaining and self-reinforcing system that can ultimately lead to victory.
How to Pick a Niche the Smart Way
I hope it's abundantly clear to you that a lot of people fail to make money online because they don't know how to pick niches the right way. They end up building the wrong kind of business Regardless of how much time, effort and money they put into their business, nothing seems to work. At best, they’re forced to settle for cents on the dollar; at worst, they don't make any money at all.
Picking a niche the smart way involves several filters. You have to make sure that you go through this process. You can't skip a step. You can’t assume that you know what's hot, and you can't wait to just build a website and get going. I’m telling you your impatience will ensure the early death of your business, guaranteed.
Step #1: Start with Your Personal Interest
The first thing that you need to do is to be clear about your interests. What kind of topics would you love to write about? What kind of topics would you like to build a business on?
What makes this difficult is that a lot of people think that there is some sort of right answer. This is personal. Some people might be excited over certain topics other people couldn’t care less. What's important is that the topic subject category is attractive to you.
Here's a shortcut. Ask yourself what would you talk about all day every day even if you were not getting paid for it? Give yourself a couple of hours to write down everything that comes to your mind. No need to edit it. Just write it down. Even if it's just half an idea or it’s just a faint glimmer of an idea, write it down.
Step #2: Filter Your Topics by Search Volume
If you don't already have an account at Google Ads, go ahead and set one up. You can access this by typing in AdWords.com. Log in with your existing Gmail account and set up an AdWords account.
Once you're set up, look at the tools section and select the Keyword Planner tool. Type in the topics you're interested in. Do this one by one. When you do this, you get a list of keywords related to that topic.
Look at those keywords’ average monthly search volume. This is an indirect way of getting a rough idea of the overall demand level for those niches. Once you’ve found the keywords for one niche and have listed their search volume numbers, move on to the next keyword and then the next one after that.
Once you have gotten the numbers for all these keywords, pick the niches that are in the middle. You don't want niches that have too much search volume because they most likely have a lot of competition. On the other hand, you don't want niches that have too little search volume.
Step #3: Filter by Commercial Value
On the Google Keyword Planner Tool, next to each keyword’s expected monthly search volume is a dollar figure. This is the estimate AdWords gives you regarding how much advertisers will pay per click on ads that show that keyword. This gives you a rough idea of the commercial value of each niche.
Again, line up the CPC value of the keywords, come up with an average and then compare all the niches’ average values. You should focus on niches that have a decent search value. We’re talking at least $1 or more per click. Again, this is the average click value.
Step #4: Filter by Competition Level
By this step, you have shortened your list quite a bit. The next step is to enter each of the keywords related to the niches that are still on your list into Google's main search box.
When you search on Google, t will tell you how many websites ranked for that keyword. Take note of this. You will then see how many competitors you have on average per niche.
With this information, eliminate niches on your list that have too much competition.
Step #5: Filter Your List by Search Trends
Finally, go to Google Trends and enter the keywords related to the remaining niches on your list. Look for a trend line that is going up or at least is flat with a slight tilt up. This trend line tells you that your niche is not dying over time.
This is very important because you don't want to build your business on a niche that's actually on its way out.
While the five filters above should be enough for you to develop a viable online business if you want to turbocharge your results and increase your likelihood of success, apply the following additional filters.
Optional Filter #1: Filter by Social Visibility
Enter your keywords on major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. Can you tell if there are a lot of existing accounts on those places that talk about your niche? If there isn't, delete the niche from your list.
Optional Filter #2: Filter by Content “Virality.”
For this filter, look at the group’s pages and accounts that target the niches that target the niches that you have left on your list. Look at the engagement levels of the content in those accounts. Does it seem like there’s an active organic community built around these niches? If the answer is “yes,” keep the niche. If the answer is “no,” you might want to get rid of that niche.
Keep all these in mind because if at least the main five selection factors are present, there’s a strong likelihood your business will be successful. However, keep in mind that niche election accounts for 90% of success. You still have to take care of the remaining 10%.
Create a Niche Brand Home
Now that you have a clear idea of what your niche is going to be, the next step is to build a home for the brand you will be creating for that niche. Pay attention to what I just I said. I said that you would be building a brand. I did not say “business,” and I didn’t say “website.”
Unfortunately, a lot of online entrepreneurs think that once they’ve discovered a niche, they just need to build a website or a business. Wrong. If you don't build a brand, it's only a matter of time until your business stagnates or flat-out fails.
You have to build a brand. This is what people will gravitate to. This is what people will build an organic community on. You have to build a brand; otherwise, you're just simply pushing information as a commodity. That's a losing game.
The best that you could offer is content and information. You don't have much of an advantage because your visitors can get that elsewhere. Your competitors probably have been around far longer than you. There’s no good reason for them to go to you for content when they can find that stuff somewhere else. You need to build a brand.
Your brand is a set of values that your community and a targeted audience would associate with your business. That is your brand.
Build a Niche Brand Website
The first thing that you're going to work on is your website. This is going to be the home of the brand that you managed to build through all the content that you distribute all over the Internet. All that branding has to go somewhere. All that effort has to lead to a specific place on the Internet, and this is your website.
Do not ever confuse your website with your brand. Your website is just an expression of your brand. It is not your brand.
When putting together the specifications for a website, understand that you're trying to create an experience.
Think of building a website as something like setting up a nightclub. When you're setting up a dance club, nightclub or some sort of social destination, you're looking to set up experience because if you set up a club that serves alcohol and plays loud music, you've set up something generic. You’ve set up something that people could experience pretty much everywhere.
There has to be something that’s different about your brand. This is called your unique selling proposition. That's why you have to look at your website as a giant opportunity to communicate your unique selling proposition.
What is it about your treatment of your niche that makes your brand stand out from the rest? Unfortunately, only you can answer that question.
Once you have set down the design parameters of your website (again, these must be intended to create some sort of unique experience), you should then select design parameters for graphics that communicate your niche identity. You should also look at getting graphics designed that highlights your brand identity. All these flow together.
Quick Shortcut: reverse engineer your competitors’ designs
The biggest problem with creating a niche brand home is that it's too tempting to come up with something that you think is awesome or hot. You’re more than welcome to brainstorm but, let me tell you, 90% of the time, whatever you come up with will fall flat. It turns out that you don’t see eye to eye with your customers.
The better approach would be to study what your competitors are already doing and focus on what they have in common. The reason they have certain design elements in common is that they resonate, at some level or other, with your target audience. They would not share those common design elements if they didn't speak to your audience’s needs.
You use that as a preliminary starting point. This is a “safe spot” for you to start your niche brand home design on. Later on, you're going to customize based on the actual interaction of your audience with your website.
Design Your Site for Intentional Niche Branding
Now that you have a clear idea of the “industry standard” design in your niche make sure that your design notes would enable your selected web developer to come up with a design that is focused on building up your brand. At the very least, it must be easy to read. People shouldn't be intimidated by large blocks of text or impossibly small fonts. Again, studying your competitors and checking out the “common design elements” can give you a tremendous head start.
Key Design “Hooks” Your Site Has to Have
Given the tremendous amount of design variability out there, I admit it can get quite confusing. However, of all the different options available, your website must have three “hooks” that would enable you to get more traffic, more engagement and possibly more income.
Social Media Shareability
Make sure that your website is designed for easy sharing. This goes beyond just having Facebook Share buttons all over the place. That's a given.
What I’m talking about is when somebody decides to share your content, the Facebook user looking at your content would see a well-formatted and highly attractive preview of your content. This means a nice-looking header graphic, well-formatted teaser text, and other features. This is the key to shareability on social media.
You have to remember that the majority of Facebook users scroll through their timeline. They don't read everything that appears on their timeline. This is why your content, when shared on social media, must jump out at viewers. This increases the likelihood that they would click the Share button after they feel that they've scanned enough of your content.
As I mentioned above, the majority of people consuming online content use mobile devices. This is why mobile responsiveness is nonnegotiable. It doesn't matter how big or how small the screen of your users is. The version of your website that they see must be the best version of your website. Otherwise, you’ll lose them. They'll pick some other competitor whose site looks much better.
Mailing List Responsiveness
You have to also incorporate your mailing list to your website design. This should not be treated as an afterthought. Instead, you should look at your overall website design from the home page, the top level, the category level to the post level to see whether the design pushes people to sign up for your mailing list.
Your mailing list is one of the most important conversion devices on your website. Don't take it lightly. Make sure it's built into your website’s design.
Design Your Niche Content System for Maximum Conversion
Keep in mind that, at this point, your niche brand marketing system has three structural parts: your website, social media accounts and your mailing list. The problem is if you stop here, you're going to fail. Why? You built the container, but you still have to come up with the content of that container.
This is where creating a niche content system comes in. It has to be a system. It can't be just stuff that you come up with randomly to fill out your website. That's not going to work.
Key Content Strategies
Niche Specificity Builds Authority
The first content strategy you're going to focus on is niche specificity. Everything that you include in your blog or your website has to be directly related to your target niche. The more specific you are, the more authoritative and credible your online property becomes.
Remember the people who visit your website are not there to screw around. They’re not doing it for their health. It's not like they have nothing else better to do.
They’re there because they have certain needs. It's your job to meet those needs. Otherwise, you don't develop a brand.
Adapt Your Content to Target Different Platforms
It's really important to make sure that you don't just produce one type of content. When you create content, it must be converted into a format that can be promoted on different platforms. For example, if you have a blog, you can promote the blog’s link on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. If you need help with Twitter, we suggest checking out this Twitter Marketing Agency in NYC.
However, don't stop with blog posts. You can convert that post into a video. Maybe it's a whiteboard with some sort of voiceover and animation. Once you’ve converted your content into video, you then access Vimeo or YouTube. You can get traffic from those places.
You can also look at your content and strip them into small questions and promote on places like Quora.
I hope you get the point. You have to start with content that is directly related to your niche but creates different formats of that content to widen the places you can distribute that content on.
Maximize Dwell Time
Another key content strategy that you have to wrap your mind around involves the concept of dwell time. When you get people to visit your website, try to get them to stay for as long as possible. In other words, try to get them to “dwell” on your content. How come?
First of all, Google’s algorithm rewards websites that hold people for a longer period. If, for example, your website shows up in search results and a person clicks and takes a long time to get back to Google, Google’s algorithm is set up to reward your site and punish websites that people bounce out of immediately. In Google’s estimation, the searcher found what he or she was looking for on your website that’s why they stuck around for quite some time.
The second advantage of dwell time involves branding. The more you get people to click page after page of your website, the more you brand them. The more you establish in their minds your authority and credibility. This leads to increased levels of trust. You might even convince them to come back or, better yet, refer other people to your site.
Finally, when you maximize dwell time, you walk the reader through the KLT process. This process is generally associated with sales. To get somebody to buy something from you, you must get them to trust you. However, for that trust to happen, they must like the option that you put on the table.
Unfortunately, for that to happen, something else has to happen first. They must first feel that you know enough about their problem for them to like the solution that you’re pushing. This is the KLT process. Know, Like, Trust.
When you interlink your content in a very thorough way, you get the person to cycle through the different pieces of content you have. This gives them a good understanding of your expertise. This builds up enough trust in their minds that there's a good likelihood they may end up on a page that contains ads that would convert them. You increase the chances of this happening if you maximize dwell time.
When it comes to housing your content, your website must be optimized for two things: ad placement and text link placement. Ad placement means that your ads must look like a form of content. Their power does not arise from the fact that they disrupt the experience of your viewer. Instead, your ad must add value to the content that the user is consuming. This can increase the likelihood of conversion.
Also, your content must be optimized for text link placement. These are text ads. These ads look similar enough to your content. If you pull this off right, the ad will act as a form of content. It isn’t intrusive; it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, and it enhances the value of the content the reader is viewing.
Social Media Accounts
Believe it or not, the social media accounts that you set up outside your blog are part of your niche content system. How come? Well, these accounts are you use to distribute your blog or website’s content on different social media platforms. Accordingly, each of these accounts must reflect your brand’s graphics.
This way, when you’re sharing content from your main site, there’s no major disconnect between the social media account sharing that content and what users will see when they click through the link that you are sharing.
Your mailing list must be designed from Day 1 to work hand in hand with your main website to do one thing and one thing alone: maximize opt-ins. This is the job of your mailing list. It must be designed from the ground up to vacuum, suck up, or attract as many sign-ups as possible. That is its job.
However, this is not going to happen in isolation. This can only take place when the rest of the website is also optimized. One way to put this is you shouldn't look at designing your mailing list element in your website as an afterthought. You must design it on Day 1.
Build a Successful Niche Content Creation System
A lot of people believe the mistaken idea that they have to produce content every single day. In their minds, the more content they have, the more Google will index and the more traffic they would get from search engines. Wrong. It depends on your niche.
For example, if you are a publisher of an online newspaper, you have to publish at least once a day. Often, the news is updated several times a day. But if your niche is fairly static, like, let's say, insurance, and you're not offering insurance news, then you should publish once a month at most.
The key here is to prioritize quality over quantity. This is how you will dominate your niche.
Focus your firepower on one amazing piece of content and spend the rest of your time promoting that awesome piece of content. That's how you build an empire. Again, it depends on your niche, but the takeaway here is quality over quantity.
As you probably already know, if you come up with some weird ideas for what's hot in your niche, chances are, you'll fall flat on your face. This is almost guaranteed.
Unless you're sure that you have some sort of mental connection with your target audience members, chances are, whatever ideas you think are hot are not all that hot to them.
This is where reverse engineering comes in. Study your competitors and look at their most successful pieces of content. Look for content they have that have amazing levels of engagement.
Start with those topics. Pay attention to those patterns and themes. Collect them and then start with curation.
Your First Step Must Be Curation
At this point, you don't know what works and what doesn't work. At this point, all you know is your niche and your container for your niche. Accordingly, you should get the best pieces of content and populate it on your social media accounts.
Market your accounts to try to get engagement for them. Pay attention to click patterns. Which pieces of content get a lot of clicks? Which pieces of content get a lot of engagement?
Now, line these up and then see which pieces of content get conversions. I'm talking about sales or mailing list opt-ins here. Once you have seen the results from your curated content, zero in on the specific types of content that generate a lot of the results that you're looking for.
Load More Successful Curated Content
Now that you know the theme or type of content that gets a lot of love from your audience members to get more of that stuff. See if the pattern holds. If this is the case, then you're on to something. You can then move on to the discussion below.
However, if you notice that the new stuff isn't converting as the old stuff, then you need to keep looking for more patterns. It may well turn out that the initial success of certain niche content may be a fluke. Maybe it's some sort of statistical blip.
Given enough time, you should be able to see key patterns as far as the type of content that generates the most engagement conversions or clicks.
Create Your Content Based on Your Most Successful Curated Material
Now that you have a clear idea of the type of curated content that gets the most engagements, conversions, and clicks, the next step is to come up with your version of that content.
You have to remember, when you're curating content, you're just pumping traffic to somebody else's website. They're still benefiting you because you get to use their content to build credibility and authority with your audience members. However, you're not getting actual clicks to your site.
The conversions that you get are either ad conversions because you mounted this curated content on your blog, or your social media profiles because you put an affiliate ad on those pages. Still, these third-party pieces of content don't result in traffic to your specific site. When you create your content based on these successful curated pieces of content, you build traffic to your site.
How exactly do you improve on successful curated content?
First, you can feature updated content. By simply making sure that your version of your niche's most successful content has the most up to date information, you can improve the quality of existing competitor content out there.
Next, you can provide multimedia for this type of content. For example, a Top 10 list on the best dog houses is big in your niche. Instead of just a text list of key products and what's so awesome about them, show actual videos and pictures.
Third, you can use the long-form content. What if I told you that search engines reward longer pieces of content with more traffic than shorter pieces of content? This should be fairly easy to understand because the longer your content is, the more words it has, and the more this can trigger Google to send traffic that targets those keywords. Look at your competitors' most successful content and come up with a longer version of them.
Fourth, you can simplify the most successful curated content you can find so that your audience members would find them easier to understand. This can involve diagrams, and this can also involve rewriting the materials in eighth grade English. Do what you have to do to make sure that this material is as accessible to your niche audience as possible.
Finally, you can convert your competitors' most successful content into a video. This not only gives you access to YouTube, but it also makes your content more engaging on social media like Facebook, which can turbocharge your traffic results.
Create Multiple Format Adaptations of Your Content
Now that you have created your content based on the “best” curated items you've used, the next step is to promote this content on all your social media accounts as well as on your mailing list.
In addition to that, you should create multiple format adaptations of your content. For example, you have a blog post. Convert into questions, and then add snippets of content from that blog post along with a shortened link, and then share it on Twitter.
Similarly, you can take the questions that your blog post talks about and create question and answer blocks. So basically there's one question, and then you copy and paste a significant answer, and then put original content at the bottom. You then post this on quora.com.
Third, you can create videos, infographics, or just share the plain link on Facebook.
Fourth, you can create a video, as I have mentioned earlier, about your blog post, and then share it on YouTube and Vimeo. Make sure you use your target keywords for your tags and categories.
Finally, you can create an explanatory picture for your blog post and then share it on Pinterest. The picture, of course, links to the blog post.
By creating multiple format adaptations of your content and heavily promoting them on your social media accounts, you drive niche targeted traffic from all over the internet to your website.
Make Sure Each Piece of Content You Produce Promotes Older Pieces of Content
When you create a new piece of content on your blog or website, create at least three links within it that links to older pieces of content you have published. Don't waste this opportunity.
If you can drag somebody from the internet to view your content, try to turn that one visit into multiple page views. You do this by putting text links as well as graphical links in your blog post.
Again, the key here is to maximize dwell time. You get to brand them better, and you also drag them into the deeper and deeper parts of your website, which can increase the chances of conversion.
Promote Each Piece of Content Systematically
Here's the secret sauce to niche marketing. If you pick the right niche and you get this right, you are 99% on the way to making solid money off the internet. You're not quite there yet, but you're getting close.
These promotion tips are geared towards the type of content you produce. Follow each suggestion under each content type to maximize your content's visibility on the internet.
Blog Posts or Website Posts
If you're putting up any kind of new content on your blog or your resource website, you need to carry out as many of the promotional tips listed below as possible. This will maximize your content's visibility, which can lead to more traffic, which can lead to more conversions.
Do SEO Outreach
Once you have a new blog post, look for blogs that link to blog posts that rank high for your target keyword.
Your blog post has a target keyword. Look up the blog posts that rank high for your target keyword and then load their URLs into backlink checkers like ahrefs.com. This tool will tell you which websites are linking to the websites that already rank for your target keyword.
You then reach out to these other sites and ask them to link to you as well. After all, they're already linking to content that is very similar to yours. You just need to persuade them to link to you as well because your content is more superior than your competitors.
Share on Facebook Pages
Not only should you share your original content on your own Facebook page, but you should also share the link of your content on other Facebook pages.
Some Facebook pages will allow you to do this. Others will only allow you to do this in the comments section. Whatever the case may be, share your stuff on niche-related Facebook pages. The key here is that they must be related to your niche.
Share Your Facebook Page Post URL on Facebook Groups
Once you have shared your original content's link on your official Facebook fan page, your next move should be to take the link to that Facebook page post and share it on niche-related Facebook groups. These are groups of people who are interested in your niche. So go to these groups, engage with people, and then drop your link to your page.
Tweet Shortened Links on Twitter
When you post content on Twitter, there's a preview that shows up. Share your stuff on Twitter, but make sure you always use at least two niche-related hashtags. The hashtag is the secret to visibility on Twitter. Also, use target keywords in the description of your posted link on Twitter.
Tweet Snippets and Questions on Twitter
Look through your content and see if you can find certain questions, and copy and paste a small block of text that answers the question. Fit all of these into a tweet along with a shortened link to your original post and a hashtag or two. Rotate among these hashtags. These question tweets can give you quite a bit of visibility on Twitter.
Find Related Questions on Quora and Post Answers from Your Content
Looking through your blog post, see if you can come up with as many different related questions that your blog answers. You then search for these questions on Quora or find related questions. Post your answer and then link to your blog post as a resource.
There's a technique to this. You can't just drop your link every time. Chances are, you will get banned.
Instead, you need to “mask” your link by mixing in other third-party high-quality links. Add in a little bit of Wikipedia or any other authoritative website.
Also, make sure that the vast majority of your answers do not have anything to do with your content. Because if Quora figures out that all your answers have a link to the same or different pages on your website, you will probably get banned.
This is why I suggest that you restrict posts involving your content to a maximum of 20% of your posts. For the rest of your posts, engage naturally and share your expertise.
Post Your Content on LinkedIn
There are many different people on LinkedIn who are interested in a wide range of niches. Post your blog post link on LinkedIn to get targeted traffic.
Convert your blog post into some sort of picture. Maybe it's a diagram, or maybe it's the header image of your post with some explanatory text. Whatever the case may be, create one picture that summarizes what the post is about. Promote this picture using the resources below.
Post on Pinterest
Before you do this, look for your competitors on Pinterest. Pay attention to their tags. Reverse engineer those tags. Apply those tags to your picture on Pinterest, and then link your picture to the actual blog post that that picture refers to.
Post on Facebook
You can share pictures on Facebook groups as well as Facebook pages, but when you do this, always include more info: link additional text. Do this for direct posts on Facebook groups, comments on Facebook groups, specific posts on pages on Facebook as well as comments on pages.
Post Your Picture on Twitter
Twitter also allows for picture posting. Post your picture on Twitter, but make sure you rotate niche-related hashtags each time you post. I would suggest that you use a scheduler software to post on Twitter at different times of the day to maximize visibility and reach.
Post on Instagram
Use the same tips regarding hashtags above when posting on Instagram. The key here is to find as many different niche-related hashtags and target those. Also, post a comment on Instagram that builds interest in your picture.
It's important to put in the description a non-clickable URL. This way, people can load into their browser the URL if they're intrigued by the photo you shared.
You can convert blog posts into videos by turning the key points in the blog post into a short script. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. It can be as short as a hundred words, which is good for about a minute of video. You can then create a slideshow out of this script with voice-over.
You can search for services on fiverr.com that offer this video creation service. They would read your blog post, come up with a short script, and create a slideshow based on the script using royalty free pictures. They would then use a voice-over and some music to create your video. You take this video and upload it on YouTube.
Make sure you pick your niche keywords as your tags. Also, make sure you categorize your videos correctly.
Upload to Instagram
You can also upload your videos to Instagram. Again, use the same tag and URL mention tips I shared in the Pictures section above.
Twitter also allows for video. Make sure you rotate niche-related hashtags.
You can upload a direct video to your Facebook page account. You should then promote the direct link to your Facebook page account by sharing in many different groups and other pages. Distribute your content to existing niche-related online communities.
Using the videos, pictures and blog post links you created above, go to the following places to promote your materials:
Make sure you target only forums that are directly related to your niche or closely related to them. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time.
Alternatively, you can find forums that have a “general discussion section.” These are sections where people talk about a wide range of subjects that may be off topic.
You can promote your stuff there, but you have to be careful. Sometimes people are so touchy that they can get you banned. So make sure you engage, and you achieve some level of credibility first before dropping a link.
Facebook Groups and Pages
See the tips I shared in the Facebook sections of videos, pictures and blog posts mentioned above. What's important is that you focus on niche-specific groups and pages.
Make sure that you reverse engineer your competitors and look at the hashtags that they're using. Rotate among these hashtags and try to figure out which hashtags are producing the most visibility for your content on that platform.
This is not easy to do. You need to come up with a way to track which hashtag got the most engagement.
I would suggest that you create some sort of contest where people would have to self-report the hashtag that they saw with your content to participate in the contest. This is a sneaky way of gauging the reach and visibility made possible by your hashtag choices.
YouTube Channel Videos' Comments
Search for your niche keywords on YouTube. You should be able to find lots of videos related to your niche.
Don't worry about the competition. Instead, make the competition work for you. How? Look at their comments section and post insightful stuff about their video.
Do not post a link. Post as your channel. If they like what you posted and thought you're some sort of genius, they probably will click on your account name.
When they click on your account name, they find themselves in your channel. That's where you can brand them. That's where you can get them to watch your videos.
How to become a niche authority quickly
As I mentioned previously in this guide, you need to get a community to develop organically around your brand if you want to be successful online. It doesn’t matter whether you have a blog that is attached to an online store, you just have a resource website or you’re building some sort of authority platform, you need to develop authority.
How do you do this? In as short of a time as possible, keep the following ideas in mind.
First, you need to adopt the right mindset
It’s very easy to think that for you to succeed, somebody else has to fail. It’s easy to think that all the resources available online can be reduced to some sort of pie. For your slice of these resources and online success to increase, somebody’s slice has to get smaller. Get rid of that mindset.
Instead, look to expand the size of the pie. If you want another analogy, look to create a rising tide that lifts all boats. Both these analogies lead to the same place. It’s all about creating a win-win solution. For you to win, somebody doesn’t necessarily have to lose. You can cooperate, so you can mutually benefit. Get the idea? Good. You will need it.
Interview your way to the top
By this point, you should have already reverse engineered your competitors, so you know who is authoritative and credible in your niche. Find those people and ask them if you can interview them. Now, you’re not going to be interviewing them one by one. You’re not giving any custom interviews with customized questions.
Instead, you’re just going to give them a questionnaire, and you’re going to be publishing their answers. When you do this, you create niche-specific authoritative content that targets certain keywords. This leads to more search engine traffic to your website. Sure, it’s self-promotional because this content has a link to whoever it is you interviewed, but this creates a win-win situation.
You get more search engine traffic, and they get a nice backlink. When you do this, you also get free content. People would love to share with you a guest post that they may have come up with. They might share with an authoritative infographic. Whatever the case may be, this content is self-promotional because they expect a link in return. But it, again, gives you free content.
Let me tell you, highly-quality, authoritative content is not cheap. Additionally, when you interview the movers and shakers in your niche, you get on the radar with these people. This opens the doors to more future deals like guest posts and group blogging.
Finally, when you link out to their websites, which have a higher authority level than your site, you get an SEO boost. This is called the hilltop update from Google.
Hire a virtual assistant to get interviews
So, how do you interview your way to the top? Well, you can do things yourself, or you can hire a VA from a service like Cognoplus.com. The virtual assistants from this service for a very affordable $30 per day. You can hire them on a day to day basis. Maybe you hire them for two days or maybe one day; it’s all up to you.
They are very talented, eager and motivated. You can instruct them to find all blogs and other resource sites in your niche. You then tell them what kind of information to look for and how to filter the info. They will look for experts who run their blogs in your niche. They will get their first name and last name, as well as their email address and social media accounts.
Once they have this information, you supply them with an interview questionnaire template. This is the email template that pitches them to be interviewed by you. Essentially, you are telling your VAs to open the interview “sale” for you, and you close it when recipients of your emails respond using their email address included the template that you’ve given your virtual assistants.
What else should you ask for? Well, in addition to the interview, ask them to guest post on your website and ask them for a piece of content that you will pitch to other sites. This is crucial because when they give you that piece of content, and you get to publish another blog, that content will not only have a link to your interviewee’s website, but it will also have a link to your site.
Sounds awesome, right? Believe it or not, when you set up interviews in your niche, you kill many birds with one stone. It truly is amazing. You can generate content and also set up traffic later on.
For Maximum SEO Get .edu links like a champ
.edu links, with everything else being equal, are some of the most powerful links you can get to your website as far as SEO is concerned. No joke. How come? Well, first of all, they’re usually harder to get unless you know what you’re doing. This is because .edu links have a long association with quality, trustworthy content.
After all, only educational organizations can get a .edu domain. Anybody applying for a .edu domain has to jump through many hoops regarding their qualification as a bonafide educational institution. Also, .edu sites tend to be older. They tend to be around longer, so their content has had more a chance to build authority over the years.
It’s a great idea to get as many .edu links to your website as possible. Follow the steps below.
Create resource-worthy articles in your niche
The first step is to create high-quality content in your niche. This content basically must blow away 99% of your competitors. The good news is, you only need to create a handful of these.
Find .edu resource pages that link to resources like yours
Look for college, university or other educational institution-related websites that already link to resources that you have put up on your site. You can use this search string site:.edu+(your keyword) inurl: resources. Enter than search phrase into Google, look for the contact information of the resulting resource pages and pitch them to link to your resource pages.
Find professors who have written about the topics you talk about in your resource and interview them
Reach out to professors and get them to link to you by interviewing them for your resource page. You don’t need to tell them that you’re not going to linking out to them. They don’t need to know that. Just tell them that you are going to mention them because you are going to be featuring their interview on your resource page.
Once you have gotten the interview, paste it into your existing resource, and then notify them via email that you’ve mentioned them on your website. Usually, professors love seeing their names mentioned in authoritative sites. They like this so much that they would link to you from their .edu blogs.
Go to Google search for “(your keywords).edu,” this should show quite some academic papers, as well as researchers who have a profile page with certain resources that site their work.
Don’t bother targeting professors that don’t have these profile pages hosted on .edu domains.
Create a scholarship page with a working form and a deadline.
Look for scholarship sites listing schools’ scholarship resource pages.
Find these resource pages and make sure your scholarship conforms to the format and award amounts of these schools’ scholarship listings. Contact the schools to get your scholarship listed. It’s very important to make sure that your scholarship is not some sort of scam. It has to be a real scholarship.
You also have to be clear about your awards criteria, how exactly you are going to pick the winner of the scholarship.
Reach out to students who have .edu blogs and ask them to write about your resource. You can pay them, or you can appeal to their willingness to support your resource website.
(use this only if you have a niche brand monetized with a dropshipping website) Offer schools specific discounts on your merchandise
You need to find colleges that offer student discounts. Reach out to these colleges and ask them to list your discount page on their resource pages. It’s important that you honor the discounts that you’re giving to students from that school.
Monetize your brand systematically
Start with reverse engineering your competitors
The first thing that you do is to look at what everybody else is doing. Look at your competitors. How do you think they make money from their websites? You already have your list of competitors. Visit every one of them and look at their ads. Write down your notes and collate them for all your competitors. What do they all have in common? Look up your competition’s ‘industry standard’ monetization model on the list below.
AdSense is an advertising platform owned and run by Google that pays per click. When AdSense detects text on a page, it will then try to show ads targeting that text. This is called contextual advertising.
It’s fairly easy to get an AdSense account – especially if you live in the United States.
Another awesome advantage of AdSense is that they have such a massive network of advertisers, that you don’t have to worry about finding advertising for whatever content you have. Chances are, there is already an advertiser looking to show their ads on pages that contain your type of content.
While AdSense does pay you per click, depending on the content you have on your pages, you might not get that much money per click. It’s not unusual to get a few pennies per click. The rate depends on where your traffic is coming from and the keywords you are targeting.
Another big disadvantage to AdSense is that is is very traffic-dependent. If you’re just starting and you don’t have much traffic volume, AdSense is probably going to pay you very little money. There are ways around this. You can strategically place your ads. You can also make sure that you’re targeting only high-value keywords and try hard to get mostly American or British traffic.
But given all the variability and randomness of AdSense ads, you are at the mercy of its algorithm.
Amazon affiliate program
You can place Amazon affiliate product ads all over your web pages. These would show different products. When people click, and they buy something from Amazon, you can earn a commission that can vary quite a bit.
Amazon covers a huge number of product categories. It’s almost unimaginable that your niche is not going to fit under one of these categories. Accordingly, you can sell physical products related to your niche. This goes a long way in somehow supplementing the content of your niche because not only would people learn how to do certain things or solve problems, but they could click on an ad that physically solves their problem.
Another key advantage to this program is that usually, people do not just buy one product. They often look at other related products to supplement the product that they are buying. If they any other type of product, you get a commission on that as well. It’s not unusual for website owners to earn hundreds of dollars every month on a very passive basis because the people that they attract to their website end up buying a wide range of products on Amazon.
The big disadvantage to the Amazon affiliate program is that people have to buy something for you to make money. Also, sometimes, there is not a tight fit between your content and products your visitors might be interested in. In that situation, they are less likely to click on Amazon ads.
Finally, Amazon is quite stingy on certain types of products. If your niche fits into these low commission products, you’re not going to make as much money from Amazon as you would using other monetization models.
CPA stands for cost per acquisition. You join an affiliate program, and you get a link to products or services offered by businesses who have enrolled in that affiliate program. If you show these ads on your website and when people click on them and buy something, you earn a commission.
The big advantage to this type of monetization method is the fact that you can select affiliate sponsors based on how much they pay. It can get quite lucrative. For example, there are gold IRA affiliate programs out there that pay thousands of dollars per sale. You can get a lot of money pushing those programs.
The big disadvantage to these types of programs is that you pretty much take all the risk. You generate traffic. You show the ads. If somebody buys, great, you make money. The problem is, before that point, you’re taking all the risk. Usually, the more expensive the product, the higher the commission, but also the less likely people would buy stuff.
Another disadvantage to this type of model is the fact that you are at the mercy of the conversion page of your sponsor. What if they don’t know what they’re doing? What if they are lazy and just put up a sales page that converts way below its fullest potential? You end up taking the hit, not them.
Email of zipping code CPA programs
This monetization model pays you money every time people you send from your website to fill out an email form or enter their zip code. These forms can get quite complicated. Some forms ask for a lot of information. Other forms have two pages. Generally speaking, the less information the CPA, email or zip code form requires, the less money you make. The more information it asks for, the more money you make.
The big advantage of form-based CPA is that people don’t have to buy anything. They just have to enter their email address or zip code or fill out a form, and you get paid. Of course, this assumes that these entries are real and not fraudulent. Also, there is a lot of testing going on to make sure that you are not just defrauding the program.
Another big advantage to this type of monetization model is the fact that it’s very flexible. You can drive traffic from your properties to these forms in a variety of ways as long it’s approved by the program.
The simpler the form and the fewer fields it has, the less money you make. But thankfully, this is more than offset by the fact that this is a fairly easy way to make 25 cents per email collected or 50 cents per zip code collected. Compare this with making a few cents per click on AdSense.
Another big disadvantage is that this type of program favors traffic coming from relatively few countries. If your traffic is mostly American or British, you will do well with this type of program. However, if your traffic comes from developing economies, then these programs are usually not available to you. The ads won’t show up at all if you force them to show up and people click through without a proxy, they go to a blind page or a warning page.
ClickBank / JVZoo programs
ClickBank and JVZoo are affiliate programs that sell mostly digital products like books and software. These programs have made quite a name for themselves because they offer a wide range of digital products you can sell on an affiliate model basis. People usually have to buy something for you to get paid.
Depending on our niche, these platforms can give you access to a wide range of products your audience members may appreciate. These platforms also work best with a mailing list. If you are converting a lot of your website visitors into list members, show they ads for JVZoo and ClickBank and they may convert.
The great thing about these platforms is that they are never short on product launches. This brings me to another crucial advantage they bring to the table. If you know that a new product is launching on these platforms, you can beat the competition by building a little page or a blog post around the upcoming launch product.
The big disadvantage of this model is that you are penalized for refunds. If somebody buys a product, you get all excited because the statistics page shows that you’re going to be getting a commission. Unfortunately, when you check back two weeks later, you get discouraged because you find out that that person refunded.
Publish your Kindle books and sell them on your brand websites
Sell books that you, yourself, wrote or you outsourced to places like ozki.org. The great thing about selling your books is the fact that you will sell products that are directly related to the content of your websites.
There is no guesswork. You’re not worrying whether the ads that you’re showing will fit the content of your pages. Since you control what you write on your book, you can bet that there is going to be a direct connect connection. You can even be very aggressive with your website’s ads to promote your books.
You pretty much run the show. You can promote your Kindle book with text links or graphic links. You can hold all sorts of giveaways to get people to buy your book. You give yourself a tremendous amount of options to market your book because you control the playing field.
Please understand that in the context of this method, Kindle is just a distribution platform for your Kindle book. That’s all it is. The heavy lifting, as far as selling goes, is all up to you. You have to make it happen. Nobody is going to help you.
Selling your digital products
Besides Kindle, there are all sorts of digital products you can sell on your website. You can sell templates. These are all downloadable. You can sell graphics or even software. As long as it’s digital and downloadable, you can sell it on your site.
The big advantage that you get, selling your digital products, is you get passive income. You create a product once and then you sell it many times over on your website. Who can argue with that? What’s not to love? You also control the platform. You can talk about your products all you want. You can create podcasts, videos, pictures, knock yourself out. You are in full control.
Finally, you control the conversion mechanisms of this process. I can’t emphasize this enough. My biggest complaint about affiliate programs, whether it’s on Amazon, ClickBank or elsewhere, is that sometimes the conversion page or landing page doesn’t do a good job. I work hard to drive traffic for my website, but somehow it falls flat.
The key disadvantage with this monetization method is the same as selling your own Kindle books. You must have set up a high-converting platform first. If you don’t bother to do that first, then chances are, your products are not going to sell. Make sure you tighten up your website first and qualify your traffic, so everything works out. Otherwise, you’re just going to be wasting your time.
Offer your own dropship store
This is my personal favorite. As awesome as your brand may be, you need some physical products to sell with your brand. You need branded stuff to promote. When you open a dropshipping store that has your brand and carries products that you talk about on all your websites, you not only make money from each product sale, but you also get to brand your audience members.
How many people do you see on any given day, walking around with a Nike logo on an article of clothing? How many people do you see, walking around in shoes have a prominent logo? These people are walking billboards. Think along these lines when considering building your dropship store. This can be a branding gold mine.
You worked hard to build an online community around your brand. It really would be sad to see all that effort go up in smoke because you did not take the next step and offer physical products that carry your brand.
This monetization model is something that you should reserve until the very end. This is the key. If you do this early on, your brand may still not be airtight. You may not be qualifying your traffic well enough. There are just so many things that could go wrong.
Owning your dropship store also carries some costs. It’s not free. So, do yourself a big favor and make sure that your brand is set up properly before you venture into physical products.
Mix and match among the different monetization models above and see which works best for your brand. Scale up the ones that are working and get rid of the ones that fall flat.
Optimize your brand systematically
It’s really important to make sure that you optimize your niche brand on a systematic level. Optimization takes place on two fronts: content/traffic and monetization. You have to take care of both. I use the following technique. I would divide whatever it is I’m trying to optimize into elements. Taking one element, I would start with the original version and make variations of that element.
I would then test it using traffic and see if this variation gets better results than the original. I would take the winner and then make variations of that. I will keep picking variations that get better results than the preceding version until I find a variation that doesn’t give me any further improvements. I then switch over to the next element and repeat the same process.
The technique that I mentioned above works best with ads. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with text ads or graphical ads, you can still use an elemental approach. With graphical ads, the elements are the pictures that you use, the colors, the text, and the layout. Experiment with these, change them up, test them and pick the best combination regarding conversions.
With text ads, you have fewer things to work with. You have the title and then the description and maybe a small graphic. Use the systematic elemental optimization approach that I mentioned above so that you can identify the winner.
Optimizing your traffic based on source
Track where your traffic is coming from and how it flows through your website. Generally, Google Analytics does a good job of this. There are also other products out on the market that you can use like StatCounter, which is free. As long as you can identify the traffic source and its general behavior on your site, you will have the information you need to optimize your source.
They key here is to find traffic sources that produce the most conversions. This is your job. Where are your conversions coming from? This is a very different question from asking where is my traffic coming from? We’re talking about conversions here. Once you can track these down, your job then becomes scaling up that traffic.
Forget all other traffic sources and focus on the ones that send converting traffic. You can use a little bit of the elemental approach above. But when it comes to the content that you’ll be sharing on those websites, use the element by element optimization that I taught you to quickly identify promotional content that gets the best results.
Optimize your monetization among different types of ads
Run different types of ads on your website. I’m talking about text links, email submission forms, graphical banners, graphical ads that are made up only of text and native ads. Test all of these through your website and pick out the type of ad that gets the most conversions. Again, I’m not talking about getting the most clicks. I’m talking about sales or email submissions here.
These are actions that put money in your pocket. Pick the type of ads that produce the most conversions. Maybe these are text links. Maybe these are graphical banners. It all depends on your website. But at the end of the day, you need to pick three of them. These are the top three money-making ad types.
Optimize your monetization among ad sponsors or products
Now that you had identified the type of ads that produce the most conversions promote different sponsors using these types of ads. The key here is to identify the top three sponsors or monetization methods that convert the best.
By optimizing your website on a systematic basis, you pretty much guarantee your paycheck.
You now have all the information you need to get started with a system-based approach to niche marketing. Using a system enables you to achieve the more predictable success you can duplicate not just with your current niche but with other niches as well.
This guide lays out key starting points. Fill them out as you implement them. Keep tweaking them to maximize their effectiveness.
To your greatest success!