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I've got good news and bad news for you

First, the bad news. Brace yourself...

No one wants to read your content, hear your advice, join your email list, or buy your products (but there's still hope for you as will be revealed in minute).

No matter how much effort you put into marketing and creating the best products available, nobody cares .

Unless you're an expert (or make them believe you're smarter than them...we're getting close to the secret now).

People crave great content and actionable advice.

But not from everybody.

They want to hear it from the experts, the people who they think are smarter than them, the ones who know it all, the masters, the gurus, the niche leaders.

Already losing hope? Don't!

Because here's the good news

It's not as difficult to become a smart marketer as you think.

In fact, it's pretty straight forward (as you'll see later in the post)

You don't need to be a genius, a rocket scientist, or someone with a bigger brain than Einstein.

Heck, you don't even need to become a so-called expert (even though people might think you are)

You can be among the top 1% marketers of your niche in a matter of years, months, weeks.

But how?

How do you become smarter than most of your target audience and competitors?

How do you gain enough knowledge about your niche to sound like an authority?

How do you use that authority to become a smarter marketer, craft more convincing marketing messages, and drive more sales?

And most importantly, how do you make this happen quickly?

I'll be answering all those questions in this post.

Keep reading.

What You'll Learn In This Post
  • How to develop expertise using a proven hack
  • The thing that differentiates smart marketers from the average ones
  • How to evoke emotions in your readers to drive action
  • Things you can learn from 100 year old marketing experts
1. Uncover the Real Needs and Wants of Your Target Audience

Niche marketers make money by promoting products that solve the problems of their target audience.

Which means that before starting a single promotional activity, or even before selecting a product to promote, you must know the actual needs of your audience.

The best marketers know their customers better than anyone which gives them the right insights to create valuable content and offer solutions that people buy without blinking an eye.

You need to do the same to make people take action.

Think about it.

Why should complete strangers hand you their hard-earned money?

Unless, of course, you can show them that you have a deep understanding of their problems, know the complete range of emotions they go through and care about making their lives better.

For this, you need to dig deep and understand the real fears, needs, wants, hopes, and aspirations of your audience.

Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Ask the Right Questions To Discover the Real Needs of Your Audience 

Stop assuming things because that's what all failed marketers do.

Put your own beliefs aside and ask deeper questions to uncover things about your audience you've never known before.

Here are examples of the different questions you can ask to uncover the hidden needs of your audience.

Emotions Pains and Problems Status Aspiration (Power, Prestige, or Possessions)
  • What's the most common emotion your buyers experience every day with regards to your niche?
  • What are the biggest pains/problems (related to your niche) they are facing and how are they affecting other aspects of their lives?
  • How badly do they want to change/solve this situation and what kind of pleasure would they experience if it is solved?
  • Which of the '3 Ps' (it could be one or more) of status does your target audience desire?
  • Which of the '3 P's do they have now? (It may be none)
  • Which of the '3 P's are they missing?
  • How would their life change if they managed to achieve these levels of status?
Hopes Wants and Desires Beliefs
  • In what ways does your target audience feel trapped now?
  • If they could escape any of these feelings and situations what would be the ideal outcome?
  • What does their perfect escape route look like? (i.e. how do they plan to escape from this situation)
  • What do they HOPE will happen in their lives to transform it into their perfect life instead?
  • What does your target audience want/desire from you? 
  • What do they actually NEED to get their end result/problems solved?
  • How will you give them what they WANT / DESIRE whilst also wrapping it up in what they NEED to succeed?
  • What do they believe about themselves in regards to your product?
  • What beliefs and feelings (right and wrong) do they have towards your niche and the people selling products in it?
  • What objections will this cause in your prospect towards you and the products you recommend to them?

You won't answer these questions based on your beliefs.

Instead, you'll use the right tools and platforms (which I'll discuss in a moment) to study your prospects and find the answers you need.

Once you have them, you'll know exactly what points to target in your marketing message, what problems to solve with your product, and how to convince people to buy from you.

  • Find the Most Common Questions With AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is a super useful tool that gives you the list of all the questions your prospects are asking about a topic on search engines.

Knowing those questions will tell you exactly what's bothering your audience the most.

Look at the screenshots below to see how you can use this tool...

Source: AnswerThePublic

Visit AnswerThePublic and search for your main topic keyword.

Look at this image below closely...

The tool will give you dozens of questions, fetched from the search queries related to your topic, that people are asking.

These questions are actually answers to the questions you identified in the previous point.

Questions, answers, questions - it's confusing, I know.

But if it were easy, everyone would do it.

  • Listen to Your Audience on Forums and Q&A Sites

Forums and Q&A sites are where people share their problems, cry their hearts out, and beg for solutions.

Listen to them, understand what they want, and find the answers to your questions.

First up, head over to Quora, the best Q&A site in the world.

The image below shows how you can search for your topic on it, look at this...

Source: Quora

Quora has hundreds of thousands of threads on every topic under the sun.

Search for your topic and explore the top threads to understand things from your audience's perspective.

Then there's another massive social network+forum where you'll find golden insights. Check out this image below on how to use it...

Source: Reddit

Reddit is a research goldmine for marketers.

For example, if your niche is about a hobby and you're researching why people love it, do a simple search on Reddit.

You'll find countless threads discussing all the different aspects of your hobby and why people love/hate it.

Next, use Google Search to find different forums on your topic.

In the screenshot below, I used a simple query to find dozens of hidden forums. Check it out...

You can find any niche specific forums using the following search queries on Google.

[Niche Keyword] + Forum

[Niche Keyword] + vbulletin

[Niche Keyword] + discussion

If you still can't find the forums you're looking for, use FindaForum.net, a dedicated search engine for forum sites.

Forums offer amazing insights about your audience's pain points, so don't be afraid to spend a few hours exploring different discussion threads.

  • Use Emotional Searches to Find What Your Audience Craves

Google Search is your window to the internet.

Here's how you can use it to find how your audience feels about a topic

Look at this search query closely and see the angle I've used in this image below...

Source: Google

The search query "I hate depression because" results in several sites where people are actually describing why they hate depression so much, how it has damaged their lives, and how they wish they could change their condition.

These are desperate people looking for help and they'd gladly pay anyone who can help them feel better.

You can find such people in every niche by simply using the same search style - "I hate [niche] because"

You can use several other search queries to uncover similar audiences.

For example,

"I love [niche] because"

"[Niche] has ruined my life"

" I wish [Niche]"

You get the point, right?

Here's one of those search queries in a different niche, check how powerful this search is by studying the image below...

The first result is a forum post.

Look at this image taking from the forum post, it's a result filled with emotion and pain...

Source: Reddit

This post shows you the full range of emotions an acne patient goes through.

Can you feel the sadness, the desperation, the regret in his words?

If you're promoting anti-acne products, does it tell you how your audience feels?

Here's another trick.

Use different tenses with your niche keyword and see what Google autocomplete shows.

I've created some screenshots to describe this better. Have a look at the keywords I've searched and the autocomplete results that Google shows below...

These are real search queries by real people. When you search any of them, you'll find so many different first-hand accounts of people suffering from depression and the reasons why they hate it and how they want things to change for them.

All of this is gold for you because you can use these insights to understand the actual pain and fears of your prospects and use it to create a high impact marketing strategy.

  • Use Related Keywords To Understand Your Audience

There's a super useful Chrome extension that'll tell you a ton about your audience.

It's called Keywords Everywhere.

Here's what it does.

When you search for something on Google, this Chrome extension tells you the top related keywords and the other keywords the same people are searching for.

It also shows you the monthly search volume and competition of those keywords.

How does this help you?

It shows you other closely related queries that can uncover more details about your prospects.

All these methods will help you find answers to the questions we identified earlier in the post and help you understand your ideal customer's state of mind.

But guess what.

There are even more methods you can use to dig even deeper.

You can find them all in NicheHacks Insider.

Now that you know the problems of your audience in detail, you need to offer them actionable advice they can use to make their situation better.

But what if you don't know enough about your niche?

No problem, I've shared the solution in the next point.

2. Go Beyond Surface Level Knowledge of Your Niche

Anyone can create vague content that generally describes a topic and shares the same old advice everyone else is giving.

But doing so won't win you any customers.

To become the go-to source of information for your audience, you must go beyond surface level knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of your niche.

Unless you understand the core concepts of your niche, your marketing campaign would struggle to make an impact on your audience.

I'm not asking you to become a technical expert.

But by following the tips that I'm about to share, you can easily become more knowledgeable about your topic than most of your competitors and almost all of your prospects.

And that will be enough for you to create value for your audience and turn them into subscribers and customers.

Here's how you can do it.

  • Read the Best 3 Books on Your Topic

In his famous book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris shares this theory that if you read 3 books on a topic from different authors, you'll become more knowledgable about it than 99% of people you know.

It's a bold claim but it makes sense.

Tim's not saying you'll become an expert surgeon by reading 3 books on surgery. But you will gain more theoretical knowledge of surgery than most people (other than professional surgeons of course).

So following that same principle, you can become more knowledgable than your competitors and your prospects by reading the top 3 best selling books on your topic.

Just search Google to find them, like I've done in the image below...

A simple search query like "best books on [Topic]" should give you lots of great books to choose from.

But if you can't decide which ones to read, simply head over to Amazon and search for the top rated books on your topic, check out how I've done it in the search below...

Source: Amazon

Sort the search results by Ave. Customer Reviews to find the top-rated books on your topic.

If you're in a highly technical niche, try choosing books that are designed for beginners and non-technical people so that you can absorb as much of the content as possible.

Don't try to rush this step.

Take your time and understand the concepts shared in the books you choose.

Once you're finished reading them, you'll be way ahead of most people in your niche.

But there's one problem with books.

In some industries, they can become outdated very quickly.

Fortunately, there's another way to keep yourself updated with the latest information on your topic.

I describe it in the next point.

  • Follow the Top Blogs in Your Niche

Why reinvent the wheel when your competitors are already doing all the hard work for you?

By following the top blogs and content creators in your niche, you can learn a ton about your topic, your audience, and the kind of content that works with them.

Reminds me of the famous saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer"

Your competitors aren't enemies, but you get the point, right? Keep a close eye on them to learn from everything they do.

Blogs won't give you the same level of information as books by renowned authors.

So it's best to use them in addition to the books you read.

They will, however, help you understand your topic in smaller chunks of information.

Here are a few things that you need to learn from your competing blogs.

- What topics do they talk about the most

- What topics on their site get the most engagement (shares, comments, backlinks)

- What jargon and industry-specific terminologies all of your competitors use?

- What tools do they recommend and use?

- What products are they promoting?

- What's the structure of their content (length, visual/text, tone of voice etc.)?

Finding the best blogs in your niche is easy.

Once again, Google is your best friend. Look at this...

Source: Google

Searching any of your main topic keywords will give you the best sites in your niche because the biggest authority sites are well-optimized for their main keywords.

If you're using the Chrome extension "Keywords Everywhere" that I mentioned earlier, you will also see a..

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You've never earned a single dollar in affiliate marketing commissions

You're struggling to make your first sale.

The experts, on the other hand, are banking huge commissions and enjoying fat paychecks every month.

Do you know why?

Because they have "secrets" they're not sharing with you.

Seriously!

Don't just take my word on this, see what many NicheHacks Mastermind members are saying.

Your failure has nothing to do with you not taking action, not making enough mistakes and learning from them, not building an email list, not producing awesome content etc.

No.

It's all because of you not knowing the "secrets" that the gurus know.

Even Matthew Woodward, a six-figure affiliate marketer, couldn't convince people otherwise.

So I've finally decided to give up, lay down my arms, and reveal the "secrets" Stuart, Matthew Woodward, and so many other successful affiliate marketers use to execute 5-figure product promotions on JVZoo and ClickBank, milk Amazon Associates for fun, and bank more money in commissions than you could ever make.

Stuart might fire me for revealing this but I owe this to the community because I want you to be rich and finally live the life you've always dreamed of.

So hang on tight and keep reading.

What You'll Learn In This Post
  • What the best affiliate marketers know that you don't
  • How to differentiate yourself in the sea of mediocre affiliate sites
  • How to be an actual affiliate marketer (not a slimy car salesman)
  • The secret to repeat affiliate sales
The Secret To Being an Affiliate Marketing Failure

Now that we're openly discussing secrets, let me first tell you the things that all successful affiliate marketers avoid like the plague.

Newbies think these tactics work faster than the boring "give value, build a tribe" kind of advice.

But, in reality, doing any of these things will only set your affiliate site up for failure.

  • Killing Your Credibility With Overly Promotional Reviews

Everything in this world has pros and cons.

Nothing's perfect; not even the product you're promoting.

But when you sing non-stop praises of a product, instead of objectively reviewing its benefits and drawbacks, you come across as a cheap salesman desperate to make a commission.

By doing so, you not only lose credibility but also kill your chances of making a sale.

Because remember, people buy from people they trust.

  • Inviting a Google Penalty by Using Copied and Spun Content

If you think you can copy the content from a product's sales page, spin it, make a few edits, and use it on your review site without anyone knowing it, you're in for a surprise.

Google is smarter than ever before and it will catch you sooner or later.

But even if it doesn't (just saying), have you ever read a spun article that made sense and was convincing enough to convert a cold lead into a customer?

Don't waste your time and resources with these cheap and outdated tactics.

  • Promoting Every Product Under the Sun

When you target everyone, you end up serving no one.

You can't promote hair dryers, welding machines, and weight loss supplements on the same website unless you're BestReviews or Wirecutter. These multi-million dollar sites are only able to cover so many unrelated products because they're owned by huge media groups with million dollar budgets for content creation and advertising.

You don't have any of that.

Which is why for you the only way to succeed is to niche down, focus on a closely related set of needs, and promote products that fulfill those needs. This is how you brand yourself as a niche expert and this is how you build trust.

  • Slapping Banner Ads All Over Your Site

People hate banner ads. In fact, a study by Nielson shows most people don't even notice banner ads anymore.

But newbies think filling your site up with banner ads somehow increases your chances of making sales.

It doesn't work that way anymore.

  • Relying Solely on Google Search Traffic

Google is a huge traffic source for affiliate sites but it should never be your only source.

Otherwise, you're just one algorithm update away from losing all your traffic and earnings.

Most newbies don't understand this point until disaster strikes.

The experts, however, diversify their traffic sources so even if Google wipes them off it's search index they'd still remain in business.

  • Creating an Amazon Specific Affiliate Site

Amazon Associates is the world's biggest affiliate program with the most diverse product range anywhere on the web.

But it's still just one affiliate platform, like many others, that you can use to monetize your site.

The mistake that newbies make, and the experts don't, is creating a website based entirely around Amazon products.

Why is this mistake?

I've shared several reasons in this post. (Hint: not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket)

With this mandatory part out of the way, let's move on to the real secret of selling affiliate products

The "Secret" Strategy Affiliate Marketing Experts Use To Make Millions

I'd be lying if I say that successful affiliate marketers don't know more than you; they do

But the things that you call "secrets" are not secrets at all.

The top marketers simply have knowledge of fundamental marketing techniques, hard-won experience and lessons learned from the countless mistakes they've made over the years.

There are no loopholes or hacks that can help you game the system.

There are however tried and tested strategies that are based on reliable frameworks.

They work 100% every time.

But you still have to execute them.

No genie or magic wand will do it for you.

So if you're ready to do some hard work, here are 9 proven tips that help you drive affiliate sales every time.

1. Understand the Needs of Your Audience and Promote Benefits

Before you start creating content, choosing products, or even setting up your website, you need to ask yourself some key questions about your target audience.

  • Who are my buyers?
  • What are their needs, problems, and challenges?
  • What are their aspirations and dreams?
  • What are their fears and doubts?
  • What is it about their lives that they want to change?
  • What are the products that can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals?
  • Why would they buy that product from me?

The expert marketers that you dream to emulate one day, spend hours upon hours understanding the real needs and wants of their target audience.

They don't just create content out of instinct or gut feeling.

They research and find the problems that people are so desperate to solve that they'd spend any amount of money for it.

And once they understand the core needs of their audience and their reasons for buying a product, they create content that addresses those needs and focuses on the benefits of the products instead of promoting their features only.

Examples of Understanding The Needs Of Your Audience & Selling Solutions/Benefits
  • They don't promote mattresses, they sell a good night's sleep, an active work day, a high performing career, an enjoyable time with family. Again, not just a mattress.
  • They don't sell weight-loss eBooks, they make their prospects dream of a perfect body.
  • They don't promote matchmaking services, they make you imagine a life full of love, comfort, and cherished memories.
  • They don't sell website hosting services, they promote better user experience and higher sales 

Because people buy benefits, end results, solutions, escapism, and, convenience among other things (i.e. what they believe the product will do for them and their life), but they never buy "features".

Take this article in the screenshot below, from a blog in the "ethical spending and environment-friendly products" niche, as an example...

Source: Ethical.net

This article promotes several brands and ethical apparel products. But both the title and the content of the post stay focused on the benefits of the products and the needs of their target audience instead of promoting product features.

Here's an even better example of how to write a product review while focusing on the customers' needs and the benefits of the product you're promoting, in this screenshot below from a pain blog...

Source: PainDoctor

Again, the content of this article focuses on the needs of the buyer and connects it with the features of the product it is promoting, not the other way around.

You can only create such content when you're actually aware of your buyers' needs and their decision-making process.

Expert affiliate marketers never make this mistake, but newbies often do.

Which explains why most newbies write boring and ineffective product reviews that fail to engage their prospects - they have no insights on their target audience.

They fail to identify the real needs of their prospects and the reasons that motivate their average buyer to purchase a product. As a result, their content lacks depth and offers no actionable insights.

But you can avoid that fate.

Because I've recently written a super detailed post that'll help you research the hell out of your audience and find their pain points.

Make sure you read it.

2. Understand Your Role in the Affiliate Marketing Cycle

People can buy whatever they need directly from Amazon, Ebay, Walmart Target, or any other retailer.

Why do they buy from middlemen (affiliates) like you?

You need to understand this to fully appreciate the importance of your role in the affiliate marketing cycle.

As an affiliate marketer, you play the role of a bridge between the customer and the supplier.

Though that doesn't simply mean you can just dump yourself down in the middle between a Google searcher and Amazon and hope to skim off a click via your affiliate link and net an easy commission for no work.

You can't simply regurgitate product features, specifications, pros and cons and other basic benefits that can be found already on Amazon.

No, you must learn how to give added value to the consumers so that they have good reason to go through your website instead of the direct source.

Here are some ways you can give value as a middle-man / affiliate:
  • By solving the problems of your visitors and connecting them with the best product for their situation over just hard pitching products at them.
  • By providing information or value that the end retailer like Amazon isn't providing or making clear.
  • By offering bonuses on top of the product that compliments or extends the purchase.
  • By showing ways to use or benefits of the product that aren't obvious.
  • By helping users find the best price or discount that they wouldn't get by going directly to the end retailer.
  • By answering all their questions and objections around the product that are holding them back from purchasing.
  • By clearly showing how the pain, problem, discomfort or inconvenience they are experiencing will be removed when they own the product.

Spend a couple of minutes studying this infographic as it explains affiliate marketing perfectly...

Source: PepperJam

You see...

You're not stealing money from someone else by making a commission.

You're an influencer that a certain group of people (small or large) trusts.

When you vouch for a product, your audience not only buys it with confidence but also thank you for suggesting it.

But this only happens when you actually have an audience and a group of people that finds your advice reliable (more on this later in the post).

The best affiliate marketers understand this fact and use it to their advantage.

They know their opinion counts and, once their audience trusts them, relevant brands love working with them.

A study by SideBuy, an influencer marketing platform, found that bloggers generate 2x more sales for brands as compared to paid advertising, this image below explains it...

Source: SideBuy

The same study also shows that 81% of consumers trust information shared by relevant blogs.

That's you - if you can take the time to build an audience that trusts you.

As the size of your audience, and their trust level in your advice, grows your affiliate earnings will grow with it

This is why Stuart and all other successful niche marketers keep saying that you need to look at affiliate marketing as a long-term game not just a quick way to make money.

Michelle, the owner of Making Sense of Cents, is an amazing example to follow.

Her latest income report shows she made over $150,000 in December 2018, and $1.5 million overall in 2018, mostly from affiliate marketing, look...

Source: MakingSenseofCents

That's an insane number that looks like an unattainable dream.

But browse over to her earliest income reports from 2013 and you'll find that she was making just over $1000 from affiliate marketing when she started documenting her income.

As the size of her audience and their confidence in her content grew, her earnings grew with it.

Your job is to keep providing value to your readers and help them make more informed decisions.

How exactly will you do it?

That's what I explain in the next point.

3. Offer an Authentic Experience That Goes Beyond the Product Sales Page

Trust is the key to selling online.

But how do you build trust with first-time visitors?

By offering an authentic experience that goes beyond the original sales page of the product you're promoting.

Any Tom, Dick, and Harry can create an affiliate site, write a vague product review with no in-depth details of the product, and use spun content copied from the product's original sales page.

The internet is full of such rubbish (no one trusts it).

The best affiliate marketers stand out from all this noise by creating authentic and credible content that's based on their personal experiences. They don't rehash the same information that's already available on the internet.

Instead, they use the product themselves and share insights that are not available on the product's sales page.

Their reviews don't read like product advertisements, they discuss the pros and cons of the product in detail, and help the readers determine whether its the right product for them or not.

Doing so immediately makes their recommendations more reliable and gives them a much higher click-through rate (CTR) than the sites that churn out non-stop promotional content. And this is exactly why a reliable affiliate marketer can get 10x more sales from the same amount of traffic as compared to a newbie.

Authority Hacker, for example, is a site known for its high-quality content that's based on the personal experiences of its owners. Here's a detailed review they published on the best and the worst content writing services.

Check out the post in this screenshot below...

Source: Authority Hacker

Just by reading the title of this article you know that even first-time visitors will immediately trust its recommendations.

Why? Because they've shared advice after thoroughly testing the services they're promoting.

Here's an equally impressive example.

There are hundreds of "Start a Blog" guides on the web but this one by Jorden stands out for a couple of reasons.

  • Most guides show you the setup process of a WordPress site only. Jorden goes a step further and covers Wix and SquareSpace as well.
  • She shares her own experience of creating a site with WordPress, SquareSpace, and Wix and lists the pros and cons in detail which makes her review much more useful and credible.

The article has more than 10K social shares and I'm sure it must've earned her thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions, look at it below...

Source: CreativeRevolt 

Here's another review post, in a completely different niche, that follows a similar strategy with running shoes and lab tests them...

Source: Runner's World

Again, the content here is reliable because it shares the pros and cons of all the products reviewed and suggests the best fit for the customers based on their preferences.

But you can't always test a product personally before promoting it, can you?

Of course, not.

There will be times when you don't manage to get access to a product or can't test it personally for any other reason.

Even then, the best way to come across as a credible and authentic information source is by thoroughly investigating both the pros and the cons of a product and sharing as many real-life examples as possible.

You can do that by quoting or interviewing other bloggers in your niche or by studying the negative reviews of the product you're promoting. It makes your content more trustworthy.

For example, the round-up post in the screenshot below quotes 60+ experts sharing their favourite email marketing tools.

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Ever seen an archer shoot an apple off someone's head?

It's a chilling sight, but the best archers do it without batting an eye.

But what if they had to demonstrate the same expertise in a dark room?

Would they still be so confident?

I bet they won't be getting any volunteers for the act.

Starting a niche site without researching your target audience is exactly the same as shooting arrows in the dark.

You have no idea of what you're aiming at (which makes the rest of your skills pretty useless)

No matter how good a writer you are or how easily you can rank sites in Google Search, if you don't know your audience you'll NEVER be able to understand their problems and find the right solutions for them (and make money online).

This is the biggest reason why most aspiring marketers fail.

They fail to develop any real understanding of the niche they're targeting.

And just in case you're wondering, knowing the age, gender or country of your audience doesn't even qualify as "scratching the surface" when it comes to market research.

It's common knowledge that all of your competitors already have.

And when you know only as much as your competitors, do you think you can outperform them? Pretty hard, in my opinion

You need to dive deeper to not only understand the real needs of your audience but also to get a grip on the emotions, the fears, the pains, and the experiences that shape and impact the decision making process of your ideal customer.

Not sure what that means and how it happens?

Keep reading with an open mind.

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...

What You'll Learn In This Post
  • Why you've been doing research all wrong till now
  • Why it's so important to understand the decision-making process of your prospects
  • How you can use competitor analysis to understand your niche
  • Why it's important to learn from the failed products in your industry
Audience Research: Go Beyond Demographics and Ask the Right Questions

As I said, knowing the age or the location of your target customers is great. But it's the most basic information that all of your competitors already have.

You have a lot more to research and understand.

For example, a typical buyer goes through multiple psychological states and faces several mental barriers before making a purchase decision.

Are you aware of the objections or the biases of an average buyer in your niche?

Without in-depth research, you can't figure out what's holding them back from buying from you.

To identify the problems that your target audience faces on a daily basis, to find the right solutions for those problems, and to find the right angles to pitch those solutions so that your audience considers your offer a favor rather than a greedy sales pitch, you must dig deeper.

You need to think from every angle possible and ask more specific questions about your audience.

Understand their beliefs, cognitive biases, fears, pains, desires, hopes, aspirations, and their ideals in life.

There are some AMAZINGLY in-depth lessons and execution plans (templates you can follow) in NicheHacks Insider that'll make it much easier for you to ask these questions.

But I'll share just one lesson here (sshh! I'm giving out premium stuff here, don't tell Stuart)

When trying to understand your audience, ask probing questions from the following angles

Emotions Pains and Problems Status Aspiration (Power, Prestige, or Possessions)
  • What's the most common emotion your buyers experience every day with regards to your niche?
  • What are the biggest pains/problems (related to your niche) they are facing and how are they affecting other aspects of their lives?
  • How badly do they want to change/solve this situation and what kind of pleasure would they experience if it is solved?
  • Which of the '3 Ps' (it could be one or more) of status does your target audience desire?
  • Which of the '3 P's do they have now? (It may be none)
  • Which of the '3 P's are they missing?
  • How would their life change if they managed to achieve these levels of status?
Hopes Wants and Desires Beliefs
  • In what ways does your target audience feel trapped now?
  • If they could escape any of these feelings and situations what would be the ideal outcome?
  • What does their perfect escape route look like? (i.e. how do they plan to escape from this situation)
  • What do they HOPE will happen in their lives to transform it into their perfect life instead?
  • What does your target audience want/desire from you? 
  • What do they actually NEED to get their end result/problems solved?
  • How will you give them what they WANT / DESIRE whilst also wrapping it up in what they NEED to succeed?
  • What do they believe about themselves in regards to your product?
  • What beliefs and feelings (right and wrong) do they have towards your niche and the people selling products in it?
  • What objections will this cause in your prospect towards you and the products you recommend to them?

The more you know about your audience the more they'll trust you because they'd feel that you genuinely understand their needs and have the right solutions for them.

You'll be able to mold your language, your content angles, and the tone of your sales pitches to match their needs.

So how do you find the answers to the questions I've listed above (and many other relevant questions) that'll help you get a grip on the needs of your audience?

Here are a few ways to get you moving.

1. Define the Problem (Opportunity) That You've Identified

Every profitable business is built by solving a key problem of a well-defined target audience.

The bigger (and more urgent) the problem, the more money you can make by solving it.

But problem identification has several stages.

At first, you don't have all the details of the problem. But you know that it exists and have a vague idea of who your target audience is.

It's a great starting point for more research, but it's not enough to build a strategy on its own (newbies, take note please)

At this point, you need to define the problem as you know it. State your current understanding of what the problem is, who is it affecting, where is it affecting them and how is it affecting them.

With this limited info, create a loosely defined sample profile (buyer persona) that you can focus on and start learning more about.

Based on some of the questions I mentioned earlier in the post, here's a sample buyer profile

Here's another example of a buyer persona template you can use.

Source: Digital Marketer

Of course, any information that you enter at this stage will be based on your assumptions and existing knowledge of your niche.

But it will give you a starting point for more in-depth research and help you stay focused

As you start learning more about your audience, you'll need to keep updating your personas

In the next point, I'll show you how to take your research process to a completely new level by using competitor analysis.

So keep reading.

2. Analyze Your Top Competitors and Their Best Performing Content

Competitor analysis is a great way to piggyback your competitors to understand how your target audience is responding to different types of content and what topics you should target first.

But your competitors are not limited to the blogs or websites that are promoting the same products or targeting the same topics as you are.

Any sites that are targeting the main problems and pains, plus any of the desires of your audience, are your competitors.

Let's take the example of the buyer persona I created in the last point.

One of Eric's (our sample buyer) desires is to wear fashionable clothes.

Most weight loss blogs don't write about obese fashion.

But it's a topic your target buyer wants to read about.

If you focus solely on the topics related to healthy eating and work out techniques, you won't be able to address this particular desire.

You need to somehow connect your main topic with the supplementary topics that your audience is interested in

So the right way to identify your competitors is to target the sites that are writing about any of your audience's desires or problems

If you can't immediately think of any competitors, use SEMRush to get recommendations

Simply enter your website URL (or any other site) and SEMRush will give you 4-5 other sites that have similar audiences.

For example, here's the list of competitors I got for NerdFitness, a popular fitness blog.

Source: SEMRush

These are the sites that are ranking in the top Google Search results for closely related keywords.

You can also simply search Google to find the competing blogs using search queries like "Top Blogs [Your Niche][Year]", "Best Blogs [Your Niche]", "[Your Niche] Blogs You Need to Follow" etc.

Source: Google

Once you have a decent list of potential competitors, start analyzing their content and the reader comments on each article.

In between the useless "Great Post!" comments, there are some real hidden gems that can tell you a LOT about what your audience really wants to know.

For example, look at this comment on a blog post published on NerdFitness sharing success tips for weight loss.

This comment must've given the blog owner plenty of content ideas for the future.

Source: NerdFitness

The commenter is essentially saying that she has already tried all the tips the article shares but she still hasn't seen the required results. She goes on to share specific needs and asks the author to write something on it.

Isn't that great info for you as a competitor?

Usually, the most popular posts of any blog have the most comments.

So it makes sense start your research from the top performing posts of your competitors.

You can either look for the top posts manually in the "Most Popular Posts" sections that most blogs have these days.

Or you could use BuzzSumo, search for your topic, and find the most popular posts on it.

For example, I searched for the topic "weight loss tips" on BuzzSumo, and here's what I got.

Source: BuzzSumo

In my personal experience, this single technique can help you find amazing insights with regards to the needs and the problems of your audience.

But it does require some manual work and can take a lot of time.

In the next point, I'm going to show how you can use search trends and keywords to learn more about your audience much faster.

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...

3. Study Search Keywords and Trends To Find What People Want

Whether they're looking for a good restaurant or tips on potty training their kids, most people simply search for it on Google.

So naturally, it's the best place to learn more about your audience and find out what they're looking for.

First off, you can simply type your main niche keyword in Google Search to get keyword suggestions based on what the other users are searching for.

For example, let me type "how to lose" and see what comes up

Source: Google

Interesting...

You can see that people are searching for very specific weight loss tips like losing face fat, hip fat, belly fat etc.

Gives you some idea of what your audience wants.

But let's take this step further and search for one of these suggested keywords, "how to lose face fat", and see what comes up in the related searches section at the bottom of the screen.

Source: Google

The related searches tell you a bit more about your audience.

  • They're looking to lose face fat quickly
  • They're trying yoga to lose face fat
  • They're looking for natural and home remedies to lose face fat
  • They're also looking for different exercises to lose face fat

But let's use Google Trends to see if this is a topic that people are really interested in or if it's just a temporary trend.

Here's the search trend for "how to lose face fat" for the last 5 years according to Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

As you can, it's a pretty steady trend and people have been searching for this topic on regular basis over the last 5 years.

If you scroll down this page, you'd find the regions and cities where this term is searched the most. This would give you further insights on your audience and where they're located.

Source: Google Trends

Scroll further down and you'll the section titled "Related Topics".

This is really important information because these are the broad topics that Google thinks your target audience is interested in.

Source: Google Trends

When you click on any topic in this list, you'll be able to see the search trends and the related topics for it as well.

All these topics connect in some way with the search query "how to lose face fat" (which, of course, directly represents your main niche topic)

Right next to this section, you can find "Related Queries" that people are searching for

Source: Google Trends

"How to lose face fat and double chin" - very interesting search term which shows you a more common term that people use to describe face fat

You can keep exploring these related topics to find SO MUCH about your audience and its interests.

Google Trends really is an amazingly useful tool.

But you can make this whole process even faster by using Ubersuggest, a great tool that gives you a detailed analysis of any topics or keywords you want.

Here's what I got from Ubersuggest when I searched for the term "how to lose face fat"

Source: Ubersuggest

If you're wondering why there's a picture of Neil Patel in that screenshot, it's because he purchased Ubersuggest a few months ago and actually made the tool even more awesome.

As you can see, the tool not only shows you the monthly search volume and trends for a keyword but also tells you how easy or difficult it is to rank for.

If you scroll down, you'll be able to see a list of suggested keywords and related topics (just like Google Trends)

Source: Ubersuggest

If you click on the "Related" link on the top-right corner of the screen, you'll get a list of closely related topics that your target audience is interested in.

Source: Ubersuggest

All this data, of course, is fetched from Google but it's presented in a much more user-friendly manner specifically for internet marketers.

Remember, our objective with this exercise is not to find keywords to rank for.

We're trying to find the broad topics that our audience is interested in and the questions they're asking.

Which is why we won't stop here.

YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc. are all great places to learn about your audience.

YouTube, in particular, is a goldmine for marketers due to the sheer volume of content uploaded to it every day.

See if any of your competitors have YouTube or Instagram profiles.

If they don't, simply search for your main niche topics to see what content is performing the best

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Last night I was telling a friend about a particular PS4 game that I played a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with.

The game’s graphics, storyline, soundtrack, and, above all, it’s main character (a female warrior fighting against huge robots) were just awesome.

But I just couldn’t recall its name.

So like most other questions, I put this one to Google.

And there it is, Horizon Zero Dawn.

What a game!

Being a marketing geek, though, I noticed something else as well.

There wasn’t a single search result on this page with the exact keyword / search phrase I used (as you saw in the screenshot the search phrase i used was "best ps4 game 2017 girl warrior robots" with no mention of the name of the game 'Horizon Zero Dawn').

Does that mean keywords are no longer one of the primary ranking factors?

Can’t be true.

Maybe my keyword was just too long.

After all, who would optimize a page for “best PS4 game 2017 girl warrior robots”

I’ll try a more conventional search term “cancer curing fruit”

Strange, not a single result with the "cancer curing fruit" keyword in the title or meta description

And Google even highlighted the names of the fruits in the featured answer snippet.

What’s going on?

Does that mean Google actually understands what I want to search for and shows me the best results instead of ranking keyword optimized articles?

I don't believe it.

I’ll try another one, “increase dog appetite”

Pretty high-quality search results, but why isn’t there a single page with my search keyword "“increase dog appetite” in the title.

Let me try a more complex search like “facebook virtual glasses”

Let’s see what Google comes up with...

OMG! Oculus VR, Facebook’s virtual reality gear, ranks at the top.

And not a single result with that exact keyword 'facebook virtual glasses' that I searched for!

Google DOES understand what I want.

My keyword stuffed articles, over optimized landing pages, and keyword specific domain sites are doomed!!

Okay, enough of this drama!

I hope you’ve understood the point I’m trying to make.

SEO has moved beyond conventional keyword usage.

Google no longer requires the exact keywords or search phrase in page titles or in the content body for a certain number of times to understand what the content is about. 

It now understands and ranks pages based on topics, not just isolated keywords.

This means you can now identify the broad topics that you want to be known for, find out the questions your audience is asking about those topics, and then answer those questions in a better and more comprehensive manner than your competitors WITHOUT actually obsessing over useless and outdated metrics like keyword density, keyword frequency, exact keyword placement etc.

Seriously, stop thinking about keywords all the time.

Focus on providing real value to your readers and write content based on THEIR needs.

Becuase Google's smart enough to figure out what's relevant to its searchers.

In simple words, the rules have changed.

And if you want to build a sustainable traffic steam from search engines, you’ll need to adapt fast.

Keep reading if you want to learn more about how to use this on your own website in a sustainable way that NEVER puts you at risk from a Google penalty...

What You’ll Learn In This Post
  • How the role of keywords has changed in SEO
  • How to rank for dozens of high traffic keywords without even targeting them
  • Why you no longer need to create separate pieces of content for different related keywords
  • How to build an internal link structure that'll turn your site into an SEO powerhouse
Do Keywords Still Matter in SEO?

The short answer is yes, keywords still matter.

But not the way you and most of THESE people in NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind think.

Here's another similar question

And another one.....

The problem here is with the mindset.

All these people are just too concerned about keyword placement, keyword density, keyword frequency, keyword this, keyword that!

They'll NEVER create engaging and useful content with this mindset

As this mindset means they are focusing on pleasing Google when you really need to focus on pleasing Google's "customers" (i.e. the people who search for things on Google).

Because when you please Google's users you actually please Google.

Think about it; Google wants to show the best possible and most relevant content to it's search users.

And Google does NOT want their results to be gamed by crafty "SEO's" who use all the latest tricks, hacks, and loopholes to cheat their way to the top of the results.

They simply want the most relevant content for their search users at the top of their results and not the content run by the savviest SEO's who know how to stuff it with keywords and game the algorithm.

So here's the truth.

Keywords still matter but not to Google.

They matter to you.

They give you direction and help you understand the topics your target audience is interested in. They give you insights into the needs of your audience and allow you to structure your content around those needs.

But does that mean you need to use the exact keyword in a certain way in your content to rank?

No!

Google no longer relies solely on keywords to understand the content of a page or determine its relevance to a search query.

Thanks to Google's search algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain, it can now understand the link between different keywords and topics and use machine learning to determine the best results based on the searcher's intent.

It no longer needs you to stuff your content with the exact keywords you're targeting.

Source: SearchEngineJournal

As the infographic suggests, with the Hummingbird update, Google moved away from keywords and became more interested in ranking search results based on what the searcher is trying to accomplish.

This means you can write naturally and use different variations of your target keyword just like we do in our everyday conversations.

So, for example, if your target keyword is "best SEO tips 2018", you don't need to optimize separately for stupid variations like "best SEO tip 2018", "best search engine optimization tips 2018", "seo tip 2018", "seo tips 2018".

Google knows they all mean the same thing, so if you rank for just the main keyword, you're likely to rank for all the others as well.

Keywords vs. Topics - What's the Difference?

Google now ranks websites based on their topical relevance and authority instead of just random keywords.

But what exactly is the difference between keywords and topics?

A Keyword is just a word or phrase used by a searcher. For example, "blog writing tips", "get email subscribers", "traffic generation tips", "buyer persona"

A Topic, however, is a group of keywords that are related to each other. And this relationship isn't necessarily limited to synonyms.

For example, you can group the keywords I just mentioned under one topic, "content marketing"

Source: HubSpot

Let's take the keyword "football" as another example.

What are the things that come to your mind when you think of football?

Christiano Ronaldo, Messi, David Beckham Free Kick, Greatest goals, Football dribbling, Manchester United, English Premier League, World Cup Football.

All of these keywords fall under one topic, Football News.

Since Google now analyzes the authority of a site on a topic and ranks content based on its overall relevance to the searcher's intent.

Therefore a site with higher topical relevance and authority will rank higher in search results for all the keywords related to that topic even if it isn't optimized for the exact keywords (provided the content answers the searcher's query).

If you understand your audience, know the terms they commonly use and have a good idea of their problems, you just have to target those problems (topics) and write naturally. You'll not only cover most of the popular keywords but also rank well for the overall topic.

According to Rand Fishkin, found of MOZ, Google is more concerned about matching the searcher's intent than matching keywords

Source: Moz

In this image, Rand describes how search has evolved over the years.

For SEO 2018 and beyond, he mentions that the main focus while creating content should be on the searcher, instead of keywords.

Which is why it's crucial to understand the needs of your audience and think from their perspective.

What is their intent? What are they looking for? What are they trying to achieve?

If your content matches the searcher's intent (in simpler words, gives him what he wants) Google will rank you not only for the keywords you're targeting but also for other related keywords that match the same intent.

Because it understands how they're related to each other.

Let's look at the step by step process to optimize your site for topics over keywords...

Step By Step - How To Optimize Your Site for Topics

Okay now that you know the difference between topics and keywords and how they impact search results, let's talk about how you can build topical relevance and rank for all the relevant keywords in your niche.

This is a proven strategy that has not only worked well for major brands like HubSpot, Inc., and Entrepreneur, but also for niche marketers like Matt Diggity

In fact, HubSpot used it to not only rank number 1 for most of its target topics and their related keywords but also made it to the featured snippet for many of them.

What exactly is the strategy?

You'll build topical relevance by

  • identifying the broad topics you want to be known for
  • creating pillar pages for each topic
  • creating supporting articles and blog posts for each pillar page
  • creating a strong internal link structure for each topic and its supporting blog posts.

Essentially, we're going to create topic clusters on our site, like this one created by HubSpot.

Source: Hubspot

The image shows clusters of different topics with their own supporting articles closely linked with each other, but completely separate from the other clusters.

Here's how you can apply this model to your niche site.

1. Identify the Topics You Want To Be Known For

The first step is to actually identify the topics that YOU want to be known for.

These would be the topics that relate directly to the products you're selling or promoting, and also have a direct appeal for your audience.

For example, if you have a blog on social media marketing, here are some of the topics you can list down.

  • Facebook Marketing
  • Instagram Marketing
  • Pinterest Marketing
  • Twitter Marketing
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Reputation Management
  • Influencer Marketing

Or if you have an affiliate site promoting Pet food products, here are some of the topics your audience might like.

  • Dog Food
  • Dog Health
  • Cat Food
  • Cat Health

These are not keywords, you're not trying to rank for them directly.

These are broad topics that YOU want your brand/blog to be known for. You want Google to show your site on the top whenever someone searches ANYTHING related to these topics.

You can think of them as categories in a WordPress site.

So how do you come up with topics for your site?

  • Learn From Your Competitors

The easiest way is to simply use your experience and a bit of common sense.

If you know your niche, you can identify 5-6 broad topics/categories all of your content will fall into.

You can also look at competitor blogs to get an idea.

For example, if you're looking for broad topics for a health & fitness blog, you can get ideas from a popular fitness blog like VeryWellFit.

Source: VeryWellFit

Look at how they've categorized their content under broad topics.

If a blog doesn't have well-defined categories like this one, just look at their content and try to find the common themes they're targeting.

You'll be able to find anywhere between 2-6 (or even more) broad topics depending on the size of the blog.

  • Get Topic Ideas from Niche Forums

Niche forums are goldmines for finding broad topics for your blog

Simply head over to Google and use these search queries to find forums in your niche.

"Niche" + "forums"

"Niche" + "vbulletin"

"Niche" + "discussion board"

Let's search for baseball related forums and try to find a few topics on it

Here's one of the forums I found.

Like most discussion forums, this one is also divided into several broad categories. We can use many of them as topics for our blog strategy

  • Baseball Photography
  • Baseball Coaching
  • Amateur Baseball
  • Baseball Memorabilia

All of these are good broad topics for a niche site that's selling or promoting baseball accessories.

You can use the same approach to find broad topics for your site on Reddit, Quora, and several other discussion platforms.

Once you have a list of a dozen to more topics, shortlist the ones that are the most relevant to your site and connect with your business objective.

Then move on to the next step.

2. Create Pillar Content for Each Topic

Now that you have 5-6 target topics, you need to create pillar pages for each topic.

A pillar page is a comprehensive and evergreen resource with detailed and in-depth content that covers every major aspect of your topic.

It is also the center of your topic cluster around which new articles and blog posts will be added. Every supporting article that you write about this topic will link back to this pillar page. This will increase its topical relevance and authority.

For example, if we're creating a pillar page for "Facebook Marketing" (a topic we identified in the previous step) we will cover everything from the very basics of Facebook marketing to the advanced techniques and strategies.

It will be one massive resource that will have everything a reader wants to learn about Facebook marketing.

You can call it something like "Facebook Marketing: The Only Guide You Every Need To Read" or "The Ultimate Guide To Facebook Marketing.

Here's a really good example of a pillar page on HelpScout blog

Source: HelpScout

It's a massive resource (probably 10,000+ words) that covers everything from the very basics of email marketing to advanced techniques like automation and segmentation.

All other articles about email marketing on their blog link to this post.

This helps Google spiders understand the relevance of the internally linked pages and increase their authority on this topic.

Do this for each topic that you've identified.

Once you're done with this part, let's move on to the next step.

3. List Down All the Questions of Your Target Audience

You now have pillar pages with epic content on each topic.

It's now time to create supporting content around each topic which answers the common questions of your audience

Basically, you need to find as many questions as possible related to each topic that you've identified and the keywords searchers are using to ask those questions.

Got it?

Here are a few smart ways to find the most common questions of your audience.

  • Use Google Correlate To Find Related Search Queries

I only heard of Google Correlate a few months ago, but it has already become one of my favorite tools for audience research.

Here's what it does.

Enter any keyword in Google Correlate and it will give you a list of other keywords and searches that it considers closely related to your keyword.

For example, people who search for affiliate marketing also search for terms like SEO, PBNs, Amazon Associates, ClickBank.

It's a great way to find related interests of your audience to generate..

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Okay, so you’ve chosen a niche, started a blog, and written a few product reviews on your new affiliate site.

But now you’re stuck for ideas.

You know you can’t keep writing reviews only because you want to reach a broader audience, target more keywords, solve more problems, and establish your site as a genuinely useful and credible authority in your niche.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) you’re not alone.

I’ve repeatedly seen niche marketers struggle for content ideas once they’ve written a few product reviews and comparison posts.

Here’s an example from NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind.

Here’s another one

This guy on Quora has a similar problem

I’m not talking about general content ideas (we have a couple of great posts about idea generation by Kristi and Jameson that).

I’m talking about content ideas for affiliate blogs.

Blog post ideas that not only solve problems but also help you drive more sales and commissions.

Ideas that don’t seem promotional or salesy but still make money for you.

You struggle to find such ideas because your thought process is wrong.

You think about individual blog posts or search keywords when coming up with content ideas instead of looking at the broader needs of your audience.

In this post, I won’t give you a list of ideas or headline templates to fill your editorial calendar.

I’ll share unique content angles, with lots of examples, you can use to come up with unlimited ideas for your nice site.

No matter what niche you’re in, you can apply these angles to keep coming up with new content ideas.

Ready?

Here we go...

What You’ll Learn In This Post
  • How to never run out of content ideas for your affiliate site
  • How to use closely related niches to generate unique content ideas
  • Why you should always keep the problems of your readers in mind during idea generation
  • How even the most boring niches can use creative angles to come up with amazingly engaging content
Understand Your Audience First

One of the primary goals of content creation is to provide value to your audience by publishing actionable and problem-solving advice that matches their interests.

But you can’t do that unless you actually understand what your audience wants.

So before coming up with any content ideas, research the hell out of your audience.

Find out their needs, wants, income level, location, hobbies etc.

Use free tools, databases, forums and competitor research to gather this data.

For example, you can use YouGov Profiles to get a sample persona of your ideal buyer based on real data.

You can find profiles based on interests, popular brands, magazines, personalities, or things people associate themselves with.

I searched for the term “veteran” and here’s what the site suggested.

Here’s the sample profile based on real data from more than 14000 people interested in the topic.

You can click on each of these categories like Professions or the Top States to get more details.

It’s a good place to start your search.

Then, of course, you have Facebook Audience Insights that gives you even more details about the likes and dislikes of your audience.

Simply search for the key interests of your target audience and Facebook Audience Insights will tell you everything about them from their gender and demographics to favorite brands and Pages.

You can gather additional information about your audience through sites like Quora and Reddit, competitor blogs, and industry-specific forums. And don’t forget to research the top keywords and search queries of your audience.

Once you have enough information, you can turn it into a proper buyer persona using the free persona generator tool by HubSpot

It asks you everything about your audience and gives you a consolidated profile that you can use while creating content and devising your marketing strategy

Keep this profile in mind when coming up with new content ideas and try to target the problems identified in it.

Once you’re done with this step, it’s time to move forward.

Here’s how you can use different creative angles to come up with unlimited content ideas for your affiliate site.

1. Talk About the Things Your Customers Desire

Amateur marketers talk about their products.

The experts, however, highlight the benefits of their product without actually focusing on the product itself.

They tell their readers what’s in it for them and highlight the things they desire.

You can apply the same strategy to find numerous content ideas.

List down the key benefits of your product.

  • Think about why people buy it?
  • What’s the value they’re trying to get out of it?
  • What’s THEIR return on investment (ROI)?

Real benefits connect with the desires of your customers.

For example, which of these two headlines look more tempting and persuasive?

Source: HelpScout

The second one of course because it simplifies the message and focuses on the core benefit of the product.

People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

For example, people buy mattresses for a good night’s sleep, for comfort, and relaxation.

To get up refreshed in the morning

To have an active day at work.

Not because of some fancy features.

Getting my point?

Think of content ideas from THEIR perspective.

Think of the titles that THEY would be interested in reading

Here’s a great example.

This blog makes affiliate commissions selling juicers, blenders and other kitchen appliances.

Here’s one of their most popular posts

Can you find juicers or blenders mentioned anywhere in this title?

The post focuses on the actual benefit that people get from juicers without actually promoting any product.

But within the content, they’ve linked to the juicer brands they’re promoting.

Smart, isn’t it.

Apply this to any niche you want.

Here’s an example from a blog promoting running shoes.

Do you see shoes mentioned anywhere?

Here’s another one.

And here’s a blog post from an affiliate site promoting mattresses.

Do you see the trend?

They’re making big money by promoting Amazon products, but all of their top posts focus on the benefits of the product instead of the product itself.

The trick here is simple.

List down the key benefits of your product and then use those benefits to come up with new content ideas.

Think of all the things your target audience wants to have.

Using this angle also makes readers much likelier to click on your affiliate links because the products are mentioned naturally and contextually in your content.

2. Talk About the Fears of Your Customers

Now, look at point number one from another angle.

Instead of highlighting the benefits of your product, think of the problems your product is solving.

Problems that people can avoid if they use your product. Fears that bother them so much they’re prepared to spend a fortune to solve them. Think of all the undesirable things that your product can save your customers from.

Let’s take the mattress example again

See, we’re simply using a different angle for the same product.

The headline doesn’t mention mattresses and focuses on the fears of the target audience. Within the content, they’ve presented a certain mattress brand as a possible solution and linked to its sales page.

Here’s another niche website targeting baby care products using the same content strategy of targeting the fears of its audience.

Look at this post.

No mention of any product

But in the body content, they’ve linked to the products they’re promoting.

Again, you can apply this to any niche.

List down all the fears of your audience and think of ways your product can help them.

For every fear, you can come up with dozens of article ideas.

3. Create Detailed “How To” Tutorials of Your Product

Don’t just sing praises of your product all the time.

Also, tell and show your audience what they can do with it by creating detailed “How-To” posts and tutorials.

Think of all the different ways customers can use your product and then create content that can help them do it easily.

It’s a pretty common content angle that most affiliates already use.

For example, here’s a detailed post I did a few months ago on using Ahrefs

Or this detailed tutorial on using Hootsuite

Here’s an example of the same content angle in a different niche.

Here’s another one

This detailed Etherium guide by Unblock is another good example in a relatively new niche

All of these posts have affiliate links to the products they’re promoting.

This angle makes their content useful and gives value to the readers because of which they’re more likely to buy from them.

List down all the different ways your product can be used and come up with “How-To” post ideas for all of them.

4. Highlight the Common Mistakes of Your Target Audience

Ok now flip the last angle and focus on how NOT to use your product.

Think of all the common mistakes that people make or can make while using the product you’re promoting.

Again, this is applicable to every niche.

For example here’s a site promoting baby products like strollers, stroller fans, umbrellas and other relevant accessories.

They’ve used this angle perfectly

Here’s an article on a niche site promoting different brands of running shoes

This site promotes kitchenware and home appliances.

And this one promotes toothbrushes, oral hygiene products, and dental services

The negative angle works well because it evokes curiosity in the reader and forces him to read more.

You can use it by making a list of the common mistakes people make while using your product, all the wrong ways to use your product, or any misconceptions about your product that people have.

I’m sure you can extract dozens of article ideas using this angle.

5. Share Case Studies and Success Stories

Nothing builds trust and credibility more than a detailed and well-written case study.

Showing your prospects how someone used your product to solve a problem or achieve success is not only a great way to demonstrate its effectiveness but also a powerful strategy to persuade potential buyers.

A recent study found that more than 50% of marketers consider case studies as the most effective content type when it comes to lead generation.

Source: Bright Talk

For some reason, I don’t see many affiliate marketers (especially newbies) use this content angle as frequently as they should.

But those who realize its effectiveness, never miss a chance to leverage the power of case studies.

Here’s a good example from Yaro’s blog.

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Everyone seems to be a marketer these days.

Or so they claim on the internet anyway...

“I’m an internet marketer”

“I’m an affiliate marketer”

“I’m a digital marketer”

“I’m a product marketer”

“I’m a content marketer”

“I’m an inbound marketer”

It’s easy to use these titles because there’s no entry barrier.

Anyone can call themselves anything on the internet.

But how many of you so-called marketers actually understand what marketing really is?

Can you explain it to a layman without confusing him even more?

Let me tell you what most of you think marketing is.

You think it's about throwing together a WordPress site, adding some words to it, and sprinkling in affiliate links.

You think it’s about promoting products and making commissions.

You think it’s about sharing content on social media.

You think it’s about creating product review sites, generating traffic, and making money.

You think it’s about sending mass emails to your list telling them to "buy this now".

You think it’s about ranking on Google’s first page for your target keywords.

You think it’s about selling products.

You’re WRONG!

These are mostly promotional techniques at best.

Marketing is about just one thing.

Finding the biggest problems/fears of your target audience and solving them in a profitable way.

That’s all there is to marketing

That’s all there is to online marketing, affiliate marketing, internet marketing or any other type of marketing.

Far too many aspiring online marketers are obsessed with different promotional techniques , fads and gimmicks, and loopholes.

Instead of understanding the core internet marketing concepts they look for the next shortcut, the next secret tip, the hidden niche no one else knows about, and the next million dollar breakthrough.

Of course none of these shortcuts, secrets, or hidden niches actually exist.

If you want to succeed at online marketing, you need to understand it’s fundamentals and keep reminding yourself about them.

This post is a reminder, a refresher, an invitation to the basics.

Basics that’ll help you get ahead of the other 90% of marketers who’re shooting in the dark without any understanding of what they’re actually doing.

Here are some of the core internet marketing concepts and beliefs you need to remember all the time...

What You'll Learn In This Post
  • The basic yet surprising mindset change that you need to be a successful marketer
  • How marketing hasn't changed in over 100 years.
  • The one unexpected thing you need to make money online.
  • Why you don't need to be an expert to make money online.
  • The secret success formula of six-figure affiliates (it's nothing to do with expertise, list size or traffic).
1. Marketing Hasn't Changed For 100's Of Years

Marketing is as old as the human race itself.

And at its core, it hasn't changed much.

It’s about identifying needs and fulfilling them in a profitable way.

It’s about getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

It’s about using human psychology and emotions to your advantage.

And that’s never going to change.

To be a successful marketer (any kind of marketer) you need to know your audience before anything else.

Because when you don’t know them, you can’t understand their pain, you can’t speak their language, you can’t get your message across.

Advertising mogul David Ogilvy, regarded as the father of advertising, said this years ago...

Source: Timeless Marketing Wisdom

Ogilvy's point was simple: Instead of trying to write fancy words, or impress people with grammar, or use sales or business talks you should instead just write in the way every day people speak.

And furthermore you should start with the problems they have that lead them to consider making a purchase. If you can't show them you understand their problems they won't part with their hard earned cash.

It doesn’t matter what form of marketing you’re pursuing, it should always begin with a clear understanding of your target audience.

This is why when I see people asking

“Should I start an Amazon review site?”

“Should I sell an eBook to my subscribers”

“Should I promote XYZ product to my list”

“How long should my content be?”

"How many keywords should I put into my post?"

I immediately know they’re lost.

Because they’re asking the wrong questions.

Here’s what you should be asking

“What’s the biggest problem of my audience?”

"What are my audiences fears, dreams, hopes and worries?"

“Are there any products on Amazon that can solve the problems of my audience?”

“Are product reviews useful for my audience to help them overcome their problem?”

See the difference?

That’s marketing at its core.

Thinking about the needs of your audience and find ways to make a profit by solving them.

2. Stop "Selling Products" If You Want To Make Money Online

Ever wonder why no one links to your content? Why no one buys your product? Why no one clicks on your affiliate links? Why no one shares your content?

Because no one cares about you.

People don’t give a sh*t if you’ve spent 12 hours writing a piece of content, or months creating a product.

No one cares that you want to "make money on the internet" or "work from home" or "retire early" or "spend more time with your family" or even shockingly if you have a real pressing need for the money because of an illness.

Why? Simply because people are selfish and all they care about is themselves (it's human nature and we all do it including you).

They only notice when there’s something in it for them.

Smart marketers understand this very well and don't focus on "selling products".

Instead they align their marketing strategy with the needs of their audience.

They create content that is beneficial to their readers. They create products that their audience needs to solve a problem they have in their lives

To make money online, to get links, to get shares, to get mentions you need to offer MASSIVE value to your audience.

You have to solve the problems of your audience better than your competitors.

Need email subscribers? Create an irresistible email lead magnet that instantly solves a REAL problem your audience has.

Need more social shares, comments, and blog readership? Continuously publish highly actionable content that speaks directly to your readers (their hopes, fears, dreams and passions) and solves their problems.

Need more product sales? Create a value-rich sales funnel that prepares your prospects from day 1 for the eventual sale by giving value and educating them on why your product (or the affiliate product you recommend) solves their problem better than any of your competitors.

Need more affiliate sales from your review site? Find out the questions of your audience and create a massively useful review site that makes the buying decision super easy for your readers by SHOWING them directly how the product makes their life easier / happier / less stressful / more productive / whatever over regurgitating pro's and con's and features listed on Amazon.

Value is the common word here.

Nobody owes you anything.

You’re not guaranteed success just because you’ve created an affiliate review site or a blog or an email course.

Ask yourself if it's actually giving value to your audience.

For example...

Is it solving real problems that real people have or just designed to make a quick buck from tricking them into clicking an affiliate link?

Is it benefiting the world or just cluttering up the internet?

Does it tell them something new (or at least show them something in a new light) that they can't find on 1,000 other websites on the internet?

Is it designed with benefiting the reader and putting them first or does it only exist to line your pocket?

This is tthe only way to make money online.

The more value you provide the more money you’ll make.

3. Successful Affiliates Sell Solutions Not Products

Do you know the most profitable skill of six-figure affiliate marketers?

It’s their ability to identify the problems of their audience and find products that can solve those problems effectively.

Online marketing is all about problem-solving.

Successful affiliates aren’t successful because they have a lot of traffic or because they have huge lists or because they have huge marketing budgets.

No.

Most of them started from scratch and earned all those luxuries because they mastered the skill of finding useful products that their target audience needs.

Take WebsiteSetup as an example.

I’ve mentioned this site before on NicheHacks and I might do it again in future.

Why?

Because it’s a great example of how you can earn millions of dollars in affiliate commissions by solving the problems of your audience.

There are a lot of sites out there teaching newbies how to start a blog.

But the quality of the content on this particular site is MUCH better than most others I’ve seen.

And all of it is absolutely free.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of people flock to this site every month and the owner makes thousands of dollars in commissions.

MoneySavingExpert, one of the biggest personal finance sites on the web, is another example. It’s a million dollar blog now but it was started by one man who was determined to offer massive value to his readers. The results are there for everyone to see.

To become a successful affiliate, you need to understand the problems of your audience and offer them solutions that are genuinely useful. If you keep doing that consistently, no one can stop you from making money online.

4. You Don’t Have to Be an “Expert” To Make Money

Falling for the “I’m not an expert” myth is the number 1 reason why most people never make money on the internet.

You know what, you’ll never be an expert. But you’re already an expert.

Confused?

Being an expert is a relative thing.

You’re an expert for people who don’t know as much as you do about a subject.

But you’re NOT an expert for people who know more than you.

People keep bothering about those who know more than them and completely forget that the vast majority of the people on the internet don’t know as much as them.

For them, you’re an expert.

Just look at the stats.

More than 45% of the world’s population still doesn’t even have an internet connection

Source: We Are Social

Then there are those who have the internet but don’t use it regularly.

You’re a savvy user.

You’re already ahead of all of these people.

For example; setting up a new WordPress blog might be a piece of cake for you but for them, it’s a completely new thing.

For them, you’re an expert on this topic.

You can apply this to ANY niche you want.

Think about your work skills, your education, your hobbies, the activities and sports you enjoy, the challenges you've faced in life and the problems you've overcome, your passions the topics you read up on and that friends and family always ask you for advice on.

You’ll always be an expert for a particular group of people on a certain subject. Why not pick one of these topics and make it your niche?

So target them and crown yourself as an expert.

Because no one else will do it for you.

5. The Money is NOT in the List

I’m a big fan of email marketing and consider an email list any marketer’s number one online asset.

Recent surveys show that it’s among the top traffic acquisition channels for affiliate marketers.

Source: Affiliate Summit

But is it enough to have a list? A random database of email addresses that you can contact any time you want?

No.

The money is actually in the relationship that you have with your subscribers.

An engaged email list of 1000 people who regularly respond to your emails, consider you an expert, and reach out to you for help is MUCH more useful than a list 10,000 email subscribers who rarely open your emails.

This is why it is SO important that you build your email list the RIGHT WAY.

Not sure what that means?

The right way to create an email list is to actually build a database of people with a common set of problems. All of them have similar needs, similar problems, similar concerns.

How do you do that?

By creating a laser-focused email lead magnet for list building.

When you build an email list around a problem, you know exactly how you can monetize it (Hint: by solving that problem)

But when you simply buy an email database or don’t have a strategy before building an email list, it’s mostly useless for your business.

Because spamming is not a business strategy.

And gone are the days when you could spam people with irrelevant offers and stay in business for years.

So always remember that it’s not the number of email subscribers that matters. What matters is the common problem (or set of problems) that binds your subscribers together. If they have a common need, you can make money by fulfilling it.

If not, you’re just wasting your time.

6. Branding is a Business Necessity Not an Option

Will you buy from a company that you don’t trust?

Of course not.

Then why the hell do you expect people to buy from you when you don’t give them any good reason to trust you?

Not sure what I’m talking about?

Let me elaborate.

Why would anyone trust a site with a URL like this buybestrunningshoesforwomen.com?

Why would anyone trust a site that doesn’t even have a decent logo?

Why would anyone trust a site that’s poorly designed, takes ages to open and has no contact information?

Here’s a pretty good example (of a bad site)

Addressing all the issues I’ve highlighted above (and more) is called branding.

Branding is about giving a unique identity to your site and making it memorable for your users.

It covers everything from your site’s name, logo, and design to user experience, content quality, and performance.

A strong brand is visually appealing, has a consistent message, has well-defined values, and is associated with other trusted brands.

Branding is not an option anymore, even for affiliate marketers.

It’s a business necessity.

You can’t set up a review site or a comparison site with zero branding and hope to establish a long-term business with it.

Why? Because the average web user is too smart and too sceptical these days.

The Wild West days of the internet where marketers could simply spam their own affiliate website with links and rank #1 on Google and the search users thought because it was #1 it must be a trust worthy website are over.

Web surfers now know when a website is built simply to make you money instead of giving honest views on products and the majority will never trust you unless you look, feel and act (and genuinely are) a trusted brand.

Even the almighty Google considers it mandatory for all online businesses, look at this screenshot

Source: SEOBook

The effectiveness of your online marketing strategy is directly linked to the strength of your brand.

A strong brand makes you credible and trustworthy which means you’ll need to spend less money and efforts to convince people to buy from you.

Get these basics in place at least:

  • A legit sounding brandable domain over a spammy keyword based domain.
  • A premium theme, design, and logo.
  • High quality, problem solving, content.
  • Contact details, privacy policies, terms and conditions and about me pages.
  • Social media profiles attached.
  • A real person behind the site over just the company name with writers names on their content bios.
  • A community where your audience can join and interact so they feel part of the brand.
  • A mix of information based content over just "give me your money" content that constantly reviews products, is monetized or is plastered with ads.
  • And most importantly; a genuine desire to benefit your audience and put their needs first over your own selfish needs (without this focus you'll never get what you want in life anyway).
7. Seriously, Traffic Generation is Not a Problem So Why Do You Keep Saying That It Is?

Traffic generation is the number problem of most online marketers.

Or at least that’s what they think.

But what if I tell you that traffic has never been and will never be a problem.

I’m not crazy.

I’m just telling you a fact.

There are streams of highly engaged, active and relevant traffic running all around you.

Facebook, Google, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, forums, blogs, email lists etc. are all traffic hubs.

You can use them whenever you want.

The bigger question is how to use that traffic.

Look.

Traffic generation is about three things.

  • Knowing who your audience is
  • Where they hang out
  • And what you need to do to bring them to your site

For example, you run a blog about the problems of new moms and share tips to help them manage their responsibilities better.

Who do you think is your target audience?

New moms and dads of course.

Where do they hang out?

I haven’t researched but my gut feeling is that Pinterest, Facebook, and Google should be your three main traffic sources. Think about all the blogs, websites, social hubs and groups related to parenting, kids, babies, moms and similar topics that exist on the web.

Your traffic sources depend mainly on your audience.

If a certain traffic source is working for one website, it’s not guaranteed that it’ll work for others as well.

In fact, you’ll be surprised to know that there are established blogs out there that get most of their traffic from Pinterest and Instagram. Not Google, not Facebook, not advertising.

MinimalistBaker, with more than 500K Pinterest followers, is a great example.

How do you bring them to your site?

It depends on the interests of your audience, your resources, and your strategy.

There are..

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