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...
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
But does that mean you need to use the exact keyword in a certain way in your content to rank?
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
But is it enough to have a list? A random database of email addresses that you can contact any time you want?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.