Research the Profit Potential of your Online Business Ideas
“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
Let’s begin with some basic research into what others are doing in your area of interest, with profit potential a key factor to consider.
It is important at this stage to consider where you want to be, not how you will get there. Not knowing how to accomplish your goals shouldn’t prevent you from attempting your goals.
In the age of Google, Youtube, and free membership sites like Wealthy Affiliate, not knowing how is no longer a barrier to success. Taken one step at a time, significant accomplishments are possible.
“…the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Let’s begin with some keyword-based research. When doing your Vision Exercises in the previous lessons, you came up with keyword phrases to describe different aspects of your Vision.
Now is the time to make some keyword modifications. The idea now is to look at what you think people in your niche market would type into search engines.
For example, I could state my Vision as follows:
“I lead a self-directed life helping people reboot their lives, find purpose, and make more money in their own unique way in the Digital Age.”
What would my target audience type into search engines?
How about “make money online” as a starting point?
I can type “make money online” into the free keyword tool over at Wealthy Affiliate (WA) to get many more ideas.
(You can do the same for your keyword ideas, just click on the Keyword Tool link in the left-side menu after you join WA for free).
These are keyword phrases that people search on regularly (the keyword tool shows how many searches each one gets):
how to make money online
make money online fast
learn how to make money online
internet make money online
easiest way to make money online
make money online business
canadian make money online
make money online software
make money online web site
extra make money online
make money online with
make money online program
best make money online
students make money online
make money online sites
make money online video
That is just a small sampling of what the keyword tool returns when you type in “make money online”.
In your case you might type in “yoga for beginners” or “parenting advice” to get more ideas for your niche market, whatever that may be.
Also consider related keywords for things people in your niche market may be interested in buying. Here are some examples from various niches: “yoga mats”, “dog collars”, “jeep parts”, “website hosting”, “cheap baby strollers”, “weight loss supplements” etc.
These new keyword phrases will form the basis for your keyword-based profit potential research.
Affiliate Programs as a Profit Potential Indicator
Of particular interest when you are doing your keyword-based research will be to check if there are any good products with affiliate programs in your niche market.
Affiliate programs allow you to make money by featuring those products on your blog or website. Even if you are planning a different strategy, this is an indication of how profitable the niche market is.
What is an affiliate program you may ask? In a nutshell, as an Affiliate you don’t need any products of your own to sell.
You don’t need to collect money from customers online. You don’t need to worry about customer service. The merchants that offer the affiliate programs do all that.
Instead, you use special “affiliate links” on your blog or website to link to popular products on merchant websites that have affiliate programs you have joined (for free).
When people you refer buy something, you earn a commission. You will typically get paid via Paypal or direct deposit in your bank account, depending on the Affiliate Program and your preferences.
To learn more, check out my blog post that answers the top 3 questions I get from aspiring Affiliates. (Hint: that page is also one of the ways I get people to signup for this mini-course, while helping them understand some things at the same time).
How to find Affiliate Programs
One way to find affiliate programs is to add the words “affiliate program” to the end of the search terms you generated above.
For example, you could search on “dog training affiliate program” or “video game affiliate programs”. You would find plenty of opportunities in those niches.
You can also go to any merchant website in your niche market and look for an “Affiliate Program” link in the footer of their website.
You would find those merchant websites by searching Google on the your keyword phrases without the “affiliate program” extension.
The one affiliate program you can join that has products you can promote in virtually any niche is the Amazon Affiliate Program (also referred to as the Amazon Associates Program):
Although commission percentages are relatively low at Amazon, the trust factor Amazon has with people is very high. That means higher conversions and more sales.
You also get credit for anything your referral buys at Amazon within 24 hours, not just the product you refer them to on Amazon. I have received commissions for lots of things that were completely unrelated to the Amazon products I referred my website visitors to.
This works because Amazon sells everything under the sun, and when you send people to Amazon they may just decide to purchase something else they need as long as they are there anyway.
Amazon is just one example. Most companies have affiliate programs these days.
Another way to find affiliate programs is with Affiliate Networks, where you can join hundreds of affiliate programs all under one roof (more on that below).
Google Ads as a Profit Potential Indicator
Type your keyword phrases into Google.
In addition to looking for affiliate programs, pay particular attention to the ads that show up in the results (typically at the top and right hand side of the search results).
People are paying good money to get their ads to show up there (google.com/adwords). This means they are probably making money on whatever they are offering.
If you want to be more certain they are really making money, try doing the same search every week for a month or two to see if those ads keep showing up. If they do then their product or online strategy is likely making them money.
Google Ads are expensive and nobody would continue running them for long if they weren’t making money from them.
Evaluate Competitor Websites
Spend some time exploring the search results that are of most interest to you. Visit those websites and try and determine how those websites are making money.
If they are linking to other sites that sell something, chances are they are making money from those relationships (probably as an Affiliate).
With URL masking techniques, it isn’t always obvious when a link to another site is an affiliate link. In this case, simply take note of what the sites being linked to are selling.
Then do another search on “<merchant name> affiliate program” or “<product name> affiliate program” to find out how to sign up for their affiliate program.
If the merchants or products you find in your searches don’t have affiliate programs, you may be able to find competing products that do. Try searching on a generic name for the product or product category (using the “affiliate program” extension).
Searching for affiliate programs on Google sometimes has the advantage of turning up private affiliate programs, which can often be the most lucrative.
Private means you can only join them from the website where the products are sold, or a related site owned by that same company, rather than from an affiliate network, which we will discuss next.
Affiliate Network Searches
One way to easily find products with affiliate programs is to join some of the larger affiliate networks. Then search for products you can promote from their dashboard. They have affiliate products for virtually any niche market you can imagine.
Affiliate networks typically require you to specify the website or blog you will promote the products on.
That is a good reason to make creating a basic blog or website your first priority (the subject of our next lesson).
Then try joining some of these networks (there is no cost to join affiliate networks). Here are a few well known Affiliate Neworks:
(Note: these are also places where you can find affiliates for your own products if you decide to go that route).
There are many others. You will find well-known brands that run their affiliate programs through networks like these. Not all of them advertise that fact from their own websites.
In that case your Google searches may not locate those affiliate programs. That is where searching inside the affiliate network dashboards comes in.
You will find there are big differences in the competing networks. Some have lots of well known brands and lots of physical products you can promote, but the commissions are generally quite low (e.g. many are between 5% and 15%).
Other networks have less well known products, but many digital download or online only products/services where the commissions are much higher (and can often be recurring monthly commissions).
Affiliate networks are “transparent marketplaces”, which means they report on metrics to help you understand how much money other affiliates have been making on a particular affiliate program.
This helps you to choose the programs with the most profit potential.
Metrics like epc (average earnings per hundred clicks) will help you understand that it isn’t all about the commission percentage. Sites that have a higher conversion rate can make you more money even if their commission percentage is lower.
Higher epc also means those products are probably more popular, which means they may be a better fit for your target market. The metrics provided by the affiliate networks will help you to make decisions with that in mind.
Search Where Your Niche Market Lives
While the above examples are great places to search out any subject area or niche, other search engines may be more relevant for you.
For example, social networking sites like Twitter have search engines (just type “Twitter search” in Google to find it). If you think your target market is likely to hang out there, then you can try your key search terms there.
If your target market loves free videos, try your search terms on YouTube. Find out what kinds of videos people are producing in your area of interest. Wherever you think your target market tends to hangout is a good place to search for ideas.
Avoid “Analysis Paralysis”
While doing some research before you begin is good, the most important thing is to begin. Don’t expect to hatch the Perfect Plan on your first try.
If the blogging option is beginning to resonate with you as a good starting point, then simply creating a basic blog is the first step.
Don’t worry about joining the affiliate programs yet. This Lesson was about researching profit potential. There is plenty of time to join affiliate programs after you gain some traction with your blog or website.
Today’s Homework Assignment:
- Begin researching the profit potential of some of your Online Business ideas.
Then, if you want to get a head start on the next lesson, go to Wealthy Affiliate and create your first blog. It is free to join. They offer 2 free blogs to get you started.
Lesson 1 – The “Critical Steps” to realize your Online Business Destiny
Lesson 2 – Form a Powerful Vision of your Future Self
Lesson 3 – Brainstorming and Prioritizing your Online Business Ideas
Copyright © 2017 – Bradley (Brad) Morgan
Please add your questions, comments, or feedback on this Lesson below …