As an affiliate marketer, you’re likely to be tempted by the riches and success you’ve often seen by those in the big markets such as health, wealth, and beauty.
Yes, these individuals that have made their mark on these industries earn a respectable income but what’s the chances of you reaching their same level of success – even if they told you their complete blueprint and secrets?
Most businesses reach their success based on a wide variety of factors well out of the control of the business owner; this goes double for online ventures.
- The chances of you creating the next Twitter? Unlikely.
- A real competitor to Amazon? Nope.
- The next Facebook? Impossible.
However, you can make a mark in the niche areas of an industry because big businesses are far too focused on the larger demographic; in a niche, you’re up against, often, equal competition. You may not make as much as the “big boys” but, as an individual or even a small business, this means incredible profits if you work hard enough.
I’ve found the best way to convey this idea of success is to take a look at those that have made their mark in their respected niche industries – the key players that have earned a considerable profit even when it pales in comparison to the budget, company size, and customer base as the “big boys”.
Three Niche Businesses Making Their Mark
Yeah, we’d all like to make billions of dollars like the major corporations in the world but scaling that down, looking at the small business level, I think we can safely assume that an individual six-figure salary would be something well worth our efforts when it comes to using the web to build a business, wouldn’t you agree?
The following individuals and/or business show what’s possible when you bunker down, dance around the big boys, and carve out a business within a small niche within a larger industry.
You probably have no idea what Arduino is but plenty of tech geeks know the importance what this small piece of computer has done to the DIY, techie community.
Without going over your head: Arduino is an open-source, bare bones, platform that allows geeks and techies to modify and implement a small-scale computer into their projects.
In essence, think of it as a very tiny computer that can be modded and used in whatever fashion and imagination a consumer finds for it.
The Success of Arduino
There are plenty of small computers on the market (netbooks, ultrabooks, and even cell phones) that have been modded for a variety of projects like mini arcades, controllers for lights, and even DIY surveillance drones but Arduino took off because it was cheap, easy to mod, and many people were using social media and maker websites to show off their projects.
Arduino currently sells over 70 variations of their products through their website, Amazon, and other marketplaces; what makes the niche product such an interesting (and worthwhile) piece to cover is that it’s open source which means that anyone can mod and change the hardware but this doesn’t muddy the brand – in fact, it’s made the awareness of Ardruino explode over the last few years.
The reason Arduino is successful is the fringe communities on the web – the nerd community.
These individuals have been able to make magnificent pieces of hardware and projects that rivals the same innovation that came during the early days of personal computing; we’re still seeing Arduino evolve so, in all, this niche project has become an incredible success and well worth examination.
Twitch.tv, a website which allows gamers to stream their events and anything gaming related, launched back in 2003 but these recent years has seen the platform explode in popularity because of the growing acceptance of professional gaming.
To have guessed the success of Twitch.tv would have been a shot in the dark. There are existing streaming platforms, on the web, that are freely available but it was Twitch that really brought attention to the very popular, professional world of gaming and, in general, anyone that finds gaming an interesting and worthwhile activity (which is a lot of us, especially me).
The Success of Twitch
E-Sports has been a long time coming since the early days of competitive gaming on a local level such as at LAN parties and the early online connectivity of games like Quake.
Video gaming, as a whole, has seen a dramatic rise in popularity and individuals are finding that they’re able to build a following, create a brand, and establish partnerships based on their character and video game abilities and skill. Twitch facilitates these professional gamers by giving them an easy-to-use platform for broadcasting their activities.
Twitch really hit it big by covering major video game e-sport events which have been passed over due to the lack of technology and platform to broadcast the events; now people are tuning in around the world to see the latest Starcraft match or Counterstrike match.
Like YouTube, members can partner with the network and earn revenue from their stream and community channels; this has given many individuals the ability to take their gaming from amateur to professional level even without company endorsements (which was the normal route of many pro gamers).
Triberr was formed to allow content producers and social media mavens to create “circles” (networks) that allowed each member to easily share and distribute each other’s content. The concept is similar to a link exchange network but Triberr automates the process and comes packed with additional services such as community hangouts, moderation, and a “bones” system to reshare content throughout the tribes which increases the content exposure.
The Success of Triberr
Triberr has been successful because it’s aimed to help bloggers find a larger audience which couldn’t be obtained by sole efforts. The early version of Triberr was simple, at best, and gave members an easy-to-use platform to manage and share content from within their circles; depending on who you were connected with, you could see your retweets and Facebook shares skyrocket which created amazing exposure unlike the passive model of asking blog readers to participate.
New features were added as the platform developed to improve relations between bloggers and their network. The premium account now offered in Triberr runs $40 a month and gives users almost double the flexibility and return on investment compared to the basic membership. The other big factors is the ability to reblog posts within the Triberr platform and utilize the built-in comment system which rolls over to other blogs with the same content to keep create one giant discussion (much like embedded Facebook comments).
Triberr is aiming to integrate into larger business models and create a system so large companies can create teams of content marketers.
Overall, the success of Triberr is the fulfillment of exposure which has been very difficult for bloggers since the market share is so massive and often dominated by just a few brand-named bloggers. Triberr gives a voice to the little guy.
Replicating the Success
I could have given you shining examples of affiliate marketing in full action but it would have been too easy and wouldn’t give you a great set of examples to work from because replicating an affiliate is almost impossible since there are far too many factors in play.
The examples in the post, in comparison, should provide a sense of encouragement and motivation; they show that a niche market can be very viable if you work toward targeting the right individuals.
If you were to take these examples as motivation and built a real product, service, or valuable website than integrating affiliate promotions or an in-house affiliate program would come naturally because you would have built the brand and audience.
The Recipe for Success
With that being said, here are my suggestions for dominating a niche market:
1. Research a need within an industry and peg it down until you’ve reached a niche segment of the market; brainstorm the products and services these individuals are willing to buy based on the current offerings in the market (but don’t get sales happy just yet).
2. Establish a professional presence within your community through attractive web design and populate your site/business with gripping copywriting for the product or service.
3. Reach out to the most vocal individuals within the niche segment of your market and develop a relationship; invite them to test your product or service at no charge and use this time to gather data to make improvements before opening the platform.
4. Return to the key individuals and contact esteemed bloggers and content producers in your niche market in an attempt for them to cover the launch of your business; hook them up with free accounts and early access to an affiliate program as part of the launch.
5. Carefully build the community base one person at a time until you’ve reached a healthy following of about 100 – 200 individuals; this is enough to build great buzz within the social media platforms.
6. Open the platform to everyone once the time is right and the bugs have been fixed.
7. Use the initial months (or years) to build an audience based around the free model while testing various premium products and services (but not being overly promotional); dig into the data about these offer tests and settle on one or two products/services that you’ll be introducing to the community at large.
8. Conduct a massive PR campaign by reaching the initial community (the most vocal ones), send out emails, pay for advertising, and submit news stories to sites that cover startups; create a buzz around the premium end of your business and tout the benefits of upgrading at every opportunity you can.
This model takes a look at business as if you have a real product or service but it can equally replicated with affiliate promotions especially since you’ve developed a large community; having a great following will open many doors of opportunity to work with affiliate managers – landing you better terms, higher commissions, and better offers.
Though the topic of AffiliatePrograms.com is all about affiliate marketing – remember that operating an online venture is truly a small business because, at the end of the day, you’re offering a product (the offer), you’re creating marketing material (content), and you’re handling customer service (reaching people through social media, email, and more).
Sure, you may not have a physical location from where you’ve setup shop so people can walk through but you do have a digital “shop” in some sense; seeing your site like this gives you a ton of motivation and creativity in building a viable, long-term business outside of the one-off affiliate promotion.
Take the examples, for example: They found a need within a massive market, found their niche, and went head first into battle.
You may be up against thousands (maybe millions) of individuals trying to gain attention of the masses but a small troop of 100 – 200 is often all you need to become extremely successful depending on how well you treat them, what you bring to the table, and how much value is exchanged whether it’s your products or ones you promote. You can do this.
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