Affiliate Programs, Keyword Lists, and Niche Research for Sports
When selecting a niche for your affiliate marketing website it is extremely important to select a niche that is narrow and focused. The reason for this is so you will have a better chance to generate sales, being that you will have less competition. It also means that you'll have a well defined audience, and can target a specific group of people. You become the big fish in the small pond, and have a clear idea who your friends are.
I have touched on many niche ideas prior to this post, but today’s niche of sports is not only a gigantic niche with high profit potential but a very broad niche. So what I am going to discuss with you here is how to take the broad niche of sports and narrow it down to a very profitable sub niche. First let us look at some broader categories of sports.
We all know about professional sports. Even if you are not into sports I am sure you have seen games on the news, in movies, on TV, and perhaps you may have gone to one with family and friends. You may have even participated in a type of sport and did not realize it. Right now, off the top of my head I can think of 30 different kinds of sports, all very profitable niches.
Though the general trend is declining, as usual, we will dig deeper to find something trending upwards or at least stable.
While the professional sports market is by far the largest, the college sports market has routinely been the most exciting to watch overall. As the graph shows above and in comparison to the other two, it always generates more of a buzz in excitement and their fans are some of the most rabid in the sports genre. This is one potential with a hardcore group of fanatics definitely worth marketing to.
Recreational sports are the kind that everyday people engage in. Sports like running, fishing, skiing, skating, beach or pool volleyball, cycling, hiking, kayaking, hunting, bowling, table tennis, billiards, darts, and many more. I bet you hadn't considered some of those sports!
With so many different kinds of sports, this presents many different sub niches that also have sub niches, all of them being able to generate you some serious money. For an example, take a look at the first level of sub niches for the sport of motorized racing.
- NASCAR (popular in U.S.)
- IndyCar (popular in U.S.)
- Formula One (popular outside U.S.)
- touring car
- sports car
- drag bike
- dirt track
- monster ruck
Those are just 12 types and I know there are several more that I left out. Plus the one thing all of those have in common are that they all take place on land. I didn’t even mention the types that take place on the water by offshore and inshore boats. Can you start to see how HUGE the sports niche is going to be? Those 12 above are sub niches of the sports sub niche of “racing.”
Going a bit broader, consider these as well
- fantasy sports
- sports betting
- coaching kids teams
- sports parties
- collectors items/memorabilia
- improve skills for [name] sport
- extreme sports
In the action plan below the keyword lists, I will explain to you how I break down the broad sports sub niche of college football into a narrow and focused sub niche that will generate some serious income. The fans of college sports are a very passionate crowd and have no problems spending big time money for their passion.
Note: Despite all the declining trends shown above, any website can be profitable. Also consider that sports are going to be searched in higher volume, so a declining trend doesn't necessarily mean the market is disappearing! The NFL and NASCAR are not going to die out any time soon, at least not in the US.
Top 3 Affiliate Programs
When writing this blog I kept thinking of all the different lucrative ways anyone choosing the sports niche can make money. This niche is extremely diverse with plenty of sub niches and low competition keywords that will get you some great Google rankings when used properly. You should have no problems at all finding a very profitable focused niche.
I occasionally go to some of the local baseball and football games and I see dollar signs every time I go. Fans wearing jerseys, caps, shirts, jackets, flags on their cars, blankets, seat cushions; you name it and there is a team logo or player name on it.
Given that a sports fan, short for fanatic, must have items that display their allegiance to their team, there will be plenty of money making potential in whichever sub niche you choose. The nice thing about the below top three affiliate programs are that they all cover a wide variety of those sub niches.
- Signup URL: paragonsports.com/Affiliate
- Focus: Clothing, footwear, gear, accessories, for all sports such as professional, college, outdoor, indoor, racquet, Olympic, extreme, water, winter, and motor, plus fitness
- Commissions: 8% to 11% depending on merchandise
Comments: My #1 pick is the Paragon Sports affiliate program. They offer over 30,000 items, with more than 300 different name brands, and hundreds of categories. It doesn't matter what kind of sports niche you target, they have you covered. I am a big fan of affiliate programs that offer an extensive catalog of product and everything can be found here.
Paragon is basically a one-stop shopping experience for their customers and you will love being an affiliate of theirs. With the above average commission up to 11% and a generous 120-day cookie, they have established themselves as one of the top sports niche affiliate programs online, even more so than the licensed programs of the MLB, NFL, NBA and others.
- Signup URL: Nike/Affiliate/Program
- Focus: All major outdoor, indoor, winter and water sports apparel and equipment, footwear, hiking and camping equipment, gloves, balls, caps, bags, fitness, blankets
- Commissions: 11% on all orders.
Comments: At #2 is a major athletic name brand company whose affiliate program I have chosen. Nike is the only one out of all the other popular brand sports and fitness merchandise manufacturers that qualifies for the top three.
Nike is the only brand with an above average commission payment of 11% and an average time of 30-day cookie on all orders! As you would expect Nike has an insanely profitable line of merchandise for the affiliate marketer, and with its brand recognition, their products sell fast. You know their slogan – “Just Do It!”
- Signup URL: fontanasports.com/affiliates.cfm
- Focus: Outdoor, winter, water sports apparel, footwear, gear
- Commissions: 10% to 12% depending on merchandise
Comments: Unlike my first two selections above, Fontana Sports caters exclusively to the outdoor sports enthusiast. They have a selection of popular merchandise for sports such as skiing, snowboarding, running, fishing, swimming, surfing, hiking, skating and more from popular brands like Adidas, K2, Nordica, Oakley, The North Face and over 300 more!
Fontana Sports has been in business for over 50 years, serving the Midwest United States from their brick and mortar stores and the world via online. They offer a generous 10% to 12% commission payment along with a 120-day cookie. Taking all of the above into consideration, I have chosen them as my #3 pick.
Other Affiliate Programs
The NBA Store
- All products of the National Basketball Association (jerseys, hats, shorts, collectibles,…)
- All products for professional sports, motor sports, Olympic, and outdoor sports
- 7% to 9% depends on size of order
- All brand athletic apparel and gear for men, women & children
Sports Events 365
- Sports and entertainment tickets for events around the world
USA Track & Field
- Team USA apparel and footwear (tops, bottoms and gear for men, women & kids)
- 6% to 8% depends on sales amount
- Custom logos for professional and college sports apparel and gear
- Apparel, footwear, gear for all field and outdoor sports
Sports Keywords Breakdown
Top 10 Low Competition Keywords (Searches/QSR)
Note: Because there's so many keywords, I just picked a grab-bag to show you the variety of possibilities. Please check individual sports niches as I publish them (will publish later, then update this post)
- football tailgate party games – 82/4
- how long did michael jordan play for the bulls – 104/7
- who won the super bowl 2014 – 5148/17
- national baseball league standings – 496/18
- children’s cross country skis – 112/19
- best pedometers for walking – 284/20
- how many baseball teams are there – 181/27
- lebron james kids jersey – 160/39
- waterproof hiking boots for women – 345/48
- what is the best golf driver – 473/62
Top 10 High Traffic Keywords (Searches/QSR)
Note: Same deal here: Just a variety grab-bag.
- live cricket score – 1096092/145
- fifa women world cup – 42076/195
- the best running shoes – 8539/221
- sports news football – 5656/237
- daytona 500 tickets – 4254/193
- best golf clubs – 3957/206
- espn live sports – 1109/178
- best mountain bike brands – 887/116
- college sports apparel – 803/158
- hockey goalie mask – 345/137
Why Is This Different From Google’s Number?
Though Google’s Keyword Tool has improved in recent years, it still gives inflated (inaccurate) traffic numbers. The keyword tool I use takes data from a variety of search engines, not just Google. Remember that Bing + Yahoo own 30% of the search market.
Other Great Keywords (high traffic, low competition)
- who won the daytona 500 in 2015 – 849/7
- sell baseball card collection – 152/15
- kids cross country ski boots – 274/31
- what teams did michael jordan play – 295/33
- how are baseballs made – 229/39
- black and white air jordans – 128/64
- wholesale sports jerseys – 275/69
- lebron james cleveland jersey – 231/81
- best running shoes for men – 3788/86
- motocross helmet and goggles – 72/91
- live tv sports – 301000/222
- sports authority coupon – 21206/259
- baseball games online – 7798/215
- free sports games – 6819/223
- cross country skis – 5529/208
- nike just do it – 5423/271
- watch sports online – 3665/159
- best headphones for running – 3317/162
- sports games online – 3219/239
- waterproof hiking boots – 2870/122
- icc cricket world cup live – 1600/170
- signed sports memorabilia – 811/179
- latest sports headlines – 590/185
- cheap sports jerseys – 473/144
- outdoor volleyball nets – 235/137
- the worldwide leader in sports – 231/271
Affiliate Marketing Action Plan For Sports
As I said at the beginning of this post, it is extremely important to select a niche that is narrow and focused. So what I am going to do below is to describe to you how I would come up with a niche if I were to build a site in this category. Let me describe my thought process, and then I'll dig into a potential profitable sports-related niche.
Seeing how the college sports niche market generates the most buzz and excitement, that is the area of sports I am going to target. But now I need to pick from the more than two dozen sub niches and I will select college football. Now I ask myself, what genre of college football products should I target for my niche website? College football is too broad to start with, especially for a beginner. It could work, but I would personally feel more comfortable with something more narrow.
What can I associate with college football that will have a low competition yet still be a niche I would be passionate about? I could do football jerseys or caps but many people do those, plus, I've never really been able to nail down a fashion related website. So now I start to think outside the box and focus on things that lead up to the game. One of the affiliate programs listed above sells game tickets, that’s a possibility.
If you look at my lowest competition keyword I have listed above, you will see the sub niche I am going to target. The keyword is, football tailgate party games. It has 82 monthly searches and a QSR of 4. This sounds like something that's really fun to write about, and allows for a lot of creativity. There's room for topics related to food, games, and technology, and even transportation which means that I'll never run out of stuff to write about.
Football games, both professional and college, always have tailgate parties and in addition to the food and drink, many people play all kinds of player participation games. The most popular is called Cornhole. Though there are others that do not require you to buy anything, I want to focus on those where you do buy the game.
Doing some quick research on Google for “football tailgate party games” I can find information on what other types of party games are available. Now that is how I will go about my niche website. Sports – College Sports – Football – Football Tailgate Party Games – Cornhole.
This is just one example of content I would be able to produce. Not only can people purchase the game, they can also purchase the parts to make their own game, and brand the game with their own teams logo. There's at least 5 articles I could write just based on this one game, plus a few YouTube videos!
How about team snacks? Team-themed cupcakes, or how to make your own jockey-box (portable ice cooler keg contraption) would also make great content topics. This would also provide me a social media outlet where I could talk with other people on Twitter, Facebook, and Instragram to grow my brand.