Ana says: "Like many other successful online marketers, Lynn started in the 1990s, a time when the digital marketing landscape was up for grabs, uncrowded.
Beginners today have intense competition to waddle through. One of the biggest challenges for me and others in highly competitive niches is how to stand out from the crowd..."
This is such a great topic. I discussed this 2 1/2 years ago in a post titled Is It Too Late To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing? (which I highly recommend you read first), but it's definitely time to revisit this topic...
Then vs Now
In February of this year I celebrated 15 years in business. And while it's true that business in general was less competitive back in the 90's, there were also a lot less resources. Creating a website meant you needed to
know learn code. Creating decent graphics required experience and expensive software.
There were no ebooks, blogs, forums or guides. You had to figure everything out on your own by trial and error. A LOT of trial and error 😛 lol...
I spent an entire day trying to figure out how to bold and italicize text on a web page. I taught myself how to customize (expensive) shopping cart scripts in CGI code. And when something didn't work, you had to go line for line through pages of code trying to figure out what in the world went wrong.
There was no Google, there were no big events to attend, and Yahoo wasn't even a search engine - it was a directory. The biggest goldmine online was eBay.
Would I go back in time? NO WAY!
The opportunity is much hotter now than it ever was then! 😉
Now vs Then
Did I mention there were no (or VERY few) Affiliate Programs back then?
Fast forward to 2012, and you have an endless pool of resources at your fingertips. There are guides, blogs, forums, events, local meet-ups, webinars, podcasts, free video tutorials on YouTube, the answer to any question at Google, free software & plugins, free WordPress themes to design beautiful websites, etc, etc, etc.
There are also more affiliate programs, more ways to make money online, and more people to joint venture with and/or hire. More is better!
There are more ways to market your website or business online as well. We have Google, Social Media, YouTube, forums in practically every niche.
And almost everyone has an iPod, an email address, and a computer even! (lol, not the case back in the 90's...) Not only do you have more resources, and more opportunities, your target market is actually online and buying!
Competition is a GOOD thing!
Ana mentioned that it's much harder to "stand out" in niches that are now far more competitive than they once were. And while that is true from certain angles, and the way that many new online business owners feel, I tend to view it differently...
I see competition as opportunity.
The key is in learning how to leverage your "competition". And the more competitive a niche, the more leverage you have! You have more blogs where you can guest post and comment, more forums where you can network, more Facebook Pages to connect with, more JV Partners, more sites to get links from - the list goes on and on. It's actually harder to stand out in a niche where no one is talking.
My newest affiliate site is in a super competitive niche. Actually a double niche, where both niches are "saturated" (I love that word, lol). It's diet & travel.
And while I am leveraging my hard-earned visibility with this project, I am practically unknown in both niches. I'm having to carve out my spot, talk merchants & sponsors into working with a brand new site, work consistently on content & linking, and network like a mad woman - just like everyone else.
On many of my affiliate sites, I use a pen name. So I AM unknown. And I still choose "competitive niches". 😉
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this topic...
Also, I am in the process of publishing a book on Affiliate Marketing. It's a physical (paperback & Kindle) book, and will be out later this year. If you want to learn exactly how I do what I do, step by step, be sure you're on the notification list.
p.s. If you enjoyed this post, you'll also want to read 6 Ways to Get Free Targeted Web Traffic 😉 & you can subscribe below to get more free tutorials: