When most affiliates think of niches they automatically run to the "big guns": weight loss, dog training, making money online etc. There is nothing wrong with these evergreen niches—in fact, I recommend them all the time because of their proven profitability and huge potential for earnings. However, there are times when you need to look beyond the heavyweights of the affiliate world and find relatively untapped niches that are also lucrative. In this blog post I'm going to show you the potential of a very exciting niche by looking at Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) affiliate programs. Ever since my dad took me to see Star Wars when the films were re-released in the late 1990s I have been an avid fan of the series. Picking a niche in which you have personal interest is a very good idea.
What is the Niche?
Star Wars: The Old Republic is an online role-playing game that allows players to explore the Star Wars universe with their own custom character. You can battle other players, find treasure, amass in-game money, and socialize with digital friends. It's a bit like World of Warcraft, only "Star Warsey." The niche consists of the people looking to improve their skills and abilities at playing this game.
How Popular is the Niche?
If you've been an affiliate for a while, then you will know that World of Warcraft strategy guides still sell strongly, even though many years have passed since the game's release. I personally know that video game strategy guides for online multiplayer titles are always very popular (a couple of years ago I made some decent money promoting Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty affiliate products).
SWTOR has millions of active subscribers, and is growing its membership at a steady rate thanks to its hybrid "freemium" subscription system—it's free to play the game, but you can pay real cash to get ahead of the competition and unlock extra features. This kind of thing is a growing trend in the entertainment industry, which is great news for affiliates as it means more potential customers for you.
In terms of niche keywords we can see that there is some reasonable search volume for SWTOR strategy/leveling/tip-related keywords. I used Traffic Travis (download it for free here) for my keyword research, and within a few minutes found these results:
Now compared to some heavyweight affiliate niches that kind of search volume doesn't seem impressive, but the good news with this niche is that there are huge numbers of long-tail keyword phrases you can target.
Check out these scraped Google Suggest long-tail keywords for "SWTOR leveling" I found using Keyword Buzz:
Considering that there are a whole bunch of different seed keywords such as "SWTOR credits," "SWTOR tips," "Old Republic guide" etc., there are obviously a massive number of potential long-tail keywords ripe for targeting. Clearly there is potential for getting traffic in this niche.
Are There Any Good SWTOR Affiliate Programs?
Of course traffic potential is only one aspect of successful affiliate marketing and niche hunting. I'm sure there's a heck of a lot of search traffic for "Miley Cyrus dancing," but I don't think any vendor would make a product about that! To search for Star Wars: The Old Republic affiliate products I'm going to take a quick look at Clickbank. Normally players refer to the game by its initials of "SWTOR" (you should always try and learn some of the jargon people use in any given niche), so I'll type that into the search box and see what kind of results appear:
17 different products on Clickbank for what is a very focused niche is already a positive sign that there is money to be made here. Let's scroll down and take a look at what kind of gravity scores and $ per sale are on offer:
Right off the bat I can see that there are products with gravity scores and $ per sale of more than $20. Realistically speaking, this niche is unlikely to be a millionaire-maker, but there is irrefutable evidence right here that other affiliates are making money from the Star Wars: The Old Republic niche. Competition is a great thing online, and as Willie Nelson once said, “the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” There are other affiliates making sales, but not so much competition that it would be impossible to get a foothold.
SWTOR CPA Offers
You might have heard that CPA offers are millionaire-makers. There's certainly a lot to be said for CPA offers where you earn a payout for getting people to perform a simple action (like opening an SWTOR player account for free). Compared to converting traffic into sales, it is generally much easier to convert visitors into leads. The Peerfly affiliate network currently has a CPA offer that's paying over $1 per free signup you refer to the game:
The earnings per click aren't that flash, but at the end of the day this still gives you another opportunity for making money from freebie-seeker traffic. Any extra layers of monetization you can add to your affiliate marketing campaigns are going to help boost your profitability in the long run.
Other potential affiliate programs include:
- Star Wars: The Old Republic CPA offers on Offervault.
- Star Wars merchandise and memorabilia on Amazon—someone who plays this game would probably be interested in cool Star Wars toys or gadgets.
- In-house Star Wars affiliate programs—in my research I found independent affiliate programs selling Star Wars: The Old Republic t-shirts and more.
- Sub-niche specific Clickbank offers—SWTOR credit/gold guides, keyboard mapping software to help people play better (this is very popular for video game niches), and more.
Clearly there is not only traffic but potential to profit in this niche.
How Could You Promote?
Whenever you are thinking of making inroads into a new niche you should always consider niche-specific promotion methods. Affiliate marketing goes far beyond simply building a website and doing rudimentary SEO; there is a diverse spectrum of promotion methods you should consider, and finding new opportunities in your niche can give you a huge edge over your competition.
Because gaming is visual/aural thing, one of the best ways to promote your website and affiliate links is to get on YouTube and make videos. Gamers are, by their very nature, tech-savvy people and tend to enjoy watching YouTube videos.
For example, this quick search for "swtor guide" on YouTube reveals over 400,000 videos—many of which have hundreds of thousands of views:
Because this game is free-to-play you could easily create your own character and chronicle the methods you use to level up, defeat enemies, and gain loot. Use screen capture software, such as Camtasia, and then upload your videos to YouTube. Target them to the keywords you have found using Traffic Travis, and then include a link to your website in the video description. If you're really desperate for quick commissions, then you could even send people straight to your affiliate link through a redirect. For example, this affiliate has created a very basic webcam review video and linked people through to a cloaked affiliate link:
Over 18,000 views in under 8 months for a simple webcam review is not too shabby! Assuming a click-through rate of 5% (which I don't think unreasonable for a review video), that's over 900 clicks to his YouTube Link. If that traffic converted at 1% then he would have made about 9 sales from a simple video. You could easily create a targeted YouTube channel full of long-tail optimized affiliate review videos and drive real traffic back to your links and website.
Gaming Forums & Blogs
Forum and blog marketing is always a popular method for promoting affiliate websites. Once again I recommend actually building a website in this niche—follow the exhaustive AffiloBlueprint method to learn how—and set up a quality landing page that either reviews a leading affiliate product or offers a free hook in exchange for joining your list. You can then post in gaming forums, and comment on gaming blogs, leaving links to your website in a signature file or contextual post. If you add value (and I mean this—do not spam or you will get shot down quickly), then forum and blog readers will click your links and visit your site.
Post on Strategy Guide Websites
Sites such as GameFAQS.com allow users to upload their own strategy guides, walkthrough guides, and cheats for the rest of the world to download. Many of these sites get massive traffic volume, so consider creating a brief guide that features prominent calls to action that lead back to your main website. Search Google for video game walkthrough websites where you can upload your own guide, and you will get referral traffic from this.
One final niche-specific method you might consider exploring is actually promoting within the game itself. It's possible to chat with other players and in groups; you could create your own character and then chat with other players in-game and encourage them to visit your site for ways to become a better player. I have seen people do this before on games that I play such as Call of Duty, and have actually seen a couple of case studies from people who made decent affiliate commissions doing this. The secret is not to spam other players, but to actually use this method to get your "brand" out in front of a highly targeted audience. Just remember not to break the terms of service when promoting within the game itself.
When it comes to finding profitable niches there are relatively untapped opportunities such as this one. There are a number of great Star Wars: The Old Republic affiliate programs that clearly make money for other affiliates. There are some good keywords without too much search competition, and even PPC costs aren't too extortionate for many long-tails. From a "holistic" viewpoint this would also be a good niche because gamers are clearly willing to spend in order to get ahead of the competition—and online role-playing games are full of passionate players who take their gaming very seriously. The Force is strong with this niche.
Of course, the best way to get started with niche affiliate marketing is to find your own niches. By targeting a niche in which you are interested you will find it much easier to stay focused and motivated. It's also important to understand what the people in your niche are looking for; getting inside the niche mindset is crucial. Watch the free Affilorama lesson on understanding what your market wants to see how you can mesh niche research and buyer psychology together for the best possible profits. If you would prefer to fast-track your affiliate marketing success, then you should check out AffiloBlueprint, which takes you by the hand and shows you how to research and find a niche as well as how to build a site, create content and promote it.
If you enjoyed this post please share it on your favorite social network by using one of the share buttons, and as always, if you have any questions or comments just leave them below. I might even be willing to debate about which Star Wars movie was the best!