With layoffs and unemployment skyrocketing, the Dow Jones, consumer and business confidence at decade or more lows and with every economist and media pundit engaging the contest of who can paint the bleaker picture, a word you don't hear too often at the moment is opportunity. However, what many people seem to forget in a recession is that while economic activity slows or even declines, it does not stop. Consumers and businesses still make purchases and trillions of dollars still pulsates through the worlds economy. Now this doesn't mean consumer's behavior doesn't change - it certainly does. But it typically changes in very predictable ways, which if understood, can put you ahead of the curve and in a very advantageous position.
So, let's take a minute and think about how people act in a recession. We'll focus on consumers, as affiliate marketing is generally more aimed towards that end of the spectrum than at businesses, however as a side note there are also a lot of business opportunities at the moment which I may cover in a later post. People all over the world right now are experiencing:
- Unemployment or risk of unemployment
- Increased costs (gas, food, rent, etc.)
- Decreased confidence Increased uncertainty
- A tendency to save money “just in case”
People have less money to spend, and are worried about spending it. However, these factors may not be as bad as you think as they have led to very specific consumer behaviors.
- Consumers are more likely to repair something they already own rather than purchase something new. Ask any mechanic about this; while the auto industry maybe struggling, the auto-repair industry has more work than they know what to do with.
- People are finding it difficult to find work so are seeking advice as well as trying to up-skill.
- Consumers are willing to pay for product that will end up saving them money overall. For example, selling printer cartridge refill kits instead of brand new cartridges could be far more popular right now.
- Consumers are more likely to be staying at home in their leisure time rather than going out. This 'cocooning' often results in increased purchases for luxury household items as people try to make their homes as comfortable as possible.
- People are fearful. Now, I'm really not a fan of exploiting people's emotions in marketing, however, with all the negativity in the media right now, there is a great deal of fear in the publics mind right now. If certain products can provide a feeling of comfort or security, then that is good for both buyer and sellers alike. Just don't use fear as a tool to sell whatever you can – try to sell people something that will actually help them.
- Consumers are buying online. The ability to compare prices and get the best possible deal from the comfort of your own home is making online shopping the only part of the retail sector to experience growth in recent months. Also, people save money by not driving to stores and trends show that even people who visit physical stores are more likely to research their purchases online first.
So how can all these trends help an affiliate marketer?
Obviously the increase in online shopping works to the advantage of anyone who is involved in ecommerce. The other trends though could be just as lucrative. So what could be your recession niche? Consider:
- Employment: job listing sites, resume building products, training products, work-from-home products
- Budgeting and Personal Finance: Personal finance software, budgeting advice, tax advice and filing, credit rating sites, debt reduction
- Repair and Maintenance: Do-It-Yourself auto and home repair, discount parts and material
- Security and Health: Personal security, home security, medical advice, health care and insurance, healthy living, fitness and diet
- Entertainment and Home: DVD rental services, games, discount homeware/furniture, home electronics
This is by no means all the possible niches you could consider, but hopefully it will help get those creative juices flowing with some new ideas.
Another thing to consider: just like you will find those with money buying up as much cheap property as they can when the prices are low (I recently heard of a Chinese firm organizing “property buying holidays” to the US for wealthy Chinese businessman to come over an buy up property at rock-bottom prices), if you have any extra money at the moment, this is the time to invest, invest, INVEST! This could be the time to expand your network of sites and domains and take advantage of the vicious competition that is going on, and you might find some valuable domains being sold off at great prices – domains that could be very profitable when the economy improves.
Now let me finish by saying that obviously this current economic crisis is serious, and millions of people affected by it all over the world. Just remember that this is not the first recession, and it certainly wont be the last. However in every recession it is the people who don't just sit back and accept their circumstances but who actually work harder to find a way to move forward who not only come out on top personally, but whom actually help the economy to recover.
Trying to make money in a recession is good for you and good for the economy.
So any good recession niche ideas brewing out there? I'd love to get a bunch of different ideas going in the comments. I know it's really tempting when you come up with a good idea to hold on to it so you alone can use it – but someone else might be able to give you another perspective to make it even better. Also remember that very rarely in affiliate marketing are you the only one with a specific product or idea, and often the more popular a particular niche, the more there is to be made by everyone! So let's see what we all can come up with.