The rise of online stores, mobile phones, and computer as savvy shoppers has led to people becoming more comfortable making online purchases. The move away from traditional retail stores to ecommerce has also seen an increase in demand for credit and debit cards. These cards that were once the preserve of the rich and famous are now essential to everyone who wants to do online shopping. While this might seem like the perfect opportunity to promote credit card affiliate programs, we still need to see if increased consumer demand equates to a profitable niche for affiliate marketers. Before anything else, it is important to conduct market research. In this Niche of the Week, we will look at the following factors:
- Definition: What is it about?
- Popularity: Is there really a demand?
- Competitiveness: How to rank for keywords with high competition?
- Affiliate Products: What are they? Is the payout good?
- Marketing: How to promote this niche?
All the above are important questions that need answers. Let us go through each one of them.
What is it about?
I won’t be defining what credit card or debit cards are as they are pretty much self-explanatory. For this section, we will be looking more at the needs of the market— the market now and the market to be.
By knowing the current needs and future needs of the buying market, we can fully understand and realize that with any niche that we plan to promote, we should not always have to define the niche as what it is, but rather, we need to learn what it is about by studying the market.
For some of you who are more into promoting sub-niches, knowing your market well will also provide you with a lot of sub-topics to cover since you will be researching the needs of the buying market.
So where should we start? We start by Googling. A simple, no-brainer step that I always do for niche research is to find similar websites and simply browse their pages to get ideas. You use this strategy to find the topics and sub-topics discussed on these sites.
For example, NerdWallet is a good go-to blog site that discusses money-saving tips. It includes a section for credit cards, which has a lot of good sub-topics to take note of like the best credit cards of 2018, the lowest interest rate credit cards, the best credit cards for if you have bad credit, and so on. If you look through the site’s pages, the content is all well thought out and all the topics are about the “needs” of the people interested in credit cards.
Another website example is Credit, which is more of a specialized website. Unlike the first example, this website is more about credit card topics only. They also have a lot of more targeted topics such as how to lower the interest rate, how to improve a credit score, credit card rewards, different types of credit cards, and so on.
With these two sites alone, you can get a lot of good ideas about the niche. You can use this information to learn the things that you will cover to supply the needs of your market.
Is there really a market demand?
The good thing about affiliate marketing is you do not have to be a know-all to promote any topic of your choice, nor spend money acquiring information that you need. The Internet is a large basin of information. You just need to know where to look.
For this section, getting the popularity information is very easy with the availability of online tools such as Google Trends.
You can easily see the popularity of any keyword by simply typing it in the Google Trends search bar. Once you get the results, you can filter the information by location and timeframe, among many other variables.
For the credit card niche, I typed in the keyword “credit card”, then filtered the location to “worldwide”, and the timeframe to “5 years”. The result below showed a consistently high search interest for the last 5 years:
If the above is not enough as basis for popularity and demand, you may always search online for any up-to-date (and valid) market reports to get more justification, like this 2017 Consumer Credit Card Market report published by CFPB. While it only covers the US market, the report is still a good resource and basis for market popularity and demand since the US has the largest market for credit cards.
The report summarized that the credit card industry “has grown in size, in the number of its offerings and participants, and in the scope and features of its products”.
The Google Trends data and the market report from CFPB both showed that the credit card industry remains to be stable in terms of demand. There is a huge market for this niche and based on the industry report, the industry shows no sign of slowing down as the market’s demand continues to grow every year.
How to choose and rank for competitive keywords
There is no doubt that the most in demand niches have the hardest keywords to rank in. While this is true, it does not mean that you have no chance of ranking for good keywords.
Once you have your keyword tool, the second step is to look for your target keywords. This step can be overwhelming especially for beginners. While it is essential to choose the right keywords, you do not have to overthink this.
To help you choose the right and competitive keywords for your niche, you need to take note of the following:
1. The “search intent”
The funny thing is, I have been doing SEO for more than a decade now and when it comes to keyword research, I focused more on looking for keywords with high search volume and low competition. While there is nothing wrong with this strategy, I have missed a very important factor: that is the search intent.
What is search intent? Simply put, it is something that Google wants. Let me explain more. Let us say, we choose the keyword “credit cards for bad credit”, which in Affilotools is a highly competitive keyword (around 9M sites indexed under the keyword match!) with 110,000 local volume searches:
For most of us, the 9 million competitors for the keyword phrase: “credit cards for bad credit” is something that we will not risk since it is nearly impossible to rank for this term. But if we examine the keyword intent for the top 10 results for this term, we can see what Google wants for the term, “credit cards for bad credit”.
You can visit the top 10 links to see the content for these pages to learn why these pages are ranked for the particular term. This is what “search intent” is about. You have to know what Google wants to increase your chance of ranking for a very competitive keyword.
2. Filter the top 10 results based on authority
These are the top sites for the term “credit cards for bad credit”:
From the list above, only the site, mastercard.us is considered as an “authority site” (sites that are well-known online and offline), the rest are not. In this case, we ignore the authority sites and focus more on the top 3 sites that rank well for the term:
You notice that even for the high competition term, we have these top 3 non-authority sites, outranking mastercard.us. Why? Simply because these sites have good onsite SEO that most authority sites don’t have in the first place. Additionally, you may look at the “search intent” for these sites to know why they are ranking well for the term. Always remember to look at the search intent as this is the one factor that matters a lot when ranking for competitive keywords.
3. Content Analysis
The top sites rank well in Google for a reason. One of the most important reasons that we are all aware of is the quality of content. Look at the top 10 results and dig more into their content by taking note of the following:
- length of words
- internal links
- backlinks to the site
- prominent keywords used
Just like looking for the common denominator for search intent, you can see some similarities in content for the top sites in Google. Forget about building a lot of backlinks to your website through profile creation, forum posting, and blog commenting. Once you know the common factor on how these sites are chosen for their content, you can rank your page without spending too much time building a lot of backlinks.
Recommended credit card affiliate programs for you
Searching for credit card offers is not that easy. In this case, you may always sign-up to third-party websites that can provide you with a lot of offers to choose from. Below are some of the recommended websites:
Unlike ClickBank, OfferVault is not an affiliate network. However, it provides you with an extensive list of offers. It is one of the largest offers on credit card affiliate programs. Currently, there are about 2,000 offers on “credit card” search on their database. For credit card affiliate program choices, OfferVault provides CPA, per sale, or per lead offers on their site.
How much can I make?
Payment varies per affiliate.
How do I apply?
You can sign up here.
2. Flex Offers
Flex Offers is an affiliate network company that you can also look into for credit card affiliate programs. The company may not have a large list of credit card offers but they do have a lot of choices for alternatives. This is a good go-to website if you seek alternative but similar products to credit cards.
How much can I make?
Payment varies per affiliate.
How do I apply?
You can sign up here.
There are also affiliate network sites that are solely for credit card affiliate programs. You may register at the following sites:
To give you an idea of how much you can make from promoting credit card offers, an average payout for approved cards is around $50 then goes up to as high as $300. Additionally, there are other credit programs that pay per lead and per action, which makes this niche a very lucrative and competitive one.
How to promote the niche
By now, you should have an idea of how you can promote this niche. Based on the data that we have gathered so far, here are my recommended marketing strategies for the credit card niche:
1. Inbound marketing
This marketing method never gets old, especially in the post Panda-Penguin era. The fact that content is king, this is also one of the most cost-effective ways to market a site. If done right, your readers can be your most powerful tool in spreading your content online. If you publish high quality content that your readers like, chances are the content will be shared through various websites, including social media sites. In the long run, you also build trust with your readers through content.
2. Reverse Engineering Method
Use your competitors as a ladder to your own site’s success. With reverse engineering method, you can have a glimpse of your competitor’s backlinks, domain and page authority, target keywords, etc. Use this information to your advantage. There are tools that you can use to do reverse engineering. For example, you can search for your competitors’ backlinks using Traffic Travis
3. Build your list
This is very important, especially if you do not want to waste the traffic coming to your website. Building your own list can save you a lot of time and cost in the long run. Do not just build traffic on your site, build your list too! You can’t convert first visits to sales (not all the time at least). You need to first build trust with your readers before they have the courage to buy from you. This is what autoresponders are for—to gather interested and potential buyers into one list, where you can personally send regular emails for content and promotion.
Credit Card Affiliate Programs
Gains or Losses?
The credit card niche has strong demand and will remain in demand for a long, long time. While this niche is also a competitive one, it’s not impossible for newbies to promote this niche. It can be a challenging one that’s for sure, but then again, there are a lot of ways (as I have discussed) for you to still earn from this niche despite the high competition.