If you want to market big-ticket items and make large commissions on high-priced products, this is a great niche for you.
The idea is: Gym Equipment.
Personally, I've made thousands of dollars in this niche.
The general review site I run ranks for hundreds of gym-equipment keyword queries. If you were to create a site dedicated to reviewing gym equipment, you will get organic traffic over time and you will generate affiliate income- even just accidentally.
The first affiliate dollar I ever made was from a test website. It was for a TENS machine. I happened to get traffic to a page simply because I was one of the few people publishing content on a particular model of TENS machine.
Niche Facts Overview
Astonishing search volume for primary keywords (i.e. "elliptical trainer", "treadmill) + the 'long-tail' (i.e. "cheap elliptical", "kids gym equipment", "portable exercise equipment") is insane.
According to IBIS, the Gym and Exercise Equipment Manufacturing industry is a $2 billion industry (Source).
$21.8 Billion is spent yearly on gym memberships in the United States (Source).
There are 30,500 gyms and health clubs in the United States (Source).
58 million people use a gym or health club annually in the United States (Source).
25 million Americans participate in "home gym exercise" (Source).
Bottom Line: Great affiliate opportunity for high-ticket items and an exceptional SEO (free traffic) play if you publish exceptional content cross-platforms.
There is just so much search volume on both Google and YouTube that it's almost impossible not to have some degree of success in this niche- especially if you focus on producing amazing content.
First, think of all the different types of gym equipment there are:
sit up benches,
ab workout equipment,
vertical leg pressers,
squat racks, and more...
Plus, each of these pieces of equipment have home and business models- this means you'll attract buyers seeking to outfit a home gym (b2c) as well as gym owners (b2b) looking to buy high-end "commercial exercise equipment" for their health clubs.
Plus, people want "portable" options. They want "commercial" options. They want to buy them "used" or "cheap". They want to compare brands.
It's important to understand that searchers conceptualize their queries in so many different ways that there is always room to create content that appeals to their perspective.
Take a look...
Below is a sampling of "gym equipment" keywords I obtained from LongTailPro.
As you can see, there's tremendous search volume for a variety of keywords plus high advertiser competition. Advertiser competition refers to people bidding on these keywords using Google's AdWords platform- basically high ad competition means there is money to be made ranking for these keywords.
But let's go even further. I ran "elliptical trainer" through LongTailPro; take a look at the search volume for just that term:
To truly conceptualize the massive amount of search traffic volume for these terms- imagine that each keyword from the first table has hundreds of long-tail variations.
We can see that "elliptical" itself has 201,000/month searches, but scrolling through the list, we see amazing opportunities like "best elliptical", "elliptical vs treadmill", "norditrack elliptical", "compact elliptical", "portable elliptical", and on and on...
You can capitalize on this long-tail search traffic and build up a general gym equipment review site that will absolutely crush it.
Mind Mapping It
Gym equipment has a variety of sub-niches you can explore, and many products you can promote.
Plugging the full "gym equipment" keyword list into a word cloud creator, it's evident there is a lot of buyer interest here- "buy", "sale", and "purchase" are some of the more numerous keywords.
Running The Numbers
A quick scan of some eCommerce sites shows me that an elliptical trainer ranges in price between $500 and $3,000 on average.
Some of these elliptical machines are in the Amazon.com Sports & Outdoor category, which earns you a 4% commission from Amazon if you're an affiliate. That means for every elliptical you can get someone to order, the average commission you earn will be between $20 - $120.
Imagine the average commission is $70. If you're able to get 3 elliptical orders a day, you'd be making $210 a day on average. That's $76,650 in a year.
Plus- if you commit to publishing images and video across social media, you won't be depending on ranking in Google. You'll have built up a diversified traffic flow to your content, all of which will be monetized with affiliate links.
There's interesting angles to take- you could review cardio gym equipment, strength-training equipment, gym equipment for MMA fighters. Specializing attracts a stronger core audience, while being more general (i.e. just gym equipment) provides greater latitude.
*If Google Trends doesn't load- just refresh the page.
Gym equipment is expensive. Prospective buyers are searching for quality information before they make a big purchase.
If you can help them make an informed decision about buying a home elliptical machine or outfitting their health club with 5 rowing machines, for example, you stand to make an enormous amount of money.
As I always advise- you should create original and high-quality content.
How to do that?
Go to an exercise equipment retail store and shoot video demonstrations of the how the equipment works.
Maybe you're not great on camera?
Hire someone to do the demonstrations. You might find that a local gym equipment supply store will jump at the chance for you to promote them with video content. They might even demonstrate the equipment for you! You'll then create cross-channel content.
You'll produce videos, long-form written content, and images- all of which will net you recurring, passive traffic, over the long-term.
How To Harvest Content For More Traffic
Content Harvesting Explained
Essentially, when you are writing written information, you should look at turning it into a slide show by using software like Animoto, distribute it to YouTube, and also then embed it in the original post, and pin the video itself to Pinterest.
All of this collateral content could also be sent to your online subscribers.
How to get traffic
This will encompass both Google Search and YouTube Search- target equipment keywords by running them through LongTailPro and publishing written and video content that targets ranking for them.
It's really that simple.
Research what others are doing in the niche and do it better. If your content is best in class, it stands a good chance of getting traffic. You'll still have to be patient and hustle to promote it- but that's part of the (enjoyable) grind of niche marketing success.
The table below provides Keyword Competitiveness scores from LongTailPro (the score key is below the table). I picked off keywords with 720/month search volume and higher.
Check out my content harvesting graphic above for a refresher- this describes how you can convert a single piece of content into multiple formats for different channels.
Normally you don't buy traffic if all you're promoting is affiliate offers, but with more expensive items and higher payouts like these, this is an avenue you can experiment with.
You can use LongTailPro to discover keywords to use inside of AdWords, Google's paid search traffic solution.
Or you can experiment with Facebook Ads targeting people likely interested in your content- for example, people interested in exercise, running, or who like Equinox or New York Sports Club pages.
With paid traffic you'll want to give yourself every opportunity to recoup your ad costs.
This means ensuring your site loads fast (so you don't lose impatient searchers), having email opt-ins (exit intent popups, inline opt-ins, etc.), and perhaps running remarketing campaigns using Google and Facebook to reengage people who visited your site from both paid and organic search.
Setting all of that up is a bit beyond the scope of this post- I'm just trying to spark your imagination. There's tons of amazing tutorials online for configuring these types of systems.
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How to make money
This will be a huge affiliate marketing play. Amazon Associates is an amazing place to start. It converts really well because people trust it, everyone has an Amazon account, and they also trust the delivery process.
Delivery is an important aspect here- primarily because this is heavy equipment. My instinct is that buyers are really beginning to warm up to buying large objects like these online. On my own site, I see buyers purchasing huge 500 lb., $1,000 products.
Even if it's relatively infrequent- a couple of these purchases account for a huge portion of my average monthly affiliate income.
Down the line, you can investigate other affiliate networks- there might be higher-commission offers, or affiliate offers that allow you to email affiliate links, which Amazon forbids.
Long-form content (i.e. 2,000+ words) on your site will get you passive traffic over time and YouTube SEO will get you increasing video views over time- you'll monetize these channels strategically by experimenting with how you affiliate-link to the gym equipment.
Perhaps you link from YouTube to your blog post writeup of an elliptical machine and to the offer itself in the YouTube description.
On site, you'll embed the YouTube video, with a one-click subscription option, and monetize with text links.
Honestly- I'd just stick to affiliate for this one. Display ads take tons of traffic, distract from affiliate links, and frankly provide miniscule returns compared to affiliate-marketing.
You'll get contacted for sponsored posts or requests for product review once you have some rankings- you can figure out how to handle it.
I'm leery of sponsored posts- be clear to indicate that they are sponsored, and I would no-follow the links, as well. You could also provide consulting services- helping gym owners figure out best options.
Or, maybe you could find an affiliate program that pays per lead for people looking for handymen to assemble gym equipment like this HomeAdvisor affiliate program.
There are definitely a bunch of affiliate programs you can play around with- some for equipment, some for gym memberships, and unique ones like Fitbit.
Digging through the offers and finding the best one is an ongoing task- and is best done when you have some decent traffic to send them clicks. Smaller, more niche affiliate programs like these, as compared to Amazon's affiliate program are, in my experience, harder to get into and sometimes quicker to boot you out if you're not providing sales.
How To Get Started
Keyword research- I'd recommend using LongTailPro or Ahrefs to examine the keywords
Determine the 'angle' you want to take
Choose a brandable domain name
Start publishing long-form blog content and then harvesting it for cross-platform promotion
Once you've got 10-15 posts, apply to Amazon Associates (if you aren't already enrolled) to get some commissions rolling in.
Once you've got a content creation process defined, consider hiring writers or virtual assistants to help begin automate and scale
Investigate different affiliate programs and alternative monetization strategies
This niche is pretty lucrative- you can access both residential and business buyers. There's tons of complex products you can help disambiguate.
You can niche down into just "home gym equipment" or "professional gym equipment" or just "elliptical machines" or "weight lifting equipment".
The search engines are just dying for quality content, so rankings are there for the taking if you're willing to hustle and put in the work. In my experience, most people are unwilling to create exceptional content.
This is your competitive advantage.
Trust that if you invest your time in producing best-in-class content, especially for low-competition/buyer-intention keywords- you will make money in this niche.
High ticket items means large commissions
Tons of buyer-intention keywords to rank for
Cross-platform potential- great opportunity for getting traffic to images/video on social media properties.
Buyers still somewhat hesitant about buying heavy equipment online
You'll want to be comfortable shooting video- or hiring help to do so
Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. He created NicheFacts.com to help people discover and build profitable, content-focused online businesses.