Niche Marketing â€“ An A-Z Guide to Finding Profitable Niche Markets
Niche Marketing 101 One reason that many online businesses struggle is that they try to market to everybody, and end up selling to nobody. The key to successful internet marketing is to identify a niche market to sell your product or service to. A niche market is a number of individuals or businesses that share similar interests, passions or business needs. The wants and needs of this group are easily identifiable and can be targeted with specific marketing. Why you must find a niche. There are so many businesses trying to make a profit on the internet that you may wonder how on earth you are going to compete. Well the answer is that you probably can‟t compete with the large websites that cater to a general audience, but you may have more success if you target a small niche market and try to dominate there. There will always be niche markets to fill. Even as the competition increases, so does the demand as more and more people are using the internet to look for information, products and communities relating to their business, hobbies and passions. Even if you choose a niche that already has a fair amount of competition, finding a new take on the subject, or offering a slightly different angle than your competitors can allow you to dominate that niche. In this report you will discover:
A no fail process for generating niche ideas
Step 1 – Look inside yourself for inspiration
Step 2 – Expanding your ideas - Including looking for potential sub niches
Step 3 – Research your ideas - Have fun with statistics and measuring supply and demand within your niche
Step 4 – Defining products for your niche
Professional tips for choosing your niche
Finding the perfect niche Sitting and staring at your computer screen trying to come up with a brilliant idea for a successful niche is unlikely to bring you results. However, there are lots of methods you can use to generate ideas for your niche subject and luckily most of them are pretty straight forward. The step-by-step approach outlined below is the method many find very effective. Step 1 - Look inside for ideas What do you love to do? What could you focus on every day for hours a day? Starting an online business about something you enjoy, or are interested in is going to be much easier than focusing on a topic you find dull or boring. You will be spending a great deal of time working on this subject. You will find yourself writing about it, researching it, answering questions on it, and networking with people that are passionate about it. Choosing a topic that you love is only going to make life easier and more enjoyable, and will increase your chances of success by making your writing convincing. Selecting a subject that you have a certain degree of knowledge about is also a good idea. You donâ€&#x;t need to be an expert; the amount of research you will have to do will soon make you one anyway, but having a basic understanding of your niche, including common jargon and terminology is a good idea. Knowing a little bit about your niche will reduce the amount of work you have to do upfront and will enable you to start producing some content, articles etc. while you are learning more. Having some prior knowledge of your subject will also help you to determine whether there is enough potential in your niche for you to base a whole business around it. Do you have any specialist skills that you could build a niche around? If you can make use of specialist skills you have a better chance of making your website unique and developing a new angle that will enable you to dominate your niche market. Some people choose a niche that they are interested in and wish to learn more about, but do not already have any knowledge about. This can be a good method if you donâ€&#x;t mind doing a lot of research upfront. Perhaps you have always found the subject of child development fascinating but have never really had the time or opportunity to read and learn about it. Now could be that opportunity. Starting an online business about a specific subject allows you to immerse yourself completely in it and meet other people that are knowledgeable in that area. Basing your business around something you would like to learn about is a great way to keep your enthusiasm fresh and to motivate you to read and research. Sometimes if you choose a niche that you are already an expert in, you can find the subject becomes stale very quickly.
Business Building Exercise: You‟ve already listed areas or topics that you‟re passionate about and ranked them. Taking that same list write down a list of potential businesses from those passions. For example, if you love cooking what about a gourmet baking business or gourmet candy making business. What about an information site with recipes etc.? …Use this page to brainstorm ideas. __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________
Step 2 - Expand on your ideas I believe in being an innovator. Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. -Walt Disney There is so much competition online that it is often beneficial to concentrate on a niche within a niche, or a sub-niche. In step 2 we will look at how to take your ideas and look for sub niches around them. The advantages of a sub niche are:
There is less competition so it is easier to dominate
Your sub niche will have very specific keyword phrases so it is easier to get a good search engine ranking
It is easier to communicate with your very well defined target audience and to tailor your products or services to their exact needs
It is easier to become the expert
It is easier to make your customer happier.
A colleague recently had the idea to launch a discussion forum for working women. So her niche market was women who work, sounds easy enough right? Well when
she started to look at all the potential sub niche markets it was astonishing how many there were. Here are a few examples that may or may not make good sub niche markets: College leavers entering the workplace: A group that may be keen to join an internet based community, but not necessarily a profitable target audience. Moms balancing a full time job and children: A group that will benefit hugely from advice and discussions with other women in the same situation. Career women competing in male dominated industries: On first sight a profitable market, but will they have time to join a discussion forum? Work from home moms: A good audience for online discussions as we all know how isolating working from home can be. Women returning to work after raising children: A group that will benefit from advice at this daunting time. Internet savvy widows returning to work after the death of their husbands: A surprisingly large and profitable audience, with the time to join online discussions. Many of the above categories overlap, but it is still easy to see how difficult it would be to cater for all of these sub niche markets at once. Researching each, and determining which to focus on is something that we will look at in more detail in Step 3. Here are a few other examples of sub-niches: (Example One) “Diet” is an extremely competitive and broad market. To write directly to this market would be too difficult because you have all sorts of people looking for all sorts of diets for all sorts of reasons. So rather than targeting everyone looking to lose weight, you‟re better off targeting a smaller number of customers within the wider diet market. For example, a few diet niches may be: “natural diet” “low-fat diet” “no-carb diet” “low-cholesterol diet” “menopause diet” And so on. In each of the cases above you are aiming at a set group of people who are looking for something very specific.
You can also target a specific demographic within a wide market. (Example Two) Here‟s an example: Instead of targeting all customers within the diet market you can concentrate on a specific group of people such as… Women over 35 20‟somethings Overweight teens Overweight children Men over 40 Moms who just had a baby Women going through menopause And so on. In each of the cases above you‟re aiming at a very specific group of people. But in example one you‟re choosing to target a wider range of people looking for a specific diet plan. In example two you‟re concentrating on a specific group of people but the products you promote to them include a wider variety. You are always better off choosing a market first and then the products you will market to them. For example, if you choose “low-fat diets” as your market. You will now target only people specially looking for low fat diets online. One school of thought is that this makes great sense because people will type an exact keyword search term into a search engine and they will find your website which specifically caters to those keywords. But if you only go as far as to research the keywords people are looking for which are related to low fat diets, you still don‟t really know who your customer is. However, if you choose a niche market as shown in example two such as “moms who just had a baby” then you know specifically and categorically who your customer is – moms who just had a baby and want to lose weight. This will make your marketing more effective because everything you do will be geared towards “moms who just had a baby and want to lose weight.” It‟s really important that you make this distinction early on because although it may seem like a “simple” thing actually a lot of people don‟t get it. And if you think that a sub-niche may be too small a market think again – from selling mustard, to swords, to gourmet treats for dogs, to organic parrot food – there are extremely tiny niche businesses online making a very profitable living.
So, how do I turn my ideas into profitable sub niches? Here are a few suggestions for coming up with sub niches, using the ideas you have come up with in step 1: 1. Look on Amazon.com Amazon.com is a perfect research forum for interesting sub niches due to its vast database of reference book and other materials. Simply type your niche idea into the search function on Amazon and have a look through the results for different angles and aspects of that niche. 2.
Check out the competition
Surfing the net for sites relating to your niche ideas can be a great way to get ideas for sub niches. What are your competitors doing? What angle have they taken on your subject area? Are there areas that they have not covered very well? Look at competitors who are paying for sponsored links on search engine results pages. The chances are they are making a reasonable income if they can afford to pay for regular advertising so take a look at their sites to see what they are doing and what type of products they are selling. 3. Visit forums relating to your niche Online discussion forums can provide a wealth of information if you are looking for a profitable sub niche. What are people talking about? What kind of questions are they asking? Can you identify a need that is obviously not being met because customers are still asking about it? You could join discussions yourself and ask members to comment on your ideas, or suggest aspects of a niche that they would like to see more information about. Make sure you partake in a few discussions and make worthwhile comments and posts before you start asking for advice. This will help members to see that you are serious and knowledgeable about the subject and they are more likely to offer you advice. 4. Social networking The large social networks such as Facebook now have many specialist groups made up from members that share a particular interest. There is a good chance that there will be groups relating to your niche subject area so do a quick search and join any networks you think might provide inspiration for sub niche ideas. 5. Books and magazines Just because you are launching an online business, your research does not all have to done on the net. Books and magazines relating to your niche can still be great places to look for inspiration. Magazines are particularly useful as they are very up to date on the latest trends and topical issues. In addition they often have a large section dedicated to advertising. Look at the products being advertised to get some ideas. Again, if a business is paying to
place an ad in a magazine they are probably making a profit. Make a note of the website address for any interesting products or businesses, and do some follow up research. 6. E-zine articles The wealth of information contained in e-zine articles is often neglected when new businesses are researching potential sub niche markets. Again, e-zine articles tend to be fairly up to date, and can provide original insight into niche subjects and possible new angles. Go to http://www.ezinearticles.com Business Planning Exercise: Grab that list of potential businesses, the one you completed a few pages ago. Explore possibilities to make your ideas more specific. What potential niches fit your passions? ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ Once you have your sub-niche, itâ€&#x;s time to make sure it is a real money maker.
Step 3 - Research your ideas Why is it that with all the information available today on how to be successful in small business, so few people really are? -Michael Gerber The answer to Michael Gerber‟s question is simple, people don‟t do the research. It is not uncommon for those new to internet businesses to stop at step 2. After all they have an idea that they are happy with, and they are pretty sure there is a demand for it, what is left to do? That depends, you do want to make money, right? The answer is some detailed quantitative analysis of supply and demand for your niche subject. Or in other words, checking exactly how many people are looking for your niche subject using the search engines, and how many other sites you will be competing with for that search engine traffic. There are a number of tools you can use to do research into your niche subject. Two of the most popular are the Google Adwords keyword selector tool, which is free and gives you basic information, and Word Tracker, which you have to pay for, but which provides more detailed information. Measuring demand By using a tool such as the Google Adwords keyword selector you can find out how many times a keyword associated with your website was searched for in the previous month. This tool is simple to use, you just enter a single keyword or a keyword phrase related to your niche and the tool will generate;
Related keyword phrases that include your search term An estimated number of times your term, as well as all related terms, was searched for during the last month
If you click on any of the related terms in the list of results, the tool will further drill it down, showing you more variations, and the number of times each of these variations was searched for during the last month. Measuring supply There are various tools for measuring supply, but the simplest way to get an idea of the competition you are facing is to use one of the major search engines such as Google or Yahoo!. If you enter the same search term you used to measure demand in your chosen search engine, you will be able to see the number of webpages that the search engine finds, that contain the same keyword phrase. The figure you initially see can often be very daunting, as the search engines pick up every webpage that has any combination of any of the words that make up your keyword phrase. To get a more accurate idea of supply, enter your search term within inverted commas, so you only get webpages that contain that exact phrase. ==============================
Example: Search term Search engine
work from home moms Yahoo!
Webpages found for work from home moms Webpages found for “work from home moms”
*at time of writing ============================== As you can see from the above example, you get a much lower result by placing your keyword phrase in inverted commas, and this gives you a good idea of how many other online businesses you are competing against. Having fun with statistics – really. What is better than determining how much profit is possible? Using demand and supply you can determine the profitability of your niche There is rarely a guarantee that your choice of niche will ensure a successful business which will gain a high search engine ranking. There are some „rule of thumb‟ style calculations you can do to check your chances of competing in your chosen market. One example is: Demand / Supply * 12 > 1 The above calculation takes the demand figure you have determined from a tool such as the Google Adwords Keyword tool and divides it by the supply figure you have found using your chosen search engine. This figure is multiplied by twelve to take into account what the demand figure is monthly. The result of this sum should be more than one for you to have any chance of competing in this market. Ideally you should aim for a niche that achieves results of between five and ten for the majority of its keyword phrases. ============================== Example: Keyword = baby newborn Google Keyword Tool demand figure = 19,533 searches for one month Yahoo search results figure = 148,000 webpages 19,533 / 148,000 * 12 = 1.6 ============================== While 1.6 is a good result, meaning that this is a niche area worth looking into, you would hope to find a number of more specific search terms related to the subject that have higher results.
Document your research results. Create a spreadsheet, keep it in a notebook, whatever works for you. This information will be valuable as a planning tool, record what you find and organize it so that the information is easy to understand and access. Step 4 – Defining products for your niche A final step in ensuring that you have the right niche subject for your online business is defining products to sell, or services to offer relating to that niche. You might have selected a niche that you know you will enjoy, with a favorable ratio of demand and supply, but if you can‟t make a profit from that niche it is unlikely to be a good choice. The type of questions you should ask yourself depends on the type of business you want to set up:
If you are setting up an information site to make an income from advertising, will you be able to produce high quality content relating to your niche?
If you are launching a blog, will your chosen niche provide enough material for you to write at least a weekly post?
If you are starting an e-zine will you be able to find inspiration for regular articles and features, or will you run out of ideas after a couple of months?
If you are planning to make an income selling information products, are people willing to pay for e-books or reports relating to your chosen niche?
Again some research into what your competitors are doing can provide the answer to a lot of these questions. If other sites within your niche are successfully selling ebooks on your subject the chances are you will be able to as well. Be wary of starting to provide a product or service within your niche that is not currently being provided. At times this may mean you have spotted a gap in the market, and your business will be a huge success, but more often it means that the demand just isn‟t there. Playing it safe when you first launch your business, and not trying to re-invent the wheel is usually the best approach. Once your business is up and running and generating some income you can start experimenting intelligently with new products and ideas. Here is another way of gauging the potential market for a product within your niche: 1. Take out a pay per click or sponsored add on one of the main search engines advertising your product as if it were already for sale. 2. Set up a webpage for the ad to point to, which explains that you are putting the finishing touches to your product. 3. Ask your visitors to make suggestions or comments on your product and what they would like to see.
4. Promise to send any contributors your product for free when it is complete. Running your pay per click ad just for a few days should give you some valuable information on the potential of your product idea. As well as the comments and suggestions from prospective customers, it enables you to gauge the interest that your product generates. It also gives you the e-mail addresses of customers that are willing to engage with your business to promote further products to at a later date. Business Planning Exercise: Brainstorm potential products for your niche. What ideas come to mind? Go crazy here. No one will read this but you. ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ * Important Note: If your main source of income within your niche will be by promoting an affiliate product, ensure that there are several products to choose from. You don‟t want to spend a lot of time building a website only to find out the product you‟re promoting is taken off the market or doesn‟t sell well, etc. Additional expert advice on choosing your niche 1. When you think you have found your subject ask yourself “would I use a website about that niche subject?” You have a greater chance of success if you are targeting a niche market that you are part of. If you would not use such a site yourself you might find it hard to market it to other people. 2. Make sure your niche subject has enough keyword phrases associated with it. Your main keyword might have a great traffic to competitor ratio, but one keyword is not enough to base a whole site on. A minimum of ten good keywords or phrases will be enough to get you started. 3. Don‟t rush into anything. When you think you have the perfect niche, wait a while to make sure you don‟t change your mind. You don‟t want to invest time and money building a business around your niche only to find you have lost interest in the subject. This time will also give you the opportunity to repeat your demand research to check that you weren‟t measuring an exceptional or unusual month.
Niche marketing is fun. Finding a specific group of people that share your same interests, passions and hobbies is fun and stimulating. Making money by filling their specific needs is even more enjoyable.
You now have the tools you need to find your ideal niche, a niche that youâ€&#x;ll not only enjoy being a part of but a niche that will help you reach your financial goals.
Niche Marketing Worksheet: Ask yourself the following four questions and make a note of any ideas that they generate: 1. What are you passionate about and what do you enjoy? List 5-10 hobbies or passions you enjoy and rank them in the order that you enjoy them. ______________________
What subjects do you already have some knowledge or experience in?
What specialist skills do you have? ______________________
What would you like to learn more about? ______________________
5. Do any of the above lists overlap? What 5 or so items stand out as the strongest subjects for basing a business on?
Blueprint for Success: Niche Research Steps Step 1. List 5-10 business topic possibilities, remember these are topics that you are passionate about, knowledgeable in, and willing to devote much of your time focused on. Step 2. List at least three sub niche possibilities for each topic. For example, if scrapbooking is your niche a sub niche could be vacation scrabooking, family scrapbooking, and scrapbooking supplies. Step 3. Generate keyword ideas for your sub niches. For example scrabooking supplies may generate the following keywords, keywords are words that people might use to search for your information, products, or services. Keywords might be scrapbooking paper, scrapbooking tools, discount scrapbooking supplies. Step 4. Research demand. Use keyword tools like the free Google Keyword tool https://adwords.google.co.uk/select/KeywordToolExternal to determine demand for each keyword as well as each niche. It is helpful to use a spreadsheet to record this information so you can compare the demand and supply for each business option. Step 5. Research supply. Using a basic search engine, you can enter your keyword and find out how many businesses are using the same keyword by seeing how many results appear. Step 6. Research your competition. Some competition is good because it means your business idea is viable. Spend time visiting the websites of your biggest competitors and determining what they do well and what you can do better. Step 7. Test your business idea with a pay per click campaign. This will involve setting up an account with Google and establishing a single page website to direct interested parties to. Remember to only keep the campaign running for a couple days or you could end up spending a tremendous amount of money unnecessarily. Step 8. Once your results are in, determine which idea has the strongest possibility for profits.