The most common two questions I hear from people new to internet marketing are, “how do I choose a niche market?” and, “what can I sell to that niche?” A niche is essentially a specialized market containing a group of people who share a common interest or quality.
People often get stuck at this point because they either believe they’re going to be married to it forever, or they are afraid it is going to fail and not be profitable. They simply fear making the wrong choice.
You can begin to narrow your decision by first thinking of something that (a) you are familiar with; or (b) something you are not familiar with. There are certainly arguments in favor of and arguments against both sides, but to develop inertia I prefer starting with something that you know and are fervent about. First I look at the possibility of things I like doing and sharing with others. Choosing a niche that you are familiar with has the obvious advantage that you can relate to your market, it will likely be a better product, and your enthusiasm will help sell it. Come up with some category ideas (dog training, iPods, golf, diet, etc.); then consider some delivery ideas (EBooks, audios, videos, workshops, newsletters, DVD’s, webinars, etc.).
Now that you have defined some potential niches that you know something about, two better questions might come to mind.
- Does the niche I’m thinking of consist of people who are currently buying things online right now?
- Can I easily contact these online buyers and get them to buy from my web site?
These two questions put choosing your niche market into a more serious perspective.
Each person I know that is successful in their internet marketing enterprise has done it by targeting a particular market tightly. Your niche market will become your area of expertise; an area you’ll specialize in so that you have a better chance of selling to people who want to buy a given item or group of items. You will want to consider that you will likely place ads, write blogs, create web sites and even write articles about your chosen area of business. So, we want to determine to the best of our ability that the niche is a good one prior to investing a great deal of time, energy and money. This involves you doing your homework first because a little research will produce huge returns.
It is worth mentioning that you might also consider developing several products in several niches over time. That diversity offers multiply streams of income and adds stability to your business. For now, let’s start with one and we can duplicate the process.
Keep in mind that people are looking for (and willing to pay for) information or products that with either relieve their pain or increase their pleasure. Here are some key questions:
- How big is the niche?
- What people are looking for? What do they want to buy most?
- How profitable is the niche?
- Is there potential for backend products?
This can be extensive examination or general research. For our purpose let’s begin with some fundamental research.
A. Take your areas of interest and find popular search terms. If you wanted to buy something online, where would you search and what would you type? Start by accurately pinpointing the traffic number results of any search term. Let’s say “Dog training”: if the numbers are high this is a good indication of a profitable niche. I use Google Trends, SubmitExpress, Wordtracker, and even Google Insights to get keyword traffic popularity.
B. Now you know which search terms are high ranking, find out what specific products and services people are buying. Go on to ebay or Amazon or Google Trends, enter your search term and write down the top ten listings for each site. You might want to note the paid ads, try Yahoo as well. Are people making bids or leaving reviews on the product you are considering promoting? If it seems people aren’t interested in this market, then they may not be on your website either unless you have a price difference or something better or different to offer your customer. Search Clickbank, probably the largest affiliate sales resource, and look for vendors who are selling products in relevant areas. Write down a list of the top ten products.
C. Look at the lists you’ve written down and you should see a pattern of the most popular products.Remember that although you’ve now found the items that sell most in the niche that pulls a great number of online searches, it stands to reason that you could also face more competition.
This is just an excellent beginning. Spend some time brainstorming and considering the questions: How big is the niche? How competitive? Is it potentially profitable? Is there potential for backend or related products? We will cover some more in-depth refining techniques in another article.
A good niche idea online could be about helping people to find a product or service, or helping people find information, or to find a solution to a problem they may have.
Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with Jerry on Google+.