Starting any business is a bold and commendable step. Making that conscious decision to start building something from scratch and to go after your financial independence shows strength of character and discipline.
If you decide to start an online business, you will be making a smart choice that will allow you to reduce your start-up costs to nearly zero while allowing you to enjoy a level of flexibility that very few other businesses can give you.
If you want success in your online business, one of the first steps you need to take is to determine the niche you want to market your online business to. What industry do you want to be in? What type of product do you want to promote? What is your area of specialization? By answering these questions, you will be narrowing down to a specific niche and fast-tracking your way to profitability. However, if you have been wondering about how to pick a niche to market to, don’t you worry. This article will try to help you out with that.
SO, WHAT IS A NICHE?
To put it simply, your niche is your market. A niche is a specific group of people that have similar likes, dislikes, wants and needs. You want your product to be something they like, solve a problem they dislike, give them what they want and cater to their needs.
Niches have layers. There are niches within niches, whereby as you go deeper the interests, likes, dislikes, and needs become more and more similar. Therefore, the more specific and focused your niche is, the higher the chances of success your business will have.
Here is a good illustration of what I mean: “Fishing” is a niche. It is very general and has a very large population of people in it, but it is not focused. “Sport fishing” is a niche within the larger “Fishing” niche, but it is more focused. You can, however, dive even deeper and go to “Beginner bass fishing” as a highly focused and even better niche.
Niches are important because businesses cannot be everything to everyone. If you try to solve everyone’s problems, you end up losing. You need to pick a specific problem and tackle it well. Focusing on a specific niche ensures efficient utilization of efforts while maximizing the chances of success.
HOW TO PICK A NICHE TO MARKET TO
Yes, you understand that niches are important. And yes, you know that the success of your online business depends on your niche. But how do you go about selecting a particular niche, out of the hundreds of thousands of potential niches? Here is a step by step solution showing you how to go about it.
I love this video by Neil Patel. He breaks it down very simply. If you don’t know who he is, Neil is one of the most successful online marketers. CAUTION: NEIL SAYS A COUPLE OF CURSE WORDS IN THIS VIDEO (nothing too bad I promise!)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE?
This is the first and most important question you need to ask yourself. What do you like? What are you interested in? What are your passions?
If you are planning to be part of your online business for a long time, you need to make it revolve around something you enjoy. Online business is just like any other business. There will be good times and bad times. The bad times will really put your resilience to the test. If the business does not revolve around something you genuinely care about, you will very likely quit it all at that point. This is one of the main reasons why many first-time business owners do not make it beyond the first year.
Take a pen and paper. Get comfortable, and make a list of ten topics that you genuinely care about. You do not have to be an expert in all of them. As long as it is a topic you will enjoy learning more about every day, put it on the list. Because essentially, that is what you will be doing.
You will be interacting with your chosen niche every single day, reading about it online and creating original and well-researched content for your business often over the lifetime of your business. If you are not really interested in it, things will get overwhelming pretty fast.
Need more help in determining what you like? Ask yourself these questions:
– What do you like doing in your free time?
– What do you look forward to doing?
– Do you love your job enough to turn it into a niche?
– What do you enjoy learning about the most?
– Do you subscribe to any magazines, Facebook pages, or YouTube channels?
– Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
– What topic can you talk about for twenty minutes straight without reading up on anything or making any preparation whatsoever?
– What have you read about lately that piqued your interest?
– Is there anything you have always wanted to know and done some research on lately?
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN YOU SOLVE?
Look at the list you just made. All those 10 items are potential niches. Now you need to try and find problems within each one of them that you can potentially solve.
If it is something you are passionate about, chances are you already know what problems exist and things that can be done to solve these problems. For instance, let’s go back to our earlier fishing example. If you are passionate about fishing, you may have realized that very few educational materials exist to help people who want to take up the hobby get started.
Or perhaps you may have realized a particular type of fish, say bass, is tricky to catch for most people, and you have a few tricks on how to go about catching it. This guides you to choose to focus on “Beginner Bass fishing” as your niche of choice.
There are many other ways to identify problems in the niche. You can:
– Talk with your target market. Come up with a way to phrase your questions in such a way that they talk about the problems facing the niche. For example, you can ask, “What frustrates you most about online businesses?” Talk to them one on one, and pose questions on internet forums such as Reddit.
– Look at the online forums. Which website is popular in your niche? Where do most people in your niche go to meet similar-minded individuals online? Forums like Quora or niche Reddit subreddits are great for finding out what discussions people are having. The questions they are asking and the problems they are trying to solve can offer invaluable insight into the direction your business needs to take.
– Keyword Research. Harness the power of online tools like Google Trends or Google AdWords Keyword Planner and try to find out which keyword combinations are the most popular. These keyword combinations can show you the search terms that people are looking for in your niche. I use an awesome Keyword research tool called Jaxxy. You should check it out!
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE COMPETITION
You need to have at the back of your mind the fact that you are not the first person doing this. Look at similar sites that do what you do. Do not be scared of the competition, because their presence usually only means that the niche is profitable.
On your computer, create a table and list all the sites that you are competing with. Analyze them. What can you bring to the table that is different from what already exists? What can you do to stand out from that crowd?
Look at the highest-ranking site among your competition. This is a representation of the best or the leader of the pack in your niche. What can you do to be better than them? There are a few factors that you need to look out for which will signal you that it is possible to take over that niche:
– Poor Quality Content: If your competition is constantly producing low-quality content, it is very easy to outrank them by beating them on quality.
– Transparency: If your competition is hiding behind faceless corporations, it is easy to take over that niche by exuding transparency, authenticity, and relatability.
– Paid competition: If you stumble upon a keyword that has high search volume and low competition, and there is no paid advertising, it is a goldmine that you definitely need to take advantage of.
HOW PROFITABLE IS YOUR NICHE?
If you follow steps 1 to 3, you should have significantly narrowed down your list of ten by now. You probably already have a pretty good idea of the exact niche you want to get into. Perhaps the problem now is how to focus it better.
For example, you may be positive you want to get into “Sport Fishing” as a niche, but you are not sure about whether you want to get into fishing techniques, fishing gear, or fishing sites as an area of focus. That’s fine. The next step is to determine how profitable your specific niche is. How much money do you potentially stand to make by getting into this business?
Go to merchant sites like Amazon and affiliate sites like Clickbank. Browse the top products in your niche. Once you do this, you will get one of three results: very few or no products, a decent number of products, or an overabundance of products.
Finding no products means that the niche is very hard to monetize, so that is not good. Finding a decent number of products means that the niche is ripe for the taking. It is just gaining traction and not too crowded yet. Finding an overabundance of products means that it might be tough to focus on that niche. It will be pretty hard to stand out among the crowd there. But if you are very resilient and willing to put in a lot of work go for it.
Let me pause here for a minute. Everything I have said up to this point is absolutely true and essential to picking a good niche. Having said that I want to emphasize the following. Never lose track of the fact that your PRIMARY purpose is to help your audience. Making money comes with helping them. Making money should not be the primary purpose.
Believe me when I tell you that the distinction is important to your success. Think of your niche and of your readers first! If you do, you will increase your chances of success and set yourself apart from 99% of your competition.
OK. Off my soapbox and back to regularly scheduled programing!
When you find that sweet spot, check out the average product prices. This will help you price your own products competitively. However, if you do not want to start your business with your own product line, consider affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is great because it offers you an unmatched level of freedom in your online business. Since you will be earning a commission promoting someone else’s products, it is fairly easy to set up, requires very little prior experience, and allows you to have an uncapped earning potential.
Every online business person should consider affiliate marketing as an alternative source of passive income. It does not matter whether you are just getting into this space or you are an experienced online business person. The level of financial security and the low-risk nature of affiliate marketing make it a business opportunity that is almost too good to pass up.
TESTING AND LAUNCHING
For most online businesses, the only way to test your idea is by setting up a simple website and launching. However, do not spend huge amounts of money yet. Simply get the feel of what you can expect. The most important thing is to start. Make sure you have done sufficient research on your niche and your content is of a very high quality if you want to stand out. This way, it will not be a gamble but a calculated risk. Do your testing while your business is running.
Once your website goes up, you need to keep a close eye on your metrics and keep fine-tuning everything. The testing process is a continuous one. You will be trying out a few things at a time and determining what works and what doesn’t. Find out why one thing works and another doesn’t. Fine tune everything accordingly. Test, refine, repeat.
You also need to listen to your audience. They know what they want, you are simply taking instructions. Ignoring customer feedback has led to the demise of uncountable websites. Do not make the same mistake. Customer engagement and feedback can make or break any online business. Ask for comments and feedback constantly. Read the feedback and respond accordingly!
Finally, constantly keep setting goals for yourself, and finding out ways to reach them. Never stop doing your research and learning. If you have 100 views this week, how can you get to 500 next week? If you made 10 sales this month, how can you get to 20 next month? Constantly pushing yourself like this is the only way your business will always keep moving forward.
MARKET TO YOUR NICHE
After you have picked your niche and launched your business, you need to market it. There is no point in having an amazing online business that only you know about. Online businesses run on traffic. The more people are aware of your existence the more profitable you are. This is even more important if your niche is very focused. You need to get your business in front of people who need your product.
Marketing your business is the best way to get new clients and to educate your potential customers on what you do. Once you get them through the door you can then focus on building a great relationship with them and getting them to stay loyal to you.
There are many ways to market and promote your online business. Here is a long list of some of them:
– Through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media marketing is one of the best and cheapest ways to get you and your product in front of a massive audience within your niche.
– Through multimedia sites like YouTube. You can spice things up a bit by posting different content formats regularly, instead of predictably only posting text content.
– Contributing in online communities and niche forums
– Registering your business on Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Bing, and other similar platforms (for local businesses)
– Search Engine Optimization is also a great way to get those organic leads. If you want your site to rank highly in SERPs, you definitely need to make sure your SEO is done right.
– Building and Email list
– Interviewing industry influencers on your site
– Paid advertising
– Collaborating on projects, content creation, etc. with members from your community
– Asking for referrals from satisfied customers
There is no one perfect process for finding a niche that works. Everyone is different. The nature of online business is that it is fluid and versatile. You may stumble upon something that works perfectly for you on your first try, or it may take a few tries.
Your business is something you need to work on constantly. Don’t stress over your first niche. In fact, your first niche is very seldom your last! Just get started right now!
The most important thing is to be passionate about what you intend to do and to do your research well before diving into the deep end. If you are positive you have found a niche that you can happily work hard on, take the leap of faith. You will never get anything done by planning and never actually starting. Learn on the go, and enjoy the thrill of your online business journey!
If you need help with picking your niche, starting a website and creating effective, eye grabbing content I have a helpful recommendation.
I believe it is worth your time to spend a few minutes looking it over. It is free and you have nothing to lose.
Please leave me a note below!
To your affiliate success!