In this article, we’re going to be looking at how to find a niche to market. First, let me clarify a couple of important points, as there are some assumptions built in to this article and to this website.
It’s Simply Marketing is created to help anyone looking to start and succeed in their own online business. The primary method we are concerned with is creating a website that markets content and makes money through various channels. Blogging, or at least the use of blogging platforms, is the easiest and most cost-efficient means of establishing your online business.
The first and primary means of generating income, especially for newcomers to online business, is through affiliate marketing. From that foundation, you can build other streams of revenue. Banner advertising, creating and selling your own products and consulting are some other methods you can add as you grow your business.
Finding Your Niche
Once you’ve made the decision to start your own online business, there is an important decision you need to make before you get the ball rolling. You need to decide what niche market you will be targeting.
A niche is specialized market, focused on one subject, or small group of related subjects. As an independent, small business, you are unlikely to be able to compete directly with Amazon, or Wal-Mart. These big corporations can be all things to all people, but you can’t, nor should you try.
By finding and focusing on a specific niche, you can do what those big corporations can’t. You can provide specialized, in-depth content and services that are tailored toward a people who share a common interest.
You may want to build your business around selling consumer products, or maybe you want to focus on business services of some sort. In either case, there are numerous niches you can target that fall under these broad umbrella categories.
The more you can narrow things down, the better. Instead of selling clothes of all kinds, you could target the children’s clothing niche, plus size clothing, or maybe you can drill down even further and choose running shoes as your niche.
Turning A Niche Into a Business
If you didn’t already understand the concept of niche marketing, hopefully, you’re getting the picture now. By focusing on running shoes, for example, your website can become an authority in that niche. You create content that is answering questions and solving problems for people that are interested in running shoes. You can write reviews, do comparison studies, create interest stories about athletes and the shoes they wear, all of which will draw traffic to your website.
By marketing content that is tailored to your niche market, you are building your audience of potential customers. At that point, you can convert that content into sales. Running shoes and virtually any other niche is going to have affiliate programs you can utilize to earn money. There is no need for you to keep an inventory of shoes on hand, requiring packaging and shipping. Your content will create the interest, but the logistics and sales processes are handled by the companies you affiliate with.
Whatever niche you decide to go with, let me clear. You need to identify a specific niche to target. Otherwise, you are likely to spend a lot of time, energy and even money without seeing any real return on your investment. You want to focus on doing one thing well, not doing many things on a mediocre level.
Finding Your Niche
Now that we have all of that out of the way, it’s time to get down to the process of finding a niche to market. Of all the possibilities out there, which one is for you? Only you can decide that, but the following process can help.
Here are the steps to creating a good niche for yourself:
1. What are your interests?
A lot of people take a backwards approach to choosing a niche market. They scour the internet, looking for the affiliate programs that pay the most. Maybe they examine the latest trends and choose a niche based on that. Looking around, they may see someone else is making money in a particular niche, so they choose that one. None of those are the best approach.
Make a list of the things you are interested in. What are your passions? Write them down. Do you know a lot about any of these subjects? If you have something on your list that you are knowledgeable and passionate about, that’s even better.
Write down 10-15 topics. Make sure you write them all down before giving them much thought. Often, we have our best ideas down the list, once the wheels have started turning in our brains. So, go ahead and make your list before moving on to the next steps.
If you need a nudge to get you started on your list, here are some tips. What are your hobbies? How do you spend your spare time? What kind of magazines do you read? What kind of TV shows do you watch? When you are online, what are you usually doing? The answers to these questions probably represent your interests and may be thing you already know quite a bit about.
2. Start to Focus
Now that you have created your list, you want to start focusing in a little. Running any kind of business, including online marketing, really boils down to solving problems for people. Stated simply, the problems that need to be solved involve meeting the needs and wants of your target audience.
Find online forums where these different niche groups can be found. Websites such as Quora can be useful, or see if there are relevant Facebook groups. For each item on your list, see what people are talking about, what kind of questions they are asking and what problems they may be having.
Use Google to see what kind of keywords are being searched for each niche on your list. Google Trends may come in handy for this. You can also use the regular Google search bar. Just type in words related to the niche and see what automatic suggestions Google gives you. These represent actually search terms people are using. There are also keyword research tools you can use to fine tune this step of the process. Jaaxy is my preferred keyword tool. Keysearch is another decent option, which I have reviewed on this site.
3. Check Out the Competition
For each niche group on your list, check out the top websites on Google. You should, at least, check out the first page of search results. Preferably, you will look at the second page of results, as well.
Looking at these websites, you want to get a feel for the general quality. If the first page search results are low-quality, this presents an opportunity for someone to outdo the competition. If the sites present impersonal, generic information, that’s an opportunity, too. See the point? You are assessing the possibility of edging out the competition for any given target niche.
4. Is the Niche Profitable?
This one can either be obvious, or it may be tricky, depending on the niche. Although McDonald’s is not an online business, it represents what I will call the McDonald’s principle. Even with as many locations as they already have, new franchisees always stand to profit.
Some things are so popular that there is always a market for them. While that can be true online, it can be tough to bump established businesses off the first page of search results. You’ll need to do your homework on this.
Since you are, ultimately, going to want to profit was affiliate referrals, this is something else you will need to check on. Are there viable affiliate programs related to your niche? Companies like Amazon offer an affiliate program, so the options are extensive with them. Unfortunately, they also tend to have some lower commission rates in the industry.
There are companies like Commission Junction, JVZoo and Clickbank that act as centralized markets that connect affiliate marketers to affiliate programs. You can visit sites such as these to get an idea of whether, or not, there are affiliate programs related to each niche. If there’s not, that isn’t a good sign. If you can’t monetize your niche, that’s not a business, but a hobby.
5. Evaluate the Idea
By the time you have completed Step 4, you should be able to narrow your list down to one idea. Don’t move on until you do. Yes, it can be a lot of work doing the research, but this is going to be your business. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort to determine the right target niche, are you going to put in the work to build a profitable business?
So, now you have your idea. At this point, you will want to take it for a test drive. This means you are going to want to establish a website, or at least a page, to see how well your idea works. To keep the financial risk to a minimum, I would recommend starting with a free hosting service.
If you discover that your first idea isn’t drawing enough traffic, or there are other factors that make it impractical, you can move to the next item on your list. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to rank your niche ideas on the front end, so you can move down the list, if necessary. Even if the first idea works out, keep the list, anyway. Down the road, those other ideas can be the seeds for new lines of business.
6. Take Off!
At this stage of the process, you now have your niche market well-established. It’s time to take off running with it. If at all possible, you’ll want to go from using a free hosting platform to a more professional, paid web hosting plan.
Create your content, get signed up for all the relevant affiliate programs that you will be using and start to grow your business. Keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race. Online marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Work smart and work consistently and you can build a sustainable business that can be scaled up as you reach new milestones
Once you’ve identified your target niche and are ready to pursue your online marketing business, there are many other pieces to the puzzle. You will find countless recommendations online and, for sure, there are multiple ways to go about setting up your web-based business. Keep in mind, there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance when it comes to the challenge of building a profitable business.
There is something to be said about not only working harder, but working smarter, too. There is a program that I recommend (and use myself) that can give you a major push in the right direction. Especially if you are new to online marketing, or don’t know where to start when it comes to building your website, this program can be indispensable. Wealthy Affiliate is a platform that provides a vast amount of training, as well as hosting for your website. There is an active community of helpful entrepreneurs, in addition to the highly qualified support staff.
If you want to save yourself a lot of trial and error on the front end, I recommend giving Wealthy Affiliate a chance. It is free to sign up with a Starter Membership, so there is no risk if you decide it’s not for your. If you’d like to learn a little more, you can read my review of Wealthy Affiliate HERE.