Posted on 11 April 2012.
Over the years of teaching, coaching, and consulting I’ve done picking a niche has been one of the most common stumbling blocks. It makes sense. It’s the first big decision to getting started you have to make. People put this tremendous weight of all their hopes and fears on this one decision.
“What if it’s a bad niche? All of my work will be for nothing.”
It’s understandable. Although I can tell you that this fear has a lot more to with your metal readiness than your ability to succeed. Even if you picked the best niche on the planet there’s a chance you will fail. Does that mean it’s not worth trying?
Something to think about…
Anyway – I’ve got a few of my favorite techniques for finding a good niche below. Good luck and good digging!
1. The Good ‘Ol “Go With What You Know” Angle
Some “gurus” poo-poo this idea. There is some merit to it though. Here are a couple of thoughts on why
A – It’s most likely a niche you’ve spent money in.
Think about that. If you’ve spent money someone else has too. That proves the niche has products that people buy (proving it’s commercially viable).
B – It’s a niche that you’re intimately familiar with.
This gives you a huge advantage. Helping people in your niche solve problems becomes infinitely easier when you KNOW what problems they have. You’ll know because you’ve been there, you’ve used the same flawed software they’ve used. You know what works best and what’s a waste of time. This instantly makes you an expert. This instantly makes you a valuable resource for others in your niche.
Here’s what you do.
1. Make a list of 10 Problems, 10 Fears, and 10 Passions you have. Guess what…these are all niches (I bet you’ve got at least 1 killer niche in there too) For now, avoid anything related to “making money.” There are lots of reasons why I’m suggesting that but let’s just go with it for now.
2. Narrow the list down to 10 total.
3. Do some keyword research. Plug these potential niches into a keyword tool and do a quick analysis. See some keywords you could rank for? See any really high CPC (cost per click) keywords? This can be a good thing even if it’s not ideal for PPC. An ideal niche will have 10 or more keywords will acceptable competition numbers with good traffic numbers.
Pat over at SmartPassiveIncome.com has some really great thoughts on this process.
I was originally going to do a tiny product niche site, with a keyword and domain name that matches the product of choice 100%. These are the type of niche sites that I’ve been doing lately, and they seem to work. I started with researching the product first, and then comes the keyword research behind it.
The reason I’m steering away from a specific product niche site now is because the earning potential is far less than targeting an actual market, and because this is a competition I want to bring out the big guns. By targeting a market that involves a passion, problem and/or fear that I or someone I know has, I can be sure I’ll be interested in it enough to put forth the extra effort needed for it to become a potentially high profit site.
By the way – Product specific niche sites are an awesome affiliate marketing strategy. We’ll discuss this again in the future. Don’t disregard that strategy because of Pat’s comments above. He’s absolutely right in what he’s saying, he just happens to be working on a different strategy.
2. Go Where The Money Is
Google did $9 Billion in revenue last year. 96% or more of that came from PPC advertising. Think there’s some valuable data in there somewhere?
Wordstream.com recently posted an awesome infographic showing where/how Google made $37.9 billion last year. The top 10 industries spending money were:
1. Finance & Insurance
2. Retailers & General Merchandise
3. Travel & Tourism
4. Jobs & Education
5. Home & Garden
6. Computers & Consumer Electronics
8. Internet & Telecom
9. Business & Industrial
10. Occasions & Gifts
Hmm… pretty interesting data. Now we know the top 10 most competitive markets online. And because we know competition only exists where people are making money, these are good starting points.
Would I suggest you build a campaign or site targeting “Insurance.” Absolutely not. These are just markets to get your creative juices flowing.
Take these markets and drill down. Stop by one of your favorite affiliate networks and look at products in these verticals. Are you finding products that are selling well? Who do those products target?
Remember You’re looking for a niche of passionate, dedicated people within that overall market. I’ve even heard of this referred to as “hair on fire” niches. Another term is finding the “desperate buyer.” It’s not about exploitation. It’s about service to a group of people looking to be served.
Many of the products you find will be targeting a very specific niche within an overall market. Do a little keyword research. See any with low competition and high search volume? How about the product name – think you could rank for that? You may have just found your next niche if you answered yes.
If you’re a paid traffic affiliate you could use this list to find sub niches. For example, traffic costs would be too high to advertise to “gardeners.” And why would you want to anyway – that’s too general. All kinds of problems arise when you don’t know who EXACTLY you’re speaking to (I mentioned that twice for a reason).
Building a funnel for Organic tomato gardeners is where you want to go with this. It’s a sub niche within gardening that you can speak to directly. Products that sell well in the networks and marketplaces (like amazon) will reveal these sub niches to you.
3. Site Selling Marketplaces
There are several site buying/selling networks now. Flippa.com is probably the most mature and trusted of the lot. These marketplaces are a treasure trove of niche ideas. Nay, they are a treasure trove of proven niche ideas.
Here’s a list of a few networks
Search these networks for the most recently sold sites. Most marketplaces have a handy filter option to narrow it down. Then take a look at the sites that sold for the most amount of money. Boom! You’ve got an instant list of hot niches.
The sites that sell for top dollar have proven track records. Sure stuff can be faked but buyers are more educated and savvy than ever. There is a very high chance that those sites are legit and worth competing with.
If you’re an organic guy or gal you’ve now got a site to reverse engineer. Keywords, products, and monetization strategies that have proven to work are all yours.
If you’re a paid guy or gal – you’ve got verified evidence that a niche makes money. If it’s an affiliate site (not adsense) you’ve now got a product that you know converts. And on top of all that you’ve got a great site to examine and learn what makes the people in that niche tick. Their fears, their hopes, their dreams.
These are my most effective niche finding tactics. The site selling network strategy itself has made me six figures. All have proven effective (for me anyway).
So what do you think of those tactics? Spark an idea? How many of you have used these before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.