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Friday, March 30, 2007

Niche Market - 1

It all starts right here! It doesn’t matter whether it is an online business or an offline business. It doesn’t matter whether it is a digital product, software or some physical product. It all starts with an idea! Every product ever invented started with someone’s idea. In the internet marketing world, we like to call that a “niche” market!

What is a niche market? Well, according to the Wikipedia, the official definition goes something like this…

“…a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. A niche market may be thought of as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.”

To those of us wanting to start an online business, a niche market is where it all begins! What are the characteristics of a good niche? How do I come up with ideas for prospective niches? Once I have an idea, how do I know if it is profitable or not? Well, let’s see if we can answer a few of those questions!

Niche Focus - 2

Finding a niche is the process of finding a focused, targeted market. Some commonly used terms when talking about niches are...

Broad niche - is a market such as "travel." You would be targeting people who wanted to travel.

Focused niche - would be European travel. You would be targeting people who are just interested in traveling to Europe.

Tightly-focused niche - would be Maui. You would be targeting people who wanted to travel to Maui.

Typically, when you target a broad niche, you are targeting people who might be able to use your product or service. The more tightly focused the niche, the more likely the people will use your product or service.

In the example I used above, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to target the word “travel” if I have a website dedicated to Maui. How many people who type in the word “travel” into their browser are looking to go to Maui? Not very many of them! I want to target people who specifically want to travel to Maui.

The Big Niche Secret!

What is it? Well, actually, there isn’t one! I don’t care what anybody tells you, there is no big secret to finding a niche. The key is to find a profitable niche and that takes some research. You need to take the time to do research because your niche is the key to success with your online business.

If you use the methods we outlined in this eBook to research a particular niche, you will be able to eliminate a lot of the niches that don’t have enough traffic, the niches that have way too much competition and the niches that just aren’t worth your time and energy.

By eliminating the niches that just won’t work for you, you are left with niches that have the potential to make you successful. The problem is that just finding a great niche does not guarantee your success.

There are so many other aspects to becoming successful online that finding a great niche is just the start of the process. That being said, if you don’t start with a great niche, the other stuff won’t work, either.


Which Niche?

One of the ways to find a niche is to look at where people are making money. Just remember, if a lot of people are already making money in the niche, the competition will be fierce! As an example, let’s look at the internet marketing field.

Internet marketing has been making people a lot of money for quite a few years and it has grown to be one of the most competitive markets. New people come online and they hear that people are making lots of money with internet marketing so they decide they want to jump into the shark-infested waters. What do you think happens? Yep, they get eaten by the sharks.

A lot of people have a mindset where they think they need to try every new thing that comes along. That is an extremely bad way to think because you will quit whatever project you are working on the next time the “next big thing” comes along. We like to call that a lack of focus and it is one of the biggest problems that handicap people trying to start a new business!

The key to becoming successful online is to find the right niche for yourself and sticking with it.

Jumping into the “big money” niches with all the competition that entails is like stepping over a dollar to pick up a quarter. There are SO many potential untapped niches out there just waiting to be exploited. All it takes is a little research to find them. Let me give you a few examples…

natural cure for yeast infection” was searched for in the Overture Search Tool over 10,000 times; yet, there are only a little over 700 sites competing for that keyword phrase in Google. Is that an exploitable niche? It is certainly one that I would research. That might be a great niche for adsense or maybe an affiliate program.

indoor crafts” was searched for in the Overture Search Tool over 32,000 times and there are only 522 competing sites in Google. That certainly looks promising!

rainy day crafts” was searched for over 13,000 times with only 551 competing websites in Google.

Do you see where spending a little time doing keyword research can return big dividends for your online business? Find out what people want and then do some research. You can find profitable niches all around you.

Niche Opportunities - 3

How often do you go through your day on autopilot? By that, I mean you just pass the time until you can go home and relax, watch some television or do whatever it is you do at the end of the day.

That is what I call being “reactive” and it is not a very good habit to get into. Some people pass the time as if they were in some sort of race and they are trying to finish. People, this is your LIFE! When it’s over, there’s no going back and starting over. There are no retakes! When the director yells, “Cut!” the movie is over and that’s a wrap! You need to start being proactive and living life as if it meant something because it does!

Now, I’m not going to turn this into a self-help eBook but you DO need to be proactive. What do I mean? Let me explain!

Being proactive means you are aware of what is going on around you. You are not just coasting through life, staring straight ahead, trying to get to the end of the day! You SEE what is going on around you.

You HEAR what people are saying. You THINK about what you are going to say before you say it. You THINK about what you are going to do before you do it. YOU ARE AWARE!

You want to be financially successful? Become proactive and you will find more opportunities than you have time to tackle. You may hear people talking about the same problems over and over…possible niche?

You may hear someone talking about how they just can’t figure out how to get a website…possible opportunity to earn money? You may smell the fantastic aroma of bread baking and you remember your mom’s great bread recipe…possible eBook?

If you want ideas for possible niches, just keep your eyes, ears, nose and mind open; you will be flooded with ideas. You know, it’s kind of like having your mind preoccupied with financial troubles and you step over a $100 bill without seeing it. Open yourself up to the possibilities around you and experience success!


How Do You Find A Great Niche

One of the main characteristics of a great niche is that it has a hungry market. By that, we mean there are lots of people who want to buy whatever it is you are selling. Finding a hungry market is where a lot of people make the wrong decisions when trying to find a niche.

You see, this is a process where a lot of people get confused and they start off on the wrong track. A lot of people create a product and they try to figure out how to market their product. That is the “backwards” way of starting your online business and it often leads to failure.

People are not interested in what you want to sell…they are only interested in what they want to buy! That is such a critical point that I want to repeat that again… People are not interested in what YOU want to sell…they are only interested in what THEY want to buy! Do you see the difference in the approach?

The path to online success is finding out what people want to buy and, THEN, providing it to them. To an entrepreneur, there is nothing better than a hungry market just waiting to buy what he/she has to offer and that is exactly what you will do if you want to become successful online!

Find a Hungry Niche Market - 4

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to find out how to find the hungry markets and we can’t talk about all of them in one eBook. That being said, we can look at a few of the easiest ways to find them. Let’s look at a few of them…

Local Bookstore – No, they ARE NOT inside your local bookstore waiting for you to come by and take their money BUT that is a great place to find out about all the hot topics.

Next time you are in a bookstore, go to the bestseller section and see what the top non-fiction books are about. There is a reason they became bestsellers and that is because people are interested in that subject. The subjects of those bestselling books are great candidates for your next project.

One thing to keep in mind is that some bestselling subjects are very time-sensitive in that they are about current events. Those types of niches may be hot today but just lukewarm in a few months. If that is the case, you need to get your product out as soon as possible to hit those markets during their “peak” periods.

Another place to check is the bestselling fiction titles. How do you find a niche in fiction books? It shows you what subjects are hot subjects. Let’s say that the number one bestseller is a romance novel.

That tells me a lot of people are interested in romance. That would be a good place to start looking for an idea for a niche. As this is being written, the latest Harry Potter book is already a HUGE seller and it hasn’t even been released yet.

Does that say that a lot of people are interested in magic? Maybe! I think I would start looking up keywords related to “magic” and see if there is something there.

While you’re in the bookstore, make sure you check out the topics in all the popular magazines. If a well-known magazine has written a feature-story on a subject, it is probably a hot topic.

These periodicals are in the business of knowing what their readers want to know. Be careful here because these tend to be some of those current events types of subjects we were talking about earlier.

eBay – If you want to know what people are buying right now, just go to eBay.com. This will give you a great view of what items are hot right now. I’m not going to give you specific links to those sections on eBay because links tend to change quite often BUT you can use the “search” function on eBay to find them.

Go to the “search” bar and type in words like “eBay Pulse,” “eBay Pop” and “hot items by category.” These sections on eBay will give you up-to-the-minute information on what are current hot sellers.

If Star Wars items are selling like hot cakes on eBay, I would definitely start researching keywords related to Star Wars. The key is to find the subject matter people are looking for and then do some good research to drill down to profitable niches.

Search Engines – Search engines are a great tool! If you know what people are looking for online, the obvious “next step” is to provide it for them. I have listed some of the more popular search engine links to popular searches below. To find more, all you have to do is type “top searches” into your favorite search engine and you will get a large list of websites that will show you possible niches

Google Zeitgeist

Yahoo Buzz Index

Technorati Popular Searches

AOL Hot Searches

Ask IQ

Dogpile SearchSpy

MetaCrawler MetaSpy

Google Trends

Lycos 50

MSN Search Insider

dWoz Search Phrase Lists

Yahoo Keyword Selector Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

HOT TIP – Here is a little-used way to use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to help you find some good niche ideas...

1. Click on the Google Adwords Keyword Tool listed above and it will take you to the main page. In the Keyword Tool box, you have two choices, “Keyword Variations” and “Site-Related Keywords.”

2. Click on the “Site-Related Keywords” tab and, in the search box with the http:// add the Google URL so that it looks like this…http://www.google.com.

3. Make sure the “Include other pages on my site linked from this URL” box is checked.

4. In the “Choose data to display:” box, select the choice that says “Cost And Ad Position Estimates”

5. In the next box that says “Calculate Estimates using Max CPC:” choose your currency.

6. In the next box, put in a maximum “cost per click” such as 20 for $20.00

7. Go back to the top of the tab, click on “Get Keywords” and wait for it to do its calculations.

8. Once it has finished its calculations and gives you the lists, click on the column “Estimated Avg. CPC” to sort it by the highest cost per click.


Now you have a list of keywords that is sorted from the highest cost per click to the lowest cost per click. The words that cost the most “per click” are the niches where people are willing to spend the most money on advertising.

If they are spending a lot of money on advertising, it is most likely a niche where there is money to be made. Again, do your research to drill down to find the more profitable niches.

WordTracker is a great tool to help you find niches. While the cost of using the full version of WordTracker can get expensive, this little tool is free and it is very useful. It will give you the estimated daily searches for any keyword or keyword phrase.

HOT TIP – When you are searching for hot niches on WordTracker, use “help me” words to find what people want. These are words like…

How to, help with, buy, purchase, learn to, find, get a, how can, etc.

Type those words into the WordTracker Keyword tool and you may find a great niche where people need help.

Forums – Forums are a great place to find hot niche topics and there are thousands of forums on the internet. One way to discover hot topics from forums is by the number of members.

In the Google Groups list of forums, you can list them by the size of the groups. Obviously, the larger the group, the better the niche.

How do you find these forums? Here are a few places to start…

Google Groups

Yahoo Message Boards

Digital Point Forums

Other Places To Find Possible Niches

ClickBank Marketplace – What is ClickBank? I’ll just let them tell you for themselves…

“ClickBank is the Internet's largest digital marketplace, where thousands of the web's most popular products are sold every day. Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or promote digital products, ClickBank is for you.”

Since ClickBank is the “Internet’s largest digital marketplace,” it is a great place to see what people are buying. The ClickBank Marketplace will let you do a search by different criteria that help you to find possible niches.

Amazon.com Preorders – Amazon.com is a great place to find out what products are popular but Amazon.com Preorders tells you which products people want that haven’t been released yet.

Here it lists the most popular preorders. Knowing what is going to be popular is powerful knowledge in the hands of someone who is willing to develop a product quickly.

Find Profitable Niche - 5

Okay, we have found several niches that we think have a lot of potential but now we need to see if they might be profitable. Just because a niche keyword has a lot of searches doesn’t mean it is something we want to create a business around.

The keyword phrase “free online games” is searched for over one million times each month but it is not a niche I would recommend that you pursue. A keyword phrase that has a lot of searches BUT has a lot of competition is a niche I would probably stay away from until I had a lot of experience in marketing.

Competition should not scare you away from a niche but you need to know how to swim before you climb in with the sharks!

Now, for demonstration purposes, let’s target the “work from home” niche. We have used the free WordTracker tool to find out that the keyword phrase “work from home” is projected to receive around 150,000 searches per month. That is a nice amount of searches but is it a profitable niche? Let’s find out!

Test #1 – Go to google.com and type in the keyword phrase “work from home” using the quotation marks. This tells Google that you are looking for that exact phrase. When it finishes it’s search, look at the upper right corner of the search results and it says, “Results 1 - 10 of about 3,520,000 for "work from home". (0.20 seconds)”

That tells us that there are over 3.5 million competing pages that are targeting that keyword phrase in one way or another. That’s an awful lot of competition but there are more tests to perform before we give up on that keyword phrase.

Test #2 – Go to google.com and type in the keyword phrase “work from home” using the quotation marks. The top three links on the page and all the links on the right side of the page are “sponsored” links.

That means people are using Adwords and they are paying to have those links put there. The links that fall under the top “sponsored” links are the organic links, or free, links like we all want to get.

If you look at the sponsored links on the right-hand side, you will see it has a list of links and, at the bottom, it says “more sponsored links.” If you click on “more sponsored links” it will take you to the next page where there are more links.

At this writing, there are a total of 18 sponsored links and that means there is money to be made in that niche but there is also a lot of competition. There are lot keywords that have over 40 sponsored links. Those are very competitive keywords.

If you could find a keyword phrase that had a lot of searches but only one page of sponsored links, that would be a good sign that you MAY have found a good niche. Remember our “free online games” example? Some keyword phrases may not have many sponsored links because there just isn’t much profit in them!

Test #3 – Go to google.com and click on the link next to the search box that says “advanced search.” In the box that says “with the exact phrase” type in the words “work from home” but don’t use the quotation marks. By using that box, it already knows we are looking for an exact phrase.

Go to the line that says “Occurrences Return results where my terms occur” and, in the drop-down box, select the phrase “in the title of the page” and click on the “Google Search” button. By doing this we are checking to see how many of the top-ranked websites are optimized with our keyword phrase in their title.

Bad news!

There are pages and pages of websites that have optimized their website titles for our keyword phrase. This isn’t looking good!

Test #4 – Go to google.com and click on the link next to the search box that says “advanced search.” In the box that says “with the exact phrase” type in the words “work from home” but don’t use the quotation marks. By using that box, it already knows we are looking for an exact phrase.

Go to the line that says “Occurrences Return results where my terms occur” and, in the drop-down box, select the phrase “in the URL of the page” and click on the “Google Search” button. By doing this we are checking to see how many of the top-ranked websites are optimized with our keyword phrase in their URL. The URL is the domain name and the file name where the page is located

As before, there are many pages of sites that have optimized their website URL for our keyword phrase. I would probably have abandoned this particular keyword phrase at this point but we still need to look at a few more tests so we will continue

Test #5 – Go to google.com and click on the link next to the search box that says “advanced search.” In the box that says “with the exact phrase” type in the words “work from home” but don’t use the quotation marks. By using that box, it already knows we are looking for an exact phrase.

Go to the line that says “Occurrences Return results where my terms occur” and, in the drop-down box, select the phrase “in the text of the page” and click on the “Google Search” button. By doing this we are checking to see how many of the top-ranked websites are optimized with our keyword phrase in the text on the website.

Once again, there are quite a few sites that have our keyword phrase in the copy on their websites.

You can do the same thing with the phrase “in the links on their page” in the drop-down box.

Test #6 – If you have the Google Toolbar on your favorite browser, you can perform another test. Go to google.com and type in the keyword phrase “work from home” using the quotation marks. When the list of websites is finished loading, click on the first organic link. Remember, the organic links start right under the sponsored links.

After you website in the #1 position in the search results has finished loading, move you mouse over the green bar in the Google Page Rank. Hold your mouse there for a few seconds and a little yellow box will pop up that tells you Google’s page rank for that particular webpage. Google ranks web pages with a ranking of zero to ten with zero being the lowest ranking and ten being the highest ranking.

Check each one of the websites listed on that first page of results and see what the page rank is for each one. If most of the sites on the first page have a ranking of five or above, you will have a difficult time getting on the first page without knowing SEO.

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» Niche Market - 1

» Niche Focus - 2

» Niche Opportunities - 3

» Find a Hungry Niche Market - 4

» Find Profitable Niche - 5

» I Don't Get It - 6

» Niche Research FAQ's - 7

» Keyword Suggestions Tools - 8



» March 2007


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