Carve out an Online Niche for Your Business

Look for a community of your best prospects

Google, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube, and all other internet search engines are chock-full of content: news articles, blog posts, videos, social networks, and other information. Sometimes it seems so cluttered you can hardly make sense of it! However, within this clutter, you will find groups or communities of people who have connected online around specific topics, or for specific reasons.

Sometimes these communities center around web pages or social networking sites, other times these communities appear simply because they are all looking for the same solution to a problem. These communities can be called niches. They are highly defined groups of people based on needs, interests, and demographics.  If properly identified and targeted, they are your best prospects.

If the larger category consisted of skiers looking to improve their turns, as a ski instructor, you could target expert female skiers who are looking to learn how to ski in the backcountry.

Instead of landscaping, it would be outdoor fireplaces.

Instead of ‘Health’, it would be Women that want to lose weight for their wedding.

By defining and locating these niches, you narrow your target audience and increase your pool of qualified buyers. This is an essential step in online marketing. With an enormous volume of people on the web, you need to locate the people who need your products or services and who are ready to buy it.

Worth Noting are the 3 Most Profitable Niches Are (and I’ll expand to provide, IN ORDER!, the opportunities that are available in each from my research);

  1. Health and Fitness (Natural Weight Loss, muscle gain, stress, low impact exercise, fat loss, organic foods, natural healing, weight loss, raw foods, wellness, and any specific health problem like ‘colon cancer’ as an example)
  2. Money and Business (Real Estate, Foreign Currency, retirement, investing, debt starting a business, marketing a business successfully, making money, internet marketing, getting a job, time management)
  3. Relationships (Dating, marriage, relationships, sexuality, conflict, divorce, parenting, body language, education)

Brainstorm potential niche markets

So you’re getting a better idea of what a niche is and why you need to target one. The next step is to apply that thinking to your business to improve profits. Who are the specific groups of people who buy or need your product or service? Once you’ve brainstormed a list of ideas, I’ll walk you through the process of researching and eliminating potential niches.

Start by identifying the top 20% of customers (you know, the 20% that represent 80% of your business) and categorize them into specific niches. You want to come up with as many ideas as possible that would fit into your business model. Don’t think about anything else at this point – this exercise is purely for getting ideas down on paper.

Spend more than just an afternoon on this. Give it time to roll around in your brain and for ideas to come to you when you’re not focused on the task. A week is enough time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get the thoughts flowing. This should give you what you need to create a sizeable list of ideas:

  • What does my audience like to do in their spare time?
  • What kind of conversations do I have with my customers?
  • Where do my customers work?
  • How old are my customers? Are they mostly male or female?
  • What problem does my product or service solve?
  • What kind of people make up my existing customer base?
  • What do my customers have in common?
  • What makes browsers different from buyers in my business?
  • What new products or services am I planning to launch?
  • What neighborhood is my business located in?
  • What industry is my business involved in?
  • What questions do my customers ask most often?

Take the top ideas from your list and put them to the test.

From here you want to narrow in on the ideas that have the highest chance of success. Find markets that are the right size – not too big to actually be a niche but large enough to give you a pool of people to market to.

Take your top five ideas, and run Google searches on them. What comes up? Are there many websites created for this group? Run a search on Facebook or on Twitter. Use Google Trends. Try to locate where this community of people hangs out online.

Lastly, use the Google Keyword Research tool to assess keyword search volumes. Take the top five phrases you believe (or know) your customers use to find you online, and look them up using the tool. Compare actual search volumes – are they high? Low? How many people search for these terms each month? Search terms with high popularity may be good choices, but they also may indicate that your niche is too broad.

Select an online niche to target

Based on your research, narrow down your options and choose a niche to target. The niche should be sizeable enough to sustain your business, but small enough to actually be a niche market.

There’s no scientific way to be certain about your choice of niche – do the best research you can (using the guide above), use that to make a decision, and then stay on top of the results. If you have low traffic volumes or low response rates, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Try another one. You could also select your top two, work two different marketing campaigns, and compare which delivered the best results. Test and measure.

I’m going to dial it back a bit next week and run through the nuts and bolts of getting your website producing results.

As a business coach, I’m here to provide support when you need it, so feel free to email me if you have any questions

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