Don’t believe the naysayers! Online marketing can truly be a profitable gig and it doesn’t involve spending countless hours online trying to convince strangers from blogs, forums and social networks to hop right in. Even though there are millions of people using the Internet on a daily basis, not everyone will be interested in whatever it is you are offering. The key is to work smart and not hard and working smart means finding the profitable niche.
A. Defining the Terms: Niche vs. Profitable Niche
A niche, in the world of online marketing, is a group of people who have the same interests. So if you are marketing an energy drink, it is natural to target highly active folks who are into sports and exercising. But your actual success can vary because the niche is too broad. This is why you need to focus on a profitable niche which is an even smaller subset of that niche consisting of people that are highly likely to buy your product.
A profitable niche generally has two types.
• People who desperately need a solution to a problem.
• People who have a huge passion on something that is related to the product or service you are advertising.
So going back to the energy drink example, the proper way to do your marketing is weeding out the people who just interested in sports to people that actually need an energy drink or enjoy physical activities on a daily basis. You are essentially targeting a much smaller audience but with a greater chance of everyone in that audience making a purchase. This makes your marketing more efficient while having bigger rewards. The bigger the profitable niche, the more money you can realistically make. This explains why weight loss is one of the most popular profitable niches. Since newbies often give up marketing too soon just because they haven’t earned anything after a great deal of effort, it is best to targeting smaller profitable niches such as weight loss for pregnant women. Earning a little bit of profit in the early game is crucial to building your momentum and maintaining your interest in going the distance. Remember, marketing is a long term game the rewards are huge!
B. Choosing Your First Niche: Profit vs. Passion
Now that you are aware of some profitable niches, the next logical step would be to get cracking and bust out your targeted marketing sorcery. But for some folks, it might not be easy. If you ask a car enthusiast to start marketing stuff to a weight loss audience he or she might struggle because the passion of weight loss products just isn’t there. The car niche is the kind of category that could have some potential depending on the location but it isn’t as profitable as weight loss. So if you follow your passion, you are taking a longer road to success. It is basically the “slow and steady” approach. If you are patient, this route could be pretty fulfilling knowing that you will always enjoy marketing from start to finish. It is good for people that have part-time jobs.
The best option all depends on your personality and view towards things as well as your most important objectives. For instance, there might be another car enthusiast who is truly desperate in earning big bucks online. These types of individuals are often the ones that suck it up and take whatever niche is viewed as profitable. Weight loss might not be of much interest at first but you can always give it a chance knowing that there are huge rewards in the end. You never know, that niche may turn into a passion especially if you get to meet people online that could end up being customers one day. You can call this the “quick and bumpy” approach.
Because there are so many niches to consider, it is definitely possible to have a little bit of both. Think about all the things you are passionate about and do a lot of online research to see which of these passions of yours happen to be profitable niches. Even if it isn’t the most profitable niche, it could be a better path to take as you can still passionately market about something to a reasonably sized audience. So a car enthusiast shouldn’t just look at weight loss as the only option. Try to branch out the thing you are most passionate about and do further research. The car category is a pretty broad niche. Think about things like car parts, car paint, car wash services, and anything related to cars. Each of these smaller niches can vary in terms of profit potential but still fall in a zone where a car enthusiast should still be passionate about.
If these pieces of advice still cause confusion, here’s one more little tip – just don’t think about it. Set your passion and money thoughts aside and focus on building your essential marketing skills. The goal for every marketer is to make money anyway. Otherwise you’d be doing something else. Take the time to read marketing guides and find out the latest trends. With all the new knowledge you obtained, you could be more confident in tackling profitable niches regardless of the type. Imagine how much your earnings can be if you can start with one small profitable niche and later expand to all the current profitable ones.
Also remember that a profitable niche doesn’t always remain profitable. Trends change along with people’s needs so always be open to what you do on the Web. Read news articles, look around social networking sites and see what the latest buzz is. If you encounter a particular profitable niche of interest and you aren’t an expert in that area, don’t be shy and learn more about it. If you are not willing to learn more, outsource it to someone who is more passionate. This strategy means sacrificing a bit of your profits but still getting the job done quicker. Outsourcing can lead to partnerships too and that’s good as you can combine your passions with other people’s passions and then have the ability to target a broader set of profitable niches.
C. Locating the Niche: Popular Trends vs. Emerging Trends
Being a new marketer can be pretty tough even if you are aware of the popular profitable niches. You can be a guy who has a passion for weight loss but still be discouraged just because there are a ton of marketers actively trying to pitch towards the folks within that niche. Your weight loss products and services will directly compete against others. This has led to the habit of avoiding the popular trends and targeting a niche that is less known to the marketers. That perspective is oftentimes wrong because good marketers simply avoid those niches because there is no money to be made. Fortunately, there is still a way to avoid heavy competition and even the trends in general. They key is to look for emerging trends and hop onboard before the rest of the competition takes note.
Think about the time when taking selfies got popular. This led to the rise in demand for monopods (which are now fittingly called selfie sticks) and other camera accessories. Of course, the market is still fresh and you may thrive despite the competition but profit potential was much higher when the trend was still new.
But don’t worry because the good news is, emerging trends happen all the time. You just need to check the following places every now and then:
The most popular online marketplaces are filled with everyday shoppers that together literally define emerging trends. All you need to do is head to the appropriate sections to discover what products are popular based on the current shopping habits. Amazon.com is the best place to look first since it is the leading online retailer of just about anything. All the stuff on the site is well organized so you can pick a specific category like smartphones and immediately discover what smartphones are popular there. You can go even deeper and look for smartphone accessories. eBay has its own popular section at popular.ebay.com that also shows current trends that are ready to explode. If you prefer a digital marketplace, Clickbank.com should be your top destination.
There are other online marketplaces that focus on a specific category but still manage to attract customers coming from different niches. Websites like Flippa and Magazine.com are good examples to check out first. Flippa sells profitable websites and you can tell what the emerging trends are by looking at the stats profitable websites up for sale. But before jumping to conclusions, understand that there are scammers that sell websites with fake statistics too. You have better chances in avoiding these scams by looking at the sites older than a year. If these sites have the stats to prove that it made a profit and have sales on Flippa, consider that a good niche to pick. Looking for emerging trends in Magazine.com is much easier. Just find out which recent magazines have the most subscribers. That magazine represents the niche to go for.
There are numerous online services that are fully dedicated to publicizing the current trends. People search for stuff and share things online on a daily basis and the services simply sort the data into something presentable. Google Trends, for instance, relies on Google’s search engine showing which search phrases were the most popular recently. The “Top Charts” feature brings up a bunch of topics sorted into different categories and you can click on them to find out more information. Yahoo! Trends takes a similar approach but it focuses more on news. Then there is the ever popular Twitter where the #hashtags tell the whole story as to what is currently trending. You can also try Stumbleupon if you want to find very specific emerging niches.
Forum databases like FindAForum.net offer a much broader scope for research. The idea is to use the database to discover the largest and most active forums. You enter these forums and explore the sub-sections to get niche ideas. The sections that have seen a recent spike in activity are the ones to pay attention to.
D. Determining the Niche’s Profitability
If you reached this stage, you should have already picked a niche or two showing a couple of signs of profitability. The next step involves a little bit of deeper research just to make sure that you can fully commit to these niches in the long run. Starting from scratch after picking a failed niche can be stressful so it is better safe than sorry.
Start off by making a Google AdWords account as it is required to try the Google Keyword Planner located at https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. This is a more technical tool that really lets you see how popular the niche really is. The trick is to come up with the best keyword phrase associated with the niche and see if there are at least 10,000 exact match searches in the location you wish to target. Think of it as a more advanced version of Google Trends but if you find the Keyword Planner too complicated, you can either research for articles on how to use it effectively or try simpler methods to determine the niche’s profitability.
Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and ClickBank can also serve as places for deeper research. Use the search facilities and try different niche keyword phrases and see what kinds of products are on sale. Use the reviews of these products to gauge profitability. If you are targeting a very specific niche, you might not see many products. Donot be alarmed and rephrase the keywords so you target a slightly bigger audience. Good activity in these products still show good signs that your specific niche can be profitable. You can also go beyond these marketplaces and try affiliate site directories like OfferVault.
Don’t forget the blogs and social media sites too because these are two big avenues where people advertise their products. Niche keyword phrases you type in Google and Bing are bound to give you a few popular blogs. Check out these blogs and see the comments of individual posts. Be sure to turn off your ad blocker too so you can examine what type of ads these blogs have. These ads obviously target the blog’s loyal visitors so if there is plenty of activity in that blog, you can immediately tell the niche is profitable.
E. Evaluating and Experimenting Your Niche: You vs. the Competition
Now that you are absolutely sure that your chosen niche(s) are profitable, you can now figure out how you can stand a chance against the competition. Before anything, always keep your confidence high even if you see thriving websites that are indirectly competing with you. “Indirectly” is the key word here because these big sites won’t even know your site exists until it rises to prominence. The secret involves carefully examining these sites and identifying the weaknesses. If you don’t see the weaknesses, at least figure out what particular areas you can do better on. It could be things like the site design or layout or possibly a distinct lack of topics in certain areas. Maybe the site doesn’t offer products that you think will fit right at home with the target audience. Some sites may not even deserve their top position because the marketers are engaging in dirty tactics that often have a lot to do with SEO (search engine optimization). You can easily identify these sites by reading their content. These types of sites will eventually be penalized and you can avoid that by supplying your site with better content. You can even go as far as researching exactly how these big sites do their marketing. Even good niche sites that take marketing lightly can be overtaken if you can come up with a much better marketing campaign.
Once you have a game plan, donot fully execute just yet. Test the waters by creating something small and do a miniature marketing plan. It could be a very basic blog complete with a sales pitch. Give the blog a little bit of polish by writing a couple of articles and make the design easy on the eyes. Be sure to add the email form linked to the autoresponder of your choice because that will be your mechanism of gauging interest.
If you are marketing a niche product instead, make a nice sales page highlighting the features of your product along with a “Buy” button. Because this is just a test page, you don’t want customers purchasing your product just yet. The idea of the page is to see how many people are actually interested to buy it. To make the test as subtle as possible, have the “Buy” button bring up a message popup saying that the product is out of stock. You can then have the visitor join a mailing list so you can tell them when your product is back in stock. You can also link the page to Google Analytics if you need to gather more data. In the end, performing a small marketing test actually doubles as a neat way to build your list. Conduct the test for a week or two and evaluate the results. It is up to you if you want to proceed with the niche depending on the results. Testing is so much better than spending the next couple of months with a niche only to find out that it isn’t doing so well.
If your test results were favorable, then we are almost there! Now you just have to find any rough spots in your niche so you can start strong. Creating a checklist or questionnaire is the simplest approach. Use these seven (7) questions as a guide.
1. Does your niche consist of people with problems they need to solve or passionate folks willing to spend money?
2. Is the niche evergreen or will the problem last for a while?
3. Will you be comfortable marketing the niche in terms of the category, dealing with the competition and finding the targeted audience?
4. Does the keyword search volumes paint a good picture for demand?
5. Are there products available to buy and how well are they selling?
6. Is it necessary for you to make your own products or can you find retailers with affiliate programs instead?
7. Are you passionate enough to write dozens of articles related to your niche or willing to outsource the work instead?
If the majority of the questions have favorable answers, you can proceed to the final stage.
G. Analyzing Your Niche’s Audience
Welcome to the final stage of this ultimate guide to finding a profitable niche. Now that you have a full background of the niche, you can shed light on the other half which is your niche’s target audience. Even though all people in a niche audience have something in common, individuals can still differ from one another. You can get a better idea of your target audience by assigning multiple categories to the niche. For instance, if your niche is weight loss, you might be working with categories like middle-aged, overweight females. Think of it as a process of categorizing the people in your niche. Making venn diagrams can help here.
If you still have your test sales pages, you can take them even further by adding surveys for your audience to fill up. You don’t want your pitches to be about you but you want to show to them that you care deeply for the audience. You are advertising this cool product or service because you want to help them out. This kind of message should resonate well with your visitors encouraging them to be more open in sharing their problems. This should also help you mold your product and possibly marketing campaign to better serve your niche audience.
If creating a survey is too much work, you can use some online services like Quantcast which specialize in gathering demographic information. Head to quantcast.com and enter the website of one of your biggest competitors in your niche. If the site implemented Quantcast Measurement, you should be able to see the US Demographics. Otherwise, you can try other sites within the same niche. Even simple data like the breakdown of visitors by gender can be real useful.
Alexa is another great site that not only provides rankings but also functionality similar to Quantcast. Alexa has a search box where you can paste any URL to get instant access to graphs and other cool statistics. The “Traffic Stats” section offers plenty of useful data like how many page views a certain page in the site has. There is also the “Search Analytics” feature which reveals what keyword phrases visitors type in to reach the site. This makes Alexa a pretty nifty keyword research tool.
With the power of the Internet, you can find niches in a matter of minutes. But this ultimate guide is all about eliminating the ideas that simply don’t work in online marketing and focusing on the most profitable niches. Discovering that profitable niche takes more work but you have far higher chances of success if you spend lots of time deciding on a niche. Even though the most popular niches are easy to spot, several other factors need to be taken into consideration. This is why we don’t downright suggest which niches are best because again, online trends change all the time and new emerging trends can emerge right this moment.
This is what makes online marketing and niche hunting so exciting. You can do some niche research and later stumble upon a niche that you are passionate about and has strong potential for profits. That discovery may not happen now but it could happen if you spend an hour or two every day monitoring the trends. Of course, you won’t earn any money while researching or evaluating niches but you never waste time. You can learn new things every day and use what you learned to find better niches to get involved with. Taking your time to do things could not be more rewarding.
There are enough stories on the Internet that explain what happens if you rush into a niche without following this guide. You might be squeezed by the competition in the early going or you can get so bored of the niches even if you understand how profitable you are. Then you have to start all over again with less confidence just because you did not earn anything from your past experience. Once again, this guide is about working smart and getting rid of all the overhead. There is some trial and error involved but you will eventually find that first profitable niche to work with. Once you do, you can branch out to more niches and greatly expand your website empire.