Every e-marketer knows the importance of discovering good and profitable niches. It’s like mining for gold — only the mine in this case is the world-wide web and the ‘gold’ trickles in through e-transfers for products sold or services rendered. A lot of the people who make their living educating other people to ‘mine’ the internet have a very simplistic way of teaching niche discovery — finding the richest ‘veins’ in the gold mine, so to speak. The gist of their advice on finding your niche often boils down to the following:
- Pick a subject or topic that you’re passionate about, one in which you have experience or are interested in.
- Use the main keywords from this topic and plug it into a keyword research tool.
- Look at the search count results. If it’s about 30,000 per month, it’s a good bet. Below 30,000 searches, it’s a very tiny market, so no money there. If it’s way above 30,000 searches, you’ll have too much competition, so your risk of failure is higher, and therefore unacceptable.
That’s it. Based on those three steps, you are supposed to find yourself a profitable niche.
What’s missing from this picture?
One: you aren’t told to scope out the competition that is actually there. Instead, it’s assumed that a) there’s too much competition (thereby implying you your services or product is not capable of standing out, b) the competition that IS present is too strong for you to even attempt to jockey with, or c) the market is too small to make money in.
Two: there’s no research conducted on long-tail keywords.
Most people conduct their searches using simple words or phrases. Topside Media defines long tail keywords (and their importance) as “keyword phrases composed of three or more words that collectively are more specific than a single keyword.
Long tail keywords are more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords because there is less competition for them. Generally, the more specific the search, the closer the searcher is to the act of purchasing a product or service.” So, long-tail keywords can lead you to lucrative sub-niches.
Three: there’s no market research into what percentage of the searchers would actually be willing to buy anything. It isn’t just a matter of whether the searchers have money or not. Some people in a particular niche market may have money but rarely intend to commit to a purchase.
So here’s how to conduct niche and keyword research that would pay off:
- Examine your own interests, abilities, knowledge, experiences in detail. Anything from these may be a potentially good niche to market to.
- identify what’s hot in the market i.e. what is currently the most talked-about thing, what’s buzzing or new in town. Could this be a source of potential niches?
Using the results from these two actions, identify potential markets in which to find niches. Then run these potential niches through these ‘filters’:
1. Are people in this niche ready to buy and not merely information seekers/browsers, or only looking for freebies?
For example, people who ask, ‘how to save on dorm furnishings’ would probably not provide a well-paying niche because it would interest only students who may not have the money to buy anything much.
2. Is there a problem that the people in this niche cannot solve themselves? Any niche involving technical expertise would nicely fit into this criteria.
For example, ‘how to solve sudden laptop screen flicker problems’ would likely be a good niche because very few people are technically knowledgeable enough to deal with these problems.
3. Do the people in this niche have an urgent crisis that needs to be overcome? The more urgent the better.
For example, ‘how to prevent being sick in the flu season’ is an extremely significant issue that begs for answers.
4. Is there a solid, long-lasting need in this niche that is not a just a fad? Fad die out. Remember pog-collecting? What about sticker-albums? Once the fad reaches the end of its life-span, the market for supporting it is gone as well.
Obviously, the more ‘yes’ answers you get to the above questions the more potentially profitable a niche is.
5. Once you have identified a potentially profitable niche based on the steps above, it is time to look for some long-tail keywords. These long-tail keywords will reveal some sub-niches which you can further profit from.
For example, if you type in ‘golf swing’ into Wordtracker, you would get a whole list of related searches. Look for keyword phrases with four words or more. Some of them are ‘stack and tilt golf swing’, ‘biomechanics of golf swing’, ‘what is the proper weight distribution during the golf swing’ etc.
6. To find out how much competition there is in this niche, simply type in all the keywords you have into Google’s free keyword analysis tool.
This tool will give you the estimated advertiser competition (which is the same as marketer competition), average search volume for the previous month and average monthly search volume. The great thing is that this tool also gives you synonyms for the keywords which means you get even more keyword suggestions. You identify keywords with as little competition but as many searches as possible.
The steps above represent a much more complete way of niche discovery. You will not only find profitable niches but also the relevant keywords that go with these niches. By doing this you make a solid start in your niche marketing.
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