Niche Marketing for Startups
Finding a worthy niche may seem like a daunting prospect but fortunately there are a number of techniques and procedures to follow which can simplify things and in fact it can almost become a standardized multi-step plan which you just need follow every time, rinse and repeat, to duplicate the process and expand into new areas.
Among the key factors to success in niche marketing is that there is low competition – in other words you don’t want to try to operate in a niche which is already dominated by many others who may be very well established and with much greater resources to call on. While you could still try to tackle such a market the costs will be higher and the chances of success much lower so it is something of a waste of precious time and money to attempt such a niche unless you are very sure you can manage it. It is also very important to choose a niche which has high interest – low competition is no use if there are simply no potential buyers to whom you could potentially sell anything.
An advantage of operating in a low competition market is that the investment required to dominate such a niche, for example in terms of advertising & marketing costs, is considerably lower. Along with the lower costs, another benefit is that being a niche means the people who you target are in fact highly interested in what you are selling which means conversion rates are much higher than they would be in a more general or broader market.
Finding a Niche
There are a number of ways to decide on what niche to target but typically you would choose a broader niche first and then drill down using various research methods and tools. For example you may choose something that you know about to start off with, perhaps related to your profession or a hobby for which you would find it much easier and more enjoyable to develop top quality content. Next you would start researching that area to find a suitable sub area, alternatively you could skip that first step and dive straight into the niche research using some or all of the following..
Try to think of what people like to search for when they might be interested in buying something – for example searches that begin with “how to..” or “where to buy/find/get..”.
You can actually see what questions people have asked along with the responses they got on Yahoo Answers – simply browse through the resolved questions and you can see what topics are most active, which are frequently asked, which are often asked but get few replies (implying there is much interest but no solutions meaning a potential gap in the market exists). Answers is a great place to get ideas for niches which you can then research further.
Google Trends is another useful service which you can use to see which topics are getting the most attention now but perhaps more useful is that you can also see which topics have a growing interest over time.
You can further narrow down your focus by identifying a specific target market or demographic within the chosen niche, for example – male/female, a certain age range, income bracket, geography etc. All these things can help further increase your conversion rates so you can maximize the opportunity your business offers.
Testing a Niche
Once you have a few likely niches you should then go to the Google Keyword Planner (or Bing if you prefer) and do some thorough keyword research to find out just how popular that niche is, how many exact match searches it gets each month (local as well as global) for all the relevant keywords, how competitive it is and how much people are paying to advertise for those keywords. Using this you can quickly gather a long list of additional related keywords for your niche site and also weed out any which are not worth targeting. Besides Keyword Planner, you can use the research tools provided here on Womplify and also those we mentioned in our keyword research article previously.
Additionally you can do some test advertising campaigns on networks such as Google Adwords, Twitter, Facebook and others too see both the response rates on your ads but also to assess the potential costs for buying traffic in this niche – you’d have to think very carefully about targeting a subject which costs $50/click (it can even be more!) to buy traffic, unless you plan to only acquire traffic through other means such as blogging, social network activity and SEO. Counter-balancing the cost issue though is the potential income you could generate from placing Google ads on your new site, or selling ads directly, when you can see from your research and test campaigns that the going rate is so high, since this means that if you can get enough traffic elsewhere then you’re in with a chance of raking in the money!
Monetizing a Niche
Usually the whole point of this is to make money from your niche site and commonly for internet marketers this means either by placing Google ads, which is the simplest method to make money if you can get traffic for less than the CPC/CPM they pay, or by linking to related affiliate programs in order to make a commission on sales generated by your traffic. Alternatively you could build your own product(s) to sell to this market, either web based, mobile or even an offline/physical product…
Ultimately, finding such an untapped niche with low competition, a large enough amount of obtainable/affordable traffic and high income potential is what Startups are all about!