Picking a niche is the first and probably the most important decision you will have to make when starting your own online business.
It is no good building a website, creating digital products or starting a blog if you haven't already chosen your niche.
There are so many things to consider when you are picking a niche and many online newbies may find this task rather daunting.
One of the main factors to think about is profitability, it is a waste of time and money if there is little or no return on your investment.
Here are five basic things you need to look at before finally deciding on which niche(s) you will be targeting.
You cannot guarantee success, but these tasks will at least allow you to mitigate some, if not most, of the risk.
Many beginners to online marketing worry about competition. If they see other blogs or content on the same subject they will walk away. They have decided there is too much competition for them to succeed.
The truth is, however, that this really isn't a big issue.
I think the reason for this concern is that in the past many online marketing gurus have taught people to avoid saturated niches and to go after the low hanging fruit of smaller niches.
However, my opinion is that most of your target market likes to follow and learn from other people in the niche they are interested in.
We all do this; if you are interested in a particular topic such as dieting or fasting you don't just read one blog and try to learn everything from that one source.
What you will do is look at many sources of information. You may download an eBook on the subject, or buy a physical book from Amazon. What about watching a couple of videos on YouTube?
These are all different ways in which we can gather information and insights on our subject.
Everyone has different ways of learning and there are teachers out there who have different styles of teaching.
Some are brash and exuberant, others quieter and reassuring. Some give advice daily, others release more detailed information less often.
There are those who post their content in a blog and others who will publish videos or do a live stream on social media.
Podcasting is also growing in popularity.
Your opinions and insights don’t have to be better than someone else’s. They just have to make a connection with that person who is looking for information and likes your style.
As long as you have good quality content, don't worry about the competition.
As an example, there are people interested in Self-Help who love to listen to Tony Robbins and there are others who dislike his style.
Just imagine if there was only one person per topic that we could learn from.
You can see now that there is plenty of room for everyone. Don't worry about the competition and your perceived lack of experience.
Stop talking yourself out of taking that first step into starting your online business and begin by picking a niche that you are truly interested in.
We have established that there is no such thing as too much competition so now the next thing to do is to decide on how wide your niche should be.
Do you take the broad approach or drill down into the subject. And if you do drill it down, how much is too much?
Too narrow and your prospective audience will be too small to be able to make any money.
Let’s look at how to drill down your niche. I will use dieting as an example.
Starting with the very broad term - Dieting, let's see how we could narrow this niche down.
This is a typical way to drill down when picking a niche.
You can go to whatever level of depth you want to, but it’s important that you don't get too detailed because then you’re excluding large demographics from your audience.
Drilling down to fasting excludes those dieters who aren't interested in fasting.
That’s okay as there are many people who want to do want to learn about this method of losing weight.
Focusing on the 5:2 fasting method removes all those who like the 16/8 method, the eat then stop method, and the alternate day fasting method.
As soon as you added women into the niche, you excluded all men. That is about 50% of the population.
So as you can see, the narrower you go, the more potential customers you’re losing.
As long as that demographic is large enough, and you use common sense when deciding, you don’t need a statistician to work the numbers for you, it’s good.
You can always start out with your website by being fairly broad then drill down in your tier two pages and individual blog posts.
This way you can cover your topic in more and more detail.
So you might decide to start a blog covering Best Diets for Weight Loss and then use sub-headings for many different categories of dieting.
In the sidebar, you might include the following:
In each of these categories, you could write specific blog posts which cover many of the narrower aspects of the niche, all the way down to something like:
The 5:2 Fasting Diet for Vegetarian Women Over 40.
When picking a niche with a broad topic, remember that your audience will expect to receive ongoing content that covers a wide variety of subject matter within that niche.
The visitor who is interested in dieting in general will be disappointed if they arrive at your site and see nothing about a low carbohydrate diet if you only feature fasting.
The object is to plan your content and its delivery strategically so as not to overwhelm yourself or your audience.
Consider picking a niche that lets you deliver quality content that consistently meets the needs of your visitors.
Profitability is probably at the front of your mind when starting an online business. You will want to start to receive an income as soon as possible.
Here are a few ways you can assess the monetization potential of your niche.
Firstly, digital products can be a good place to start. These products can be instantly downloaded once the customer has pressed the Buy Now button and paid.
So check to see if there are any similar products for sale on sites such as Clickbank or JvZoo for example.
Of course, if you can't find any, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
If consumers are buying courses or books on the topic, you could create your own content (or use private label rights content – PLR) to do it.
Physical products are another area of monetization.
In the fitness niche, for example, you might have digital courses that teach people how to exercise properly, eliminate fat and get tone your muscles, but you could earn extra money from commissions from the promotion of machines they’ll be using, protein powder, calipers to measure fat, scales and more.
Online coaching or providing a service (outsourcing) that your customers don't want to do themselves, is another way to make money in a niche.
If you want to help others achieve success, you could offer life coaching, or help people improve their relationships.
Look at price points and frequency of purchases, too.
When you think about pricing your product you might be worried about promoting high ticket items, but then you’d have to sell fewer items than if you were selling a $17 eBook.
A membership program where the customer pays a regular monthly subscription can increase your earnings substantially.
My point here is to make you realize that unless you’re selling services or using paid ads for traffic, it will take a little time before the search engines like Google or Bing find and index your site.
The aim is to stay consistent, keep adding quality content in whatever medium you choose and you will see your visitors and income start to grow.
As I have said before, don't worry about measuring up to the competition. Many online marketers are afraid to step up to the plate until they feel they have all the answers.
Of course, nobody has all of the knowledge they need in every situation.
The key is to be a good learner and sharer. When a visitor asks you a question, just say “I’m not sure about that – let me get an answer and get back to you.”
That’s all it takes to become an authority in your niche; the willingness and the ability to uncover the things that people want to know.
You only need to know a little more than the next person to appear to be an expert, and as you discover and increase your knowledge of that topic you will become a leader in that niche.
Don't just wait for questions to arise. You should always allow time to research current trends in your niche and then pass these on to your followers.
Keep up to date with news stories, read the associated magazines and social media groups. Keep an eye on the various forums to see what it is they are talking about.
When you find information to share with your audience, don’t be afraid to give your opinion on it, too. People want to know what you think of it, even if you disagree with what they are saying.
Put your own twist on it, add your own personal experiences. All of this helps to keep your audience interested.
Unless you plan on flipping your site to someone else, the chances are you’re hoping this will grow into a successful online business.
There are a few things you have to keep in mind in terms when picking a niche for the long haul.
Will you run out of information to share? There are some niches, like health, that are always evolving. Sometimes it’s because of technology and sometimes because of new discoveries in that field.
You need to make sure that you can continue to come up with new ideas and content.
Start by brainstorming various categories that come within your main niche topic, then write out lists of possible things to cover.
Would you be able to find something new a couple of months from now? How about a year from now?
It’s helpful, depending on how creative you are, to consider picking a niche that will be easy for you to find new things to talk about.
You don't want to get bored of the niche – or start to feel negative about having to constantly come up with new material.
Remember that you can always use PLR and rewrite or re-purpose it for your needs.
It’s important for you to feel excited about work and not dread facing it every morning.
So you should be picking a niche that really makes you feel fulfilled and happy whenever you share thoughts with your audience.
I would recommend that you have a look at Solo Build It! (SBI!).
SBI! will show you how to build a business, not just a website.
Among the many tools at your disposal is a brainstorming and keyword analysis tool to help you in picking a niche and then growing this into a successful and profitable online business.
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