WILL THIS SOLVE the "how to pick a niche" problem???

by phil.wheatley 26 replies
Hi Gang

No doubt this is going to cause some differences in opinion, I hope so, because it should make for an interesting discussion. To be honest, there is no right or wrong answer to this 'problem', but I hope the following will be of help to somebody, this is my take on it after nearly 6 years.

How to Pick a Niche

This is probably the oldest and most asked question in the Internet marketing forums. It is also a question that will produce many conflicting opinions. If you are already comfortable with picking profitable niches, you may want to pass by this post, however I’m sure you will probably still learn something from it.

If you are struggling with picking niches, then I know how frustrating that can be, not being able to think past the same niches everyone talks about such as weight loss, relationships, golf and so on.

While some say you can make money from ANY niche, it is obvious that some niches will be much more profitable than others. At the same time, it is also apparent that the best niches to go into are much more competitive than others. Or are they…

Some say you should go into a niche that you are already passionate about. There are pros and cons to this. Yes, if you are passionate about the subject, you will have insider knowledge about it, and will be more motivated to write about it long term, but at the same time, there will be many others doing the same but not as marketers, but just as enthusiasts doing it purely for fun.

After going into more niches than I care to mention, I once sat down and looked at the ones that were easiest to make money in. Typically, they were niches that were based around solving somebody’s problem, opposed to a product to give somebody pleasure.

For example, person A wants to buy a new TV, and person B has genital warts, which one do you think would be much more motivated to get onto the Internet to look for a solution to their problem or desire. It’s a fact that people are nearly twice as motivated to move away from pain than they are to move towards pleasure.

There’s no right or wrong answer, but the view I have is it is easier to make money in order to afford the time to do the things you enjoy. Of course, if you are passionate about a niche based around problem solving, then you are in a good position.

Don’t worry if you are particularly passionate about anything, instead get passionate about what making money will enable you to do with your life.

With all that said, there re some hobby based niches that have people so obsessed with them, they will almost go without essentials in order to fund their passion. Some good examples of this is golf, fishing and guitar playing.

Weight Loss, Golf, Relationships…too competitive?

There’s a good reason why the top niches are some popular, it’s because they are PROVEN to make money. However, if you look at the competition for the top keywords in these niches, there are incredibly competitive.

So, what you do is you look at aim at a sub section of a proven niche. Not only will your marketing be more targeted to your audience, it will be easier to rank for the keywords.

Here are some examples:

For weight Loss, you could have weight loss for office workers, weight loss for women who have just given birth, weight loss for women about to get married.

For dating, you could have dating for people into roleplaying games, dating for specific religions, dating for men over 60.

For Golf, you could have left handed golfers who want to improve their putting, or you could even target specific products like golf bags, golf clubs, and then you can promote other related products to them.

Fishing is a huge market, so again you start to break it down to sea fishing, ice fishing, coarse / river fishing. Sea fishing could be broken down to specific locations, or fish such as Bass fishing, or fishing in Florida etc.

You need to get your head out of thinking that Weight Loss is too competitive, or Dating or whatever. Of course, if you try and rank for “How to lose weight” as a keyword, then you won’t have a chance. Anyway, even if you did manage to rank for that phrase, it is very general.

How to Make Money online – This is VERY general, so first of all you would split this down to the main areas. You could make money online with Ebay, having an online store, doing trading, Internet marketing and so on. So, let’s say you want to market to the Internet marketing crowd. You could then split that down to product creation, CPA, affiliate marketing. Then could break it down affiliate marketing to creating amazon review sites, blogging, and list building etc.

So, look at the top markets and think about how you can break them down to smaller components. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will make fewer sales because you are targeting less people; this is a very common newbie mistake. Instead, you will make more sales as the products and marketing will be more relevant to the people you are targeting.

Getting Ideas for Niches


I know this method has been done to death, but honestly it is still one of my favourites. Simply pop down to your local store that sells magazines with a pen and paper in hand (or your phone). Magazines rely on having lots of readers so that companies will advertise in them.

If a magazine has been running for any amount of time, it means there is a good market for it, and enough people to support the huge running costs. If you see multiple magazines on that subject, then you’re onto something.

Fishing for example has magazines that are aimed at each type of fishing, some on fishing for specific fish like Carp fishing or Bass fishing.

So, take a note of the niches for which there are magazines. Once you decide what market you want to go into, then it would be worth buying one to see what is covered by the articles, and what products are advertised in them.

Also note what headlines they have on the front of the magazines to try and grab the reader’s attention. Diet magazines and women’s magazines are especially good for this. Note for dieting they always used attention grabbing specifics like “lose 8 pounds in 2 weeks”.

If you don’t have a magazine store near you, then why not check out www.magazines.com a great online store for magazines where you will be able to get lots of ideas from.


This site is amazing, all the hard work has been done for you, many marketers know about this method but few really understand the power of it. Firstly, Google: “amazon best sellers”, and this will take you to the best sellers section of the site. You will see that you can click on best sellers for the different departments on the left hand side.

This is great because they are already telling you what people are spending money on. If you go to the books section, this will give you ideas for information products.


This one doesn’t seem to be mentioned as often these days, but is still a great way to get niche ideas. Both the Dmoz and Yahoo directories are pretty difficult to get into, these are directories of websites which they feel best represent their subject.

The way these directories are organised are great for drilling down to sub niches. You simply click on the main area such as Entertainment, and then the sub categories like Electronics, then drill further to Audio, Car audio, and then you will see all the websites that are an authority in that market.

Yahoo answers:

A slightly different approach to the above, yahoo answers is a nice way of seeing what people (in their droves) are asking right now. This resource is great because typically people are going here to get ask problem based questions. Some of these questions could make great problem specific reports.

While there are many more ways of finding niches, if you are presented with too many, there is a danger of not using any of them.

Start making a list of the niches that you think you want to tackle, and then come back to list and prune it down to a few items until you eventually pick one. It is important you only concentrate on one at a time, don’t try and multitask. Get one off the ground and making money first before moving to a second. In fact, some niches are so big and profitable, you may never have to pick another niche again!

Good luck
#main internet marketing discussion forum #how to pick a niche #problem #solve
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus Rockey
    Nice thread thanks for taking the time...

    Sorry that my reply won't be as long.

    Niche selection is simple for me and as you said it lies in my passion, natural ability and strength. I do this becuase I offer more value as a result and bring more to the table...

    I do not think that people who write/blog for free are my competition because 50% of my efforts go into knowing my prospects. From demographics to core concepts (which helps in my niche cause it's similar to my own core concept.)

    I have little problem with motivation, providing targeted value and making money.

    I tried other niches when I was "wet behind the ears" and my personal results were nil.

    Another vital reason for being in the niche that is closest to my heart is because of marketing...

    I don't have to be such a good marketer when I am writing naturally and giving exactly what the prospects and readers want. It is far easier to create the "aha" moment for readers when I have the passion and emotion involved with any effort on my part. And from my experience it is easier to turn a prospect into a client when they have the aha moment directed via my content instead of some long winded answer of explanation that attempts to manufacture it.


    Marcus Rockey
    • Profile picture of the author phil.wheatley
      Originally Posted by Marcus Rockey View Post

      I don't have to be such a good marketer when I am writing naturally and giving exactly what the prospects and readers want. It is far easier to create the "aha" moment for readers when I have the passion and emotion involved with any effort on my part. And from my experience it is easier to turn a prospect into a client when they have the aha moment directed via my content instead of some long winded answer of explanation that attempts to manufacture it.
      Hey Marcus

      Great reply!! Some really good points. I've been in tons of different niches, and when I look back at the ones where I made the most money, it was in those where I'd had the problem myself. There are also a couple of hobbie ones I do good in, again because they were based on my own hobbies.

      This is why there is no real right or wrong answer, it's what works for the individual. Some people are really driven even if they are writing about stuff they don't care for, but know will make money. For most though, it is tough, so you have to find a way of being passionate about finding the root of their problem and then providing a good solution.

      Then, they're your friends for life!!


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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    Great ideas! Especially for Amazon!
    • Profile picture of the author twersk
      OK guys...so here is the ultimate question:

      Is Offline Internet Consulting for small to medium businesses a niche more then, say, Dating?

      The problem I am having with picking between the two is that I am much more passionate about helping businesses grow using the internet then I am about dating...only because it is much more constructive and useful, HOWEVER, I get much more ammo to use if I choose dating. I am an affiliate for a dating product that gives you everything from rebrandable pdfs to give away to mobile banners and PPC ads.

      In order for anyone to be successful...you have to focus on one. I am worried that if I go with the internet consulting niche, I will have to create my own marketing material and it will take longer for me to master.

      Any suggestions? Thx.


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    • Profile picture of the author andrewkar
      Amazon method works well for me.

      I think it all depends on personality and goals we have.

      In general it seems easier to work in niche we are passionate about than in niches we aren't familiar with.

      There are people who just can't stick for long with one niche. They get bored fast so they need to look for new challenges.

      On the other hand, some people can operate in one niche till they die.

      So, there is no right answer.

      However, if someone is just starting in IM, I would probably say that going after passion is better choice.

      Yahoo answers and magazines methods are both cool. Additionally you could go to Google and Yahoo Groups and look for more inspiration over there.
      Do what you want to do!
  • Profile picture of the author CCDhill
    Some very good ideas. I'm struggling with what to exactly start writing about now. I know the subject but don't want to be too broad about it. I need to dissect it a bit more.
  • Profile picture of the author Bronson Johnson
    Thanks Phil, I was just asking about this minutes ago..

    I'm trying to figure out what niche I should get into...one I'm passionate about or one that will make loads of money!!!

    I'm bookmarking this page now!!! thanks again
  • Profile picture of the author rohitreddy
    I always pick up a niche in which I can write up content easily
  • Profile picture of the author yonaswedo
    Picking a niche is easy but the most question... is that profitable? Could you beat the competition?
    Most of us find out how to pick a niche for affiliate marketing in general, then all have to do is make a list of your hobbies and interests. Knowing how to pick a niche involves selecting a business model based on something we’ll be interested in and with which we’ll be able to make a good return on investment.
  • Profile picture of the author RichardBravo
    Good stuff Phil! ...
    Personally I prefer to play outside of the "make money online" niche for starters.
    Time and again I find the world to be such an amazing oyster of opportunity once you get out of that silly bubble.

    I've found it's particularly easier for rookies too. They don't have to stress about becoming "experts" at making money online before they can actually make money online.

    One of my favorite two resources to jump start my research are Amazon and media kits. I teach my students to grab a drink, go outside, get some air under a tree or someplace they can think clearly and simply make a list of the things they already enjoy. Hobbies, talents, special interests, etc.

    A great question to ask yourself is
    "What is that thing that it seems every time my friends or family need help with they come to me for answers or advice?"

    Take your list and jump on Amazon.
    Keep the search somewhat generic and Amazon will point you to the rabbit holes quite nicely. Study the path and flow you go through. Take copious notes on the sales funnel as well as what's selling, what's hot, what catches your attention and pushes your own buyer triggers.

    Take your top 2-3 ideas from your list that seem to have an active marketplace with plenty of products for sale and start looking for magazines that compliment the subject. Odds are pretty high if there's a few magazines in the niche, there's money to be made.

    Go to those magazine's websites and look for their media kit, press kits or advertiser info packs. Sometimes they require you to fill out a request via contact form, go ahead; it's one more layer of how the niche operates that you get to analyze. Once you have the media kit you should have access to all sorts of demographic, keyword, product information about the magazines subscribes.
    • Profile picture of the author Horny Devil
      Does it really matter what the niche is? Does it really matter if it interests you?

      Would you rather earn 1k a month writing about a passion of yours, or 20k a month writing about something you have absolutely no interest in? I know which I'd prefer.

      Folk believe they need an interest or knowledge of a subject matter to provide valued opinions on it. FALSE. They also believe that you can't be taken seriously if you have no background knowledge on a subject. FALSE. Anyone - and I mean anyone - can write about anything if you set your mind to it. The WWW is a veritable goldmine of information just waiting to be harvested. And the best thing is you don't need any permit, licence, or experience to take advantage of it. Just common sense, perseverance, and a brain like a sponge to absorb what you find.

      It's one of the biggest misconceptions in IM that your interests need to tally with your chosen niche. If money is your goal then you go where the money is, irrespective of your experience or knowledge.

      Would you dig burial plots for 2k+ a week if you'd never held a shovel before? Of course you would.

      Of course if you'd rather write about cupcakes for a dime a download because your aunt taught you the recipe, then carry on . . . .
  • Profile picture of the author LegionNate
    I don't know if this will "solve" the problem of how to find a niche; these ideas have been around since before I started. But they are a good reminder for people, and good for people just starting out. I just always hesitate to treat something as a panacea.

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    • Profile picture of the author phil.wheatley
      Originally Posted by LegionNate View Post

      I don't know if this will "solve" the problem of how to find a niche; these ideas have been around since before I started. But they are a good reminder for people, and good for people just starting out. I just always hesitate to treat something as a panacea.
      Well, to be honest, I'm not sure if it will solve the problem, as there will be more posts tomorrow on the same subject lol. However, if people have done this for years and are still struggling, it can be worth going back to the drwaing board and looking to see if the niche is the problem itself.

      One thing that many of us will agree on though, and that is with hindsight, if we'd stuck to one niche from the begining and got realllly good at it, it would have made us much more money. The reason being, is as you become more of an expert, you can add more value to the visitor. This leads to trust which then produces sales.


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  • Profile picture of the author satrap
    Phil, really nice stuff. A truly simple to understand niche explanation. Thanks for taking the time to write this thread.

    And john, you made this thread even better by bringing in your point about how hobby or desperate niches are usually better as buyers in those niches are life long customers.

    Thank you guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheBlueWizard
    The best niches are always going to be the ones that:

    1) Have people who are willing to spend money on things from the niche
    2) You are truly passionate about

    Finding niches just because they are profitable, but you have absolutely no care for... you're never going to experience the fullest potential when it comes to conversions.

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