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.
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!