What is a Niche
Before starting any venture, you have to decide which particular group of customers, or market you will service. Dentists for example serve people who are conscious about oral health. Business consultants serve entrepreneurs or businesses who are looking for advice or help. Gardeners serve those who like to have a nice garden and lawyers serve those with legal issues.
Knowing who your customer is, helps you define your niche, or the area of main interest for your business. Knowing which niche you wish to target helps to really define who your customers is and in turn that helps you target them better too. A niche differs from a ‘market’ in that a niche is actually a subset of a market, thus making it more defined.
Advantages of defining a Niche
Not all niches are created equal. Some are what we call ‘mainstream’ niches which are very popular and thus have many competitors. Others are ‘smaller niches’ which tend to be less served and thus have lower competition. Whilst it is not always true, mostly smaller niches tend to have less demand and thus there is less money to make.
The argument however focuses on taking a very small piece of a large pie, verses taking a very large piece of a smaller pie. Quite often the smaller pie is the better option.
Within Online Marketing defining your niche is particularly important as it allows you to provide a targeted service to a smaller but often more loyal customer base.
Unless you have huge funds to begin with, then it is very unlikely you can take a piece of a major niche filled with established competitors. It is often better to serve a niche, or subset of a profitable market so you can establish yourself quickly and create a loyal following with a much lower budget.
A niche can thus help you to set yourself apart from the competition, create a loyal audience and to profit from a underserved or ‘undiscovered’ subset of the market. Online marketing in particular has become overcrowded within the major niches, so finding less competitive or even ‘undiscovered’ niches is really the key to success.
Niche within Online Marketing
One of the first challenges within Online Marketing is finding your niche. The area or segment you will focus on and attempt to make money with.
The Internet is such a vast array of information that it is widely accepted you need to focus on a particular topic and do it well to have any chance of success. This blog for example focuses on Entrepreneurship and Business Development Strategies. I do not target all areas of Online Marketing because I do not consider myself knowledgeable enough to write about topics such as website design or programming for example. It would also be far more difficult to establish myself within the major ‘Online Marketing’ niche rather then my chosen subset ‘entrepreneurs’.
Another of my ventures, Blog Commenting Tribe focuses on blog owners who want to increase the number of comments on their site. It focuses on one particular problem and offers a great solution. It is focused on a subset within the blogging niche, so is memorable and will stand out within a crowd.
5 Ways of Finding Niche Ideas
1) Your own hobbies and experiences
The best place to start with niche ideas is always with yourself. This makes the niche finding process personal and helps you find something where can add value.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are your hobbies – list them all, however obscure
- What do you enjoy doing – list everything. Even going for walks could make a popular niche for people looking for details on interesting places to walk
- Where have you had difficulty finding information? Everybody stuggles at some point to find information on a certain subject, think back to these times because you could uncover a lucrative and non competitive niche.
- What information have you been given that you thought ‘this could be written so much better?’. Sometimes simplifying complicated information within a niche, can be a viable business.
The idea is to narrow down your answers into niches or areas to explore. Quite often we encounter many niche ideas in our everyday lives, but we never really think of them as a potential niche. This exercise helps overcome that hurdle.
2) Look at popular lists
Sometimes the best niche ideas can be staring you in the face. Quite often something someone speaks about or writes about can spark the creativity to define your own niche. I call it taking inspiration.
So when I need new niche ideas, I go to lists of popular items, so I can see what people are actually wanting to talk about, and perhaps I can find a niche that is underserved.
Here are some lists for you to get started:
- Google Trends – Lists the latest trend in searches and thus great to find ‘new’ niche ideas
- Amazon best sellers – I’m within Online Marketing to make money, so why not get my niche ideas from lists of products that people are already willing to pay money for. Great way of finding underserved niches that people are willing to spend money on.
- Twitter Trends – Sometimes a little buzz is all you need to define a viable niche. Twitter trends list whatever people seem to be talking about and thus can be a very valuable way to find out ‘what is hot’ or what people are interested in exploring.
3) Pay attention to those around you
Quite often niche ideas can come from those around you. Sometimes a family member may have a problem finding something, a friend may ask your advice on something or you may overhear an interesting conversation whilst travelling to work.
If somebody is asking for your advice or even someone else’s advice, then it means that there is some knowledge that you could be providing instead. Knowledge that you could deliver via a website, a blog or even a book in a very defined sub niche.
Keep yourself aware of what is going on around you and niche ideas will present themselves.
Television is perhaps one of the greatest influences on our lives. There are programs on virtually every topic available and even channels dedicated to specific niches. You have comedy channels for light hearted moments, we have drama channels for those who prefer something more serious. We have cartoon channels for the kids and we have have MTV, which no longer plays music!
Television can be a great way to find niches. If you want to do something within sports you can flick through all the sports niche channels. Some are dedicated to football, others to racing which others to athletics. They have already defined niches. However they have also split those niches further, as each programme within that channels satisfies a certain sub niche too.
Lets think about a sports channels. They cover the main games which is of course the highlight or central focus. Then we have pre match gossip for those who like to be in match mood way before kickoff. Afterwards we have interviews and analysis for those who like to discuss the games in depth. During the week we will have long interviews with players for people who want to get to know their teams better and of course there will be rumour shows for those who like to keep up to date with what is happening.
That is numerous different sub-niches within just one channels. People who just like the core content. People who like more in depth analysis. People who like up to date information and people who like a more personal knowledge of players.
Almost every channel will give you endless sub niches and best of all they are constantly giving you new ideas as new programmes are born.
Of course there are also channels which have programs dedicated to latest trends. These may be car shows, gadgets shows or even music shows. All giving you an abundance of potential niche ideas.
5) Yellow Pages
The Yellow Pages is what I like to describe as the ultimate collection of niches. Look for any business market and you will find it dissected into sub niches right in front of you.
Take a look at lawyers for example. You will see then split into corporate lawyers, civil, properly, divorce and so on. The book practically lists endless niches for you and all you have to do is flick through!
The great thing about this method is that many of the companies are not well established online, meaning those niches are there for the taking. You can establish yourself in a particular niche and use the list of companies in the Yellow Pages to find advertisers.
This is perhaps niche finding 101. It does not get much easier.
Online Marketers tend to believe that their niche ideas should be born online. That is not always the case. Niche ideas may come to you in the most unlikely of places. Some of these are more proactive such as the ‘Yellow Pages’ whilst others are more passive such as ‘listening to what problems people around you are having’.
Niche ideas can come from problems, dreams or even aspirations of either those around you or your own personal experiences. In my personal opinion these type of niches tend to work best, because you have a personal perspective on them and can thus add value that nobody else can.
Yellow pages and TV can also give you great niche ideas, but you have to consider what will make you unique and stop somebody else coming over and stealing the new niche that you worked hard to create. Quite often a unique perspective is all that is needed to set you apart.
In the next article in this series we will look at how to evaluate your niche ideas and which you should shortlist to actually experiment with.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
In the comments below I want you to tell me :
- If you have a niche – tell me where that niche inspiration came from. Was it a personal experience or was an undiscovered niche inspiration source!
- If you do not have a niche – tell me where you will begin looking for niche and perhaps think about what you were doing the last time you had a great idea.
Be sure to share this content with anyone who has been struggling with creating their first video. They will thank you for it!