Internet Marketing 101 – Researching a Niche

September 29, 2011 Internet, Marketing Comment

Researching a Niche

Before you start as an Internet marketer, it is a good idea to find out what is going on in cyber space, what people spend money on and the ways you can find something to market that you are happy to promote. At this stage, don’t worry about what you are going to promote, think about who you are going to promote products to. Too often newcomers (known in the trade as “newbies”) get fixed on a product and then go out looking for customers! You have to find the market first, the product follows afterwards.

So, we are at step 1, “Find a market that has a problem”, and we can use a number of tools to help us. Start with your own life and think back to a problem that you yourself have researched on the Internet. Now, be careful here, we are not talking about answers that are definitions, or are specific in time, such as what is the Spanish for good morning and when is the new Batman movie due to be released? However, wanting to learn Spanish because you need it for a job or wanting to watch movies on your flat screen television at home both have related products that people will pay for. Think back to those four broad niches; wealth making; relationships; health issues and improving yourself and then think of problems in those areas. The biggest niche is making money online and related to that is overcoming debt problems. If you have a background in finance or are very good at saving money then you have an angle into those markets. If you have experienced health issues, perhaps overcome them with alternative therapies or a different diet, then, again, you have a way into that market.
Niches are a sub division of a broad market and it is never a good idea to be too broad, the competition is too high. You want an area where competition is medium and there is room for new products. It is rare in these internet savvy days to find a totally untapped niche, so areas where there is no competition probably mean that people are not spending money there. If you have an idea for a niche market, try Googling a phrase related to that area; e.g. “get rid of back pain” and see how many results you get (see below)

Results of “get rid of back pain”

The screenshot tells you two things; there are a lot of entries dealing with back pain and people are paying to have advertisements on these results pages, so customers are willing to pay money to get rid of back pain! Now, “get rid of back pain” is what is known as a long tailed keyword phrase, in other words it is more specific than just pain or back pain, and you will have more success working with these more detailed search phrases as it takes you closer to a narrower niche than , for example just pain!

In Internet marketing there is a phrase, “drilling down” which means doing your research getting more and more specific and finding these long tailed keywords which relate to people who are actually thinking of buying products not just surfing the net. An example of this is the person surfing the net looking for information on how to lose weight. They will get a ton of results as this is a “hot” niche, but a very broad one. They may click on a few of the websites or the adverts but they are just interested at this point in the general area of weight loss, which happens a lot around New year after the Christmas blow out! The next time they search they are looking for weight loss diets as this is what they think they need, and again they will get a lot of results.

However, many people are motivated to lose weight because of a specific reason, such as a wedding or a holiday and are under pressure of time to lose the weight. So, if they are desperate to lose weight quickly they may search under lose weight fast, or lose weight for a wedding, etc. What you need to understand is that Google is pretty smart with their search algorithms and so if someone is searching for “lose weight for a wedding”, then Google will return logically matched websites, such as brideweightloss.com, or weightlossforwedding.com which are domain names that match long tailed keyword phrases. Google will also be looking for those keywords in the websites articles, keywords that the website owner has deliberately included in order to SEO (Search Engine Optimize) their website.

So, as a newcomer to Internet marketing you want to decide what part of a niche you want to target and construct your website to respond to that particular need and desire in your potential customers. Google has a keyword research tool in its “adwords” section. It offers this tool to help people to decide which words to bid for when advertising and therefore on which pages they hope to have their ads appear. These ads appear on the right of the search page; they are linked to certain search terms and the idea is that people searching for the answer to their problem will click on these adverts and therefore the chance is that the advertiser will make a sale.

There are other keyword tool programs, probably the best known one is Market Samurai, but there are more recent software programs you can use and some that are built into niche research software packages. Reviews of these tools and more information on SEO can be found on this website. What you need to do is to look to see whether your particular topic and interest is also to be found where there are sales being made. It is not much point developing a website to meet a problem if people are not spending money on that problem, not, that is, if you want to make any money at Internet marketing!

Now you can look at products to help you see what people will buy to solve their problem, but do not at this stage decide on your own product, we are still at the research stage. The Internet has a vast array of products for sale but you do not want to compete with the big players such as E bay and Amazon, you want to either sell  for those players or find other manufacturers and companies who have affiliate programs where they are happy to give you a commission to go and sell their products for them. In the end you may want to sell your own products on the Internet but unless you have a revolutionary new piece of technology, you would be advised to check out what is already selling in the market to make sure that you are on the right track before producing your own products. A common source of affiliate programs is Clickbank, and it is also a very good research tool. Before you sign up for any affiliate marketing go and check out a few products that are currently on sale and also have a look to see the niches that are doing well. See, Clickbank and other marketplaces.

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Written by Jake