Step 1 – Finding Your Hungry Audience
Whilst this first step might seem to be just common sense, based on my mentoring experience, unfortunately, it’s not always common practice!
Building a successful business is easy when you’re selling products or services other people want to buy – sounds obvious doesn’t it, but you’d be amazed by the number of people who come to me and say I’ve had this idea for selling something online – my friend thinks it’s a real winner I’m going to build a website selling x,y,z.
When it comes to markets and products I always let data drive my decisions. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t think freely – you absolutely should. Be open minded, be receptive, actively look for opportunities and new trends but don’t proceed without qualifying your ideas and checking there is a market for your brilliant idea.
Let’s get into a little more detail.
You not only need to be confident there’s a niche market, to create real success you need to understand your micro-niches and ensure there’s a hungry audience waiting to buy great products.
So what do I mean by a niche and a micro-niche. Well here’s an example from my own business. My niche is the Golf market. My micro-niches are Golf Equipment, Golf Clothing, Golf Shoes, Golfers Insurance, Golf Magazines etc. I’m sure you understand what I mean.
I make money from my micro-niche not my niche. There are two main reasons for this: Firstly, when people are searching online in a micro-niche they are much more likely to be in buying mode due to the more detailed nature of their search term. Secondly, competing in a micro-niche is much, much easier.
Let’s look at an example; if someone is searching for “blue men’s hugo boss golf trousers” they are more likely to be in buying mode than if they are searching for “golf trousers” or “men’s trousers”. The later are what I class as ‘browser terms’ were people are really just looking.
The best way to conduct your niche research is to answer these 5 basic questions: Who, What, Where, How, and Why.
Who is your audience?
It’s important to know your audience. In fact, when building an e-commerce business it is absolutely crucial to your success. You want to know who they are; how large a group they are; their age; gender; income levels; typical professions; typical marital status; favourite media; values; what’s important to them; how they relax and what they need.
I often find businesses make the mistake of promoting a product rather than promoting to a hungry audience.
The problem with this thinking is that if the product becomes obsolete, then so has your market. However, if you know your audience, you know what they need, and you know how to help provide that need, then you will have longevity in the niche.
What is your angle?
In a profitable niche, there will be a number of competitors. In fact, I avoid becoming involved in a niche that has little to no competition. If there’s no competition there is a really good chance there’s no hungry audience.
This means that you will need to set yourself apart from the competition. Is there content lacking that you can provide? Are there features missing? What can you do better than the competition? Is there a demographic being missed? Are there unexplored avenues? What is your voice? Make sure there is a strong point of difference (POD) between you and your competition.
Note: Don’t worry now if you’re not sure what your niche and micro-niches are and who your competition is. In Step 3 we’ll cover this in more detail and I’ll help you research your options further.
Where is your hungry audience?
When starting out the best way is to look for search terms that generate traffic in your niche. You can use the following to help you search for these terms:
Each of the above tools will help you find traffic-rich terms. In addition, you need to look at the trends for your niche; is interest in your niche and its competitors going up or down? If interest is declining, perhaps there’s a better option for you to progress.
Run a test through Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) these charts can be very enlightening. Research the magazines in your sector using www.media.info/uk. Are the magazines subscriber numbers increasing or declining? Research targeted groups on Facebook, do they seem to have lots of members and lots of activity?
How can you break through this niche?
Thinking about how you are going to break into your niche is extremely important. You must analyse what marketing tactics are usually used to market to this niche over the web.
Get to know your competitors. What media channels are used to deliver the content to buyers? Is it Video, Training Guides, Audio, or all of them at the same time? At the time of writing this guide video is experiencing a huge growth and yet many businesses haven’t made time to research and start using this media channel. Right now there are amazing opportunities in most niches for video.
Why should you choose this niche?
Once you’ve answered all the above questions, the answer to this question should be easy. You choose the niche because you are interested and passionate about it, and feel strongly that you can succeed given all of the available information and data.
You must trust this is going to work really well for you. If you’re interested in, dare I say passionate about your niche, and all the signs are positive it has great potential to work well for you.
Here’s to your success.
This article is from a series called '7 Simple Steps To Make Money From Your Website'
If you haven’t done so already, grab the full series in my FREE eGuide.