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A Step-by-step Approach to Finding the Best Niches in which to Market a Product or Service
Niche Finding Blueprint
When selling a product, a lot of people make the mistake of developing their product first, and then trying to find a market for it. Of course, the process should be reversed.
Find a market first that spends money, then find out what they want and give it to them.
It is certainly easier said than done, but there are a lot of places online where you can do your market research for free. They've done most of the work for you already. You just need to know where to go and what to do to connect all the dots.
Let me show you the process I go through when I'm trying to brainstorm for ideas.
For starters, I'm always aware of trends and current events in the real world. I read several newspapers each day, many magazines, both general and niche-specific, I watch the news, I listen to the radio. Occasionally something that I hear or read will stick with me. I may record my thoughts on my portable voice recorder; jot down some notes, whatever happens to be convenient for me. Sometimes I'll call my office voice mail and leave myself a message.
But at some point I'll have several broad ideas to research. I want to look deeper. And I want to make sure there is a good market for them before I even think about creating a product.
So I'll begin completing the following steps:
To begin with, I check out the hottest search trends at Google Zeitgeist. If I am targeting the US market, I’ll click on “U.S. Zeitgeist,” otherwise I’ll look at “Zeitgeist Around the World.” At this point I am just looking for ideas.
If I see that a particular topic is hot, I’ll make a note of it and look at more targeted sub-niches later on at more specialized sites (which I’ll show you shortly).
Lycos Top 50 - http://50.lycos.com
The Lycos Top 50 is another site, like Google Zeitgeist, where I will review the latest trends and look for hot topics to explore further. I will also look at Yahoo! Buzz for ideas as well (see below).
Yahoo! Buzz - http://buzz.yahoo.com
eBay Pulse – http://pulse.ebay.com
The eBay Pulse site is a great place to start looking at sub-niches. What I will do is select the category first (using the topics I’ve gathered from looking at the previous sites), then look for profitable sub-niches by then selecting a sub-category.
The best chance for success is if I am as specific as possible with my niche selection. In the example below, I don’t want to sell to the “crafts” niche.
I want to sell to grandmothers who enjoy giving their latch rug hooking gifts to their families and friends. Whatever. You get the idea.
Also, I’ll always check the largest stores as well to see what they’re selling. There has to be a reason they are the largest stores. They must be doing something right.
eBay also puts out a PDF report of their hottest categories each month, available at http://pages.ebay.com/sellercentral/hotitems.pdf.
Now that I have some potential sub-niches to work with, I want to see how much of a market there is there.
Just because a sub-niche is popular doesn’t mean people spend money on it.
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com
Amazon is a great place to see what currently exists for any given sub-niche.
Chances are, the more books there are written on that subject, the more that market spends on those topics.
First I specify “Books” to search. Then I enter my niche, in this case “crafts.”
Uh oh. There are WAY too many books returned. This niche is not targeted enough. It is too “mainstream.”
Much better! There are possibilities here.
We now suspect the following:
1) This sub-niche may be targeted enough.
2) This sub-niche may spend money.
Time to scope it out a little further.
We want to be as certain as we possibly can that our niche is focused enough but big enough, and that the people in that niche spend money.
So next I head over to the Overture Resource Center (http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/rc/srch) and click on the “Keyword Selector Tool.”
Then I enter my niche and see how many times that keyword and all related keywords were searched in the previous month.
I like to see at least 10,000 searches for all keywords combined, but not more than, say, 50,000 or so (although I do have profitable niches that have only a few thousand searches at Overture, but they are the exception rather than the rule).