One of the key questions a beginner in online marketing will need to figure out is what is a niche? How to find a niche for the new online business; what is the most profitable niche, how profitable the niche is going to be. How broad or narrow the niche is.
In line with the LAER process outlined in a previous post, this is a key element of the Learn stage. It is also instrumental to how successful the Earn stage will be.
What is a niche?
First question to answer is, what is a niche?
The dictionary definition of niche is “a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.” This definition actually fits very well in this context. You want to achieve a comfortable position in your life don’t you.
Traditionally in the world of product strategies, this has been the the domain and preserve of high end products. One area that was always used was the motor industry because of its vast visibility and simplicity of separating I recall learning about niche when discussion focused strategies for companies like Ferrari and Rolls Royce. These companies targeted a niche of customers, that is, a group people who had specific need or specific capacity to consume that kind of product.
A niche product is a good or service with features that appeal to a particular market subgroup.
So in other words when you are looking for a niche you are looking for a group of customers who will be uniquely prepared to consume or buy your product or service. And you can find these people by doing the universal narrowing down of a niche in the way illustrated above.
The simplest way to find a niche is to look at things that you know, professionally or personally. Then you refine the specifics of related to it until it has some uniqueness that can be associated with a person or group of people who can respond positively and more importantly financially. The next section gives a simple example on how to narrow down a niche.
How to narrow the niche down.
In order to demonstrate what is a niche and how to narrow down the niche I will use the example of the universe. It is vast like the internet itself which has about three billion people online. Narrowing down a niche is trying to find a section of those three billion people who would be interested in buying some product.
Take a universal look. The universe is made up of galaxies. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. Within it you will find our solar system. Within that you will find various planets. Of the planets you can zero in on planet earth. On earth you will find people, but earth is still broad, with more than eight billion people. You can then narrow down to continents, then countries. You may want to market your good to a country but while there may be similar things of interest based on culture and identity for example, people will still have varied interests, personalities and affordability. And the audience will still in the many millions. You can then narrow down to cities, then down to towns. You may find groups that maybe support same teams of sports who you can market team memorabilia to. Even then you can break that down to suburbs, then neighborhoods or schools.
Now you are a bit more specific. In schools they may wear the same type of sportswear for example. Yet you can still narrow it down to households, and in the household you have different people with different needs. Older parents may be looking for things like alternate and retirement income, retirement homes, and yet younger couples may be looking for new cars or new apartments, and yet still teenage children may be looking for games, fashion and other like things. Even those teenagers, the girls will want different things from the boys. Therefore there are so many way to dissect this niche beast. The more specific the better.
So if you take the Rolls Royce example. There are many people in the world. Some of them like cars, and of those who like cars some can afford to buy cars. Of the ones that can afford to buy cars, some have more money than others. Those who have more money some like simple cars and some like cars that make a statement. Of those who like cars that make a statement, some like sports cars (Ferrari) and some like luxury cars (Rolls Royce). So if you want success you will either focus on those who want Luxury and be able to sell some Rolls Royce. Someone may be wondering, wont you find someone who likes sports car and luxurious cars. The answer is that you will, but then again, you have a better chance of success focusing on one rather than both. The percentage of those who like both is much less that the number of those who like one thing. Therefore some companies set up two different brands to split their customers, to the extent of creating two different companies. An example is Toyota, which created the Lexus brand to address the top end of the customer market to differentiate it from the mainstream market.
Example niche mistakes
More than a decade ago, Mazda which is know for price leadership, tried to encroach the differentiate market dominated by the likes of Mercedes Benz and BMW when they introduced the Mazda 929 to compete with the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes E and S Class. This failed dismally because they did not address the niche appropriately. Their brand was known for being economical, whereas Benz and BMW were known as premium. So the market ignored this like a plague and the Mazda 929 died before it took off. The same care you also need to take with you niche. Focus on it and do not dilute it. If you need to setup a separate brand then do that, do not confuse you clientelle.
Various online niche business ideas
Now, the process of choosing an online business niche is both simple and complex. You are looking for some product that people will be looking for online, and preferably are prepared to pay for online using credit cards and many numerous online payment systems like PayPal. However, it is not limited to that, you could promote and sell a product online based on a order with alternative payment methods where appropriate. For example, some vendors will allow you to order something but will only fulfill it after you have deposited money into their accounts with specific reference numbers.
Back to the topic on niches. One place to browse for niche ideas is Amazon.com. They sell just about anything. Think about something that you like or enjoy and go and search for it on Amazon.com. You find that there is at least a book written on that topic and a product or two or too many to count for that matter that has a price tag on it. So it means that whatever you select, there is someone somewhere selling a related product.
Even Amazon cannot cover the whole spectrum of products for niches. One way of finding out what is hot and what is not is to use Google Alerts. You can create Google Alerts on some area of interest and you be alerted of new information concerning those areas of interest. You can then go through the process or refining your niche.
Examples range from clothing for race horse riders, boots for mountain climbers, specific branded musical instruments, specialised herbal medicine, video on fitness training and aerobics e.t.c. I will create a selection of niches as example to narrow down and post soon
Kindly leave a comment or ideas that I can explore for you an post. Thank you.