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Finding Your Niche

Finding Your Niche

A niche is nothing more than a specialization – it can be a broad specialization, or a very specific one. A niche can be formed around a product, a specific group of people who buy that product, or the way you sell the product.

It is really just a variation on what has been called “Market Differentiation”. The concept here is, “Why would I buy from you instead of from the other thousands of people who are selling an indentical product?”

Recently, the term “niche” has come to mean finding keywords that people want, but which have lower competition. As though, by applying a simple formula, you can guarantee business success. It is not nearly that simple, nor that limiting.

What Is Niche Marketing

The scope of niche marketing is more than that. It has to do with making your business different in a way that appeals to a specific group of people who are underserved. Sounds easy, but there are some catches to it.

  1. People who need what you have, may not know what to call it. They may be searching for it under the same terms as everyone else uses for a broad category that is not meeting their needs. For example, they may be searching for “Natural Diabetes Control”, and only able to find sites where someone is selling some herbal product, when what they really want is a pure informational site that is produced by an objective third party. How does one search for that, as different from the typical?
  2. Similar to the first problem, but distinctly different – You may have to use the same keywords as people who are not offering what they say they are – for example, in the work at home world, I have to use the terms “legitimate work at home”, because that is what I offer. BUT… thousands upon thousands of work at home sites, all of them with more powerful marketing budgets than I have, are using those same terms. And they DON’T mean what I mean. They advertise the same old half-scams which don’t work. Even if you target exactly who you want, you may have competition that makes it difficult for you to be found in the masses.
  3. Even when you have the right niche, and the right product, and the right keywords, you will still have competition. In our world, it is virtually impossible to create a site that does NOT have competition. If it did not have competition, it would not have good demand either… the nature of marketing. So niching is only a solution to more accurately targeting your market and finding the people who need what you have, it is not a means of eliminating all competition.
  4. If you create soft dolls in a unique way, and that is an overcrowded niche, but creating stuffed pigs is an under-served market, it does you no good if your particular brilliancy is in soft dolls! Sometimes what we do well enough to succeed at is just IN a crowded market. There may be ways that we can nudge it into a further specialization that narrows the focus some, but often there is not. I produce work at home information. Talk about a crowded niche! I am not competing with thousands, I am competing with millions. But that is what I am expert at, and that is what people who know what I do WANT me to do – there IS a demand for it, but it is still hard to compete. There would be no point in switching to a less crowded market if I am not good at actually creating the materials for that market. If you have to choose between what you are good at, and what the numbers say you should do, and you cannot find a balance, then go with your gut, and do what you do best.
  5. Your keywords have to target what you actually HAVE. A woman has a website that gets the number one search engine placement on a specific phrase. She uses that phrase in a unique way. Unfortunately, it is an industry term that high end professionals are using in a different way. They come to her site, and do not find what they want, and they leave. She gets LOTS of natural search engine traffic on that one phrase, but she does NOT get customers, because they are not finding what they want. She occupies the top of the niche, but she is not able to get customers because they want something different than what she is offering.
  6. You have to market where your potential customers are. If you are using a net in the ocean, and you are trawling randomly, you may catch a fish or two, but you won’t do very well. If, on the other hand, you search out the schools of fish that are clustered together, you can dip in your net and bring up a haul. People are not fish, but they do tend to congregate in predictable groups. Find a way to market to groups of people who need what you have, and you’ll do much better than if you just blast ads at random.

Targeting a niche market is more than just picking keywords or deciding that you want to do a specific thing. It is reflected in everything you do, from the design and layout of your site, to the wording of your marketing materials, to the packaging of the product or service and the way you interact with your customers or clients.

Niching Down In Practice

Market differentiation or niching has some strong points too:

  1. You can form a niche around any uniqueness. Some potential niches are: unique product, unique service, better product, better service, higher value (more than just price), better service, more hand-holding in technical sales, lower price (not a good choice), for specific personality types (humorous, academic, busy, etc), for specific problem solving (hard to find size, health related, niche career problems, beginners, etc).
  2. You can choose a “crossover niche”. These can be very powerful. My Natural Diabetes Control site is a good example, because it hits the Diabetes niche, and the Natural Health niche, combining the two into a more specific niche that gets very good traffic.
  3. You can set up a website to target a broad niche, with individual pages that target more specific elements of that niche. A well-laid out site can draw visitors in from any page. Each individual page targets a certain topic, and is optimized for its own keyword set. Again, my Natural Diabetes Control site is a good example, because it has pages on Cinnamon and Diabetes, Aloe and Diabetes, etc. The site has about 60 pages of specific content, and only about 1% of the traffic comes in through the home page. The vast majority comes in through other pages, which are each targeted to a different mini-niche.
  4. You can build multiple websites, each with a slightly different focus. I have a website for Work at Home Moms that addresses the issues of balancing home and family, another that has step by step instructions, another that has work at home reviews, one that has step by step instructions for building AdSense sites, and a series of sites on marketing, web design, and business tactics that relate to the topic in one way or another. Each one of those sites targets a specific niche within the broad topic. And because I have more than one site, even though the competition is very stiff, people who come into one site are likely to look at another site of mine if they don’t find what they want on one of them (they are cross linked with relevant sites)..

This concept applies no matter what you are selling. Even if you bought into an MLM or Direct Sales company, you still have to find a way to convince your prospective customers that they want to buy from YOU, and not from any one of the other distributors. You have to learn what makes your product unique, yes, but that is not enough. You, as your own individual company, need to find a way to set YOURSELF apart from the other distributors, especially if you intend to market online..>

No matter what you do, whether you sell products, services, information, or whether you profit from advertising, you have to find a way to make your offerings unique and desirable, and to get them found. Targeting customers, marketing where they are likely to be, and providing something special is what sets the successes apart from the wannabes.

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