What’s Your Niche?
The Internet has been likened by many to the vast frontier faced by those who took to the wild west in search of gold. The enormity of its potential certainly draws many a gold seeker … but just as the gold diggers of old had to stake their claim before digging for gold, so too must you. Online, it’s called finding your niche.
Chances are, your online business idea has already been done. To death. Does this mean that the market is saturated and there is no room on board for you? No. Not by a long shot.
To be successful in an online business, you need to be the best. Now, that doesn’t mean the best overall, or even the best in your general category. What it means
is being the best in your specific category … your niche.
If the niche you’re interested in is already occupied, can you be better than the best in that niche? If so, go for it. If not, find another niche!
So, how exactly do you go about finding your niche? Here’s five steps to staking a claim to your share of the Internet bounty:
1. Identify Your General Category And Sub-Category
To start with, you need to have some idea of the general category you’re interested in becoming involved in as a business venture. It may be something to do with health and fitness, nutrition, pet care, home-based business, internet marketing, whatever.
Now, see if you can narrow down your area of interest a little. Let’s say your general area of interest is health and fitness. Can you be more specific? Does your interest lie in aerobic exercise, weight training, nutritional supplements, diet? This is your sub-category.
2. Hang Out With People Interested In Your Sub-Category
The object of the exercise is to identify an unmet need that you can fill. This will become your niche. How do you identify an unmet need? By listening to what the people interested in the sub-category you identified in step 1 are saying. A good
place to start is to sign up to various mailing lists and read newsgroups relevant to your sub-category.
Let’s say your sub-category of interest within the general category of health and fitness is weight training. You would sign up for mailing lists and read newsgroups that deal with this subject. Pay attention to the kinds of questions people are asking each other. It is likely that the reason many of these questions are being asked is that the questioner hasn’t been able to find adequate information online that deals with the subject matter. These sorts of questions are good sources of potential niches.
Continuing with our weight training example, the results of this step may suggest that some potential areas of unmet need exist, such as the benefits of weight training for: seniors, injury recuperation, weight loss, bone density, mental health, blood pressure, and so on.
3. Identify Unmet Needs In Your Sub-Category
Armed with your list of potential niches gathered during step two, go off now and do your own research. See if you can find sources of information that answer the questions on your list. If not, keep it on your list as a potential niche. If so, get an
idea of how much information there is out there and whether you think you could do a better job. If so, keep it on your list. If not, delete it.
4. Inventory Your Experience, Interests And Competencies
Now that you have a shortlist of potential niche categories, think about your specific experience, interests and competencies and which niche(s) you could best serve.
Pay particular attention to what interests you the most. It’s all very well identifying a niche but if it holds absolutely no interest for you, you won’t put in the time and effort to turn that niche to your financial advantage. So, go with what interests you first and foremost even if you have more experience and expertise in a different area. What you lack in experience and expertise you can learn and your natural enthusiasm will do the rest.
5. Fill The Unmet Need
Now that you’ve identified your niche, fill it! Create a website, publish a newsletter, write articles, promote related affiliate programs, write an e-book, and so on and so forth. Because you are meeting an unmet need, you are, by definition, setting yourself up as an expert in your niche. This gives you an enormous competitive advantage, at least in the beginning.
Not exactly brain surgery is it? The Internet has unlimited potential for virtually anyone prepared to put in the hard work. But it rewards the innovators, not the imitators. By taking the time to find the right niche for you, and then building your
business around that niche, you will make a valuable contribution and addition to the Internet community and the Internet community will reward you for it.
Don’t rest on your laurels, though. The nature of competition, offline or online, is that your success will entice new entrants into your niche. To stay on top of the heap you need to be continually evolving and ever-vigilant within your niche. So
stake your claim and make sure no-one moves the pegs while your back is turned.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online … practical ideas, resources and strategies for your home-based or online business. http://www.ahbbo.com