One of the biggest mistakes I see beginning internet entrepreneur’s make is trying to reach too broad an audience and/or market. Yes, that’s right. Just think about it.
The internet is a huge place with millions and millions of bits of information competing for users’ attention. Some of those tidbits are straight-forward information but a large percentage is marketing messages. Unless you are a huge multi-billion corporation with a huge multi-million dollar advertising budget then you do not have the resources to rise above the rest. You simply cannot afford to market to the masses and you will waste a great deal of money, time, and energy in the process of your failure.
But there is a way that the small business can rise to the top of the marketplace and beat the big monoliths at the game — niche marketing. That is why you need a niche. You can’t simply decide to push cooking as your niche, for example, and hope to rise to the top of the search engine results any time soon and forget even attempting for something as competitive as diet. But you can carve out a profitable niche if you focus.
Search Engine example
For example, I did a bit of research on cooking at one search engine. They reported 224,772 requests for the keyword cooking in one month. At first glance that sounds encouraging because now you know there is a big market out there for your market but before you get too carried away with the idea I should point out what else I learned. This one search engine also reported advertisers are paying between $1.91-.33 just for placement in the top 10. They had 64 total bidders for that single keyword.
Are you ready to compete in that market? If I can locate 64 paying advertisers with one pay-per-click resource then how many other entrepreneurs are out there with their web pages and their products competing for you for search engine ranking and web browser attention. It is depressing to even think about how far down you’ll be in a key word search — no matter which search engine your would-be audience uses.
Make your Mark
However if you begin working on narrowing your niche just a bit you can find some openings for you to make your own mark, and your own profit, on the internet. For example, I found three hopeful niches during my investigation:
~ cooking country healthy had 2295 requests in one month but has no bids by advertsers at this time
~ cooking with child had 1825 requests in one month and bids ranged from $0.25-.08 with only 10 advertisers bidding
~ Article marketing tips had 1781 requests in one month and bids ranged from $0.32-.1 with only four advertisers bidding
All three look like healthy markets to me but the competition level looks a lot easier to break into.
So how do you find your niche?
Hopefully you have already arrived at a general idea for your ebusiness (such as my cooking example) but if not then you should make a quick review of your own interests, knowledge and skills. Sure you can start from scratch but since you are already going to be learning a lot of new things while starting your business I would recommend you choose a niche where you already have a strong interest and a good knowledge base to draw from so you don’t have to learn about your subject as well as about ecommerce.
Some questions to ask yourself:
~ How you spend your spare time?
~ Your favorite hobby?
~ Expertise do you have?
~ What jobs/careers have you held?
~ What areas do your friends and family members go to you for advice and help?
Answering these questions can help you identify your general subject but to find your niche then you must start thinking about what others are interested in within this area.
~ Follow my example above and do a keyword search for your general term then study the other related searches
~ What topics interest potential customers in this area? Check out the web sites of the top companies in this field. Look at their FAQ and customer service areas. Check out their product reviews (either on their site or on various review sites). Do you see an opening?
~ Check out some forums where people interested in your topic visit and post questions: What are some common questions and topics that are addressed. Look at novice users and expert users alike. Can you see a potential market?
You really can create an ebusiness centered around any conceivable idea and you can create an ebusiness dedicated to selling a hodge podge of unrelated items, but in order to craft a workable marketing plan and to create an effective business plan then you should focus, focus, focus.