I've recently been struck by the sheer amount of affiliate gurus using “dog training” in their examples.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Did they all get together at a secret pow-wow and decide this is going to be the standard niche they're going to give away?
In basic terms, a niche is a specialized market. When you think about dog training, it's not very “niche”. It's absolutely massive – which means there's plenty of room in the market for more affiliates to come on board.
However, it's when you drill down into the hundreds or thousands of sub niches and micro niches within dog training that you can uncover some brilliant opportunities.
Sure you could compete in the broader dog training mega-niche but how much money do you have to spend? By going more “niche” within dog training you can target receptive audiences at a much lower cost, for greater profits.
Let's look at the many advantages of marketing to a select, niche market.
Why you should become a niche marketer
More profits in the bank is one of the main reasons to direct your efforts at niche marketing. It's a highly effective method to reap a greater return on your investment.
Here are some of the other advantages and benefits you'd enjoy as a niche marketer:
- You can focus on one specialty and simplify your business.
- Distinguish yourself as an authority in the field – the person or site to turn to. Having this distinction also helps prospective customers to find you.
- Even if you're not an authority on the subject, you'll be advancing your knowledge in the process of researching and marketing your chosen niche. If you're already an expert, then you have the opportunity to perfect your skills and make use of your knowledge. See your abilities expand and gain confidence as a professional!
- Enjoy credibility – you're marketing your web site as a “specialist”, not a “generalist”. You gain the trust of your customers and build up loyal clientele and customer referrals.
- Far easier to research a specialized target market – find out when to reach them, where to reach them and how to reach your potential customers.
- Serve your customers' needs better within a small focused group, rather than trying to cater to the wider market with a shotgun approach. Avoid the “market to everyone, sell to no one” mistake.
- There is an exclusive “club” mentality which gives you a closer and longer-term relationship with customers, fosters connections between your customers that keeps them coming back (eg. forum participation) and gives you more customer loyalty.
- Higher pricing model – you can charge more as an expert in your field. Limited or specialist products/services means buyers expect to pay more and are willing to go the extra mile to get it. What you're offering is special. Your prospects' price resistance is negligible.
- Considerably reduced competition – better chance of ranking higher naturally and through paid advertising. Additionally, existing competitors within small niches sometimes have only a basic understanding of SEO and marketing their business, which gives you an added advantage over them.
- Significantly cut your marketing costs – you won't be mass producing general ads for a wider audience; you'll be zeroing in on your target market with pin-point precise marketing. You'll be marketing to qualified prospects who have a special interest in your offering.
- Be even more unique and tailor your product/s or build a special package that caters for your target market. You can be more creative and competitive with your offering as a niche marketer.
- It's much easier for you to roll with new trends and change your site to market the latest and greatest to your focus market.
- The more unique your offering means that general competition can ignore you and even turn into sources of referrals that send business your way.
- Long-term future business – catering to a specialized market helps to be more memorable to customers in future, whether they purchase straight away or not. If they don't, make sure you have an opt-in to catch them later and build your email list!
- Lastly, if you pick a niche that you're passionate about – you'll enjoy meaningful work and it'll be far more fulfilling. You'll also attract like-minded people that you'll enjoy dealing with.
As you can see, there are numerous advantages to being a niche marketer, and all of these perks add up to better return for your dollars, and hopefully more fun in doing it!
Why niche marketing can fail
Now that we know why niche marketing works, it's time to look at why it can also fail so you can be wary of the traps and avoid making expensive mistakes.
These are the main reasons why you can fail as a niche marketer:
- Marketing a product – not a niche. One of the tricks with niche marketing is to find the “market” first, then find or create an offering that serves the market. You're not starting with a product and then trying to find people interested in buying it.
- Choosing too large or too small a niche. If you don't specialize enough, you'll find you can't meet the needs of your prospective customers and they'll look elsewhere. Too small a segment means although you may build clientele and make money, it won't be a big enough slice of the pie to generate serious income.
- Lack of market research – not identifying what your market is looking for, where they're looking and how to talk to them. Without accurate information you're just taking a stab in the dark and you could be lucky, but mostly it'd be wasting your precious time (and money later).
- Not using the information you've researched properly. It's not what you've got – it's how you use it. Make the most of your hard work in researching your target market by speaking their language and marketing to them effectively. Otherwise you'll lose your money as well as research time.
- Lack of niche know-how and/or technical expertise. No one expects you to know everything there is to know. If you've got the niche expertise, but not the technical know-how (or vice versa) find someone who does. You can even partner up with someone who has complementing skills.
- Not providing value – if you don't offer valuable content and a solid reason for prospects to buy from you and customers to keep coming back – then they won't!
- Lack of willingness and the commitment to make it work. Niche marketing does require some time investment, analysis and work on your part – it's not a get rich quick scheme (although it does help to strike it lucky!)
- On that note – thinking short-term, rather than seeing the long-term “big picture”. While there may be trends within micro niches, you don't want to pick a niche that's just a trend if you want long-term gains. You're building a lasting business that you want to generate income for you in many years to come. Keep the mindset that you're investing in your own business (both money and time) for financial independence – permanently!
Niche marketing example
A friend of mine recently bought an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, more commonly known as a “staffy”.
Now if she looked up “dog training” in Google, she'd be bombarded with over 36 million natural results and untold pages of paid ads.
Google results for “dog training” with over 36 million sites competing..
Change the search to “staffy dog training” and the search results have reduced by over 98% to 653,000 organic search results and limited amounts of paid ads.
Search competition reduced by 98% by adding “staffy” in front of “dog training”.
Considering the staffy is just a pup at this point in time. Let's be more specific and say “staffy puppy training”.
Search competition reduced by another 97% by changing “dog” to “puppy”.
Now we see organic results of 16,300, with very few sponsored ad listings – not even filling page one in fact.
From the starting search results of 36,800,000 to the end results of 16,800, the total competition has reduced by literally 99.99%.
There are already two potential sub niches here – if you're doing one site anyway you could easily create two specialized sites for both adult and puppy Staffy/Staffordshire dogs. Alternatively, you could focus one site on both and then use your marketing to attract both types of searchers. After all, those puppies are going to grow up 🙂
This is just one simple example of drilling down from a wider market segment. There are millions more possibilities – your opportunities.
So put your thinking cap on. What are you passionate about? Then get out there and start looking for the niches within the larger niche.
If you don't have a particular area of expertise, think about what does interest you and what you'd like to learn more about. You can skill yourself up in that area and create a marketable knowledge bank at the same time.
Consider what skills friends or family could contribute. If your partner has their own secret super power, maybe they can take care of valuable content and you can be the business/project manager and coordinate everything else. This works especially well if you don't have a niche in mind for yourself.
You can also hire and outsource people to help you. Perhaps you're comfortable marketing and writing informative content, but don't know the first thing about setting up a web site. You can outsource this type of work which leaves you a lot more time to focus on what you enjoy doing.
Open up your favorite search engine (and your mind), and start by running search queries on some of your interests and delving down into some of the sub niches until you zero in on strong possibilities.
You can just use good old Google for this or use another type of search engine Quantcast, which is more specialized.
Quantcast is free and exceptionally good for niche-shopping, and even better for doing your market research afterwards.
Home screen of Quantcast, a free “niche” search engine.
You can start using Quantcast here.