Researching Your Niche
This is an important stage, not to be skipped, because you want to find out if this niche will be profitable for you. Plus you are entering the beginning stages of product research as well.
Remember, in this stage, you especially want to know…
- Are other people passionate about your niche? If not, do they have a desperate problem they want to solve?
- Is the market big enough, but not so big you’ll have too much competition when you’re just starting out?
- Do the people in this niche spend money?
- What products are being successfully sold right now to this niche? Can you sell something similar? Can you improve it, give them something they want that all other products of their kind are currently lacking?
Let’s run through the steps for this important strategy.
Step 1 – Keyword research. Build a spreadsheet with the most common searched-for terms for your niche. Start with some basic keywords (i.e. if you were in the crafts niche, you would start with the word “crafts” and branch out from there)
Here are some good keyword tools to help you generate your starting list:
- http://www.kwbrowse.com – Good keyword visualization tool
- http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com – Free version of keyword tool Wordtracker
- http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/ – SeoTools, powered by Wordtracker
- http://www.goodkeywords.com – Free Windows software for finding keywords
- http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/keywords/ – Search engine keyword tracker & keyword ranking tool
- http://www.nichebotclassic.com – Still a great resource, also powered by Wordtracker
- http://www.keyworddiscovery.com – Paid or free trial
- https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal – Google’s free tool
There are MANY more keyword research tools out there. With the demise of Overture’s free service, many of them are still out there, but provide outdated or useless information. These are a good bunch to start with.
A couple more useful resources:
- http://www.terapeak.com – Researches eBay auctions over the last 30 days
- http://addictomatic.com – Research site that scrapes the web for keywords you specify
Step 2 – Discover your major competitors in this niche. Perform some Google searches for your main competitors and see who the advertisers are in the right-hand panel (i.e. Google Adwords advertisers).
Make a list of the top 10 competitors you will face (i.e. only those who sell similar products to what you are considering—for example, if you’re going to sell an info-product, ignore the ones with physical goods).
This is one gem for finding out if your market is hot. If companies are paying for advertising for similar products as yours, it’s a good indication they’re making money. If they weren’t, they could keep paying for ads. We’ll get into this in a little more detail, because there’s a better indicator I call my “magic window” that I’m going to reveal to you in a moment.
Step 3 – Research the top discussion forums and communities for your niche.
Do a search on Google for forums in your niche. For example, if your niche is freestyle Frisbee, you might do a search for “freestyle Frisbee forum” or “freestyle Frisbee discussion board” or “Frisbee discussion”.
Forums are a GREAT way to find out what your market wants. Sign up as a member to these forums and start by “lurking”. That is, just spend some time reading all the posts. Then when you feel more at ease with the group, introduce yourself and start asking questions. Tell them you’re considering buying one of your competitor’s products. Get their feedback. Ask them what they like and don’t like about it, etc.
Step 4 – What blogs do they read? Check out the top blogs in your target market by doing a search on:
Also check out the “blogrolls” at each of the blogs you visit and see who else they’re linking to. Make a list of the top 10 to 20 blogs or so here:
Step 5 – Check out YouTube.com and Google Video (http://video.google.com) and do a search for your keywords. See what videos come up. Are they marketing-related? Do they include a website address on it to learn more, where they’re selling a product or service?
Step 6 – Do a search on Google, Yahoo, and MSN and see who has the top rankings for your keywords
Step 7 – Other miscellaneous research. Search PRWeb.com and look for any press releases related to your market. Search EzineArticles.com and save the articles that are related to your market. Use Alexa.com and Compete.com to see which of your potential competitors are getting the most traffic. Search Google using your keywords and add “+ezine” or “+newsletter” at the end to find email newsletters.
Step 8 – Search clickbank.com and cj.com to see what products in your market are being sold and for how much.