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How Do You Choose a Profitable Niche?

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It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

This week I asked our panel of experts a question that I received from one of my blog readers who answered the questions in my “How Can I Help You? Questionnaire” …

“If you were going to start over in a new niche
(not internet marketing or business related)
– how would you choose which niche?
Also, how would you know that it would be profitable before jumping in?”

I think you'll find the answers this week interesting and hopefully inspiring.


 

Dr. Mani of MoneyPowerWisdom.com says:

That's easy (and topical) for me just now – because I've been doing exactly that lately, and outlined a detailed plan for my own reference as I went through the steps I've been teaching others for many years!

About choosing a niche, I'd start with these things:

  • identify MY passion (because I'll have to work the niche for a long time, and I won't do it unless I love what I'm doing!)
  • assess THEIR demand for this information/entertainment (because without an eager audience, a niche cannot be profitable)
  • evaluate the PAIN that people in the niche are experiencing, and seeking relief from
  • see if I can offer (or source) such a SOLUTION based on my own experiene/expertise, or access to others who have it
  • estimate how easy it will be to REACH my ideal prospect with my marketing message
  • decide if there's enough paying POTENTIAL in the niche (are people already spending money, how much, and on what)

That's the bare-bones outline, of course.

You can observe the process in action if you follow what I'm doing with my new project over at my Money.Power.Wisdom blog by clicking on the link by my name – where I'm teaching my ‘new' audience how to live their dreams! 🙂


 

Alice Seba of Contentrix says:

I think before embarking on any niche as a business, it would have to meet 3 criteria:

1. I have some interest in the topic. While I certainly have writers and others on hand that could help me in just about any niche, I have to be interested and have some understanding of it, or I wouldn't be able to sustain it for long. I need to be able to understand what direction we should be moving and actually care about it. I don't really believe in the mantra, “take your passion and make it your business” because not all passions make good business. I also think that turning a passion into a business can drain your passion. So, being somewhere in the middle where it's interesting and can keep my focus is favorable.

2. It has to be a reasonably deep niche that a lot can be done with it. I prefer not to scatter my marketing efforts across a ton of niches and while there are some wildly profitable shallow niches, it's not how I do business. I like to put full and complete dedication into things, grow them and seriously, keep selling more products to the same people. It's so easy to develop that trusting relationship by delivering great products and service…and then just continuing to help those that already trust you. Why work so hard to keep finding new customers?

3. It has to be profitable, which is obviously part of your question. How do we know if something can be profitable?

A profitable niche can be found when you see other products selling well in that market. That means looking at things like available ClickBank stats, affiliate network stats, long-term advertisers on Google, pay-per-click prices. In other words, seeing others who are already doing well there. I'd also start by building a list in the niche and testing out different products through affiliates links and seeing where it could take me. Creating a list doesn't require a lot of time or money investment and it's an ideal testing ground to see if things can work.


 

Shannon Cherry of S.A.L.E.S. System Formula says:

Interesting that this is the question this week, as one of my goals this year is to expand my profits into profitable niches.

And because I am ALWAYS trying to think of ways to ‘write off' stuff in my business, I just started a niche site called samoyedcareandtraining.com

In November, we got a Samoyed puppy named Maisie, so focusing on a site about her and her needs seems to fit the bill. Up since About mid-Dec, it's already making money… and that not kibble! Why is it working? Because this is a breed I love- as do thousands of others.

So my suggestion to others is to find a niche you are already involved in yourself. That way, not only will you make some money, but also be able to ‘write-off' many of your expenses.

I think a wine tasting site is next… then I can tell people I get to drink wine and get PAID for it.


Susanne Myers of AffiliateTreasureChest.com says:

When we are first starting out as affiliate or information marketers, it's so easy to pick just anything we're passionate about and build a website around it. We often find out later that the topic either isn't as popular as we thought it was going to be, or that people interested in it just aren't buying. It's certainly true for the first few websites I built. After quiet a bit of trial and error and some guidance from my mentors, I've come to realize that I need to keep two things in mind when first choosing a niche.

1) Is It Popular?
This is simply a matter of figuring out if people search quite a bit for the main keywords in this niche and if there are plenty of books, products and other websites in the market.

2) Does It Solve A Problem Or Entertain?
I find that the most profitable websites either solve a problem or entertain. A good example of an entertaining website would be a book or movie review site for example.

My favorite though is if I can help my readers solve a problem. Here are some examples of problems and niches that I've built successful websites in.

  • What Should I Cook Today? – Meal Planning Site
  • How Can I Get My Toddler Out Of Diapers? – Potty Training Site
  • How Can I Save Money? – Family Budgeting Site and Frugal Living Site
  • My Baby cries all night – A Baby Sleep Site

Other great niches are:

  • Headaches/ Migraines
  • Backpain
  • Finding Love (or getting back lost love)

Do you see how you can help them solve a problem?

Once I have a niche that I think solves a problem an shows some traffic potential, I like to submit it to a few more tests before diving in and building a site.

I don't look at all of these elements for each site, and will move forward even if a niche doesn't pass all the tests, but they are a good indicator and if you can't find the information or if your niche can't pass most of the tests, it's probably a good idea to drop it and look for a different market or even a slightly different niche within the same market.

Books And Magazines Test – Go to your local bookstore and see if you can find books and magazines for this niche. They can be a bit broader than the actual niche you go into. For example, you may be going into a “baby sleep” niche and there may not be a magazine specifically for that. You should however find baby books and baby magazines that include some articles or chapter on getting your baby to sleep.

The Walmart Test – I learned this one from Nicole. Ask yourself if your readers can buy the products you're offering at Walmart. If so, it's probably not something you can successfully sell online since it's just so much easier to buy it at your local store.

Google Ads – Google some of your main keywords and see if there are quite a few different Google ads on the search results page. If so, it's probably a viable market.

PLR Test – People who sell PLR are very good at finding profitable niches and topics since there will be quite a few website owners who would be interested in PLR articles and reports (and who can afford to buy them). Look if there are some PLR packs available in your niche at some of the quality PLR sites.


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

In my Weird Niche Wednesday posts, I've talked about some CRAZY niches. The funny thing is that I actually get search engine traffic for them… apparently people search for these things.

Not that traffic equals cash in all cases, but it is interesting how much bizarre traffic I do get from writing about these topics.

For instance, in just the first 17 days of this month, I've gotten traffic for each of the following phrases from the Search Engines…
(I linked to the individual blog post for each term so you can see why on earth that would happen.)

Obviously I'm being silly today and I am not suggesting that you put all your eggs into the cat butt niche, of course —  but that's because everyone else took all my answers. So, instead I defer to them. 🙂


Recommended Resource

Check out Susanne's Niche Research Packs if you're thinking of entering a new niche. She's done the research for you.

In each pack, you get…

  • Detailed niche description
  • Who your target market for this niche is
  • List of affiliate products available
  • 100 domain name ideas (plus list of modifiers for hundreds more)
  • Detailed keyword report for over 1000 keywords
  • 100 article and blog post ideas
  • 15 different author resource boxes
  • 2 different detailed marketing plans (beginner and advanced) with action steps to get you up and running right away.
  • List of available PLR products for this niche
  • Recommended tools and resources

Here's the link: Niche Research Packs


Recommended Resource #2: Free Webinar by Kevin Riley


Click on the arrow above to go to the page where you can listen. (You'll find this video free to listen to on that page.)


It’s Your Turn.

So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. Do you have any special tips for choosing a niche?  Any “oops I chose a stinker of a niche” stories to share? I’d love to hear your comments!

Warmly,
Nicole Dean

PS. I have created brandable ebooks from several of the previous Expert Brief columns that you can use to earn money by giving them away.

Here are a few of my favorite Expert Briefs:

0 Comments

  • TrafficColeman
    Reply

    First it has to be something I’m interested in so i can give 100% to it..its not hard work when you love what your marketing..once I hit the front page..then I know all my work has paid off..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Nicole
      Reply

      It’s interesting. I get bored if I try to force a niche. It may be something that someone else can totally take to the bank, but if I don’t really care — it’ll sit.

      Money is only part of a motivator to me. If I had to write about acne all day — meh. It wouldn’t get done.

      Funny how we rate passion vs. profit. See discussion below. 🙂

  • Leonora LaMantia
    Reply

    “I don’t really believe in the mantra, “take your passion and make it your business” because not all passions make good business. I also think that turning a passion into a business can drain your passion. So, being somewhere in the middle where it’s interesting and can keep my focus is favorable.”

    Not the kind of advice that one usually hears, but I think it makes a lot of sense. It made me recall how someone once told me that when something you love becomes your job, something goes out of it. Perhaps the solution is to find the right balance between interesting and profitable that works as a business, and that also gives you the freedom to pursue those highly interesting though not-very-profitable passions that have nothing to do with business.

    • Alice Seba
      Reply

      Hi Leonora – yeah, I think so. I have passions like family and movies…but they will never be part of my business. For example, people tell me I should start a movie review blog and I briefly had one, but it made movies less fun. Plus, movie reviews aren’t likely to be a really profitable topic unless you are a ridiculously popular site with ad and affiliate revenue. As I mentioned to Brian below, popularity isn’t what I am after.

      One place I think passion comes into play is having a passion for business itself. I love the process and I love growing my business…for that I have great passion!

      • Jason
        Reply

        Alice you have got great spirits and agree with your ideas. Family and business cannot go together instantly but you need to create a saturation between both of these.

    • Nicole Dean
      Reply

      I’ve been thinking about the passion thing.

      I can see it both ways, honestly. And, since I have lots of experience in a number of niches (as does Alice, of course), I’ll pipe in.

      On the one hand, I can look at lots of things that I love to do, but if I turned it into a business, it could easily become more than distasteful.

      For instance, I enjoy petting my puppies. But, if I were to have to do it for hours every day, and pet other people’s dogs who I may or may not like – and have to deal with feedback on HOW I was petting the dogs — all of a sudden it sounds horrible. (Yes, it’s silly, but I want to demonstrate my point with something as simple as petting a dog.)

      I also enjoy drinking wine. But, I would not enjoy writing a wine blog. That would take the fun out of just enjoying a bottle of wine with my mom. I’d start thinking too hard about it. Blah.

      I used to make baby bracelets for my daughter as a creative outlet for me. When I turned that into a business and started to make a good number of sales, I started to resent it. I closed up shop.

      Similarly, I’ve seen photographers, caterers, and graphic designers experience the same type of results.

      On the OTHER hand, though… if you’re already passionate about something and want to turn that into a business – it can be done, too, with brilliant results.

      Example: If you’re a passionate blogger and love to talk about all things related to your favorite college football team and would do it for free anyway (and you already researched and knew that there are ways to monetize your blog to make it profitable) – then it wouldn’t make sense to choose something else. I’d recommend that you go that route asap. Plus if you set yourself up as a business, some of your game tickets and expenses could be tax deductible. 😉 Double bonus! (That’s the huge side effect of turning a niche that you’re passionate about into a business.Tax deductions.)

      I’ve also entered niches where I knew nothing about them just because I knew they’d be profitable. It’s doable, but I normally lose interest in them pretty quickly and end up selling the sites down the road. Just think about all those people who set up “Mesotheleoma” websites back in 2007… I’ll bet most of them had no real interest in that topic. And, I’ll also bet that the majority of those sites have since closed down. I set up a Laser Hair Removal blog once. Yeah, it started to make money, but I had ZERO interest in the topic. lol. So, there’s something to be said for actually having some level of interest in your niche, too. 🙂

      So, that’s my opinion on it. Hope it helps!
      N

      • Dr.Mani
        Reply

        On the question of passion and business, I have a favorite quote to share:

        “Life’s too short to do the things you don’t want to or like!”

        When there are literally THOUSANDS of topics to build a business around, why choose one you are NOT passionate about?! Especially when, as it is likely, you’ll take a while before you start seeing success. Working for a long time on something you don’t care much about can soon feel like having your teeth pulled out – without anesthetic! 😉

        No, not ALL your passions can (or should) be monetized. But of those niches that you deem profitable, pick the ones you’re most passionate about – and you’ll have fun as you grow your business.

        My 2 cents 🙂

    • David
      Reply

      It does not have to be your passion to make it a business. If your are very good at something that is the thing to capitalize on. Some people try to make money in the business just because they think or heard that that particular business makes big bucks. And most of the time they fail. But if there is something you are passionate about and you try to make money out of it, you are 50% on the way to your success.

  • Brian Rogel
    Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    If we’re talking about blogging, I still really do believe it comes down to what you’re passionate about. Lets face it, to succeed as a blogger you have to eat, breathe, and live it. It’s in your blood. When you’re not writing, you’re networking, or researching, or planning, and then back to writing. It’s not even close to being a 9-5 job. Even more importantly you can hear passion coming right through the writing of talented authors and it makes all the difference. Think of the most successful bloggers in this industry, what they all share is a truly deep (as well as slightly unhealthy) addiction to what they write about.

    • Alice Seba
      Reply

      Hi Brian – I bet what you say is true. Some bloggers do knock themselves out trying to make it.

      I guess I approached the question from Nicole’s question about what is profitable. To me, a 24/7 blogging job isn’t likely to ever be profitable if I’m working for a buck or two an hour (or less for many, I’m sure). There is a very big difference between “popular” and “profitable”…I prefer the second, so I can enjoy my passions in my real life. 🙂

  • Tracy Chatman
    Reply

    The blogs are so helpful… my god i’ve learn so much from this one.. this kinda puts me in a deep mind set and cause me to really pay attention to my passion about things that i really dont mind spending alot of time to bring sucess .. Thank you very much.. Nicole

  • Mary Bernard
    Reply

    Really great insight here. I appreciate the different perspectives and the depth and breadth of experiences represented. Thanks!

  • Steven Sai
    Reply

    I’m a bit futuristic when it comes to this topic. I always choose topics that have the possibility to diversify or expand along the process, it’s more engaging and much interesting to spend more time on if that’s the case (ex. SEO blog -> Social Media -> Conversion Rate Optimization -> Affiliate marketing -> etc..).

    Putting up a blog is putting up a business, wherein you need to see a future in it. Start small but think big about its future, it has to be scalable in way in which you can see it as a future authority blog on its industry. Well, that’s just my opinion 🙂

    • Nicole
      Reply

      Business expansion potential is very important, as is making sure the business is something that you can sell down the road if you choose to.

      That’s why I don’t bother with Auto-blogging or putting up crap sites in volume. Who will want to buy it down the road?

      Smart. 🙂

  • Alex
    Reply

    I think the most crucial advice I have seen here is identifying your passions/interests.
    When starting out, I selected niches I didn’t have any interest in and failed because I couldn’t get motivated to work on the websites. Having a fairly strong interest in the niche is important to keep motivated since you will spend a lot of your time on the subject.

    • Nicole
      Reply

      They Psychology of Motivation is something that I’ve studied in college because I find it fascinating. I think people find me too “warm and fuzzy” when I talk about passion verses dollars and cents, but there are several parts that fit together to motivate a person to take an action.

      Money is only one of them.

      I’ve used this example before, but it’s one that makes sense to me.

      – I’ll walk across the street to help someone who dropped their wallet. Free. I’ll volunteer at the Humane Society. Free.

      – However, there are MANY things that I would not do for a million dollars. Hurt my children? No. Leave my husband? No.

      Money isn’t a motivator on its own. There have to be other factors to get a person to take action.

      So, to take action in your business – there must be something there other than money to make you work.

      Translation: I agree with your comment. lol!

      🙂 N

  • Richard
    Reply

    I think Alice is right when she says that you have to be interested in a subject to be able to write on it.

    If a writer doesn’t care about what they are writing, then there is no way that a reader will.

    • Nicole
      Reply

      While a writer can research and put together valuable, helpful information — you can definitely feel “heart” when a person cares about what they are writing.

  • Chuck
    Reply

    Sorry, but I just don’t have that many “passions”. LOL.

    When I did my first niche site, I picked something that I was thinking I should learn more about: dietary fiber

    I hired out the writing, built the site and built backlinks thru directory subs and some article subs. It took at least six months to see results (I wasn’t very focused about the backlinks), but over time the site has done quite well…I’ve seen some $40 days here and there…and the average click is probably less than 8 cents.

    So personally, I’m not sure that passion matters THAT much…and popularity and profitability should certainly be considered…but I don’t worry about them as much as others.

    Then again, I am not a list-builder, either. And I don’t mind having a decent number of sites in my stable.

    Just my two cents’ worth.

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