I love the advice referred to in the classic KISS acronym: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Simplicity is one of the most appealing attributes of designing a business that provides a product or service to a niche market. The “niche” does a lot of the “defining” for you. If you’ll allow me a quick analogy, selling to a niche market is like you are trying to hit a bull’s eye with a bow and arrow but the target has been moved in really close.
But, you need to be a good niche market finder to discover these little gems. So let’s look at some strategies you can use. Some of these can be seen as training methods to get your mind into a place where it will begin to recognize niche market opportunities.
Long-tail keywords. If you’re focusing on a business that will be primarily online, then it’s often the case that a long-tail keyword equals a niche market. There are some good free long-tail keyword generating resources on the Internet. You’ll need to scroll through a lot of irrelevant keywords to find the few hidden gems.
After you identify some long-tail keywords that you believe could be turned into a viable niche market enterprise, you need to gauge the online competition for the keyword(s). Since this is probably the most popular way to find a niche market idea, the competition can be fierce.
Products that are adapted. Do you know any product that gets specially adapted before it is used in a specific industry? This is an off-the-wall example, but it illustrates the point: Baseball and softball players spend a lot of time “breaking in” new mitts. If someone sold “pre-aged” mitts, they might be able to make a small fortune. (They sell pre-aged jeans for big money today, so this idea isn’t completely crazy!)
Talk to other people in business and see if they buy any products that they have to “tweak” to make them ideal for their use; that will put you on the road to becoming an expert niche market finder.
Adapt products, services, or marketing to appeal to a specific market. This is a way to “reverse engineer” the previous tip. Study the smaller groups that buy a general product or service and find a way to change it so it targets one or more of these smaller groups. For example, a girl I know who is having her first baby in a month or so canvassed her Facebook friends for a cleaning service recommendation. She wanted a professional “deep clean” before they bring the baby home. Maybe a special Baby-Prep Cleaning service with add-ons such as making the house baby safe would be a good business idea.
Start by studying different industries to get a feel for their customers. Here’s the cleaning services page on SBDCnet. It says a lot about the kinds of services and the demographics of cleaning service clients. A creative look at this, or any other industry, can give you ideas about niche market opportunities within bigger markets.
Holiday or seasonal niches. Carvel’s Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake and their Santa Claus cake – in case you haven’t noticed – are exactly the same shape. Adapting an existing product or service to better fit a special occasion can lead to a niche market.
Local twists. If you do long-tail keyword research, you’ll immediately discover that one of the most-used strategies is to connect a popular keyword to a location, such as “Albuquerque tuxedo rentals.”
You can discover local business opportunities this way, as well as Internet marketing “hooks.” For example, you might be able to generate some online ad revenue by purchasing and developing domains such as these:
- Albuquerque Alfa Romeo Repair
- Austin Alfa Romeo Repair
- Boston Alfa Romeo Repair
And, if none of those towns had a shop that specialized in repairing Alfa Romeos, that might be a business idea.
Finally, what I want you to get from this is a new way of thinking. Because self-preservation is part of our natural instincts, we’re able to easily identify negatives. I want you to develop an eye that identifies potential niche markets and the positives associated with them, because when you find a good one, making a profit is greatly simplified.