There are many different types of products that you can sell in your store. While there have been people that have made a success with a very general product niche such as ‘sporting goods’ the majority of people cannot compete in a market saturated by big name brick-and-mortar companies that have been years (and millions of dollars) building their online presence. Most notably, Amazon is a company that pretty much blows everyone else out of the water on everything from electronics to clothing to just about every odd and end that you can imagine. Luckily, Amazon is so big that they are unable to offer one thing: niche expertise. That’s where your most viable marketing chances are.
What is Niche Marketing?
Niche marketing is the purposeful design of a website, company or organization dedicated to a product that a very small portion of the population desires. Items that are not niche items are those that are used by just about everyone. For example: shoes. Everyone in developed countries (and in most undeveloped countries as well) buys shoes and many of them buy them online. But there are so many shoe companies – many of them large corporations with huge online marketing budgets – that it would be almost impossible to compete in that particular field.
Niche marketing, on the other hand, is effective because there are very few people – and ideally almost no one – serving that particular need. For example, Tom’s Shoes could be thought of a niche marketing venture. When you buy a pair of Tom’s Shoes the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. This niche that was created was a charitable donation along with a pair of shoes. You could feel good about spending money there.
Of course, there are much more common types of niche marketing as well. For example, ballet slippers are much more refined niche items within the shoe industry. This is a well-balanced niche where there isn’t nearly as much competition (although still quite a bit) but also something that is in demand. An unsuccessful niche is one that is not being served by anyone but where the market is so small as to be unprofitable.
How to Find a Niche
If you want to do niche marketing successfully the first thing that you’re going to have to do is find a niche. The easiest way to find a niche that you will be able to compete it is not through market research or suggestions online, but rather, to find something that you are passionate about and then find a way to sell products or services related to that online. Someone who is dedicated to extreme sports might enjoy running a store that sells extreme sports equipment, books on extreme sports and other such products.
There is a definite benefit to finding a niche this way. One of the reasons that people choose to go with a niche website for the products they need rather than a big retailer that might save them money is that they desire the expertise that a niche website offers. For example: a retailer like Walmart or Amazon might not base their product inventory on what items are the top of the line or recommended by experts when it comes to a category like extreme sports, but a niche website run by someone who is an expert in the field probably will.
How to Market a Niche Website
There are several ways that you can market your niche website. The first is by choosing a niche that you can represent as an expert. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to be a complete expert in the niche when you begin, but it should start with you having a passion for the topic. You can learn what you need to know from that point and continue to improve your expertise over time.
The second thing that you’ll want to do to market your niche store is to begin to build a reputation for expertise. This means that you’ll need to publish content that can be attributed to you or your niche store that is considered expert advice within your field. Most of the time, this is done by creating a blog. Luckily, most e-stores already include the ability to create a blog right in your store’s admin area – probably because they see the value that having a blog brings to an eCommerce niche website.
Your blog posts should consist of expert advice about your niche that you know people will be searching for. Once you have established your expertise, it will be easier to get people to visit your store from the blog, and it will be easier to get those people to come back in the future. However, you still should do solid keyword research and maintain best SEO practices to get as much traffic as possible.
Another way that you can establish your expertise and drive traffic to your website is by answering questions or commenting on a forum related to your niche. Obviously, you want to make sure that you are allowed to put a link to your store in your signature or else you might not get very much benefit from all of the posting that you are doing on that forum. If you put your store name and link in your signature and you provide valuable content and advice within the forum, you are definitely going to drive traffic to your site, and those links will probably continue to drive traffic as long as the forum is active.
Of course, all of this is a lot of work if you have limited time. Writing blog posts is something that you can easily outsource as you don’t necessarily need to find someone who is an expert in your niche – just a quality freelance writer who will put in the time and do the research. As for forum posting, you probably want to do this yourself. You are building up a personality for yourself and your store and you want this personality to reflect you correctly.
Quick Checklist to Choosing a Niche Topic
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether or not a niche topic is viable.
- Is the price high enough to make decent money even on low sales volume?
- Are people making money in this niche?
- Is the competition professional or are they small, eCommerce sites like yours?
- Could you write 100 articles on the topic (or do the research to write 100 articles)?
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