Make Extra Money Part 2: Niche Selection

If you want to make money, help someone get healthy, wealthy or laid.

This section was quick.

Seriously, those three topics have been making people rich since the invention of rich.   Knowing that isn’t enough. If you want to make some money in the health niche, are you going to help people lose weight, add muscle, relieve stress, or reduce the symptoms of some unpleasant medical condition?   Those are called “sub-niches”.  (Side question: Viagra is a sub-niche of which topic?)

Still not enough.

If you’re going to offer a product to help lose weight, does it revolve around diet, exercise, or both?   For medical conditions, is it a way to soothe eczema, instructions for a diabetic diet, a cure for boils, or help with acne?  Those are micro-niches.

That’s where you want to be.  The “make money” niche is far too broad for anyone to effectively compete.  The “make money online” sub-niche is still crazy.  When you get to the “make money buying and selling websites” micro-niche, you’re in a territory that leaves room for competition, without costing thousands of dollars to get involved.

Remember that:  The more narrowly you define your niche market, the easier it is to compete. You can take that too far.  The “lose weight by eating nothing but onions, alfalfa, and imitation caramel sauce” micro-niche is probably too narrowly defined to have a market worth pursuing.  You need a micro-niche with buyers, preferably a lot of them.

Now the hard part.

How do you find a niche with a lot of potential customers?  Big companies pay millions of dollars every year to do that kind of market research.

Naturally, I recommend you spend millions of dollars on market research.

No?

Here’s the part where I make this entire series worth every penny you’ve paid.  Times 10.

Steal the research.

My favorite source of niche market research to steal is http://www.dummies.com/.    Click the link and notice all of the wonderful niches at the top of the page.  Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. spends millions of dollars to know what topics will be good sellers.  They’ve been doing this a long time. Trust their work.

Niche Research

Click for full-size image

You don’t have to concentrate on the topics I’ve helpfully highlighted, but they will make it easier for you.  Other niches can be profitable, too.

Golf is a great example.  Golfers spend money to play the game.  You don’t become a golfer without having some discretionary money to spend on it.   I’d recommend against consumer electronics.  There is a lot of competition for anything popular, and most of that is available for free.   If you choose to promote some high-end gear using your Amazon affiliate link, you’re still only looking at a 3% commission.

I like to stick to topics that people “need” an answer for, and can find that answer in ebook form, since I will be promoting a specific product.

With that in mind, pick a topic, then click one of the links to the actual titles for sale.   The “best selling titles” links are a gold mine. You can jump straight to the dummies store, if you’d like.

Of the topics above, here’s how I would narrow it down:

1.  Business and Careers. The bestsellers here are Quickbooks and home buying.  I’m not interested in either topic, so I’ll go into “More titles”.   Here, the “urgent” niches look like job hunting and dealing with horrible coworkers.  I’m also going to throw “writing copy” into the list because it’s something I have a hard time with.

Bestsellers

Bestsellers

2.  Health and Fitness. My first thought was to do a site on diabetic cooking, but the cooking niche is too competitive.  Childhood obesity, detox diets and back pain remedies strike me as worth pursuing.  I’m leaning towards back pain, because I have a bad back.  When you’ve thrown your back out, you’ve got nothing to do but lie on the couch and look for ways to make the pain stop.  That’s urgency.

3.  Personal Finance. The topics that look like good bets are foreclosures and bankruptcies.    These are topics that can cost thousands of dollars if you get them wrong.  I hate to promote a bankruptcy, but some people are out of choices.    Foreclosure defense seems like a good choice.   Losing your home comes with a sense of urgency, and helping people stay in their home makes me feel good.

4.  Relationships and Family. Of these topics, divorce is probably a good seller.  Dating advice definitely is.   I’m not going to detail either one of those niches here.  Divorce is depressing and sex, while fun, isn’t a topic I’m going to get into here.   I try to be family friendly, most of the time.    Weddings are great topic.  Brides are planning to spend money and there’s no shortage of resources to promote.

So, the niches I’ve chosen are:

  • Back pain
  • Bankruptcy
  • Conflict resolution at work
  • Detox diets
  • Fat kids
  • Foreclosure avoidance
  • Job hunting
  • Weddings
  • Writing copy

I won’t be building 9 niche sites in this series.    From here, I’m going to explore effective keywords/search terms and good products to support.  There’s no guarantee I’ll find a good product with an affiliate program for a niche I’ve chosen that has keywords that are both highly searched and low competition, so I’m giving myself alternatives.

For those of you following along at home, take some time to find 5-10 niches you’d be willing to promote.

The important things to consider are:

1. Does it make me feel dirty to promote it?

2. Will there be customers willing to spend money on it?

3.  Will those customers have an urgent need to solve a problem?

I’ve built sites that ignore #3, and they don’t perform nearly as well as those that consider it.  When I do niche sites, I promote a specific product.  It’s pure affiliate marketing, so customers willing to spend money are necessarily my target audience.

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  • 11 comments

    Comments

    1. this sounds interesting. Getting on to a niche area is the most important trick for entrepreneurs. I still haven;t got mine, though I am a finance blogger.

      One thing you can’t master many niche, you have to pick one

    2. Excellent article… Ive really been trying to diversify my revenue streams lately, and passive income is on my list. I have been attempting to optimize my advertising space on my blog.

    3. This is very interesting and I would like to see how this turns out.

      I would love to have a passive stream of income, but I guess everybody wants this.:)
      Good luck.

    4. Great article. My favourite part was “does it make me feel dirty to promote it?”

      I think that is the best sensor.

    5. Great advice. I’ve done a little bit of niche marketing and my greatest successes by far came from solving a problem, just as you’ve suggested.

    6. Great article once again. I plan on creating two more niche sites this year.

    7. This is genius insight, thank you for the thought on going to the “dummies” website. I plan on starting two niche sites this year, and they both fit your criteria!

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