Last month, when speaking at the 2010 Ecommerce Summit someone asked me “If there was one piece of advice you would give to up and coming online sellers, what would it be?”
My answer to this question is always the same and it applies no matter what you sell or where you sell it.
Your best opportunity for creating a successful business on the Internet is to…
Find a niche and FOCUS.
- If you’re a jack of all trades, master of none, it’s time to find a niche!
- If you’re spreading yourself thinly between three different eBay stores and 12 different types of products and none of them are up and running profitably, it’s time to find a niche.
- If you’re selling information products on health and fitness, starting an eBay store that sells used computer parts and trying to monetize a green-cleaner website all at the same time, it’s time to find a niche and focus!
Over the years, in working with thousands of online sellers in11 different countries, selling in more than 2300 different niche markets, sub-niches and micro-niches – one common thread runs through the most successful businesses…
Each one is succeeding in a niche market.
You see, once you’ve identified a profitable niche to serve, you can monetize that niche many different ways. But without that niche identified you’ll find yourself chasing market after market, opportunity after opportunity, never making any traction or money.
Many would-be business owners find themselves dabbling in multiple niche markets, putting in 10% of their time and attention on each. But 10% effort in 10 different niche markets does not add up to a 100% income.
You need to first be 100% focused on serving a niche and maximize the monetization of that niche to enjoy a 100% income.
Because of the importance of this topic, I’m putting together a series here on my blog, showcasing some successful niche businesses and explaining why they work. Additionally I’ll be explaining how you can implement this in your business.
So let’s start first, by talking about 7 business reasons why you should find a niche and focus! (Note: There are many more reasons than this, but let’s start with 7.)
7 Reasons to Find a Niche and FOCUS
1. You can’t be everything to everybody. At first glance, this seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of business owners I see trying. This especially afflicts new Internet business owners, who see the internet business buffet and want to sample everything. The problem is that this sampling goes on long past “happy hour” and into the “main meal” – the point at which you should be building a business that is hearty, focused and nourishing to your bank account.
2. The money comes from knowing your market. What does your market want? What are their problems? What are they buying? How do they like to be marketed to? Where do they hang out? It takes time to really get to know your market. If you don’t know your market, you won’t know what to sell to them and how to sell it. If you sell baby products, how to make money with Google Adsense eBooks, and affiliate products for pomeranians, you won’t have enough time to find out about ANY of those markets. So you’ll throw a bunch of stuff up on the Internet and hope someone buys. And then they don’t. Contrast this to selling baby products, eBooks about parenting and affiliate products in the baby niche and now you’re cookin’!
By the way, I call this my Niche Monetizer Method™, but that’s a subject for a later post.
3. It takes money to monetize a niche. If you sell physical products, in order to find the products buyers want, get the best inventory and stock your store, you need to attend trade shows, read industry publications, purchase information on your niche. This alone could cost you several thousand dollars a year. You may attend the Sporting Goods Trade Show a couple times a year, subscribe to a couple sporting goods industry publications and consumer publications. You may make a few other buying trips during the year to source inventory.
4. Google loves themed, quality sites. This means a niche site with content, audio, video and products all geared toward achieving the same objective. Want to sell products in the juggling niche? Your site must not only have products, but also content to go with it. If you have a site that is not niche focused, creating a quality, themed site is impossible to do.
5. Become a destination site online. As a small to medium-sized business, you need to be a go-to destination in your site in your niche. A well optimized site, featuring the products and services that people want is the path to becoming a destination site online. If I’m a customer looking for a unique prom dress, I want to browse a site that specializes in prom dresses, with a depth of selection and a knowledgeable customer service staff. If I’m shopping an eBay store for a prom dress, I don’t want to be looking at running shoes and circular saws being displayed next to the pink frilly prom desk I’m looking at.
6. Branding for the big bucks. Focusing on a niche enables you to build a brand. Your logo, the look and feel of your store and website, your blog, all play an important role in building your brand online. In my upcoming blog series, I’ll show you some examples of online sellers who have built a strong brand – brands which is now getting people to sit up and take notice!
7. The number of hours you have in each day are limited, with a niche focus you leverage those hours. The Law of Attraction says “What you focus on expands.” Lisa’s Law of Action says “What you take action expands.” And the way to leverage your actions is to get more than one benefit from that action. For example, let’s say that you’re selling info products in the sizzling hot niche, in-city vegetable gardening. You write the eBook (or have it written), create some article marketing articles, identify your niche keywords and put together your Keyword Bank™ – you can now leverage all these actions into more advertising and marketing. The article marketing articles are now re-purposed as blog posts or tweets, your keywords are used to optimized your sales page, and the associated products you are selling on eBay. And your eBook becomes a stand-alone product or a bonus for the physical products you sell or your new home study course.
In the span of two days, you’ve leveraged the actions you’ve taken in one niche.
And of course, once you get the system down for monetizing one niche, then it’s lather, rinse, repeat for the next one!
Ask Yourself Today. “What is my niche?”
How about you? “What niche do you currently sell in?” or “What niche will you focus on?” The answer to that question is key to your next steps.
Throughout this blog series, I’ll be showcasing businesses who are monetizing in several different niche markets.
Coming up first in our series…
1. From the Variety Store Model to Rapid Niche Success we’ll look at an entrepreneur from Australia who started selling in the variety store model on eBay, but whose business really took off when he started focusing on a niche.
OMG! Lisa, you’ve hit a home run with this article. Nobody has ever said it more succinctly and thoroughly. Thanks…I’m still trying to discover that niche for myself.
Lisa, I’ve taken your advise and just concentrated on one niche. What I’m doing know is writting and writting short articles. I’m submitting them to E-zine article directory and when I have submitted 100 articles I’ll be a expert in my niche of (you got it) “walking”.
Is that right or are they leading me on?
The articles are about give or take about 300 to 350 words. So I’m just writting and writting about anything I can think of and walking.
Your guidance help me tremendously, and I want to thank you. I’m not stopping to listen to your good advise. One more thing, I’m not able to log on to your BBG site. Could you please advise me what should I do. It’s been about 2 1/2 weeks.
Frank Ferrari “the foot guy”
LISA I AM NEW IN THIS E-COMMERCE BUSINESS AND HAVE A LOT TO LEARN BEING A BUSINESS PERSON IN THE PAST I AM FINDING OUT THIS IS A WHOLE NEW GAME TO ME THANK GOD I AM A WORLDWIDE BRANDS MEMBER THEY HAVE HELP A LOT WITH THAT SAID I AM FINDING OUT UNDERSTANDING THAT WORD NICHE AND HOW IT WORKS IS HARD BUT I DO UNDERSTAND NOW THAT IF YOU DO NOT HAVE IT IT IS GOING TO BE VARY HARD TO MAKE IT IN THIS BUSINESS. SHOULD A PERSON HAVE A NICHE PRODUCT ONLY OR A WEBSITE THAT IS A NICHE OR BOTH
Things change so fast now, and having a niche and focus help you stay grounded in a rolling sea.
Ignore the noise and keep your focus on the goal…and if it slips off, just put it back where you choose.
Thanks for this series, Lisa… We all need to hear this!
You’re spot on with this post! This is a real eye opener. You’re absolutely correct about spreading yourself out too far & wide, and the problem this causes.
If you don’t have FOCUS in your business & you’re not selling in niche markets, it will be extremely difficult to succeed.
I can’t wait for the rest of your series!
I have one successful niche website now and I am looking for others.
The problem I am having is finding a niche that is not saturated.
Where do you suggest people look for niches and are there any good niche hunting software packages out there.
People tell me to look at things that I enjoy and make it a business. The problem is that everyone else is in those same markets.
My biggest problem is I feel like what I’m doing is not narrow enough. I completely agree that I am spreading myself way out and not able to focus on something in particular. I am able to find niche markets but then I don’t separate them as they seem to small by them self so then I kind of lump them together. I’m sure this is a big mistake but I am working doing what your post says above focus on one and worry about the rest later.
Of the markets you’re looking at, which ones are most in alignment with your skills, interests, expertise or experience?
If you find yourself trying to pick a niche market that is to broad – and you’re lost, going around and around in circles trying to find the “right” one – that usually means there is a block in that the niche market you are going after does not resonate with you.
Take a moment and go back to the source – you – and see which of the potential markets speak to you.
Then, determine if that market has sales potential. The combination of your interest + the niche market’s interest is what will result in a profitable business.
Thanks for all the great tips.