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Go Niche!

By Rosalind Gardner
Posted Monday, November 15, 2004

One way to guarantee failure of your Internet business is to try to be everything to everybody.

Unless your pockets are incredibly deep, the broadbrush or 'mall' approach won't work for your small business. The cost to advertise to people across a large number of interest categories is prohibitive; and untargetted, unfocused visitors don't buy products.

To attract focused, interested visitors, you yourself must become focused and interested in your subject matter.

First you pick a topic, and then refine it. And then you refine it some more. And some more.

Let's say that you're a sports enthusiast.

You know that millions of people are also interested in sports, and you'd be willing to bet that 'sports' would be a lucrative niche and search term to advertise, right? Well, you're right on the first count, but you'd lose money on second.

Let's check out the demand using Overture's search term suggestion tool:


Although Overture reported over 800,000 searches for the term 'sports' in April 2003, and you can have the top listing for the term for a 'mere' 21 cents, how many sales might you expect to generate with that popular term?

Not many!

Even if only one percent of that 800,000 searchers visited your site, and you had the top listing at twenty-one cents, my guess is that you just wasted $1,680.00. The term 'sports' is just too unspecific.

If while doing keyword research using the search term suggestion tool at Overture, you looked one line below 'sports', you'd see that the second entry is 'sports car' with more almost 200 hundred thousand searches, or one quarter of all the searches that included the term 'sports'.

The key is to find what people want, and then give it to them. Simple, eh?

So let's take your interest in sports a step further and define it as particular interest in the spectator sports; baseball, football, soccer and hockey.

How about sports trading cards? They're small to store as inventory and inexpensive to ship, which makes them a good mail order product.

A quick peek at Overture reveals that searches in April 2003 for 'baseball cards' exceeded 42,000, 'sport cards' had 10,338 queries and 'sports memorabilia' was searched for 10,649 times.

Come up with a list of highly targeted keywords and you'll soon reach that lofty number of 800,000 .... but all of whom have a specific focus, and a PROVEN interest in your product.

Set yourself apart even further.

Rather than competing directly with ten or twenty advertisers at Overture who also sell trading cards, you could write a report or small ebook called "Collectors Secrets Revealed: How to Make a Fortune with Sports Trading Cards". Not only would you sell the report from your own site, you could also joint venture with some of those other advertisers and have them promote your report on their sites. Everybody wins!

After the ball is rolling on your sports card trading site, it's time to build another niche site in a non-competing topic. And then another. The key to success for small online businesses is to build a number of highly targeted sites across a diverse array of topics. Therefore, if one topic experiences a seasonal or market-induced drop in traffic, the others will continue to generate income.

Yes, the niche marketing method requires somewhat more effort than building one site with a hundred banners, but it's also the method that makes a profit. Either way takes work - you might as well make your work profitable.

About the Author
Rosalind is a recognized expert of affiliate marketing. Her recently released ebook, the "Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 Last Year Selling Other People's Products Online" is receiving rave reviews throughout the I-marketing community. Check it out at: (


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