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Choosing profitable niches can seem like voodoo…
especially if you’ve picked a bad niche before.
To mere mortals like us, those who find great niches with lots of profit and low competition often look like they have the Midas Touch.
But here’s the thing…
…sniffing out good niches to get into is a skill easily mastered.
And it gets better:
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to identify profitable niches that are on the up, quickly and easily, using 100% FREE tools.
Then let’s do this!
- 1 A step by step guide to finding profitable niches with low competition
- 2 What is a niche?
- 3 Niche examples
- 4 Why it’s best to focus on a specific niche
- 5 Don’t make this mistake when choosing your niche…
- 6 Create your own niche
- 7 Examples of niche products
- 8 How to find profitable niches
- 9 Using Google Trends to Identify Good Niches
- 10 How to gauge market demand with Google Trends
- 11 How to check the competitiveness of a niche
- 12 4 Ways to quickly gauge market demand (for FREE)
- 13 Putting it all together
- 14 A best practice for finding profitable niches
- 15 How to choose a niche for affiliate marketing
A step by step guide to finding profitable niches with low competition
Before we dive into the how-to, let’s make sure we’re clear about the what.
What is a niche?
The art of niche picking starts by getting clear on this: what are niches? So let’s make sure we’re on the same page:
“A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.”
It’s a subset. A section. A part of.
Ok, so let’s look at some examples…
- PC gaming
- Classical guitar
- Paleo diet
PC gamers are a subset of the PC market. The entire PC market is made up of many groups, including:
- PC gamers
- hardware buffs
- networking (hardware)
- firewalls (security)
Classical guitar is a niche – or subset – of the music market, and Paleo diet is a niche of the diet industry.
So far so good. Let’s dig deeper.
Why it’s best to focus on a specific niche
Unless your product or service, or whatever you offer, has mass appeal (like toilet paper) then your best bet is almost always to narrow down your market selection as much as you can, down to a specific niche.
Let’s say you’re starting a blog about fashion…
…fashion is a HUGE industry made up of many subsets (niches). If you’re writing for the entire industry, your blog is likely to have little to no appeal to anybody.
On the other hand, if you blog only about a specific group within the fashion industry – let’s say Goths – then your blog (as long as your content is useful or entertaining to your niche) can have a good chance of thriving in that niche.
That’s why it’s almost always best to focus on a niche.
Don’t make this mistake when choosing your niche…
Sometimes one can get carried away searching for the most profitable niches just by the numbers, especially when you know how (as I’ll demonstrate shortly).
In many cases, the offer defines the niche.
Here’s what I mean:
Unless you are starting with a blank slate, you probably already have an idea of what you want to offer or sell or blog about. You have specific knowledge and unique experiences that make up what you know.
Allow me to demonstrate…
Let’s say you’re an expert in computer security.
Arguably, the most profitable niche in the PC industry is gaming (although that’s not exactly what you’d call low competition). Typically, gamers spend money on expensive hardware to build monster PCs that can run up-to-date, resource-intensive games.
But if security is your bag… then what are you going to be talking to gamers about?
What you know about has, in this case, defined your niche. In other words, talk to people who want to know about security.
As they say: horse before cart.
Still, all is not lost. If your knowledge is pinning you down to a specific niche that you’re not so keen on, there is a powerful strategy you can employ:
Niche selection is a valuable skill. If you want to master this, check out my course Perfect Niche Selection here.
Create your own niche
This is as powerful as it gets – when it works.
At one point, there were no dating books for men. That is until a marketer came along and created a product for that niche.
- the market (or parent group) is dating
- the subset is men who want to date
Back then, with zero competition, that was an extremely profitable niche. It still is, of course, but today it’s very competitive.
In our example, the expert computer security person could create a new niche: PC security for gamers.
But not so fast…
Just because you create a brand new niche does not mean that it will be a profitable niche. In fact, if it’s new it’s untested… so you can’t know if it’s profitable until you test it.
The reality is that, almost always, when you create a niche, the needs needs to exist already. There are exceptions of course (think Coca Cola) but you have to tap into a need. The earlier example of dating books for men was a ‘niche waiting to happen’ because the need was there, there was just nobody serving it.
Also, note that the niche we just created is, by definition, a smaller subset of existing niches, which naturally downsizes the market.
Here’s what I mean by that:
- not every security-conscious PC owner is interested in gaming
- not every gamer is interested in PC security
Logically, you’d assume that all PC owners would be interested – at some level – in staying secure…
…hah. Not a chance.
Many people install a free antivirus and never think about security again.
My point is:
a niche is profitable only if the participants invest in niche-specific products.
Let’s look at some examples…
Examples of niche products
- iPhone case
- Improve your golf swing training
An iPhone case can only be used on a specific product (i.e. the iPhone model it was built to fit) and training on improving one’s golf swing is obviously specific to golfers.
Those products apply to very specific groups of people. Hence the term ‘niche product’.
In both cases, there is a lot of demand for each product, making these profitable niches.
OK, now let’s get into the how-to…
How to find profitable niches
There are 2 main ingredients that define profitable niches:
- passionate participants
- participants who invest in niche-specific products
Those are the magic ingredients.
What to avoid:
- markets that are passionate about the topic but don’t spend money regularly
- markets that are not passionate about the topic and don’t spend money regularly
I could add high competition niches to that list, but that would be doing you a disservice because even in highly competitive niches, somebody has to be the top dog…
… and that person could well be you.
Let’s keep moving…
1. Look for niche ideas
Finding niche business ideas (presuming you’re looking for niches that make money) is easy: they’re everywhere you look.
Think of your own hobbies and interests and the products or services that you consume. Those right there are niche-specific products that serve a niche.
Likewise, think about anybody you know and their interests, or look at everyone around you:
- the jogger that has a smartphone armband…
- the ‘prepper’ who just bought a Swiss army knife
- the camper who just bought some sleeping bags…
You can define the niche by reverse-engineering what people are buying. Look at the product and think about the market it serves:
- fitness (market)
- jogging (subset)
- survival (market)
- prepper (subset)
- outdoors (market)
- camping (subset)
So finding niche ideas is not an issue. Just look at subsets of people who are always buying accessories or tools for their hobby.
Remember the magic ingredients:
- willingness or ability to spend
2. Check if it’s a trending niche
This is where we get clever and go one step beyond most people’s market research.
It’s like this…
Once you identify your ideal niche, you need to know whether it’s on the up or on the down.
The last thing you want to do is invest a ton of time and money into an idea when the demand is actually tapering down.
So how do you do that?
Easy. With a free tool: Google Trends.
You can use Google trends to check whether your idea has ‘legs’.
Here are some rules of thumb:
- if there’s rising interest, you’re good to go
- if there’s stable interest, you’re good to go
- if interest is tapering down…
- ask yourself: is it a seasonal thing? If so, does interest rise predictably during specific months?
- if market demand is on the decline, stay away unless you have a good enough reason not to
Using Google Trends to Identify Good Niches
Here’s how I use this tool..
How to gauge market demand with Google Trends
By now, you’re seeing how all the pieces are starting to fall into place.
Here’s what we have so far:
- identify potential niche ideas (they’re everywhere)
- think about the people who make up that niche and ask:
- are they passionate about the topic?
- do they spend money regularly on products or services specific to the niche?
- check to see whether interest in this niche is rising, stable, seasonal, or falling
So far, so good…
You can see that all the pieces in this strategy are pretty simple and straight forward, and yet so many people fail when it comes to picking a decent niche (usually because they miss out key steps).
Talking of which, let’s look at the final piece:
Is competition good or bad?
Obviously, the holy grail is to find a low competition profitable niche. But that can be like finding a golden egg, unless it’s a brand new market with a rising trend and you’re lucky enough to get in early.
And let me just say…
… that’s not that difficult.These are fast times. And new opportunities pop up everywhere every day. You just have to keep your eyes open.Click To Tweet
Aside from that, competition is healthy in a good niche with decent enough demand. In fact, if there are no competitors… you have to ask yourself why.
Zero or very low competitors in a market that is mature or at least not brand new should set alarm bells ringing in your head.
So we’re looking for (at least) some competition. Enough to indicate that there is money to be made.Don't be put off by competitors. If the market is big enough, there's room for everybody as long as the demand is bigger than the supply.Click To Tweet
I dove into the iPhone case niche some years ago, despite everybody warning me that it was a saturated market. In Amazon (where I sold this product) there were over 2 million competitors at the time I entered that market.
And guess what happened?
I made money. My product sold well.
Because there are more people wanting to buy the product that there are people selling it.
The supply and demand equation works out.
You just need a good product and visibility.
So don’t be put off by competition alone because in many cases somebody else will step in and be profitable if you pass up the opportunity.
They call it being a small fish in a big pond. Here’s the way I look at this: if the pond is big, the small fish also gets to eat.
So let’s look now at how to dip our toe into the big pond and see what’s going on in there…
How to check the competitiveness of a niche
- do a Google search for the keyword or search term that you’re interested in and see if there are any paid ads
- do a search on Google using the Intitle operator to check how many pages there are (in Google’s index) that have your keyword of interest (for example, type into Google intitle: sleeping bags to see how many pages there are with titles with the words sleeping bags)
- if it’s a physical product, check Amazon’s best sellers to gauge demand (here how)
- if it’s a physical product, search for your keyword of interest and add “made by xyz” where xyz is one of the popular ecommerce platforms (e.g. Shopify)
Let’s expand on the above points:
- Paid ads: if you see ads when you search for your keyword, then that means that advertisers are paying to get clicks on those keywords. This usually means there’s money in the niche.
- The Intitle operator: this tells Google to filter out the results and show you only the sites that have your keyword in the title. This is a good indication of the level of competition. Keep in mind that not all competitors will have a good title, so the numbers will almost always be somewhat less than the actual number of competitors (but if some competitors are doing a bad job of crafting good titles, then don’t worry about them too much).
- Checking Amazon’s best sellers: this is easy enough. Here’s how to find out what’s selling on Amazon.
- Searching Google for your keyword + “by xyz” is a good way to find out how many sellers there are using platform xyz. This will show you the online stores that left the ‘powered by’ or ‘designed by’ footer text.
And now let’s see that those searches actually look like…
Example: using the Intitle operator
Example: searching for your keyword + “by Shopify”
Here’s a video walkthrough of the 4 methods:
4 Ways to quickly gauge market demand (for FREE)
Putting it all together
Now you have all the pieces for finding profitable niches. But let me tell you about one thing that’s easily missed…
A best practice for finding profitable niches
The fact that you want to be profitable defines the type of people we’re looking for to serve (i.e. spenders).
And this boils down to one thing:
- disposable income
If you choose a niche who’s participants don’t typically have disposable income, then you’re going to struggle to make a profit.
It’s that simple.
But what if you don’t have an offer of your own, and you’re not doing drop shipping? What if instead, you want to do affiliate marketing?
Let’s take a look at that…
How to choose a niche for affiliate marketing
The steps we just covered applies to affiliate marketers too.
When it comes to researching profitable niches for affiliate marketing, you can do your research in Clickbank.
Simply search for your keyword or product idea and then sort by popularity (items sold).
This will help you determine 2 things:
- whether there is a market for it (demand)
- how good that demand is (number of sales)
I hope you enjoyed this guide.
Niche selection is a valuable skill. If you want to master this, check out my course Perfect Niche Selection here.