Niche products are easier to sell than mainstream products — but how do you find the right niche?
If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you’ve probably been told (or learned the hard way, or both) that the more focused your message is, the easier it is to sell.
Along with that, if you’re able to focus really tightly on a specific niche, you’ll find that once you find buyers in that niche, it’s remarkably easy to sell to them.
Here’s the thing: When we’re shopping, we almost always buy after we say, “That’s exactly what I was looking for!”
The idea of picking a niche, sub-niche, sub-topic, or uniquely-targeted problem for your product is to cause that “exactly what I was looking for” reaction.
Can you sell things that aren’t a perfect fit, or aren’t what someone was looking for in the first place? Absolutely. In fact, the mainstream or generic markets are much bigger, and if you can tap them, they represent huge potential. However, 1: whenever you go mainstream instead of niche, you’re competing with the world’s best marketers, and 2: focusing on a niche is a much more reliable way to create consistent marketing winners.
(In fact, one of Dan Kennedy’s secret weapons, as I understand it, is to ultra-target and niche everything. So instead of selling a weight loss program generically, he goes market by market, target by target, and will re-brand the program as “weight loss for nurses,” “weight loss for teachers,” “weight loss for flight attendants,” and so on, based both on product fit and where existing customer data and testimonials show a concentration of interest and case studies. Sometimes overtly, sometimes more covert, he will target a market and make tweaks to 5% to 20% of the ads and product to make it apply, and do the same thing over and over again.)
With all this said, the question remains of how to find ideal niches, both for advertising and for specific product development.
I have three specific approaches you can follow. Some of these are more focused on finding a niche in the first place. Others, more on finding a unique sub-niche to target or unique problem to solve, once you’ve established a somewhat narrow target.
With that said, let’s dive in…
Ryan Levesque’s Ask book was, for good reason, one of the biggest successes in marketing books in the last couple years.
Ryan cracked the code on identifying a market’s unmet challenges and using that knowledge to generate more sales, both through better-targeted advertising, and through product creation.
At the very foundation is the question: “What’s the single most important question you have about XYZ?”
Using Ryan’s method, you can identify the problems, challenges, and issues hyper-responders are most bothered by. And by solving the problems and addressing the challenges, you are able to give them exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s the biggest challenge here: you basically have to know what market you’re after.
There’s an advantage here, as I believe you’re better-equipped to speak to a market if you pick it based off of something you have an inherent interest in up front.
The Ask Method will simply help you target the segment of the market who is hungry for solutions to problems the market hasn’t addressed yet — and tell you what those problems are for you to create and offer the solution.
But what if you’re still trying to discover what you’re looking to sell?
- The Amazon Method
This is borrowed from Jay Abraham, who I believe got it elsewhere. It’s passed around because it works.
There are two important parts to this method.
Part one relies on Amazon reviews, and helps you get to know your market. Including some of the unmet challenges Ryan was looking for in Ask.
The idea is that if you know a product you’d like to make, or information you’d like to sell, you can start browsing related products targeted at the same buyers on Amazon.
Once you find a product that’s similar, look through the reviews. In the best reviews, you’re looking for what people liked about the product as a measure of the minimum standards your competing product must meet. In the neutral reviews, you’re looking for the good things, but also the bad things that you want to do better on in your product. In the negative reviews, skip the irrelevant comments (like, “Amazon took forever to ship this”) and focus on the biggest challenges people had with the product.
Combine all that you learned to create specs for a product that will do better than the competition for their dissatisfied buyers, and be at least as good on all the features that everybody already loved.
(You can also use this method to get the language your prospects are using to talk about their unmet needs and frustrations, as well as the benefits they desire most!)
Part two will help you find targeted niches and sub-niches, using Amazon’s data.
Let’s say I want to write a book on investing (or sell information on the same topic). I simply type into Google, “amazon best sellers investing books.”
I see the second result is for best sellers on stock market investing, which may be a better fit for what I want to do.
Suddenly, I’m given a listing of all the most popular books on stock investing on Amazon.
All I need to do is browse here for unique subtopics (e.g. today’s top of the list is the book Automatic Income, about dividend investing) and I have a start for a popular sub-niche to focus on.
And finally, I can loop in the same review data used in part one above, if I want to really target some segment of the market that is dissatisfied with what they’re getting now.
- The Bookstore Method
One more route, and this one requires you getting out of your house, and down to your local big-box bookstore, such as a Barnes & Noble.
It’s especially relevant if you’re selling information, as bookstores are places where vast amounts of information are made available for sale, and most of their product decisions are based on what information buyers want.
This method also has two parts.
Part one is very similar to what you just learned about The Amazon Method. Namely, start wandering around the bookstore, looking for sections on topics of interest.
When you find a section, such as investing, look at all the books there. Look for topics that have a lot of books already published and for sale.
The novice mistake is to look and see 15 books on a topic and think, “I don’t want to compete.” But really, you do! There are 15 books on that topic, all available for sale at once, because buyers are buying a lot of books on that topic.
If you picked a topic people weren’t shopping for, it’d be hard to sell a lot of books — unless you were lucky enough to find hidden gold. But it’s much more reliable to find those topics where markets are already strong, and create something that meets that need.
You can even start to develop your content by picking up all those books, reading them quickly and taking notes about what they cover, and integrating and synthesizing their topics with your own fresh take.
Part two of The Bookstore Method takes advantage of the magazine rack that most bookstores still have.
Go to the magazine rack, and look for magazines on topics of interest. Again, more magazines mean more market on a topic.
When you find a niche with quite a few magazines, start leafing through them, starting at the back.
Look for direct response ads, with response coupons or website addresses that appear to track the source of customers.
Look for ads that appear across multiple magazines, telling you the marketer has created a winner.
Do this a few months in a row, and get even better data by tracking which ads are on repeat, signifying an even stronger winner.
These ads will frequently offer a product on a sub-topic of the magazine, and signify a responsive market by the fact that they’re there.
From here, you can use the other methods listed above to create your unique offering.
Research pays dividends!
No matter what you do, you’ll find that the better you research, the easier it will be to make the eventual sale.
By targeting your ads and your product to specific sub-niches and market needs, you’ll make your selling job easier, and likely multiply your eventual success.
And that’s a breakthrough!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,