The Internet has been around for a long time and continues to grow rapidly – in 1993, only around 1% of information exchanged through telecommunication was done online. By 2007, 97% of all telecommunicated information was carried through the Internet. For Internet marketers, this is good and bad news. While more people than ever are buying products online, niche markets are snatched up almost immediately.
This leaves you with two choices: fight back against big budget competitors, or find new Internet marketing niches to take advantage of before your competition sniffs them out. Luckily, finding these niche markets can be remarkably simple.
Stay Informed on the Latest Trends
Every new gadget, fad and service is your chance to catch a new niche market before it becomes saturated. Remember that, just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean that anyone has monetized the search query properly yet.
One quick way to find new niche markets is to use Google Trends. Keywords listed under “Hot Searches” can give you ideas about what people are looking for on any given day. Keep in mind, however, that there are some dangers of using this strategy:
- Just because a keyword is popular doesn’t mean that it will stay popular for long.
- Most trending keywords are not niche markets at all, but news based queries.
- Google Trends is, of course, unpredictable.
You can also follow technology and business blogs to stay up to date on new gadgets as they hit the marketplace. Technology blogs like Tech Crunch are frequently updated, making it easy to learn about the very latest products (which could become niche markets for you).
Tech Crunch also has high traffic volumes, so you must be quick when you find a good niche market. Even so, staying current with trends helps you enter new niche markets early. If you get in early on the right niche, you can take advantage of a demand spike before the competition catches up.
Discover a New Niche Market From Scratch
There’s no topic in the world that can’t be monetized, and you can choose a topic that interests you, then narrow it down into a profitable niche. Start with a broad topic, like technology, and split it into a few smaller categories:
- Digital entertainment
Next, brainstorm a list of even smaller categories, based on your previous choices. For example, you might decide on wireless internet providers as a niche market within “communications” or durable gaming laptops within “computers.” It takes some practice, but discovering niche markets by narrowing down your interests is the best way to ensure that you come up with ideas about which you’ll be passionate.
Perform Keyword Research Using Adwords
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is one of the Internet marketer’s best tools for researching new niche markets and determining if there is enough traffic to make a keyword profitable. When using Adwords, there are several things to which you should pay attention:
- The amount of global traffic for a keyword phrase.
- How much competition that keyword phrase has.
- How many relevant keyword phrases there are attached to your original.
But perhaps the most powerful part of Adwords for niche marketers (and the most forgotten) is the categories tool on the left side of the page. Simply choose one of the categories and perform a search without entering any keywords, and you will get the most searched keywords for that category.
For example, clicking on “Cartoons” under the “Arts and Entertainment” category shows that the term “spongebob games” receives 673,000 searches per month and has very low competition (as of August 10th, 2011).
When you use this tool, remember to switch the “Match Types” section from “Broad” to “Exact.” The traffic numbers are more reliable when you use the “exact” query. Remember also that the keyword tool is only an estimate of traffic numbers. It is not a perfect tool.
Identify Actionable Keyword Phrases
It’s important to remember that not all searches are performed by people who are looking to buy anything at all. Consider the previous example of “spongebob games.” The majority of these searchers are probably looking for fun game ideas for their kids, online games involving SpongeBob, or general SpongeBob information.
Get into the mindset of the person performing each search. When someone types the phrase “spongebob games” into Google, there are a few different things that person could be looking for. Here are just a few examples:
- Find ideas for Christmas/birthday presents.
- Cheap or micro-transaction games.
- Free flash games.
What you want to find are actionable search phrases. Search phrases that include words like “buy,” “get,” and “order” are prime terms. When you try using Adwords to search for “buy spongebob games,” the tool shows that there are no searches for that specific term. This doesn’t mean the general “spongebob games” term is worthless, but it is something to note.
Satisfy a Need
Some of the best niche market ideas come from marketers identifying a need and fulfilling that need. You can scour forums to see what problems people are having, and use your products and services to address that problem. For example, you might notice that a recent RC car is getting buzz for defective tires, so you start a website that sells RC car replacement tires. This is a great way to leverage problems with an existing product for your own gain.
On the other hand, you might find a problem that you can address with a “new” product, like a list of websites that accept U.S. poker players (your affiliate relationships) or a series of educational videos from the public domain that address a popular problem in the news.
In the end, you can’t expect to find a new Internet marketing niche that is profitable every time. You have to watch trends and technology news carefully to find untapped revenue potential. But even with the Internet as large as it is today, there are always profitable Internet marketing niches available. It just takes a little patience and a lot of dedication to strike gold.