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Choosing your Niche (or Target Market)?

One of the first things that many people do when starting a website that sets them up for failure, is to want to sell all products to everyone.  Although it’s easy to want anybody and everybody to buy any product you want to sell, you need to make sure you have a focused area of products being promoted.  That focused market is often referred to as a niche.  Basically, if you have a website that does not show it is focused on a particular niche, then visitors to that site will find it confusing or wonder if you actually know what you are doing.  When building a website, you need to know what you want to sell.  Maybe it’s sports memorabilia or baked goods.  Whatever your decision, keep it simple if you are just starting out.  Learn things the easy way before you start trying to build a gigantic website like eBay.

Although it may sound easy, picking a niche is actually a very complex decision.  Many new entrepreneurs don’t see the importance and rarely give it much thought.  However, this one decision defines the box that everything else has to be placed into.  You can’t decide to sell chickens, now, and later advertise cows.  It’s very counter productive.  Prospects need consistency on your part to consider you an expert in that field.  People rarely buy from just anyone.  They need to know, like and trust you, first.

It’s also important to think about how competitive your niche will be.  When building a website, it is imperative that you factor search engine optimization (SEO) into your decision as well.  You can buy traffic and send it to a website, but search engine traffic is free and brings in prospects of the highest quality.  Picking a name like Skype seems to be fashionable and cool, but that won’t help people or the search engines understand what your website is about.  The fancy names require much larger amounts of money to brand that kind of name into people’s brains.

Once you know what the type of products are that you want to sell, you need to determine who the perfect customer would be for that niche.  Fleshing out this targeted customer type to the point that it is a living breathing thing in your mind, will help you immensely.  First determine what characteristics the prospects can have, such as gender, job status, income level, etc.  These demographics will be helpful in narrowing down who you are advertising to in the future.  If you know a specific gender for your product it could help you realize that it is better to advertise in a woman’s magazine instead of a man’s magazine (or vice versa).  It can also help you think about what not to say to your niche.  Showing an advertisement that angers your niche or confuses them will not be very productive. You need to understand your niche well enough, that you can talk to them the right way and to be able to help them the way they need to be helped.

Once you have done that, you need to find out what problems that niche has and give them a solution to it.  Customers don’t actually buy products, they buy solutions to their problems or things that give them more of what they want.  People don’t buy ipods, they buy the ability to easily carry all their music with them.  Also research that niche to determine where the competition is falling short.  If you define your website around a solution to that one problem that no one else can fix, your website suddenly becomes very lucrative.  However, that niche has to be large enough to financially support your website as well.  One downfall of a website, is that not everyone uses the internet to purchase those solutions.  Keep that in mind, when picking your niche.

Once you’ve determined your niche, all the other pieces of the puzzle fall into place.  It will also eliminate the amount of time wasted in confusion.  You will be able to move forward much more easily once you have outlined your niche.  So have some fun playing around with various possibilities of products that you want to promote and make this defining decision of what your website’s main focus is going to be.