Step 1: Draw the niche inspiration from your personal experience
Your personal taste, preferences, and needs put you in several sub-niches, making you a target for countless marketers. Take a look at your favorite brands and the online purchases you’ve made recently. Why did you choose the product from this company, and not from their competitors? What does your preferred brand offer that no one else does?
The Bad Dads Club clothing brand was started by hip dads who felt that the clothing and accessories available on the market did not represent their creative personalities and lifestyle.
Many stores offer custom t-shirts, but very few brands target dads who love motorcycles and tattoos. So if you’ve ever felt limited in the selection of products or services in a niche you belong to, take The Bad Dads Club example and fill that space.
Step 2: Identify your passions and interests
If you base your brand on something you believe in or are willing to fight for, your business will build itself.
StomaStoma was started by Nick and Darlene Abrams. Their son Owen was born prematurely and needed a breathing tube and feeding tube. During the long hospital stays, Nick noticed other families wearing inspiring t-shirts and felt it was a powerful way to bring people together.
A graphic designer himself, Nick soon started creating artwork for his family and friends. Other people started noticing his eye-catching designs, and today StomaStoma has become a close-knit community with families raising medically fragile children.
This is an example of a niche that shows how you can build your brand based on something that’s very personal to you or the people in your circle. If you’re emotionally invested in your brand, it will give you the strength to persevere when you face the challenges of running a business.
Step 3: Research your niche market
It used to be that small businesses had no way to compete with big companies. Things have changed, and with the right amount of SEO (search engine optimization) and dedication, you can make your way into your biggest competitor’s space.
Before launching or scaling your store, find out what’s already going on in the market. You might be unaware of a competitor your potential customers are already interested in, or you may discover the market you’re looking to enter is much more saturated than you expected.
Some competition is OK because it validates that there’s money to be made in this niche for you as well. Your competitors will keep you on your toes which in turn will help you improve the quality of your products or services.
To keep up with (and, eventually, get ahead of) the established brands in your niche, you need to figure out your competitive advantage—the thing that makes your product stand out from the rest. What problems can you solve better than your competitors? What’s unique about your approach?
Give people a reason to choose you. It might be product quality, outstanding customer service, or the number of products you offer—whatever it is customers in your niche care about the most.
SEO is the process of making your website rank higher in Google in order to bring in visitors. Here’s an outline of the basic metrics you should be looking at, as well as some great tools you can use in your research.
Search volume and search queries
Search volume is the estimated volume (or number) of searches for a particular keyword in a given timeframe, and it’s one of the most important metrics that can help you evaluate the interest in and profitability of your niche.
Don’t build what you think people want. Build what they ask for ?
Take advantage of the marketing tools out there and pinpoint what is it that people are searching for online. Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush will find the data behind Google searches. You can also use free tools like Answer the Public or Ubersuggest to find information about people’s search queries.
If the search volume is high, it means that there’s a lot of interest in this niche. A lot of interest also means a lot of potential—and a lot of competition. Ideally, you should target keywords with the search volume of 1,000 and higher.
If the search volume is very low, it doesn’t necessarily mean the niche doesn’t exist or it isn’t profitable. Low search volume may indicate that you’re about to be a pioneer in the niche. And if the product doesn’t exist, people don’t know how to search for it. Use this to your advantage as your business continues to scale—the search volume will increase with the popularity of your niche.
Online shoppers get very specific, so pay attention to long-tail keywords. “Rose gold custom bracelet” will see far fewer searches than “women’s jewelry”, but it’s a search performed by someone who knows exactly what accessory they want.
Trending niches and niche products
When choosing products for your online store, keep an eye on what’s trending. Don’t fall for a fad though—use Google trends to help you to find out which of your niche ideas have a steady and growing trend. If you want your store to thrive as fads change, focus it on something that has more staying power than a fidget spinner.
Step 4: Propose a solution to your niche audience’s problem
Now that you’ve done your research, you need to get a better understanding of what exactly your potential customers need.
Create your store for people, not products.
If you’re going to give your niche audience just another product, you may end up not getting anywhere. What you need to think about is how to solve their problems. Find the issues your target customers might be having, then determine whether you can actually provide a solution.
For a more in-depth look at your niche audience, explore forums on websites like Quora and Reddit related to your niche, then take a look at the discussions taking place. What questions are people asking? What problems do they have?
Iconspeak, a brand selling t-shirts for travelers, is a great example of a niche that has emerged from a problem-solving process. Iconspeak co-founders Georg and Florian came across the idea of their main product by accident.
During a trip across Southeast Asia, their motorbikes broke down frequently, and they had to find a way to communicate with the locals to find repair shops. Images speak a universal language, so they started drawing pictures of what they needed on paper. Georg and Florian realized that they kept reusing the drawings all the time, so they decided it would make more sense to put them on a t-shirt. And that’s how Iconspeak was born.
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