How to Find a Niche
Knowing how to find a niche is incredibly important when it comes to business and eCommerce is no different.
Your niche will directly influence how much your online store can earn and how big the market is to tap into. Getting this right is so crucial, and could literally be the difference between a side income or a full-time operation for you.
There are many factors that go into finding a niche, both for the industry that you want to get into and the related products to sell. Niche selection is among the top reasons for why most people who are new to eCommerce fail.
Choosing the wrong niche could be very costly depending on how much you invest in your online venture. Many people who are first starting out think that creating an online store and throwing money at it for advertising and promotion will instantly create a winning formula.
Sometimes this does actually work, but it’s either by sheer luck or amazing research and hard work put in. You can’t afford to count on getting lucky, so, you need to be willing to put in the work and find a solid niche to pursue.
This guide is designed to help you not only find a niche to get into, but also find some products you could sell online as well, so let’s get started.
How to Find a Niche: Money or Passion?
You’ve probably heard many people say that when you get into business, it should be about something you are truly interested in and passionate about.
We strongly agree with this, and it’s much more likely that you would be successful.
When you are really interested and passionate about something, you can talk about it and be involved with it constantly with minimal negativity involved. You just love it so much that it doesn’t even feel like work, and you can really put your heart and soul into it.
This feeling is directly transferable to business.
How many successful people in various industries have you seen who eat, sleep, and breathe what they do?
With passion comes drive and determination, the need to do things better than others, and the desire to provide the highest standard of what you do.
Now, there are plenty of people who are involved with businesses that they have little to no interest in.
Some of them may just be silent partners who provide financial backing in return for dividends, while others may just see the money-making potential and outsource and delegate all of the business operations while taking the end profits.
There are many reasons as to why Money and/or Passion could be your best option and it doesn’t always have to be one way or the other.
In an ideal world, you would have a niche that provides both money and passion for you.
This doesn’t always happen though, so you may have to find some middle ground to work with.
How to Find Your Niche in Business
Finding your niche in business isn’t as hard as you may think, but it could take some time and research to realize it.
Fire up a word processor on your computer or get out the notebook and draw up some tables. You want to put all of your thoughts and research into one place where you can see everything and analyze it.
1. Create a List
First, let’s start with the things that interest you the most and put them into one table. Try to be specific, and only generalize when you can’t narrow down an interest from the broad topic.
This is a list of broad topics that I’m interested in.
If I were to narrow them down as much as possible to my deepest interests, it would look like this.
I love dogs. I’ve had two different breeds as family members in my lifetime but really, I love all breeds and think dogs are just the best.
I can’t narrow this down anymore personally, but you may love Labradors and know a lot about them.
I also love sport, and follow many different leagues globally. But, I played tennis for over 15 years and have good technical and practical knowledge about the game as a result.
Food is awesome. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like food and simply eats because they have to.
I could narrow down a few cuisines that are my favorites, but I cook a lot and research recipes frequently so this wins it for me.
I got the travel bug a while ago when I went to South America on my own. I traveled over 9,000 km (5500 miles) by bus just in Argentina alone and seeing and experiencing the country this way instead of being holed up in luxury hotels and never venturing out of my comfort zone was life-changing. I love traveling in general, but backpacking is my absolute favorite form of doing it.
2. Creating a Second List
For this, correlate multiple points of data about what you do online.
Make a list what you most frequently visit out of:
Social Media Pages
Categorize those points of data into niches and see what you come up with.
Then, if you suddenly had $1000 to spend on whatever you want, how would you spend it?
Don’t consider expenses such as rent or repayments for something, think of something you would really love to buy.
Websites – News, Travel
Social Media Pages – Dogs, Travel
Online Stores – Software, Food
Don’t really want much at the moment, so I guess it would go towards a holiday somewhere.
3. Compare your two lists
You can probably tell that travel topped my list.
What topped yours?
Once you have narrowed down your niches to one or two main ones and you’re happy with doing something with it, you will then need to find a sub-niche for your business.
Finding a Sub Niche for Business
You may be wondering why you need to narrow down your niche even more since you just found one. Well, your niche is still very broad.
My niche came back as travel.
That’s great, but what do I sell online related to travel?
Could work, there’s plenty of “general” stores that just cater to the whole niche.
If you want to do this, that’s fine and there’s nothing wrong will having an all-in-one general store. It may be harder to promote and rank in search engines though because the other general stores would typically be giants like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.
Go look at product validation, because you can’t just throw up a website with every type of product in your niche and expect to make money. This takes research too.
Narrowing down your niche enables you to market to people who have very specific interests.
If I were to create a general travel store, I would have to appeal to the masses of people who may be interested in camping, hiking, canoeing, etc.
This large audience is a lot harder to market to, and they would generally not be interested in other things that I sell.
If I narrow down what part of travel I want to cater to, my audience would be highly interested in virtually everything I sell and I could also laser target my marketing efforts to these people.
How to Find a Niche
Before you actually start trying to find a niche, you need to know how to find them.
This involves using what’s known as Keywords.
A keyword is a search phrase, so anything that gets typed into Google is a keyword.
“buy bird cages”, “chinese restaurants near me”, “what is the thing called that you put your groceries on” – All keywords.
Keywords are an extremely important part of search engine optimization and without selecting good ones you will struggle to rank your website.
Obviously, Google is basically the worlds largest Q&A database, so people search for things like this all the time.
Keywords are super important because they can help you determine if there’s a market for what you find and the potential search engine optimization opportunities to gain organic traffic later on.
We recommend you install Keywords Everywhere for Chrome or Firefox and use this free tool to generate some keywords.
With this tool, enter in the main keyword for your niche.
I mentioned before that I like backpacking, so I’ve gone with that.
Look at the bottom of the search results and you will see monthly search volumes next to the keywords.
Now I can see which keywords this tool considers to be the most popular by Google search volume.
This tool estimates that “backpacking jordan” gets searched on average 27,000 times per month on Google.
Before performing additional research, which is necessary, I can already see a few potential opportunities here.
The keywords “backpacking jordan”, “backpacking thailand”, “backpacking europe”, “backpacking indonesia”, and “backpacking checklist” would be fantastic for a content marketing strategy because I could write blog posts about those highly searched topics.
I can also see a few products on that list too, such as “backpacking tents”, “backpacking rucksack”, “backpacking backpacks”, “backpacking chair”, and “backpacking stove”.
To me, this is worth looking deeper into to see if I could find a niche out of this.
You can also search for those terms individually as well to see what keywords show up.
Let’s go with “backpacking gear”.
I’ve looked through the keywords and can now see that “ultralight” backpacking gear is frequently searched.
I could go for a micro niche here and specialize in just Ultralight Backpacking Gear.
Looks like blog posts about a checklist and essentials would be good to include as well.
Amazingly, it looks like I could combine my love of dogs and backpacking into one here.
That last keyword on the list is “backpacking gear for dogs”.
This would super micro niche. It’s pretty hard to get much more specific and narrowed down than that. Although it only gets 390 searches a month, so I wouldn’t choose this as my main target keyword as it’s just too low.
Ideally, your main target keyword should have a minimum of 1,000 searches per month. A higher search volume is of course better when it comes to potential traffic, but it’s generally a lot harder to rank for because of the increased competition.
This is why you need to find some middle ground. There’s no point targeting a keyword with 100,000 monthly searches if the search results are dominated by big national and global brands; you will never compete with their marketing budgets.
With search volumes under 1,000 per month, those keywords can be used for your products if they’re buying keywords. The keywords you select for your products can have any search volume and you would be basing your criteria on competition rather than volume.
The main keyword for your website should always have at least 1,000 monthly searches otherwise you most likely won’t see any decent search engine traffic and would need to focus on other areas of marketing such as paid advertising.
With the Keywords Everywhere extension installed, you will notice that your Google searches now display search volumes as well.
Google “backpacking gear” and scroll down to the bottom of the page where the related searches are.
Nice. I can see even more keywords that may be worth targeting for SEO later on and Ultralight backpacking gear appears again.
There’s actually a market for it. Who knew!
Compile and categorize your list of keywords and see what you come up with.
Be sure to find keywords which are eCommerce related and if possible some keywords which can be used for content marketing.
Next, you can check the ranking competition of your chosen keywords using a tool called KWFinder. You can type in your chosen keywords and it will tell you how competitive it thinks it is to rank for.
It will display a score out of 100, with that being the most competitive and Zero having no competition. If you get a score of 40 or more for a specific keyword then you’re looking at some decent competition at least and would have to invest money into ranking your website.
You may have already found a niche by now and a good list of keywords.
We would recommend you keep reading though because you might find some more keywords or some products you haven’t thought of.
Where to Find Niches?
Before we dive into where you can find profitable niche markets, we will preface this by saying that you should know the difference between Evergreen and Trending before you make a decision about what your niche will be.
These are things that don’t change much and people always have an interest in.
Think health, fitness, sport, business, etc.
These are things that rise in popularity fast, but then come crashing down.
Trending niches can be extremely profitable while they last, but you have to get in and get out at the right time. This is hard to pick and requires a budget since you’re entering a niche with established players but the window for making money is short. You don’t have to think too far back to remember the hoverboard craze and all the businesses that opened and promptly busted shortly after.
Evergreen is where it’s at.
People are always going to want to get fit, lose weight, start a business, make money, play sport, etc.
Amazon Category Pages
Amazon is great for niche research.
They have nicely categorized and sub-categorized things for you to analyze.
See the list that starts from Books & Audible and goes down to Automotive & Industrial in the screenshot?
All of those categories open up into sub-categories.
In these subcategories, you can search even deeper and really narrow down your niche.
Amazon can be a goldmine for finding niche ideas and you should check these ideas on Google as well. This is because while something may be hugely popular on Amazon and you will never be able to compete selling there, the competition on Google may be far less and even prime for the taking.
There’s more than one way to promote a website, so check everything in case there are untapped niche markets waiting for you.
Here, Men’s Grooming and Luxury Beauty stand out as sub-niches of Beauty and Health.
Let’s dig deeper into the first one and click on Men’s Grooming.
At this point, you may decide to open an online store in the Men’s Grooming niche specializing in shavers.
Amazon has even given you some popular types of products which get purchased and you could have categories for Manual Shavers, Electric Shavers, Groomers & Trimmers, Shave Creams and Gels, Aftershaves, and Accessories.
By clicking around this category a bit more, you can also see more opportunities for selling such as Hair Removal, Razors & Blades, and Beards & Mustache Care.
This tool is specifically for Amazon, but Jungle Scout is amazing for performing niche research on this platform and you may find a few niche markets as a result.
Google Trends is a tool obviously created by Google which shows you how popular keywords are over time. You can type in some keywords that you gathered from your previous analysis and see how popular it is.
This is what evergreen looks like.
Ok, seems pretty steady and consistent. I think those dips may be seasonal rather than overall popularity. Let’s scroll down a bit.
Now we can see the country demographics of people who search for this keyword.
3 of the top 4 countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, while the tiny in population by comparison nation of Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere.
Based on this, I would say that there’s a certain time in the year when the 3 northern nations are less inclined to want to go backpacking, hence the big search decline every year.
I would still consider this to be a decent niche.
People love to travel and backpacking is very popular to do. There aren’t too many things that could happen for peoples interest to decline in backpacking. As long as it’s possible to do and people have the money, they will do it.
Keep in mind that I just searched for “backpacking gear”, and haven’t researched all the other potential products I could sell at this point such as tents, chairs, stoves, etc.
Google Trends is also great because they show you the popularity of the keyword in certain countries. So based on this search above, I could safely think that when it comes to marketing my website that I should target the USA, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom to get the most sales.
If you think you have found a niche market to pursue from performing the above then it’s time validate it.
You could have found some nice keywords with decent search volume and seen a few products that you could sell too. Well, you will need to study the competition and then analyze its potential first so you can be sure you’ve found a winner.
Study The Competition
We saw before that “backpacking tents” was on the list of keywords. I searched that and found this keyword below and Googled it.
That site that appears in the featured snippet box is actually an affiliate website.
This means that when someone visits that website and clicks on the product links, it redirects them to an eCommerce website and if they buy something, that site in the snippet box will receive a commission.
This site is actually ranking above the website they are referring traffic to, and they have some in-depth content and good SEO.
If I were to rank on Google for this keyword, I would need to do a lot of content marketing and SEO to be competitive. Some of the related keywords indicate this as well. I can see quite a few websites with very lengthy and SEO optimized content.
I can also see, however, that the CPC for Google AdWords is pretty low at 0.46c, and I haven’t seen a great deal of other websites advertising either.
Quite a few of the websites in the top 10 search results are also review and affiliate websites, not eCommerce. Those websites generally wouldn’t spend money on paid ads and would rely on SEO, whereas an eCommerce site would bid on the keywords with buyer intent.
There’s still potential in this niche, and advertising campaigns on Google may be a good way to get traffic to an eCommerce store for this niche. Pair that with a bit of content marketing and social media marketing and you could drive some sales.
Think you have narrowed down your niche?
No one said this would be easy.
Now that you have gone through all of the previous stages, it’s time to do a final check to evaluate if your niche is worth pursuing or not.
It’s all well and good to think you have found a good niche, but your final point of validation will be the marketing potential of it.
After all, what good is an eCommerce website that can’t make any sales?
How many options do you have for marketing this niche?
- Do your keywords have a decent monthly search volume with ranking potential?
- What does the first page of Google look like?
- Are there many people on Facebook interested in it?
- How about other social networks?
- Are there influencers for this niche?
- How expensive would Google AdWords be?
- How about any form of advertising?
- Are there guest posting opportunities?
- How competitive is Google Shopping?
- Any other types of eCommerce marketing methods?
- Are there online communities such as forums and message boards?
The more boxes you can tick, the more validated your niche will be.
It’s not much good having a niche where Google competition is insane and the cost of advertising with AdWords or Facebook requires the GDP of a small nation if you don’t have the budget.
You could let it pass if there are minimal content marketing opportunities but plenty of online communities to tap into and a low cost of advertising.
Just because you can’t promote your website using one method, doesn’t mean you can’t promote it using another. Pinterest is actually very popular for eCommerce websites and a lot of retailers swear by it.
Weigh everything up and be absolutely sure you have checked everything and done a thorough analysis before deciding you have found a niche and are ready to take action.