One of the first steps you need to take with starting an online business is how to find a profitable niche. A focused niche will help you quickly grow your audience, connect with advertisers, and concentrate your content creation and marketing efforts.
So whether you’re starting an e-commerce platform, a social media-based business, or a blog, you will need to choose your niche – not just any niche, but one that is profitable for your online business model. Read on to find out how to find a profitable niche for your online business.
What is an Online Business Niche?
By definition, a niche is the area of expertise your business will specialize in. The niche you choose will guide the products you sell, the partnerships you develop, the nature of your customers or audience, and the type of content you will produce.
Most online business owners will choose a broad niche category, then specialize within it. Here is an example. If you prefer fitness as your broad niche, you might choose to specialize in yoga, spinning, weight loss, or at-home workouts.
It is better to choose a small market that you can continue to serve repeatedly than to choose multiple niches. Picking multiple niches will spread you too thin, and you won’t do any of them well. That being said, not all niches will help your online business turn a profit. And not all of them will fit your interests and personality.
You want to choose a niche you are passionate about, as you will spend a lot of time and effort working within it. The most successful online businesses combine an entrepreneur's area of interest with a popular search topic people are willing to spend money on.
Why do Online Businesses Need a Niche?
Building your online business will be easier and faster by choosing a niche. The following are some benefits to choosing a niche.
- It will allow you to focus your business efforts on a single area
- Connect you with an audience that is interested in what you provide
- It allows you to streamline your advertising and marketing efforts
- It gives your online business a clear direction for content development or product sales
- It simplifies your marketing strategy by providing a clear message about what your business promotes and stands for
It’s easy to identify your customer base when your business focuses on a single niche. It will also give you a profile of your target customers to focus your marketing efforts. As you build your business, you move from a small niche website to becoming an expert. Once you’ve achieved expert status, prospective customers trust you, which is the key to turning a profit.
In contrast, if you create a website covering a wide range of topics and sell products from different niches, it’s challenging to target your customers. This requires a bigger budget, and it needs more complex advertising and SEO strategies to gain site traffic. Not narrowing your focus can spread you thin and drain your startup budget. This is one of the top reasons new businesses fail.
How to Find a Profitable Niche
There are three areas to think about when choosing a niche: passion, skill, and demand. We’ll talk about specific steps to selecting a niche further on but think about topics that make you passionate.
Don’t use money as your primary business motivator because eventually, it will lead to failure. Starting an online business about something you are genuinely passionate about will give you the drive to succeed long-term and push through tough times. Brainstorm a list of topics you are passionate about, and don’t censor yourself when making a list.
The second area to think about is a skill. People pay money to access the skills of others. Do you have any marketable skills? Are you good at something that is in high demand? You don’t have to be an expert – just have something you’re good at that will help other people.
Make another list of things you are good at or want to become good at. Again, don’t criticize yourself thinking you’re not good enough; just write it down.
The third area is demand. You need to know what people want and what they’re willing to pay for. Is there a problem that you can solve for others? Do you have a unique product?
Once you have your shortlist of ideas, it’s time to do some research. This is how you find out which ideas might be most profitable for your business.
Google Search Your Topic
This will give you an idea of how popular your idea is. You are looking for a popular topic in search engine results so that customers will find your website. Also, look for Google search keywords related to your niche and full-page results. If there are lots of websites, articles, blogs, and products related to your niche, this means there is a market full of potential customers.
Conduct Keyword Searches
Find a keyword resource like Answer the Public or Google AdWords Keyword Planner to search the same keywords you identified in your Google search. This will help you find popular search terms in your niche. You want to see keywords that have over 10,000 searches per month for the main topic and 50,000 searches per month for related but more specific keywords. These numbers indicate a strong niche.
Research Your Niche Offline
Check bookstores and magazine stands to determine if publications are covering your niche. If there is, you have likely found a niche with profit potential. Digital publications are also a good place for research.
Look at Affiliate Marketing Sites
Search an affiliate marketing site like Clickbank for products related to your niche. Lots of product availability means a large market.
Social Media Research
Look at various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to find hashtags and content related to your niche. Then see how widely used these hashtags are or how many times that content is shared. Again, popularity indicates the size of your market base.
When doing your research, search your broad niche topic and more specific areas in the niche. For example, search yoga or spin bikes rather than just fitness. This will help you narrow down your specific target. Then, when your research is completed, find the intersection between passion, skill, and demand. This means finding something in common on your passion and skills list that people will pay for.
If you’ve done your homework, you should by now have an idea of what niche will make your online business the most profitable. You should also have some ideas for what products to sell, the type of potential customers you will have, what keywords you need to use for SEO, and where to start growing your social media platform.
What are Indicators of an Excellent Online Business Niche?
When looking at how to find a profitable niche, you want to invest in a niche that’s trending upwards in the market. Ideally, you’ll find one that is just starting out in popularity so you can capitalize on it. Next, check that your chosen niche is still seeing an increase in sales volume. Choosing one that is starting to trend downwards can spell disaster for your online business. Google Trends is prefect for doing this research and its free.
Consistent Sales Volumes
Look for niches that are not only growing in sales but have generated consistent sales over time. For example, some products and topics spike in popularity quickly, only to never be heard from again in six months. If a niche generates consistent sales over time, you shouldn’t have to worry quite so much about popularity.
Say No to Seasonal Product Niches
If you want your business to stay consistent year-round, it’s best to avoid dealing with seasonal trends and products. Gardening, for example, is a booming niche from April to October. However, it sees very little traffic between October and March. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with your business website, content, or products; it’s just that people only need information or gardening or tools during spring and summer.
If you are aware of and okay with seasonal fluctuations, or your primary market is an area that sees sun year-round, feel free to go for it. Just make sure you’re aware of profit fluctuations from the outset.
Some competition is necessary. Too much will drown out your presence. Be aware of extremely popular niches with tons of sellers. You could invest a ton of time and money into your business to prove you’re better than the competition, but it will be hard. It’s better to enter a niche with only a few competitors and start seeing success and establishing expertise right away.
How do You Find Trending Niches?
Google Trends is the best place to start finding top trending niches. It’s a free tool that will allow you to see how popular topics are. Use it as part of your niche research to see a graph of the popularity of your niche over that last year. You can see if it is increasing, has remained stable, or is dropping off. When using Google Trends, make sure you enter the country you plan to sell in or select worldwide trends.
AMZScout is another valuable tool for analyzing trends. This one is ideal for e-commerce businesses because it analyzes the popularity of products on Amazon. You will gain access to average monthly sales and sales trends over the last year for any product you choose. As with Google Trends, you want to look for consistency and an upward trajectory in sales volume.
How Can I Find A Niche Business Idea?
If you are struggling to find an idea for your business niche, try using these four steps
- Identify areas of interest and passion – Make a top ten list of things you are interested in.
- Identify problems you can solve – research keywords, identify pain points within your ten listed areas, and browse forums such as Quora to see what problems people have in each area of interest.
- Research your competition – Find out if there is an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. Some signals that you can enter a niche and be successful are finding that other websites in a niche have low-quality content, a lack of transparency, or a lack of competition.
- Go through the research steps discussed earlier in the article to determine the profitability of your niche ideas.
How to Find a Profitable Niche for Dropshipping?
Finding a profitable dropshipping niche is dependent upon determining existing demand. There are a number of online tools to help you determine the level of demand for a market or product.
- Facebook Audience Insights can help you find markets and trends. It will give you information on demographics, page likes, location, and activity, such as ad clicks for your niche
- Google Keyword Planner measures online demand for an item by showing you how many people are searching for it on Google
- Google Trends will provide you with the search interest of keywords over time so you can identify growth or downward trends. It can also give you the geographical location of customers searching your keywords to help you narrow down your market
Some of the most popular dropshipping niches are:
- Health and beauty
- Clothing and accessories
- Kitchen and groceries
- Home and bedroom
- Home office products
- Tools and home improvement
- Camera and cellphones
- Vehicle accessories
How to Find a Profitable Blogging Niche?
Finding a profitable blogging niche is not much different than finding one for any other online business.
- Choose a topic you really enjoy writing about.
- Do research on your market.
- Choose a smaller niche to avoid competing with authority websites.
- Determine that your small or micro niche is profitable.
How to Find a Niche for Digital Products?
If you complete the steps outlined earlier for brainstorming your niche market, you should develop a general idea. For digital products, you can take a few extra steps to identify your profitable niche.
- Find your passionate niche.
- Determine the market value of your niche through research.
- Identify a problem within your niche market that your business or product can solve.
- Find enough quality products to promote and sell.
- Check online reviews to make sure people are willing to pay for your product.
- Analyze the performance and websites of your competition.
- Determine if advertisements are running in your niche within search results. This indicates the potential for profitability.
Finding a strong affinity or association of your target audience with your product will lead to higher profits.
Recommendations for Researching a Niche
Censusviewer provides demographic analysis and visualization of data through Bing Maps. It will give you detailed data about age, race, ethnicity, income, home value, number of children, education, housing type, magazine readership, and lifestyle that can help you determine your audience.
Consumer Expenditure Survey
The Consumer Expenditure Survey is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to provide data on consumers' expenses, income, and demographic characteristics in the United States.
Google provides their Trends website to help you analyze the popularity of search terms within Google search. In addition, you can get graphs of keyword popularity over time so you can determine trends.
AMZScout is a niche finder and product research tool for Amazon products. It provides you with quick, accurate research to find the right products for your e-commerce business.
Hopefully, the tips within this article show you how to find a profitable niche and help you find one for your online business that you are also passionate about. It is essential to be patient when starting an online business, and remember that profits will increase over time if you have chosen the right niche. Many entrepreneurs choose the right niche but fail to promote it because they lack confidence. Choose a niche you are passionate enough about to stick to, and your online business is sure to become profitable in no time.