Online Success Series Part One: Find Your Customers First

There are MILLIONS of businesses active on the Web today. But the number of businesses that are aiming directly at a market is FAR fewer. And of those, how many have done research to ensure that the market they’re targeting actually EXISTS?

Well, the number just got MUCH smaller!

The true secret to creating a successful business is to find a market to target BEFORE you build a business. That way, you know from the beginning that you have a potential customer base out there looking for exactly what you have to offer.

So how would we define a niche market? A niche market is a group of people looking for the solution to a specific problem… ideally, a problem that YOU can solve with a product or service!

It’s quite simple: if no one is looking for what you’re offering, you’re going to have a hard time selling it!

If you ARE targeting a niche market and haven’t seen too much success, you may be targeting a market that is too broad — which leads to an overload of competition. On the other hand, you could be targeting a niche that is far too narrow — which leads to a lack of customers!

The key is to find the “sweet spot” where your ideal audience lies.

For example, if you type “garden plants” into Google, you get 20,900,000 results. The odds of standing out in that search are extremely low, especially since you’re up against big gardening companies or wholesalers who can offer more products at a lower price than any small business can.

However, “rock garden plants for warm climates” cuts that number down to a mere 98,500 results — which represents a dramatic reduction in potential competition… with a large potential target group still remaining!

By addressing more specific concerns or needs on your site — without narrowing your focus so sharply that you only have two potential customers! — you create a connection with your visitors that encourages them to buy from you… instead of looking elsewhere.

Your first step to finding an active, targetable niche is to use a keyword research tool like Wordtracker, Keyword Discovery , or the point-and-click ebusiness-building software, BeBiz.

These tools show you what words people are actually using as they search the Web. You’ll see that the words they use reveal the kinds of problems they’re trying to solve, and once you know that, you can zero in on particular niches with particular needs for a product or service.

We’d say that at least 60% of the issues we see with new businesses are tied directly to either too-broad or too-narrow niches. And people often give up before they realize that their niche needs a crucial tune-up, or that they need a new focus altogether.

Fortunately, there are still MILLIONS of niches left to target, and new, successful businesses being launched to reach them every single day.

Maybe it’s time one of them was yours

(Check out the second post in this series here.)

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