Friday, June 13, 2008

Why a Niche Market?

by Daniel R Cox

One of the questions I usually get from new affiliate marketers is "Why should I concentrate on a niche market?" Often, the reasoning goes that if I can market a diversity of products, I can increase my chances of making money. This approach would seem to make sense. One only needs to look to the success of WalMart™ to understand that a diverse product base can be profitable.

However, in the highly competitive world of affiliate marketing, this approach simply doesn't work. Why? Primarily, as an online marketer, we are faced with two distinct disadvantages to a 'brick and mortar' store like WalMart™. The first is that our potential customers cannot touch and feel our product. For many, seeing is believing. The second is that in order to provide similar diversity of products online, our web pages would become overwhelmingly impossible to navigate. Customers would struggle to find what they are looking for. You can argue that Amazon.com doesn't have a problem. I would argue when you have the multi-million dollar budget that they work with, then you can do what they do.

For the independent affiliate marketer, niche marketing provides a competitive advantage by making it easy for the potential customer to find what it is they want to purchase. When someone is serious about a certain hobby or interest, if there is a specialty store for it, they generally will shop there. Why? Let's take a look.

Niche Market Advantages

Advantage #1 - Niche marketing weeds out unwanted products

While this may seem obvious, the impact is enormous. Think about it. When someone jumps online to purchase something, they usually have a clear idea of what it is they are looking for. At the very least, they can narrow down their search fairly quickly. For example, if someone is looking for a specific golf club, they will type in their search engine "golf clubs". In doing so, they have eliminated all other sports equipment. They will not find basketballs, baseballs, skis, surfboards, boats or anything that isn't related to "golf clubs". This is how people shop online. They know what they want and they go looking for it.

When you focus on a niche market, you are increasing your chances of earning money simply because you can offer a product or service to someone who is looking for your kind of product or service. Additionally, by focusing on the one market niche, you begin to learn what is available, what your competition looks like, and what is bad out there. You become better equipped to tailor your marketing efforts to overcome common objections in your niche. In short, you start to become an expert in your niche, which IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF NICHE MARKETING!

When people perceive you as an expert in your field (niche), then what you say, or recommend, carries more weight. Let me ask you this - if you were buying golf clubs, would you listen to Tiger Woods or Jay Leno? Me too.

Advantage #2 - Niche marketing offers a broader selection of higher quality products

If you go to the golfing section of WalMart™ or Target™, you'll usually find a section with five to ten choices of golf clubs, a number of different golf balls, a section on the gadgets and such, as well as gloves, caps and novelty items. If, however, you visit a Golfsmith™ or Roger Dunn Golf™ store, you will find a different level of selection. At my local Golfsmith™, there are no less than seventy-five different sets of new golf clubs being offered. From starter sets to pro-level, there are men's and women's, youth and teens, as well as, get this, a complete left handed section (for me!). You can't find left handed clubs in the general stores.

The strength of niche marketing is that it gathers a wider range of quality products, This, in turn, allows you a much broader choice of quality affiliate products to market. This is important because every market has its hot products. However, the are usually a larger number of products that will perform very well without being marketed by everyone and their brother, which is good for you!

Advantage #3 - Knowledgeable staff

Have you ever noticed that photographers generally staff camera stores? Or that golfers run the golf stores? When did you find a wrestler running a quilting supply shop? OK, it could happen, but I will tell you this - that wrestler will know a heck of a lot about quilting. Why? Because he's around it every day. He talks to people who are quilters and hears what they want and what problems they run into. He will share in other's successes and help his customers over come their challenges. Do you see the advantage of becoming an expert in your niche?

It's the nature of focus. The more we spend time doing something, the better at it we become. In short, we become experts. And as I said earlier, people listen to what the experts have to say.

So there you have it. Clearly, focusing on a niche market will provide you the targeted customers and vital know-how to compete in the affiliate marketplace. Focus, focus focus and give yourself the competitive edge.

About the Author

Daniel R Cox is a successful online affiliate marketer, writer and founder of ImperialBrand.net, the Affiliate Marketing Authority. Imperial Brand.net is an online source for information and resources for affiliate marketing success. For a limited time, you can claim the "Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing" ebook absolutely free at http://www.ImperialBrand.net