Hunting for Niches
by John Calder
Niche marketing is the latest craze in 2004. Some Internet marketing experts would have you sort through keyword search data at Overture to find an underserved audience, but you can jumpstart your research by a significant margin when you pay attention to offline media.
On any given day, there are thousands of special interest television shows and radio programs broadcast to a devoted, core audience. When you tune in to these programs regularly, you begin to get a feel for the common goals, needs and desires of this audience. In other words, the niche defines itself before your eyes through consistent themes in program content.
You will often find that listeners are pointed back online for additional information. For example, a guest speaker on a radio program usually provides a web site address on air (or has it linked for a time from the radio station’s web site).
This is where things get exciting for you as a niche hunter. This is where offline media can open up to you a portion of your niche’s favorite “hiding places” online, thus giving you instant data on potential link partners and advertising venues. All you need is a spare afternoon and the latest release of the Alexa Toolbar running in your browser to start mining for gold.
Niche Hunting In Action
In illustration of the process, we will take an example from radio broadcasting. For over 10 years now, AM radio stations across North America have syndicated a unique program called “After Dark” (also informally referred to as “Coast to Coast with George Noory).
The “After Dark” (http://www.coasttocoastam.com) program focuses primarily on paranormal subjects such as alien abduction and ghost hunting, but all fringe topics are fair game. The beauty of this show is that virtually all of their guest speakers have web sites of their own. A large percentage of “After Dark’s” listeners remain connected to the Internet throughout the duration of the show in order to visit relevant web sites and run searches on the topic at hand. Every night this offline medium drives massive amounts of targeted traffic back online. All you need to do is tune in, follow along and chart the path.
Case Study – An Evening of UFO’s
What if you have an idea in mind for a product targeting UFO believers, but you have no idea where to start? If you had tuned in to “After Dark” on Friday, June 4th, 2004, you would be well on your way to identifying your target market’s favorite hangouts and trusted sources. You would also have a leg up on targeting potential JV partners.
The evening’s guest speaker, Peter Davenport, is a renowned Ufologist and maintainer of the National UFO Reporting Center database (current Alexa ranking: 405,859). A quick visit to www.nuforc.org reveals a whole new series of related links you can follow:
• http://www.cufos.org J. Allen Hynek’s (another well known researcher) Center for UFO Studies
• http://www.mufon.com Mutual UFO Network. The granddaddy of all serious UFO researchers
• http://www.mufon.com Jeff Rense Radio Program
Bingo! The Jeff Rense program and its home on the web mark yet another major destination of your target market. You just discovered a new niche program you can tune into to glean more data. You find a wealth of content at the rense.com site that further educates you in your market’s interests. Oh, and what’s this? It looks like Rense is affiliate savvy. Advertising opportunities abound on this site with an Alexa ranking of 3,995!
You should keep a pen and paper handy as you crawl through these sites. Each site you visit will have its own series of related links. You could literally spend hours following this branching trail across the web. As you go, you begin to create a map of your target niche’s online universe. Make special note of any site with a message board, as this will provide you with both advertising opportunities and additional strategic data from those most “in the know” – your potential customers.
John Calder is the owner/editor of The Ezine Dot Net. Subscribe Today and get real information YOU can use to help build your online business today! http://www.TheEzine.Net
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