Welcome to your How to Define a Niche step by step action plan.
Defining a niche in marketing is important. Because niche defines who you target. And knowing who you are targeting leads to better marketing results. Better marketing results lead to more actions and sales.
For better results, you should execute a good research plan. Good research will help you make better decisions which can ultimately impact sales and revenue.
To make this research part simple, use the exact steps that I take on how to define a niche for your website or business.
Although this article speaks on how to define a niche for affiliate marketing or commerce stores, these steps can be used for any business type and any product offering.
But before we start defining a niche for your product, business or marketing, let’s make sure you understand what a niche is.
What is a niche?
A niche is simply a category or a topic with specific products and groups of targeted people. A niche defines who you target, what products you recommend and what affiliate programs you join.
You are part of many niches yourself. So am I. We all are.
Think about what problems you are solving daily. And what products, services, and solutions you buy to solve those problems. All of those problems fall into a niche or multiple niches.
My Personal Niche Examples
Here are examples of niches that I personally fit into as a consumer. These are categories where I seek solutions as a personal buyer and shopper. Marketers with products in these niches will seek to target me with their solutions.
I have 5 animals. 2 dogs and 3 cats. (Does this make me a crazy dog and cat person?) On a daily basis, I need food to feed my animals. I also need daily care products for each animal. From dog training tips to dog crates, pads, collars and dog leashes to cat hairbrushes and cat beds, I need a variety of products to help me take care of my animals.
All of these problems are sub-niches within the dog and cat niches.
Here is what people search for on Google, within these niches.
- Dog Training = 12,000 searches a month, 144,000 searches a year!
- Cat Training = 600 searches a month, 7,200 searches a year!
- Dog Food = 47,000 searches a month, 564,000 searches a year!
- Cat Food = 12,000 searches a month, 144,000 searches a year!
- Best Dog Food for Allergies = 7,800 searches a month, 93,600 searches a year!
- Dog Clothes = 10,000 searches a month, 120,000 searches a year!
- Cat Care = 3,000 searches a month, 36,000 searches a year!
Stats: Monthly search numbers are approximate Google search numbers pulled from Jaaxy.
Notice how many searches these sub-niches get. That is a lot of people looking for solutions. And many of those searches lead to buying products for those solutions.
In other words, you can make decent money through affiliate commissions on recommending products for these problems.
Just do the math. It’s easy.
For dog training, say I have a recommended high-quality training program for people to learn how to train their dogs. And for each sale, I make a $10 commission. If could get 1% of those 12,000 monthly searches to buy my recommended dog training (that’s 120 people), I could make $1,200 a month (120 x $10 = $1,200)! If I could replicate that each month for 12 months, that’s $14,000 a year. For just 1 affiliate marketing product.
Now, you see how that works? I don’t know about you but that SCREAMS OPPORTUNITY to me!
Add more products and target more sub-niches, and well you do the math : ) You can make a pretty decent income by just recommending good solutions to the right folks!
The dog and cat niches are just two of the many niches I am in. Other niches I am part of affiliate marketing, digital marketing, graphic design, car owner, house owner, part-time vegan eater, craft beer enthusiast, and beach life seeker.
All of these are additional largest niches that can be broken down into many sub-niches.
Now, do this exercise for yourself and identify the many niches you are personally part of. The more you practice this process, the more you will understand there is an infinite number of niches that you can target.
And that’s a good explanation on what a niche is. And how a niche (category) can be broken down into sub-niches (subcategories and topics).
Lucky for you, this is not just a definition article. This is a HOW TO article. After you understand what a niche is, you are ready to walk through the research steps on how to define a niche for your website or business.
If you want more examples and ideas, then check out these 20 Niche Examples. (I even include who you are targeting and recommended affiliate programs offering product solutions for each niche : ) Then you are ready for the next steps.
As a reminder, these are the exact steps I use when defining a good niche for my affiliate marketing websites.
How To Define a Niche in 7 Steps
Defining a good niche requires research. Regardless of what you promote to that niche. Your own products, other people’s products or your own services.
You can’t just stick your finger in the air and choose a direction based on where the wind is blowing…
You research what people are searching for, what questions they are asking and define what problems they are trying to solve. Your end goal is to define many sub-niches within a large niche to target. Just as I did with the dog and cat niche examples above.
Once you have defined sub-niches, you can decide which niches to target and develop a target audience and content plan for that specific niche. And yes, one website can cover more than one sub-niche. The goal for your website is to become an authority for particular sub-niche.
Ideally, you want to define one niche at a time and develop it out to make sales. Then add another sub-niche.
All the research you do now will help prepare your website plan for months ahead. Your website and business will thank you 🙂
So, here are the research steps to follow on how to define a niche.
How to Define a Niche Research Template
Before you get started, grab my personal niche research template. Use this template to help guide you through the 7 steps below and document your research progress 🙂
You can also download different format variations of this content below (PDF Printout and Presentation : )
And now…you are ready.
1. Start with one niche
You start with defining one niche to research.
Pick a category or topic. A topic that you are interested in learning more about. Write this down on your niche research template.
When starting your research, only research one niche at a time to focus on understanding the topic in detail.
When choosing a niche to research, you can either:
- Start with a large niche like health, food, fitness, money, and research the many sub-niches
- This method takes more discovery time but can lead to some interesting sub-niches you may not be aware of
- Or you can start with a sub-niche and find smaller sub-niches
- This is a common strategy for affiliate marketers – don’t worry, many sub-niches can be broken down even further
This step should take 5 – 10 seconds. Just come up with one topic to start researching.
For this example, we will research the refrigerator niche.
Why the refrigerator niche?
I just bought a new refrigerator for my home kitchen remodel. I did TONS of research trying to find the right refrigerator. The research process was completely overwhelming because there are so many types of refrigerators available today. And the first place I went to learn about refrigerators was online.
This pattern (of researching online before I buy) is done by so many other people than me.
So this leads to a potential business opportunity. A review site on refrigerators could be a great opportunity for an affiliate review site.
Let’s do the research and see how to define a niche within refrigerators. (And validate if this is a good opportunity or not!)
2. Research search volumes for this niche
The next step is to research search volumes for the niche you chose.
The idea is to find out how many people are searching for your niche topic online, in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. You want to understand how popular and how big your starting niche is before you start breaking it down into sub-niches.
For this step, you will use a keyword research tool like Jaaxy. A keyword research tool will give you an idea of how many people are searching for your chosen niche topic.
Start documenting the niche word you chose. (Using your handy template 🙂 And write down the number of monthly searches for your niche.
Then, also write down variations of the niche word you chose.
e.g. singular, plural
You will also discover sub-niches within this process. Write these down and make a list as I have done below.
Monthly search results:
- Refrigerators = 57,000 searches a month, 684,000 searches a year
- Refrigerator = 334,000 searches a month, 4 million searches a year (WHOA, that’s a lot of searches)
- Appliances Refrigerators = 3,000 searches a month, 36,000 searches a year
NOTE: All stats used in this article are monthly search numbers are approximate Google search numbers pulled from Jaaxy. (These exact numbers will change over time.)
Based on the results above, the refrigerator niche gets a lot of search activity on the internet. This is a good sign and worth continuing to explore.
3. Define sub-niches
Your next step is to define sub-niches. Sub niches are just smaller categories of the big niche.
Since refrigerator and refrigerators are broad topics, this makes it hard to target a specific audience of people. So, in order to define specific groups of people to target, you want to break down the large category into smaller subcategories.
Using the same keyword tool, Jaaxy, explore the sub niches that will appear along with your big niche.
Write down these sub-niches, along with their monthly search numbers and group into categories like I have done below.
Refrigerator sub niches:
Brands – Specific brands of refrigerators people can buy
- lg appliances refrigerators = 839 searches a month, 10,000 searches a year
- samsung refrigerators = 6,800 searches a month, 81,800 searches a year
- lowes appliances refrigerators = 709 searches a month, 8,500 searches a year
- ge appliances refrigerators = 200 searches a month, 2,400 searches a year
- whirlpool refrigerators = 31,000 searches a month, 372,000 searches a year
Retailers/Sellers – Companies and places where people can buy refrigerators
- home depot appliances refrigerators = 3,000 searches a month, 36,000 searches a year
- sears appliances refrigerators = 4,500 searches a month, 54,000 searches a year
- best buy appliances refrigerators = 800 searches a month, 9,600 searches a year
Types – Different types and styles of refrigerators people can buy
- stainless steel refrigerator = 4,200 searches a month, 50,000 searches a year
- compact refrigerators = 3,300 searches a month, 39,600 searches a year
- beer refrigerator = 600 searches a month, 39,600 searches a year
- double door refrigerators = 110 searches a month, 1,320 searches a year
- best buy wine refrigerators = 150 searches a month, 1,800 searches a year
- vintage refrigerator = 867 searches a month, 10,000 searches a year
Research – Searches related to researching and buying a refrigerator
- Refrigerator Reviews = 9,221 searches a month, 110,000 searches a year
- Refrigerator Review = 2,700 searches a month, 32,000 searches a year
- Best Refrigerators = 6,000 searches a month, 75,000 searches a year
- Best Refrigerators Buy = 45,600 searches a month, 75,000 searches a year
Maintenance – Searches related to maintaining the refrigerator performance and getting issues fixed
- Refrigeration Repair = 2,800 searches a month, 110,000 searches a year
- Refrigerator Repair Service 2,800 searches a month, 110,000 searches a year
- Refrigeration Repairs = 200 searches a month, 2,400 searches a year
Careers – Searches related to the repairing refrigerators as a daily job
- Refrigeration training 348
- Refrigeration training center 167
- Refrigeration technician 267
As you can see from the refrigerator example, smaller sub niches of refrigerators can be broken down into buying, servicing and maintaining categories.
4. Identify what questions people ask within this niche
The next step is research what questions people frequently ask. This step will help confirm the categories you have listed above and help identify the most common problems within this niche.
You will use two tools for this step.
First, go to your internet browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer) and open a New Incognito Window.
File > New Incognito Window
Using an incognito window prevents your searches from being tailored for you based on your preferences. This step is important to get a general idea of what general people are searching for in Google. So, you want to see general search results. Not searches tailored to you.
Then, go to Google.com
Type in your niche words into Google search (the niche you defined in step 1)
Within the search results, scroll down to the People Also Ask section.
Write down the questions that are listed in this section. Click on the down arrow beside each question to uncover more questions. Strive to write down 20 – 30 different questions.
Then, use Jaaxy to find the monthly search volumes for these problems. The idea is to determine the popularity of each problem.
- Which refrigerator brand is most reliable? 152 searches a month
- How much is a new fridge? 16 searches a month
- What is the best refrigerator on the market? 150 searches a month
- What is the best refrigerator to buy? 3,000 searches a month
- How long is a refrigerator supposed to last? 120 searches a month
- Can refrigerators be repaired? 40 searches a month
- Is it cheaper to repair or replace a refrigerator? Less than 10 searches a month
- What are the top 10 refrigerator brands? 800 searches a month
- What to look for when buying a refrigerator? 72 searches a month
- Which brand is good for refrigerator? 32 searches a month
5. List major problems within this niche
Next step on how to define a niche is to identify a list of common problems that people face in this niche.
You do this by summarizing the keywords and questions you have documented. The purpose of this step is to help you understand who you are targeting which is important in the next step.
Based on my research of the refrigerator niche, here are common problems when it comes to buying and owning a refrigerator:
- How do I choose the right refrigerator?
- What features in a refrigerator do I need?
- What is the best refrigerator brand to buy?
- When is the best time to buy a refrigerator?
- What size refrigerator do I need?
- How do I care for my refrigerator?
- How do find a repairman to fix my refrigerator?
6. Detail your target audiences for the sub niches
Now, you are ready to define details about who will target.
Based on your how to define a niche research, it should be clear who is the right audience for your niche. If you do this step right, you will uncover many groups of people to target within one niche.
This process may seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. Just think to yourself, who is going to buy solutions for your niche?
e.g. For refrigerators:
- Homeowners – people who have to supply their own kitchen appliances. This audience will be looking for a refrigerator based on many factors: budget, space, style, efficiency, etc.
- Homeowners with large families – large family sizes may dictate the size of the refrigerator they need. This audience would be interested in the larger refrigerators with more compartments and storage to store all the families needed food. Heck, you could even recommend a separate deep freezer to this group.
- Homeowners on a budget – people and or families that do not have a lot of money will want to know what are the best refrigerators to buy within their price range. This audience may also want to know the best financing options to help them buy one.
- Tiny homeowners – people who live in Tiny homes have small spaces and will need a small compact refrigerator. This audience would be interested to know what refrigerators other Tiny homeowners like.
- BTW, Living in Tiny homes is another niche : )
- Rental property owners – people who provide rental properties usually provide the appliances in kitchens. This audience would be interested in budget friendly refrigerators that will stand the test of time, and usage.
- College students – college students can need a refrigerator for their dorms. Since dorms are small, compact refrigerators are a good solution for this audience. This audience would be interested to learn about compact refrigerators that have a high resell value so they can sell the refrigerator when they move out of the dorm.
- Vintage collectors – people who like to collect items that are considered vintage.
As you can see with the examples above, these are all specific groups of people who would need to buy and maintain a refrigerator. Knowing who you are speaking to will allow you to speak to their specific pain points and problems.
Can you think of any other groups of people? I am sure there are more groups that I am not thinking of here, like restaurant owners who would want industrial types of refrigerators (with large capacity) vs. standard home types of refrigerators. Who do they buy from? And do they choose from different brands of refrigerators?
The main goal is to keep going with your research until you’ve listed out many sub niches. Then, ideally, choose the best ones that fit your product or suit your interest to find the affiliate products for.
And remember to start with one sub niche, build it out first, then another, etc. Because you want to establish yourself as the expert in this one topic. So you should really know and write a lot about the subject matter.
7. Finalize by researching competitive sites
The last and final step is to research the competition. Take a look at who and what other websites target.
Use this step to:
- Validate what you have discovered about your niche and the target audience
- Uncover new sub niches and content ideas that you had not already discovered or thought about
You can use Google to look through the websites that come up for your niche or sub niche. Or you can use Jaaxy’s Search Analysis feature. With Jaaxy’s feature, you can see more details about the website content including the word count, links on site, backlinks to site, Alexa rank, etc.
This step gives you an idea of what is needed to compete within this niche. Ideally, you target sub niches that are not targeted by your competition. Or if you do target same sub niches, you have planned creative ways to provide your audience information and content they are not getting elsewhere.
And that’s it. That’s how you define a niche. In a really good thorough way 🙂 By this step, you should have some very well-defined sub niches in particular categories. Now, you are ready to start targeting people in the niches you choose to pursue.
Take this content with you to keep you learning wherever you are. And share with others as needed 🙂
Feel free to leave comments or questions below! Thanks.