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Niche? Sub-Niche? Say WHAT?!?!

by PotPieGirl on January 18, 2009 · 25 comments

Finding a Niche Market (In Plain English) -

I remember when I first started all this make money online stuff, people would say, “Find a hungry niche market and market to them”. Easy, right? Just get in the way of the money that is already being spent. Ok, got it. NOT! What the heck is a niche? A sub-niche? A micro-niche? And how the heck do you find a hungry niche market? Let’s talk about this in “plain English”…

What Is a Niche Market?

The whole “find a niche” thing drove me crazy. For some reason, I just couldn’t wrap my little pea brain around the concept. If you’ve already got this figured out, then please, go back to work. I am about to ramble about my “A-Ha!” moment and I’ll bore you to tears….lol

A niche market is a market that is targeting a certain demographic. It could be age or gender, but usually it is according to hobby and interests….or needs. Whatever the target topic is, those that work within that niche are each targeting those consumers that have that age, gender, hobby, interest, or need in common.

Ok, that makes enough sense when you read it, but when you go to APPLY it to your online marketing efforts, do you get kinda lost? I know I sure did!

Sub-Niche – The Market Within a Market

So, let’s get even MORE confused, ready? Let’s talk about sub-niches. These are markets within target markets. So let’s say the big market is new mothers. A sub-niche of that might be something like new mothers that are single, or new mothers of twins.

When we work online, we do best working in micro-niches. (Am I TOTALLY confusing you yet?). An example of a micro-niche might be something like new mothers of twins who want a new stroller or, even more “micro”, new mothers of twins that want a stroller made by Graco.

Still with me? =)

Niches and Keywords

Using the example above about strollers, how would this work with your favorite free keyword tool?

Let’s take a look:

The niche: baby strollers

The Sub-niche: baby strollers for twins

The Micro-Niche: Graco baby strollers for twins

The Micro-Micro Niche: Red Graco baby strollers for twins

Why is this important? When you are working to make money online using all free methods, you need to stick to the micro-niche and the micro-micro-niche keywords. These are the “long tail” keywords that you hear talked about.

The more general the niche market, the harder it is going to be to see results. The more targeted your keywords are on a micro-niche, the faster and better results you will see with your free one-page marketing methods.

Still with me? Good! Let’s keep going

How To Find “Hungry Niche Markets”

This is where I got really, really stuck. How in the world would I know if a micro-niche market was profitable? Then one day, a simple trip to the grocery store stopped me dead in my tracks.

The Magazine Aisle

niche-markets-and-magazinesStanding there browsing the magazines while I waited for my teenage daughter to go get the latest and greatest hair conditioner that she HAD to have, something hit me like a ton of bricks falling from the sky.

I stopped….looked up…and looked around me. The answer was right in front of me.

Each magazine was a niche market.

Think about it… Each magazine you see is a niche market. It is carefully planned and created to attract a certain demographic of people that have at least one thing in common.

Better yet, if there is a magazine about that niche market – there is MONEY in that niche market.

How do I know that? Magazines survive off the revenue of their advertisers. The advertisers pay more for larger subscription/circulation stats. If the advertisers are willing to advertise, guess what? Those ads are probably profitable.

Here’s where it gets even better for you. Each magazine is carefully created to contain the things that people in that niche market WANT TO KNOW. They’ve already done the research…they probably have a really good idea of what to put IN their magazine to please their readers AND their advertisers, right?

Ready for this? Each article within one of those magazines is a sub-niche or micro-niche of that niche market. Those headlines on the FRONT of the magazine should be paid attention to, also. There is a reason they are there. The magazine is counting on those words to attract their market to reading the magazine.

Let’s Take An Example

Ok, sitting here next to me is this month’s copy of one of my favorite magazines, Entrepreneur. (Yes, I’m a geek…lol). This magazine targets those that want to be their own boss and offers them ideas, helpful tips, up and coming trends, interviews with successful entrepreneurs, and business opportunities, etc etc etc.

So, let’s open the magazine and see what’s inside… what do people who read this magazine (those in this niche market) want to know?

Well look at this, page 39 in this January 2009 issue is an article:

“Join The Tweetup”

This simple, one-page article is not just about the general topic of how to use Twitter, but more specifically about business owners using Twitter while at seminars and conventions.

Guess what? A hungry niche market wants to know that information.

Your Passion vs. a Profitable Niche

We hear it a lot, don’t we, “Follow your passion and the money will come“.

I have a little bit of a problem with saying that….especially when talking to someone new to the make money online world.

You may do that – follow your passion – and spend hours, months, and years working on that passion. And yes, it very well might be fulfilling and rewarding. But, will it be profitable? C’mon now, we are doing this to MAKE MONEY, aren’t we? Once you got the money tidal-wave crashing in, you can follow all the passions and quirks you want to.

So, where is the balance? How can you pick something you enjoy and something that is profitable?

Here is my suggestion. If you feel lost as to what to write about online. If you feel hesitant to write about topics you don’t know or you don’t enjoy, BUT you’re nervous to just go all-in on a topic you enjoy for fear of no profit, try this…

Go to the store. Stand in the magazine aisle. Stop being a marketer – just be YOU.

What magazine do YOU want to buy and read?

If there is a magazine, there is a hungry market. If YOU like it, you will be more excited to work within the market. The words will flow more easily. The research won’t feel like research….it will feel like learning about things you enjoy and sharing them with others.

In Closing

To sum this up… don’t follow your passion…. follow your magazine passion. Open that magazine up and the ideas, micro-niche markets, and enjoyment will blow you away!


Savannah January 18, 2009 at 8:38 pm

As you so clearly illustrate in this post, slicing a niche into further micro niches will provide an opportunity to compete and win in the larger niche as a whole.

This would explain why I about fell out of my chair yesterday when I experienced a third day in a row of clickbank sales in a very competitive market.

I sliced and diced this market into a really small group of long tailed keywords who have very specific needs and it’s apparently working.

Savannahs last blog post..How Any Woman Can Learn To Make Money On The Internet

Chris Kellum January 18, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Good stuff! Two other good things you can do, one of which relates directly to magazines – if you have (or you can start collecting) back issues of a certain magazine, start looking for direct response ads that run month after month (after month) – That’s a great indication of a winner.

There’s also the Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) – you can buy their books (think they’re several hundred a pop), or better yet, HIE THEE TO A LIBRARY! :) (free is better, in my opinion)

Find the most recent one available, and it’ll break down markets and lists into very tightly grouped market segments, and will even include how much (and at what price) that list has already purchased things. Not a lot better than KNOWING what a certain market is willing to pay. :)

Wendy Little-Yohe January 18, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Great tip on magazines, Jen! They are a goldmine of info.

Consider this: each magazine has a marketing dept and has spent $$ to find out what topics to put on their cover that will likely sell their mags. Why not take advantage of their research – for FREE?? (Or for a measly $3.95).

Another goldmine I’ve found for niche research: the “Dummies” series of books. If there’s a Dummies book about it, it’s a popular topic. AND have you ever looked at the Table of Contents of a Dummies book? Just a cornucopia of article/blog post ideas!

Visit Dummies.com and give it a try. For many of their books you can find a printable TOC in pdf format! SWEET!!!

Jen January 19, 2009 at 2:33 am

I think you may have just given me an A-ha moment of my own. It is interesting sometimes as I have a friend who has idea after idea on niches while I can rack my brain for hours and not thin I am coming up with anything. Can’t wait to get to the bookstore. THANKS!

Bryan January 19, 2009 at 4:21 am

Jen! How could you! You let my secret out of the bag on this post. ok, so I admit, I am still a well below average online marketer, but it was just two weeks ago that I looked at my wife’s “Shape” magazine, looked at the headlines, and had a major a-ha moment. I started reading it, and started getting strange looks from her as well….. This is a great tip and I am trying out this strategy with some OWM techniques this week. Oh, and of course, I am not really mad at you at all for sharing this tip….there are MILLIONS of micro niches and thousands of magazines out there. I don’t think the odds of someone ‘stealing’ my niche are real good. Thanks as always for the helpful post and information.

Denise@Make Money Free Online January 19, 2009 at 4:43 am

WOW! This whole article just brings it all together, I just spent the past hour and a half trying to absorb all the keyword topics you have for finding those niche blogs.
I have been a member of Squidoo for a long time and I never have hit a home run for finding the right way to target my lens and how to do the niche research.
This post on using magazines is a major key to finding hot niches.
I have been trying to make money online for over two years now and still struggle every day.
I am so glad I subscribe to your feed. I would have missed this and still be in a fog.
I have over fifty lenses, hopefully I can tweak a few to make them profitable.
Thanks so very much.

Jon January 19, 2009 at 5:45 am

I knew about niches, micro niches, long tails, and even how to research keyword demand but it just never clicked for me. The magazines are the missing link. My A-ha.

Jons last blog post..jonlyles: Niche? Sub-Niche? Say WHAT?!?! http://abbrr.com/bYD

Mikael January 19, 2009 at 7:08 am

One thing about using the Magazine approach is that you should probably look in a few version of that particular magazine to see whether the ad keeps showing up. If it is a one time ad it might not be as profitable as you would want.

Mikaels last blog post..How to Make a Claim with VPI Pet Insurance

Neo January 19, 2009 at 7:16 am

HI Jeni,
Do you really want to confuse your readers?
Hey it’s not confusing at all, even a totally new person in the field of internet marketing can easliy understand your article. And I think that is your main strength. I am reading lots of articles but don’t know what to comment. So, I don’t comment much. But this time, I want to say you one thing, “Thanks” for giving me some knowledge about SEO & Internet Marketing.

Cat January 19, 2009 at 9:35 am

Thanks for this post. I’ve been struggling with the ‘passion v profitable’ thing recently. I’m currently building a campaign in a very popular and profitable niche, but it just doesn’t interest me much. Traffic is starting to pick up, and I’m making some sales, but honestly, it just feels like ‘work’, and I just don’t look forward to doing it (I mean, I’m willing to work, but why make it more difficult than it has to be?). Your post made me realise that there are a ton of magazines available in the areas I really do love, so there’s obviously money to be made there (obvious really, but I didn’t think of it in that way before!) So I’ll finish up the campaign I’m working on now, but for future projects I’ll be focusing on what really interests me most, and will rediscover the excitement that got me into IM in the first place. Thanks again : )

Rose Bolton January 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

Hi Jen, WOW! Great info. I learn something different every time I read your blog or write to you. You seem to have this endless supply of info, but yet it is something that could be used in most things. My favorite hobbie is woodworking, and giving a tip now and then on my blog I feel would help someone who wasn’t expecting this little treat. Thanks again for waking up a sleepy brain.

Rose (Lilly384)

Joan Adams January 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I am so thankful for your blog and your book! You make things make sense to me! Reading the magazine example was the first time I actually really understood niche and sub niche, etc etc. Duh! Slowly but surely, thanks to you, I am learning. I appreciate you!

Joan Adamss last blog post..2008 Giant Squid Award Nomination

Candice January 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for a great post and for reminding me to be very “specific” and use those long tail keywords! Oh…….I just signed up to follow you on Twitter!

All the best!

Linette January 19, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I’m a total magazine-a-holic, lol, drives my husband nuts. I can spend hours in the magazine aisle, and I have several subscriptions. I’ve gotten a few free subscriptions in the last year or so… which is even better.

Steve January 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Speaking of strollers, here is a new lenses dedicated to them!

Ligia Fleckenstein January 20, 2009 at 6:03 am

I just love your simple, honest, and straight forward way of putting things. I had heard the word niche before, but now is much clearer to me. The magazine example was perfect. I will follow your lead and find my right niche.

I believe I learning to trust you. Thank so much.
I really appreciate your blogging!

Penny Gould January 20, 2009 at 8:16 am

Thanks, what a great idea. I can see spending some quiet time at the library with my wireless laptop, a stack of magazines. I have a hunch that people will search for what they see in the magazines. I also like to watch Google Trends for hot ideas!

Penny Goulds last blog post..De Anza College Summer Camps

John January 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Great article, and great ideas on how to find new niches, but one has to be reminded that finding a micro-niche is the easy part (for some), finding and writing good content is the hard part, and that’s what will distinguish your blog from other blogs!.

Thanks for the great article.

tom January 20, 2009 at 8:44 pm

How is the Gary Conn product going? I saw that you purchased his video to set up “deal” blog sites.

I. like many of us. need to find something that works and isn’t too expensive or complicated to do.


Solar Panels Cheap January 28, 2009 at 3:31 am

Great article. I often find myself so overwhelmed by the amount of choices and paths you can take into any niche. Going from a niche to a sub-niche and drilling even DEEPER into a sub-sub-niche (sub sub?!) I find myself lost usually.

While the endless possibilities of marketing whatever you want is a blessing it is also a curse (for me at least!). My brain gets too excited and the opportunities and I hit a brick wall.

Your pointers have definitely eased my mind though and I feel rejuvinated, as though I can begin to focus and conquer some of these niches!

Thanks Jen.

McTate February 2, 2009 at 4:39 am


This is truly a very informational micro niche resource… Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful article… Yes, i believe Micro Niche Marketing is one of the most profitable income source over the internet. I completely love Micro Niche Marketing…

Paul@UK Shore February 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I’m on my way to the shop now to check out the magazines…

Probably a good idea to concentrate on the niches where you would actually be prepared to buy the magazine. I always find it easier to create content when I have an interest in the subject…

Sam August 27, 2009 at 5:33 am

Kudos Jen!
Very informative article and what sets you apart is that your writing is actually fun to read!

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