Finding Niche Markets
Nearly everyone has a hobby, special skill, avocation, or burning interest in something. These interests can point the way to a niche market that can be exploited for earning a little extra money using an Internet storefront. Read below about the Woodburner.com business as a prime example of turning a hobby into a viable business.
As much as we all like to think we’re unique, and we are, we’re usually not unique in our interests. No matter just how esoteric your interest is, we’re willing to bet that there are other people out there with the same or similar interests. So let’s have a little fun, pick something really weird, and do a search at Google.com to see what turns up. This month’s flavor is: EDIBLE BUGS. Pardon the pun.
Our search turned up about 21 thousand results. There was even a cook book and a “Bugs for Sale” site. It turns out we weren’t being very sophisticated. We should have been searching for EDIBLE INSECTS; or even better, entomophagy but, then we would have gotten only about 800 hits.
The point is, no matter how esoteric your interests are, there is probably a market waiting to be served. In the case of the bugs, it was a whole lot bigger than we ever expected. What an opportunity to open up an Internet store selling edible bugs and providing information and resources for all of the bug eaters worldwide.
OK, so bugs aren’t your thing but, you get the point. You may not think that there are other people with your same interests but, there are.
Try finding a bug store in your community! This is why there is gold in the Internet and you can get to it through an on-line storefront. Your neighbors may not share your interest but, you can bet that there are thousands of people worldwide that do and it takes the Internet to get to them.
In some respects, the more unusual and specific your business is, the greater will be your chances of success because the competition will be limited and the potential customer’s need will be greatest.
For instance, you may be an audiophile or guitar player that’s really into tube amplifiers. An Internet search will turn up quite a few resources: many amplifier kit sites, some old tube sites, and a lot of expensive equipment but not many antique amplifier stores. So how about getting out and searching the byways for antique shops with old electronic equipment. Most of them will know an antique radio when they see one and price it accordingly but, we’ll bet an antique amplifier will be cheap. Take it home, fix it up, offer it on-line, and you have the beginning of an Internet business.
We can’t kid you though. Getting your website known will be more than half the battle. You’re going to need visitors to make sales. Working in your favor though will be the search engines and the uniqueness of your business. Unique websites will be searched for using fairly specific search terms. So, it is likely that your site will appear in the first couple of pages of a search result. Therefor, be sure to submit your site to the top ten or so search engines and directories. See our past newsletters on “Getting Known” for specific information on search engines at:
Mel Davey is the creator of ImagineNation (http://imaginenation.com/), a full service E-Commerce Application Service Provider, offering Storefronts, Order Management Utilities, and 3rd party credit card processing.