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Proven Techniques for Finding a Profitable Niche: Part 2

Written by:  Moe Muise, Guest Blogger

This is the second post in a two-part series.

How to Find Gaps in Niches, so You Can Create Your Own Clickbank Products

While being an affiliate definitely has its advantages, to take your income to a whole new level you need to start creating your own products.

With all of the freelance websites out there, getting an info product made is the easy part. The bigger challenge is figuring out what exactly to sell to your niche audience. I use the word “exactly” because you want be certain that your product will be a money-maker, even before you produce it.

Fortunately, there are some proven techniques that you can use to gain deep insight into the needs and desires of your niche. Using these techniques will go a long way in ensuring that your info product makes sales from the get-go.

In this section I’ll describe two techniques for discovering niche gaps: what I call The Private Investigator approach, and The Survey Researcher approach.

The Private Investigator Approach

The first technique won’t cost you a dime (unless you put a price on your time, which you should), and involves you putting on your “private investigator” hat. You’ll be going undercover around the Web to uncover clues about your niche’s problems!

Like a real-life private investigator, you’re going to observe people. Only in this case, you’re going to visit websites where your niche audience will tell you what their biggest problems are.

To gain the best insight into your niche’s pain points, you want to go to the places on the Web where people bare their souls. The best place for this is niche online forums. You can also obtain solid clues by looking at “problems” and “how-to” websites. Allow me to explain each.

Niche online forums

In a nutshell, niche online forums are places where people go to discuss very narrow topics. Back when the Internet was young, message boards used to be about everything and anything. Now we (as Internet marketers) have the benefit of forums that focus on niche topics and attract passionate participants.

Niche forums are an awesome place to gain insight into the pain that people are going through because they offer both the anonymity of the Internet, along with the support of being around like-minded people. Especially in health and relationship related niches, people will pour their souls out in online forums. Many of them will do so in hopes that someone with the same experience will provide a solution to their problem.

Here’s one way to find niche forums, and to use them to research your niche’s pain points:

1. Use a service like BoardReader.com to find forums related to your niche (BoardReader allows you to search by keyword, so you can be as specific or as general as you want). It’s important to pick out forums that have an active and passionate membership – otherwise, the intelligence you gather from it might be outdated. You can tell that a forum’s membership is active and passionate by looking at the quantity and recency of posts in the forum.

2. Once you’ve found a handful of active niche forums, do some searches to see what challenges members need help with. You can do this by entering terms like “problem” or “help” in the forum’s search box.

Here’s an example: I’ve been interested in the stay-at-home mom niche for some time, and was doing some forum research through BoardReader. I came across the forum wahm.com/jobs, which is an employment forum for stay-at-home moms. When I typed the word “problem” into the forum’s search box, here are some of the thread titles that popped up:

• “Need advice”
• “Emotionally drained”
• “Insecurities”
• “PLEASE HELP ME”

All of these threads were rich with ideas for products that could be targeted at stay-at-home moms. Can you see the desperation in the thread titles?

“Problems” and “How-to” Websites

No doubt you’ve come across these types of websites. They exist to help people solve problems, or to show people how to do something. General “problems” websites include sites like Yahoo! Answers, AllExperts.com, and Wiki Answers. On those sites anyone can post a question related to a problem, and anyone can provide an answer.

As you might imagine, the range of questions and answers on these sites is vast (there’s also quite a bit of spamming that goes on, with marketers posting fake questions, then providing an answer to the question themselves, and linking to a product they’re promoting). Then there are niche-specific problems websites, like DoctorsLounge.com, a site that provides advice from medical professionals.

Needless to say, I recommend the niche-specific problems websites over the general ones. While general sites like Yahoo! Answers are okay for getting a sense of the types of questions a niche is asking, there’s just too much junk on there to use it as a serious niche research tool. Focused sites like DoctorsLounge.com are much better sources of intelligence, however.

“How-to” websites do exactly what you would think – they show you how to do something, whether it is fixing the roof on your house, getting rid of your acne, or potty-training your child. Some great general how-to websites include HowToDoThings.Com, eHow.com, WikiHow.com, VideoJug.com and HowCast.com (with the latter two sites focusing on how-to videos). The great thing about large how-to sites like eHow.com is that they spend a lot of time and money trying to figure out what solutions people are looking for. You can piggy-back on this research by seeing how they answer the questions that your niche is asking.

Here’s an example: I went to eHow.com and typed into the search box “stay-at-home-mom make money.” Dozens of articles came back with titles like “How to Make Money From Your Stay-at-Home Mom Experience.” These articles have been researched by eHow’s freelance writers, and can often provide insight into what your niche audience is looking for.

An even better source of market intelligence is paid how-to websites. These are sites that require a person to pay (either by the minute, or a lump sum) to ask an expert a question. Here’s a tip: many of these sites don’t allow you to search for common questions, but you can pay an expert to tell you what are the most common questions that people ask them!

(Bonus tip: Once you’ve figured out the topic of your info product, interview an expert from one of these sites to get the content. Now your product has instant credibility!)

Check out LivePerson.com and JustAnswer.com as two examples of paid how-to sites.

The Survey Researcher Approach

In my opinion, surveys are absolutely the best way to deeply understand your niche’s pain points. If you use a properly-worded questionnaire, and target the right people in your survey, you reduce the risk of failure by 99%. (I know this from personal experience – most of my products have been developed using a survey, and they’ve all been profitable as soon as they were launched.)

In the survey, you’ll be honing in on exactly what people’s needs are – a solution that they’ve been desperately looking for, but haven’t been able to find. What makes a survey so powerful is that you’ll hear directly from your niche audience what they want, and they’ll usually tell you in great detail the challenges they’re facing.

This is extremely powerful information. Not only will your survey data allow you to “get inside the mind” of your niche audience, but you’ll be able to use parts of the survey responses in your ad copy, in your sales page copy, and anywhere else you communicate with prospective customers. So you’ll be able to use the exact language that your audience uses when talking to them! Using the language of your audience is essential in converting prospects into customers.

In a nutshell, here’s what the Survey Researcher technique involves:

a. Choose a niche audience and a problem facing that niche

b. Identify the top keywords related to that problem (5-10 keywords, but up to 50). It’s important that your primary keyword has strong search volume, for two reasons: (1) you’ll be able to get a good number of survey responses quickly, and (2) once you’ve had a product developed (or start promoting affiliate products), you’ll have a ready advertising source.

c. Set up a survey page on a domain (4-6 questions is a good amount to ask. If you ask more than that you’ll turn people off).

d. Set up a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google (Yahoo also works but Bing generally doesn’t have enough volume).

I can hear what you’re thinking at this point: “I don’t have the money to run a survey through pay-per-click”. Well, I can tell you that I’ve run surveys for less than $100 and gathered enough information to launch a product. The key is to make sure that you go through the “Private Investigator” steps I described above, to make sure that you’ve identified real pain points of your niche audience.

If you have an existing email list, you can also get awesome insight by sending out an email survey to them. Lists are especially great for collecting market intelligence, because they’ve already opted-in, which means you’ve already established a relationship with them.

e. Drive traffic from your PPC campaign to your survey page.

f. Analyze the data once you’ve collected enough survey responses.

g. Build your product based on the responses in the survey.

h. Start advertising your new product using the keywords and traffic sources that resulted in completed questionnaires. The reason for this is obvious: if people who were searching on those keywords were willing to fill out your survey, they are also likely to be customers for your new product. Starting out your advertising this way will allow you to quickly make some profits and give you the money to expand into other promotional tactics.

If you’ve never tried the Survey Research technique for gaining insight into your audience’s needs, you need to get on it right away. There are heaps of people in your niche audience waiting to tell you what’s on their mind!

Wrapping Up

In this article I’ve described why a laser-beam focus on serving the needs of a niche audience is the best way to build a long-term online business. If you’ve been struggling to generate an income online, step away from simply picking products to promote, and look for an audience to serve. Follow the tips in this article to learn the needs, challenges, desires, and pain points of your audience. You’ll be rewarded with their enduring loyalty – and their dollars!

About the Author

Moe Muise, M.A., is a Clickbank vendor and affiliate. He blogs at www.KeywordsBlogger.com. Moe has 10 years experience in niche research, and has been perfecting his online research techniques for the past four years. To download your copy of Moe’s FREE 60-page, step-by-step niche research report, visit his blog at www.KeywordsBlogger.com.

About Molly LaneMolly Lane is ClickBank's Marketing Program Manager. She joined ClickBank in early 2010, and her experience spans multiple industries including consumer products, publishing and IT, with an emphasis on digital marketing. Molly holds an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship. She is currently on the Marketing team where she leads communication and content development. She loves working with entrepreneurs new to affiliate marketing to share best practices and ClickBank insider tips, while helping up-and-comers stay motivated to become successful in the industry. She currently hosts the ClickBank Insider Radio podcast, writes for and manages the ClickBank Website and Blog, and creates the communications clients receive from ClickBank.

Comments

  1. dr jay says:

    great info you got here mate!!! people can go to sites likes dummies.com to see what everyone is searching for

  2. David says:

    Great article! I love the “niche online forums” suggestion using BoardReader, thanks!

  3. Ana says:

    Una gran información, gracias por este articulo, saludos desde España.

  4. Oakland says:

    This is great info for someonle like me that have been dabbling for years and not really making a move. Thanks.

  5. Kim says:

    Hello Moe Muise ,
    Thanks so much for your valuable information. I really enjoy reading and learning about your report ” How to Find A Niche ” and all the resources .
    I will let you know how it helps me after I implement your ideas.
    Thanks in advance !
    Best Regards ,
    Kim
    Tokyo

  6. Folasade says:

    Great information you’ve given here, Moe. Thanks !

  7. A great second part to the first. Finding those gaps is where you can maximize profits from your time and effort. If anyone finds a gap and doesn’t want to work it, let me know… (:

  8. ijocrumut says:

    nice information. i just newbie in clickbank. it very help to me

  9. Arindom says:

    Really great article! And it’s nothing more then common sense after all (Guess common sense is pretty uncommon after all). I was wondering why my clickbank a/c was showing zero after two months of advertising. Now I know why?
    Thanks a lot Moe! I O U

  10. James says:

    Great info regarding the surveys.

    Thanks

  11. Great Information & very interesting…!!!That’s good.

  12. The problem is in the audience not in the product to promote. I think its time we start looking for ways in helping people to solve their problems rather than giving them hard nuts to chew. One factor of the marketing mist is customer satisfaction, because without the customer the product is useless.

  13. The info you have just provided is quite handy.

  14. Moe- Absolutely fantastic article. For a long time I was one of those staring at the screen wondering what I was going to create, promote, or launch. This is great information many people have paid money for. I am on my way to your blog now. Thanks again.

    Sean Mathes

  15. Great post! I like the strategy of typing in “problems” in forum searches to get ideas on what issues people have and how this can help you find a product/service to solve this problem…

  16. greg says:

    good article. ive tried to go everything maybe i should go one thing cheers

  17. Ronald Overton says:

    this is really great information> I am so delighted and enlightened at the same time> You are am Amazing BeingSir Moe>> even as a novice i totally get the point > Thank You >

  18. Sheryl Anderson says:

    I am brand new to affilate marketing. Your explanation of finding a “niche” really has me thinking differently. Thank you for sharing this information.

  19. rere says:

    very good and useful info…thanks

  20. Wow! Thank you for sharing. I so new at this, yetn I know there is money to be made.This info will be a great help as I try to get a piece of the pie!

  21. Mohamed Hemdan says:

    Wow..Valuable tips :)))
    Thank you for sharing :)

  22. bangesad says:

    Great article! I love the “niche online forums” suggestion using BoardReader, thanks!

  23. gary says:

    good info i am to new to affiliate marketing and i usally read as much of this clickbank info as i can and i have got some really useful stuff from it. thanks to the clickbank staff keep up the good work guys

  24. guy nadeau says:

    Hi. I`m relatively new to all this Internet Marketing Business. I`m on the studying phase, trying to learn the more I can. Thank for your articles. Really appreciated it. Really instructive.

  25. Kevin says:

    I really like your idea on searching the forums for problems people need answered within you niche. Great two part article, thanks Moe.

  26. Hey Moe!

    Moe Bernier here and just wanted to say that your article is excellent.
    You don’t seem to leave anything out and the knowledge you have shared
    today will be a huge gain for many who read it. I being one of them!

    Thanks Big Time For The Article!

    Maurice

  27. Con Brandt says:

    Great article needed to read this, look at every angle as I’am new to this and have been trying to learn everything I can Thank’s

  28. Dan says:

    Well-written information. Thank for sharing your expertise with us!

  29. Robert says:

    I’m currently developing a blog, and have been very interested on how to promote the site. I found your articles very interesting and informative. I think I found a niche market, that is constantly scammed (including myself). I know it will be tough to gain trust, but I need to try.

    I will follow your advise in researching the market.

    Thank you for your outstanding work.

    Bob

  30. Dear Moe,

    Thanks for both the detailed reports. I’m a clickbank newbie and haven’t a clue where to start. I’m very tempted by all the “Marketing Gurus” that seem to be raking in the cash there, though! But also highly sceptical.

    Is there any method/formula by one of these gurus you might know of (in addition to your method above) that is realistic in it’s claims?

    Kind regards,
    Matt

  31. Joan says:

    I had a website for about 2 years and did not promote it at all. I now understand what I should be doing (trends, etc.). After reading your e-book, I am also changing my focus a bit. Words cannot describe my gratitude to you for providing this invaluable information. You really should be charging for this. :)

    Sincerely,
    Joan

  32. nawal says:

    anyone who would comment on this by saying less than it’s just “Brilliant” is jealous in my opinion. most paid e-books don’t have the quality and integrity that this man has, as a newbie who is desparetely for some honest advices I thank you from my deepest heart. and please excuse my horrible english.

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