New prospective online business owners are told that they need to focus on a specific niche in order to sell information products online effectively. Then they are given a list of niches and told to “pick one” and get started there.
Even the so called “gurus” confuse niches and markets all the time. Sometimes they use the terms interchangeably.
My intent with this post is to try to clear up the confusion you may have about what niches and markets really are … they are not the same thing.
A market or marketplace is a group of people with a common need, desire or problem. They are looking for an opportunity to solve their problem or satisfy their desire in some way. These people are in demand of a certain good or a service that will help them.
Here’s an example: if you are one of the many people with a desire to purchase a new car, you are said to be “in the market” for a new car. In the traditional economic sense – you are the “demand” side of the marketplace – you have a “demand” (a new car) and you will spend money with whomever you decide best meets your demand (the new car you choose).
On the “supply” side are all the car dealers and individuals that will help you meet your demand. These are the people that have new cars and will gladly sell you one in exchange for your money. This is simple supply and demand economics.
People move in and out of markets often – as soon as they have a need or desire met they are no longer considered a part of that marketplace unless they have other additional needs that are still as yet unfulfilled.
Niches are not markets. They are not typically subsets of markets either. Look the word “niche” up in the dictionary. Here’s what mine says:
niche (noun or verb) 1. an ornamental recess in a wall or the like, usually semicircular in plan and arched, as for a statue or other decorative object. 2. a place or position suitable or appropriate for a person or thing; to find one’s niche in the business world.
A niche is a recess or place in a wall where a statue can be displayed (see image above). Or as definition #2 states, it’s a position for a person (or a business).
Said another way (with Internet marketing in mind) to make the mental picture more clear: a niche is a place within a market that we choose to position our business to allow us to cater to the needs and wants of a specific group of people with a common desire or problem.
You do not pick a niche from a list of all the possible niches in a market. It is not something you “choose” in the same way you would pick a book to read at the library or a sandwich off the menu at a diner. There are many niches left in every marketplace just waiting to be discovered or created.
You develop your own niche when you position your business in a way that allows you to respond to the expressed needs (demand) of a marketplace.
Until marketers understand that they create a niche by choice, they will limit their effectiveness because they will always be competing with other businesses as they try to sell the very same products and services. Innovation is stifled if “known” niches are the only choice available.
I say, create your own niche. Position your business differently than all your competitors. When you do that effectively, you eliminate all the direct competition and comparisons!
By being different than all the competition, you will have a opportunity to attract prospects in the marketplace in a totally unique way. You will be different, you will stand out, you will be able to give your customers and prospects something they won’t find anywhere else.
I hope this explanation makes some sense to you.
To your online business success,
Five Ideas to Get Clicks to Your Affiliate Link
No matter what type of affiliate product or service you’re selling, you’re probably always looking for ways to get your offers in front of more prospects . . . and you’re looking for ways to get folks to click on your affiliates links.
It is often said that marketing is a numbers game – the more targeted prospects who see your offers, the more money you make. Of course, that’s assuming that you have a great product to promote and that you have compelling reasons why the prospect should click on your link now.
It also suggests that your prospects have trust in you and your business because often, sketchy or dubious marketing methods are associated scam artists and others out to make a fast buck without delivering on their promises!
With that in mind, here are five killer tips for getting others to click your affiliate links . . .
1. Buy and Use the Product You’re Going to Be Promoting
It should come as no surprise that most affiliates never purchase or have any experience with the product they are promoting. Doesn’t that seem strange if the marketer is promoting a product by telling prospects how great it is and what a wonderful result the buyer will achieve by using his purchase? It’s simply lazy marketing to slap on an affiliate link to an email and hope that someone clicks and buys the product. How can an affiliate give a good and truthful recommendation to a product without owning it and trying it out? Seems rather logical doesn’t it? Truth be told, the vast majority of affiliates (but not all) are much more concerned about their potential commission payday than the best interest of their customer.
2. Build Trust First
People buy from those they know, like and trust. So if you’re a virtual stranger who’s asking people to click on your affiliate links, guess what happens? Usually, not a darn thing! Often, no one clicks because no one that sees your link actually knows or trusts your recommendation.
Instead of hitting your prospects cold, you need to prove you can be trusted to give a truthful recommendation and you do that by letting the prospect know something about you and your expertise to be making a helpful and accurate buying recommendation. One way to do that is to publish a newsletter and/or a blog so that the prospect can experience your passion, knowledge, and leadership. By letting prospects see your work, your testimonials, and your high quality products, they get to know you and begin to feel that you are there to help your customers. You’ll also build trust with your audience by providing free, quality solutions to their problems, questions, and desires.
3. Pre-Sell Your Products
Even if people know, like and trust you, they’re still not going to rush to click your affiliate links unless you give them a good reason to do so. What that means is that you need to pre-sell your affiliate offers before you send your visitors on to the vendor’s page.
Here are three ways to do exactly that…
a. Do a product review or comparison. If you want to sell a single product, you can do a product review. In that review you share the good points (benefits) of the product, the product’s flaws, limitations, or shortcomings (if any), and your “verdict” (whether you recommend it or not).
Tip: If you just want to offer the product benefits, then you’re basically writing a sales letter. Now that’s OK, but don’t confuse it with a product review. A review is an honest assessment of the product, including product flaws. However, don’t be afraid to share the flaws, as doing so helps people trust you more because they know you’re not “hiding” or omitting downsides – and that greater trust increases your conversion rate.
Alternatively, you can compare two or more similar products – flaws and all – and let your readers know which one you recommend.
b. Share a case study. People want proof that a product works. One way to offer proof is by sharing a case study of the types of results you or someone else got by using the product.
c. Build anticipation. Another way to get people to click on your affiliate links is by building anticipation and curiosity. You can do this over a series of emails or in a series of videos or short reports. Alternatively, you can also do it in just one email, where you get people curious about the sales page.
4. Add Value to Your Offers
When you’re an affiliate, you’re in direct competition with other affiliates who are selling exactly the same product. One way to virtually eliminate the competition is by adding value to the offer – that is, you offer a related bonus product or service to those who purchase the item through your affiliate link. Make the bonus offer relevant and useful to the product being promoted and unique (so no else is offering the same bonus) if at all possible.
- You offer a free sales letter critique to those who buy a copywriting course through your link.
- You offer a free blogging course for those who purchase a traffic-generation course through your link.
- You offer a free exercise book and a free recipe book to those who purchase a diet course through your link.
5. If You’re a Serious Affiliate . . . Build an Email List in the Niche
It’s no secret that the best affiliates tend to focus their promotion efforts in a few targeted, and often related niche marketplaces. Why do they do this? One reason is that they understand the specific marketplace and the desires of prospects in it. They know the types of products that sell well, they know how and where to contact prospects, and they know the various vendors that are selling successfully. Here’s another important reason: they can promote and sell related items to the same prospects that have purchased previously in the niche. That strategy is a whole lot easier and more productive than constantly finding new buying prospects. So these successful affiliates build niche mailing lists and often have great targeted audiences that they can tap into with related offers. It’s a huge advantage over other affiliates that are simply prospecting for first time buyers with every new affiliate offer!
In summary: You can get more clicks to your affiliate links and more money in your pocket simply by doing these five things:
- Buy and use the product you’re going to be promoting.
- Build trust in your prospects first by letting them experience your expertise in the field.
- Pre-sell your products.
- Add value to your offers.
- Build an email list in the niche.
Apply all five of these tips ASAP and see if you don’t start enjoying more affiliate sales, too!
To your online business success,
Pump Up Affiliate Sales
What percentage of your online sales come from affiliate commissions?
If it is a substantial proportion, you should be doing everything possible to increase the amount of your traffic, the click-through response rate to your affiliate page links, and the relevance of your content to the product(s) you’re promoting.
Typically, new affiliates slap up a web page, add a few links, some cut-and-paste content, and forget about the site for a few weeks or months waiting for it to get spidered and included in the search engines.
There is a better way to accomplish affiliate sales. If you pay close attention to the details of your site, like you would if you were selling your own direct marketing product, your affiliate sales can soar.
Here are a few suggestions on how to pump up your affiliate marketing without spending a lot of money buying targeted traffic or spending a lot of computer time fiddling with complicated linking strategies:
1. Research the “most searched” key words and phrases that apply to your affiliate sales product. There are a number of keyword suggestion tools that can be used to estimate how often these terms and phrases are searched on each month. The Google keyword planner is probably the most popular free tool online for this purpose. It’s very important to understand the exact terms and phrases that surfers are currently using to find the affiliate product you’re promoting.
2. Develop a specific theme for your affiliate web page, one that naturally and seamlessly leads surfers to clicking on your affiliate links. There are several web site models for doing this: “how to” sites that give information on the product use, review type sites that present an “objective” evaluation of the product, content sites that compile lots of articles about the use and features/benefits of the product, and recommendation sites that directly point to the product site as the recommended alternative for the solution to the viewer’s wants.
3. Give the viewer a “takeaway” or reminder that he can save and come back to later. Make sure the web page contains printable links to your affiliate product so that the page can be saved as a “favorites” link or as a printed page that can be reviewed at a later time.
4. Lead your reader down the buying “funnel.” Leave no doubt in his mind as to the steps you want him to take, in the order you specify, resulting in his final action of clicking through to the affiliate product. Leave nothing to chance. Be specific and don’t hesitate to ask for the order (click-through).
5. Be very thorough in your explanations of the five “Ws”: what, why, when, who, and where. In other words, leave no questions unanswered and anticipate with preciseness what issues, concerns, or objections the reader may have in mind about what he is looking for and where he is being referred to. Remember, you are the expert and you are giving the prospect valuable, helpful, “must have” information about the solution to his problem or desire … don’t be shy about explaining the benefits of the particular solution you’re recommending.
6. Offer incentives as a way to get your readers to your site and to click through to the referral site. Make the incentives relevant to the affiliate product if at all possible. The idea is to add interest and value to the product you’re promoting and you can do that by giving additional information or other insights to the product’s usefulness. In addition, you want to get the prospect to subscribe to your email list so that you can market to him/her in the future and can continue to give value in the niche.
7. Create a directory site for specific related products. You will draw a lot more traffic to your affiliate site if you broaden the focus to many related products within a specified niche. This strategy will label you as an authority in the subject and your site as a comprehensive “index” that is “objective” (even if your links are not!) of solutions.
8. Don’t let your site become stale. Continue to add content, new links, and helpful information that will cause the spiders to review and evaluate your site often. Give your subscribers reasons to keep coming back to your web site.
Pay close attention to the little details of your site. Check all the links regularly. Check your navigation and site usability. Keep your content current and useful . . . you will be paid nicely for your effort!
To your online business success,
I Can’t Decide On a Subject For My Business
Information businesses that are created, developed, promoted, operated, and delivered over the Internet are “the perfect business” because the product or service requires no employees, no stored inventory, no physical packaging, and no physical delivery.
These businesses can be operated from anywhere around the globe with just an Internet connection and the proper business set-up!
But for these businesses to exist, the following conditions must be met:
* The owner must be able to automate some basic daily operations,
* New products can be developed and packaged mostly online,
* There must be an identifiable and reachable customer pool (marketplace),
* The business owner will have to understand the demands of the market (the problems, wants, desires of prospects),
* The business operating and payment system must be secure, easy to navigate, and exhibit definite advantages for the customer over other business shopping alternatives, and finally,
* The product has to be one that the owner has a keen knowledge about, experience with, skill in, or a burning passion for.
Here is a very important key to your online information business success:
The perfect business is one that is unique to the talents, skills, experience, and strengths of the owner. Let me explain a little further.
I truly believe that everyone including you, regardless of your background or education, has a million dollar business idea locked away in your mind.
The subject of that idea will most likely be planted there as the result of who you are, the experiences in life you have had, your education, training, favorite hobby, a particular skill set or knowledge bank you have or simply your passion in life for something that can be shared.
In order to discover that “business idea in the rough,” you must ponder and search for the things that make you different, unique, interesting, fun, knowledgeable, skilled, educated, or passionate.
Your best idea will likely come about because of who you are and what gets you excited!
You see, there are plenty of folks all over the world that will want to share in your enthusiasm, your experience, or your knowledge.
In order to identify your million-dollar business idea, you must ask yourself:
* What do I do that others might want to try?
* What do I know that others would like to also know?
* What skills do I possess that others would like to have?
* Where have I been that others might like to visit?
* What expertise do I possess that others don’t?
* What problems can I solve that others can’t?
* What insights or wisdom do I possess that could help others?
* What can I teach or coach others to do that I am good at?
* What pitfalls and dangers can I help others avoid?
Everyone is good at something. Even if you don’t feel professionally qualified to teach others, you can still learn about an interest you have by researching, interviewing experts, and sharing your study results with like-minded folks until you become a qualified “expert.”
After all, an expert is just an ordinary fellow a safe distance from home!
Did you know there are people creating successful businesses because they are willing to explore and learn and even tap into the expertise of others? In fact, some people are wealthy simply because they suggest and recommend the products of others and get paid for it.
Some of the top Internet business minds have simply taken a product or service and presented it in a new light, organized it in an appealing way, or packaged it differently so that it sells.
You must understand that I (or anyone else) can’t tell you the subject of the business that’s right for you. You, and you alone, have to decide that.
But I can tell you that if you pick a subject that you have no interest in or passion for, you will most definitely struggle and probably fail.
Often, especially early on in the business maturing cycle, it is passion and love of the subject that tides an entrepreneur over until profits begin to materialize in the business. Generally, it takes some time to begin to get traction in most information businesses.
We’ll do our best to mentor you along the business path with the resources we offer.
Join us and open up the possibilities of small business ownership and satisfaction in your life. You won’t regret the excitement!
To your online business success,
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