6 steps to eliminate your fear in choosing a niche

Many of the students in my copywriting class struggle with the notion of narrowing a niche. Many know they find healthcare interesting, but worry about being more specific when describing what they do or how they can help people.

This fear is universal. It doesn’t just apply to copywriters. And it doesn’t just apply to the healthcare industry. Many people are afraid that there’s not enough work in one specific industry, or that they will turn away potential clients by being too specific in who they work with.

You may be afraid there’s not enough work in that specific industry. Yea, it’s a good idea to do some research before you just jump in. Where can you go to find some industry statistics?

Check out some industry journals, both print and online. Look for associations in the industry you’re considering; many have tons of information available for free. Look for annual member studies, a section for the press or media, or topical articles written by members. You can learn about what this group of people is worrying about and what problems members may be experiencing. You can also look at membership numbers for an association. Just because an association is losing members doesn’t mean the industry is in the tanks, but it is one factor to consider.

Subscribe to the SRDS list online. You pay for this service and it is a few hundred dollars or you can go to the library and see an older version – it may not be up-to-date, but it’s free. Look at each niche or category. You can see the number of magazines in each, number of subscribers, advertisers, etc.

Go to www.wordtracker.com (it’s free) and see how many people search key words and phrases. This is a very cool web site (look up yours). You can learn statistics like how many people visit a web site over a given time frame. How many pages, on average, people visit before they leave. Overall trends of traffic growth or slowing. It’s actually a pretty cool tool. I checked out my competitors to see how I compared.

Research your niche. What is the size of their market? You can typically sell to 10%. If you do that, will you have enough business? What are the trends: Shrinking? Growing? Aging? Ideally you are looking for a niche that is young and growing, however, that doesn’t mean the people in the niche are young and growing. An example would be products and services that the baby boomer generation is growing into. Like heart health (cardiology), orthopedic industries (like hip replacements, etc).

Who else sells to this market? Look at both competitors and non-competitive services. How do they sell? Can you copy it? Are their methods proven? For example, you may find a certain niche is more apt to buy online than another niche. Start with what is proven to work.

Check out competitive web sites at www.alexa.com. Don’t forget to look at potential clients too. At Alexa.com you can see how many hits an individual site gets and how much traffic goes through their web sites. This information can be a key to how much interest is out there for the services, or how much business is actually done online.

The idea here is to help alleviate some of the fears of narrowing your niche and to help you make smart decisions. In addition to all this factual research you can do, there are other non-tangible things to consider when choosing a niche. Is there a particular area you have contacts in? Is there an area you are very interested in or are passionate about? Does one niche come easier to you than another? These more non-tangible factors also play an important role in the niche you choose.

So, don’t be afraid of taking the step to market to a narrow niche. Just do your homework ahead of time and be more confident in the decisions you make.

Copyright (c) 2006 Kelly Robbins