Awhile back I read the Four Hour Work Week. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s written by this guy named Tim Ferris who redefined his life in order to take a series of mini-retirements all year long rather than wait until he’s 60 and sick to enjoy life. He did so by placing himself on income autopilot.

Yes, it sounds way too good and too easy to be true. BUT, I learned a variety of lessons from the book. One of which is the power of the niche. He talks about developing a product designed specifically for a small group of people, then advertising it in various trade magazines.

Of course, he’s not the only person I’ve heard recommend this sort of thing.

But why niche? Well…

  1. The people who find your product are more likely to want it—Some people are concerned that if they market to an extremely specific niche, then they will cut down their sales possibilities to a small number. And while it’s true that less people out there will probably want your product overall, but we can assume that the people that DO find it will be more likely to want it. In other words, say you sell guitars. If people come to you searching for any old guitar, you may or may not get a sale. After all, what are the odds that you have the exact style and model they are looking for? But what if you marketed yourself as a seller of left handed guitars? They are much harder to come by and if someone is frustrated looking for one, by the time they find you they are more likely to buy. Now let’s take it a step up—what about left handed bass guitars? More niche, more high quality traffic. I’d venture to say your conversions would be higher.
  2. It’s more reasonable to assume you can hit top search rankings quicker—Say you’re a web designer and you’re looking at targeting that keyword (let’s assume you’ve already hit it locally). The term “web designer” gets about 4,090,000 global searches a month. Wow. Good luck getting on page 1 for that! On the other hand, let’s say you decided your specialty was the restaurant industry. If you build a niche website and hit it with a keyword like “restaurant web designer,” you are looking at closer to 2,900 global searches a month. Not very many, right? But I’d venture to say it would still pay to get the top spot for that keyword—and it would happen much quicker too.

I know what you’re wondering, have I put this to the test personally? No, not exactly. But I am in the process. I recently wrote an ebook directed specifically at new, first-year teachers. The plan was to have it go live this past summer, except I hit a snag. State governments everywhere started slashing the hell out of budgets and suddenly the steady inflow of new teachers shut off. So much for that product.

What I learned in this instance is that not only is finding the right niche important, but timing is almost everything too. So I’m holding onto it for whenever the hiring starts up again. Who knows, I may just go ahead and release it toward the end of this year and see what happens. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

So am I writing about something I really don’t know anything about? Nope. Because I have seen example after example of this line of reasoning working out. Car dealer website designers, MMA website designers, Civil War painting salesman, hospital wayfinding designers—you name it. It’s hard to argue with tangible results. So start to create niche sites today!

So my question for you is—what’s your niche?