Learning how to do niche research is an important skill for being successful in an online business. Niche research (or market research), is not only used by digital marketing professionals, but also by serious entrepreneurs and established business owners.
In this article, I’ll go into what I consider to be best practices for doing niche research. If you’re looking to effectively find profitable niches, products, or just learn the fundamentals of doing niche research, then have a look at the list below
What is niche Research?
Niche research is the activity of collecting data about markets and/or products in order to gain insights into how to best achieve your goals. These goals can be anything, from finding profitable niches, promising products, or getting valuable insights for building highly effective digital marketing strategies.
Keyword research vs Niche Research
The two are similar, but not the same. Keyword research is part of niche research and focuses on keywords only to translate data into insights, opportunities, and so forth. Niche research on the other hand includes keyword research, as well as other methods and perspectives in order to identify profitable opportunities.
So, though keyword research is an important part of finding profitable niches and products, as well as building effective digital marketing strategies, you cannot rely only on keyword research. You’ll have to combine data from different tools, or use an all-in-one solutions for effective niche research.
What to research?
What your niche research is all about, depends on the scenario. Every business is unique and so will the research questions and goals be. In order to get an idea of what some research questions might look like, take a look at the list below.
Doing niche (or market research) can help you with:
- Finding the most profitable business opportunities
- Uncovering trends
- Finding niche products to promote
- Understanding your target marketing
- How large is your niche/market?
- How could we enter this niche?
- Who are our competitors?
- Better understanding your target audience
- What problems do they have (what solutions can we offer them)
- How should we engage with them, based on their buyer persona?
- What communication style is appropriate to use in your content and ads
- Building new, or improving your current digital marketing strategies
- Mapping and optimizing funnels (customer journeys)
- Building SEO, content strategies, and PPC campaigns founded in data (your insights)
- Competitive Intelligence (understanding your competition)
- Reverse engineering competitors strategies
- Understanding the competition’s weaknesses and strengths
- Understanding how to outrank the competition in search engines and outdo them in Google ads
Niche research is done by using niche research tools. These tools can be free or paid. Mostly, the paid services are of much higher quality, in regards to data quality, efficiency in usage, and ease of use.
Free tools vs paid tools
You can do a lot with free tools, but the truth is that you can do much more with a paid tool. With free tools, you’ll have to put together all the data and get the insights you need. Another problem is data quality. While some free tools, such as Google Keyword Planner offer some good data, many free tools source their data from different places and then throw it all together.
If you use a quality paid tool, on the other hand, you get all the tools you need in one suite. This means no switching around and no gluing together different data streams in order to draw conclusions. Another positive is that you’re always dealing with the same data source, which means that your strategies are based on consistent fundaments.
Avoid analysis paralysis
When doing research, it’s very easy to get stuck in a research loop. When this happens, you compulsively keep looking for better insights and answers to the questions you have. As a result, every answer you give leads to another question – and this goes on and on. This is called ‘analysis paralysis’, and when it is set loose, it is hard to stop.
Instead, go in-depth, but not too much in-depth. Stay conscious. When you’re doing research, you’re not executing campaigns or strategies. You’ll need to test what you find anyway, so rationally saying, there’s no point to get stuck in research. Remember that analysis paralysis is the main reason that people don’t take action.
Consolidate your insights
Niche research consists of many different things, ranging from keyword research to backlink profile analysis, to traffic analysis, and much more. In order to get valuable insights from the data, you need to understand how they fit together. This is something that comes with time, yet some suites of tools make this much easier for beginners.
Consolidating your insights is best done inside the suite of tools you are using, or by inserting data into spreadsheets and eyeballing it (if you are bringing data together from free tools).
Brainstorm your insights
After you’ve collected your data and concluded some insights from it, a good practice is to brainstorm for solutions. This allows you to get unique perspectives on the data and insights and come up with creative solutions. Eventually, you’ll notice that brainstorming happens at the same time as doing the niche research itself. This comes with time and practice.
Systemize your niche research
Markets and niches change constantly (and quickly). Trends show up or disappear, while new competitors burst onto the scene. At the same time, new products or services are launched, while others are taken off the market. All this means that you’ll need to keep monitoring your niche in order to be able to appropriately react to changes.
Digital marketing is a process. Every strategy needs to be evaluated for results, and adjustments have to be made, in order to optimize activities. All changes are made based upon the insights you gather from your niche research. Since the answers to your questions can change, doing research is an ongoing process.
Build a Digital Marketing Plan
Dealing with a lot of data can quickly become confusing and chaotic. It’s recommended that you document your findings, insights, and conclusions in a structured digital marketing plan. Doing this will help keep you focused on your goals as well as make it easier to work with team members or outsourced third parties.
For more information on how to write a digital marketing plan, and what should be part of such a document, have a look at my digital marketing strategy template. It will give you an overview of what it an effective strategy and plan are built up from.
Take action and test
It doesn’t matter how good you think your idea, conclusions, or insights are. In the end, the only thing that’s going to show if you’re conclusions made sense is trying your ideas out. In online business or digital marketing, nobody can guarantee results. The only thing that you can do is maximize your chances for success by being the best you can at what you do.
Now that you’ve gone through how to do research in order to find niche markets, products and insights read about my recommended niche research tools for dominating your market. In the article, I’ll list some of the best paid and free niche research tools and some methods on how to find profitable niches and products.