Niche marketing is the process of finding and serving small but potentially profitable market segments. These small market segments can be visualized as part of a “long tail”, a term elaborated by Chris Anderson in his longtail blog.
Niche markets are important for small businesses, as they can find it profitable to serve markets too small for mainstream businesses. Anderson argues that products with low sales volume can collectively exceed the relatively few current bestsellers. An example is a relative handful of weblogs have many links going into them but “the long tail” of millions of weblogs may have only a handful of links going into them.
The first advice for a small business or web site developer is to “identify your niche market.” But how? And how to quantify what you have found. Ready sources of data exist within the domain of internet and internet marketing, based around keywords. Advertisers pay for keywords, resulting in placement of adds in panels based on the keywords on a web page. You can see such to the left of this article. Google and Yahoo have built billion dollar businesses around this advertising model, and anyone can become a publisher and profit from the available information, if you know how.
There are a number of useful sources of quantitative information below: Later articles will elaborate on a how theoretical ecological niche modeling give data-driven insights to niche market research. For example, the distribution of keywords in both searches and web pages is a ‘background’ much like the distribution of temperature and rainfall in the environment. The distribution of keywords and searches on a specific site constitutes a ‘draw’ on that background, much like the environment at that set of sites occupied by a specific species.
Google Suggest — As you type, Google will offer keyword suggestions, and the number of results, (But what? The more information link is broken).
NicheBot — “Finds exactly what people search for” so you can target keywords for improved search engine placement. Typing a keyword or phrase returns the top 10 listings from two databases, WordTracker and Overture with the following quantitative information:
- Phrase — Exact keyword phrase people are using to search the search engines.
- Count — Number of times search phrase appeared in the database of Keyword Discovery in the past 12 months.
- Pages — Number of pages listed in Google with any or all of the keyword phrase.
- Competition — Number of pages listed in Google with the exact keyword phrase.
- Ratio — Number of sites for every 1 search; the closer to zero, the less competition.
Wordtracker — With the slogan, “Amateurs guess. Professionals know.” Wordtracker identifies the best keywords to drive more traffic to your sites. Wordtracker’s suggestions are based on keywords and phrases that people have used in search over the previous 90 days. In other words, recommendations are conditioned on quantitative search data (Limited signup).
Overture from Yahoo! has two main tools:
- Keyword Selector Tool lists the number of times searches were done on specific terms.
- View Bids Tool shows the maximum bids and listings for that term.
A number of basic quantitative terms:
- Total monthly or daily impressions, unique visitors, or returning visitors.
- Click through Rate: (%) percentage of page visits (or impressions) that result in clicks on a publishers advertisements.
- PPC indicates payment based on click-throughs, while
- CPC indicates measurement of cost on a per-click basis.
- CPM cost per thousand impressions.
- eCPM – Effective Cost per 1000 impressions can compare revenue across different programs. It is calculated by dividing total earnings by the number of impressions in thousands. For example, if a publisher earned $180 from 45,000 impressions, the CPM would equal $180/45, or $4.00.
While not quantitative eZines consists of “29,116 Expert Authors Sharing Their Best Ezine Articles”. These are submitted gratis by people, in the hope they will be approved for listing and eventually used on others sites with attribution and backlinks. Perusing the categories and articles below is an indication of what people are writing about.
HitTail zeros right in on that data, showing search hits and keywords, then identifies underperforming terms as suggestions, which by writing about these promising topics, the builds traffic to your site.