Finding the perfect niche—a tip or two
Niche research can take you down many roads. Some are dead-ends; others cul-de-sacs which take you to the end, whip you around 180 degrees and spit you out again.
Finding the precise area in which you wish to spend time can be maddening, aggravating, frustrating and, sometimes, almost futile. Did I mention aggravating?
Any number of capable, respected marketers have proven research methods and systems. Many of which are somewhat similar.
One useful, effective tip involves looking online for book or magazine titles to attempt to determine popularity of an idea. Or, to assist in coming up with ideas. Another suggests looking in bookstores for “special interest” books and magazines.
Both are valid suggestions—as far as they go…
The online route is easy. You’re already in front of your computer. Book and magazine sites are only a few characters and a click away. Some of the major sites list comparative popularity and reader reviews.
But, as useful as this is, it doesn’t give you the “look and feel” of the magazine or book. A trip to your local big box bookstore of newsstand will.
As I live in a semi-major metropolitan area a couple large bookstores are but a short drive away.
One of the things I like to do is wander up, down and through the magazine aisles and glance at titles. Particularly of special interest publications. If one strikes my fancy I pick it up, and after reading the table of contents, thumb through and pay particular attention to the ads.
Large bookstores don’t seem to mind if you take the magazine to a table in the cafe and read while sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea. (One of the best parts of “research”)
If it’s really intriguing I may actually buy it. (It’s easier to read the printed URL’s than to read my handwritten notes for my initial research.) Not going to go into research procedures here. I’ll assume–which I know better than to do–you know how.
Looking at magazine titles on the rack is going to tell you, as is a website, what is available. To a point it’s safe to think, as they’re there, people buy them. You’d probably be surprised to see how many magazines have their covers ripped off and returned to distributors for credit as “unsold”.
By dropping by the store two, three, four or more times a month you’ll be able to get a handle on which issues are actually selling. The more you know about the particular store you go to, the better able you’ll be to judge what’s hot and what’s not.
Another useful observation you can make is to see what magazines other customers are actually reading, either while standing by the rack or in the cafe. Many customers leave the mags they’ve been reading on the table in the cafe when they’re finished. Walk by empty tables and take a look.
What have you to lose? Worst case scenario is an hour or so away from the computer and a cup of coffee. Best case: a new, un-thought of previously, profitable niche.
BTW, if you see me there I take my coffee black.
Filed under: niche research
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