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STARTUP IDEAS and STRATEGIES
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Finding Niches in the Market:
A Brainstorming Guide

Niches are constantly being created by the consumers that define them. They are as diverse and detailed as the world itself.

A niche can represent anything from a preference in style to a physical characteristic. Chocolate lovers, Rolling Stones fans, amateur photographers, vintage doll collectors, and left-handed people are just a few examples.

Some become so large that it's easier to target smaller niches within the larger one. Here's an example:

People who like to garden represent one segment of consumers. Someone who gardens, though, may grow anything from roses to tomatoes.

Some have backyards in which to garden. Others have an apartment patio, or a terrace.

How and where a person lives is another niche creator.

Magazines such as California Homes, Log Home Living, and Coastal Living are examples of products aimed toward specific segments in the market.

Small space living and eco-friendly living are two other groups you can target.

Pet owners are another example of how many sub-categories one niche can contain.

Those who have cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, and goldfish are just a few "sub-niches" in that category.

Even those can be broken down into even more specific groups. Dog owners include everyone from those who have miniature poodles to Saint Bernards.

Affluent animal guardians create even more sub-categories of consumers. Doggie spas and designer clothing for them are perfect examples.

People travel with their pets. They breed them. Many pets have special needs and health issues.

All of these create niches to whom you can market.
An easy way to brainstorm niches is to start with a general topic.

Books, for example, can be about science fiction, poetry, health, romance, mythology, or cooking - and that's just a sampling.

Some people are avid readers of a specific genre, such as suspense thrillers. Others may read nothing but biographies or short stories.

Specific book series, such as Harry Potter and Nancy Drew, have their fans.

Every type of collector represents a niche in the market.

People collect antiques, autographs, stamps, coins, dolls, jewelry, artwork, windchimes, angels, pottery, hats and spoons. The list is endless.

Almost everyone travels. For some, it may be an occasional trip to a theme park. For others, it's a cruise or a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast inn.

Many have favorite, regular destinations. New York City, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas casinos - they are varied and many.

Within the category of travel alone, you can find literally thousands of niches.

Think about what people want, and what they need. (From a consumer's perspective, the only one that counts, the two are often the same.)

People want to protect what they have. They care about their health and their family's well-being. They want to look their best.

Pleasant surroundings are important to most consumers. So is anything that makes life more convenient, saves time, or saves money.

Any specific desire can represent a niche whether it's someone wanting unique landscaping, a trendier hairstyle, a more organized closet, or a custom-built fireplace.

Holidays and special events create many more options. Super Bowl parties, Oscar parties, graduations, birthdays, weddings, Christmas, New Year's, Easter, Fourth of July, and Halloween all have niche potential.

Sell handcrafted Christmas ornaments at an arts and crafts fair. Or blog about and post photos of delicious, easy-to-make dishes for Super Bowl parties. Become an event planner who specializes in outdoor parties.

People love to learn. Most are naturally curious and enjoy discovering new hobbies or developing skills. That translates into niches of those who are interested in genealogy, watercolor painting, guitar, local history, ballroom dancing, or building anything from dollhouses to computers. And that barely scratches the surface.

An amateur ballroom dancer, or someone wanting to learn, is an example of one niche. That amateur dancer is going to be interested in finding an instructor. They'll also be in the market for dancing shoes and possibly costumes.

And what about that would-be dancing beginner who is too self-conscious, pressed for time, or can't afford lessons? They will be looking for books and DVDs on everything from the Viennese waltz to the tango.

People also have an ongoing, practical need to learn - everything from finding the best building contractor in Sacaramento to the latest treatment for pollen allergies.

Every city and town in America represents at least one potential niche, and often several. In this instance, the consumer could be a a tourist, a resident, or someone researching a possible relocation.

A tourist might be interested in the best Greek restaurants in New York City, art museums in Washington D.C., or bed and breakfast inns in Atlanta.

A resident would be more interested in finding someone to paint a mural in their child's nursery. Or maybe they're looking for a yoga instructor that teaches nearby.

No matter what niche you select, you always have a way to monetize it. Informational products, for example, can take the form of membership websites, ad-sponsored websites, seminars, online courses, ebooks, printed material, CDs, and DVDs to name a few.

To broaden your customer base or readership, you can form marketing alliances with those offering complementary niche products.

To brainstorm more niche ideas, browse through shelves in a bookstore or a library. Magazine stands are another fertile source for inspiration.

Look at the magazine advertisements for ideas of how to monetizing the marget segment on which you're focusing.

For online brainstorming, visit groups.yahoo.com and browse the categories. Do the same at EzineArticles.com. You'll also get a good perspective for ways to hone in on more specific segments of the market.

Always bear in mind that creating a niche starts with the consumer.



MARKETING STRATEGIES
Differentiate Yourself
Information Marketing
Building Customer Loyalty
Getting Customer Feedback
Testimonials
How to Define a Niche
Discovering Niches
Finding New Customers
Indirect Benefits
The Consumer's Perspective
Promotional Marketing
Pricing Products and Services
Viral Marketing Magic
Marketing Mix
Website Niches
Cheap Advertising Strategies
Complementary Marketing

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