It pains me to say this – but – we can’t do everything for you!
We want to. We really do.
The Gooten Shopify App for instance offers you everything you need to start an ecommerce business through dropshipping.
But more is needed. Designs and marketing tactics are needed. But, greater than that, the entire concept of your business is needed. Where do you begin?
Chances are, you’re not going to invent the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Picture all those poor souls eating bread by the loaf). The smartest way to jump into dropshipping is to focus on a targeted niche audience. Here’s what you need to know to take your niche idea and turn it into a sucessful business.
In addition to getting more bang for your advertising buck, targeting niche markets tends to come with the added bonuses of free word of mouth advertising and brand loyalty. Forbes interviewed one of the founders of LensWork, a photography magazine with a very specific aesthetic and audience. Brooks Jensen (the founder) makes a few key points about the value of niche audiences:
Members of niche markets tend to be passionate about their specific interests, values, and hobbies.
As a result, they’re more likely to talk about those interests – and your brand – with people they know, resulting in social network shares, conversations, and other word of mouth “advertising” that makes your brand seen and heard.
In a combination of that audience passion and the general lack of competition for businesses that cater to niche markets, customers, clients, and brand fans will keep coming back for more.
Essentially, if you play your analysis cards right, you can tap into the very specific things that people love, driving your business forward along the way.
Beginning the Process
Choosing something to sell online is a two-step process. One is actually finding something, and the other is validating that idea with research.
Method 1: Doing what you’re passionate about
This is a great option because people in your niche will value your authenticity and passion for what you’re doing. Pardon My Fro is a great example of an entrepreneur who combined her passion for design with passion for her heritage, and from there was able to create a very successful lifestyle brand around her custom-made products.
Method 2: Doing what people in general are passionate about
Another method you can use is to browse lists of hobbies such as this one from Wikipedia, focus on any particular hobby, and then look for products that cater to that niche. Additionally, you can look up forums that cater to these hobbyists and see what kind of stuff they are discussing to identify holes and gaps in the market which you can then target.
Method 3: Popular culture
Finally, the last ace up your niche-finding sleeve is popular culture. The internet is a big place. You can find ideas by browsing through popular hashtags on social media that have to do with ecommerce. Then you can see what ideas other people have already put in place, and see what type of spin you could put on it yourself. What are the things people are tweeting about? What trends are making it to the front page of Reddit? You’ll have to do a lot of random searching here to get some ideas, but chances are you probably spend some time on those sites anyway.
If you are selling something online, there has to be a demand for it to justify your effort. If you are trying to sell something that nobody wants, good luck finding a buyer.
The easiest way to gauge a market’s size is by using the Google Keyword Planner. If you think about it, Google is the collective database of nearly every query humans have – so their data is pretty solid. You’re also going to want a lot of traffic coming in from Google, so the more people there are searching for your product on Google, the better.
People have different recommendations as to how many is just enough for a good niche market, and they range from just 1,000 searches per month for your primary keyword all the way up to 7 or 8,000. Anything that falls in between is good enough.
Of course, just the primary keyword is a very rough approximation of the total size of a market – you are going to get plenty of traffic from long-tail keywords, too.
If you aim for something too big, then there is a chance your are biting off more than you can chew, and the competition is too stiff. However, if, somehow, you find a niche with tens of thousands of searches per month and not too formidable competition, jump on it.
You can also gauge market size using social media. Are there lots of people sharing/talking about products similar to yours(or the effect that product has)? If so, that can be a good indication of a market size. Sometimes, it will be difficult to find an exact keyword for your product. If that’s the case, turn to social media.
Don’t be scared off by the competition. Competition is a good thing. Competition tells you that there is money to be made in this niche. If there are other people selling something, then there are most likely buyers for that thing, too. The pie is usually big enough for everyone to have their fill.
Instead of the risk of spreading yourself too thin, and saying that ‘everybody’ is your potential client, niche marketing will help you to focus on a specific group of people, and what their specific needs and wants are.
As you can provide an increasingly better lifestyle or product, based on your client’s needs, the chance is that you will get more repeat business – people will come back for more, and often will start spending more with you as the relationship grows.
Once you are known for a certain niche, and have plenty of clients, you can grow from there.