Categories : Online Business Strategy, Planning and Structure

Reviewed By Mark Salmon - Rating : 4.5

Profitable-NicheOne of the biggest mistakes I have made with my business is my failure to operate in a focused profitable niche and adopt the ‘inch-wide, mile-deep’ niche strategy.

I’m supposed to be operating in the make money online niche which has a number of sub-niches but I’ve signally failed to restrict my activities to a sub-niche or even the make money online niche.

It seems to me that most operators in the make money online niche, if they are making any money at all, are making money by selling courses on how to make money online i.e. their revenue comes from selling tutorials or ‘selling the shovels’ to the ‘miners’ rather than ‘mining’ themselves.

There are somewhat shady practices – many testimonials are created by ‘friends’ rather than actual users of the product and there are affiliate rings operating i.e. I’ll promote your product if you’ll promote mine. Such recommendations are driven by self-interest rather than the quality of the product.

I often listen to my iPod when taking our dog for a walk and Jay Abraham’s tutorials are mixed in with the music files.  Whilst he is not really an internet marketer, he is a great marketer and he believes that the best and highest use of internet marketing skills is to support real businesses with real products and services rather selling digital products of dubious quality.

Having had some experience of the info-marketing niche, I am inclined to agree with him.  I would say that 95% of the products in the info marketing niche are poor quality and rehashed rubbish and you and I can waste a small fortune buying them before we discover the error of our ways.  (Oh dear, that’s bitter personal experience speaking!)

I am therefore tending to move away from info marketing – if I continue to create info products, I am determined that they will be:

  • in a narrow niche,
  • well-researched and high quality i.e. deep rather than wide
  • consumable in an hour or less
  • systemised for easy action taking

Rather, for the time-being, I would like to work in partnership with a small handful of high quality offline businesses as their internet marketing strategist and mentor i.e. to return to my consulting.

I feel that there is more integrity in helping such businesses who are often scammed by website designers who, whilst they can make websites, have little or no clue about making money online.  Things like traffic generation, sales funnels, list building and email marketing do not even make it onto their agenda with their client!

See, once again I am expanding the remit from website design into a lot of other areas.  It is so easy to slip into!

Ideally I should be concentrating on one small aspect of internet marketing, say sales funnels, email marketing or list building, and then outsourcing the rest.  This would enable me to go deep into the topic and become the ‘go to’ expert for that particular topic.

That is much more attractive then trying to be all things to all people and master of none.

Also, why not segment the market?

In other words build sales funnels for, say, dentists.  If I went to a dentist and said that ‘I specialise in building sales funnel processes just for dentists in order to grow their practice geometrically (rather than linearly)’ that would be much more attractive to a dentist than just saying I specialise in building sales funnels for small businesses.

By segmenting in this way, it would enable me to focus on testing sales funnel processes that convert well for dentists.

Once such as process had been developed, if you then went to other dentists and said that ‘I have developed a high-converting sales funnel process specifically for dentists.  Here is a testimonial from XYZ dentist where I increased his revenues by a factor of 3 times.’  That is so much more powerful than if my testimonial and case study was from an unrelated industry.

Last night I was watching a programme about Harley Street.  Huge sums of money are made by medical specialists – for example, one surgeon just specialised in treating prostate cancer.  That’s it!  Nothing else.

One of the featured patients had travelled all the way from Norway for treatment and was happy to pay his extortionate fee.

I’ve no doubt that that surgeon could have chosen to operate on numerous parts of the body but he chose to treat ‘men with prostate cancer’ and become a leading expert in that alone.  This meant that he had performed thousands of prostate operations in the course of his career giving him genuine experience and expertise.  In a life and death situation of prostate cancer treatment, he will always be able to charge more than a general surgeon.

The funny thing about this strategy is that you make it so much more easy on yourself.  No need to try to be an expert on multiple topics – your specialism is narrow and you can also narrow your learning and research which is  cheaper and easier to do.

Also by narrowing your target market in this way, your marketing becomes easier because you can target it more effectively and you will see higher conversions for less spend.

Before you make the final decision on your inche wide, mile deep niche strategy, just make sure that your chosen niche is big enough and hungry enough for the product or service you want to provide.

So let’s briefly recap the reasons for choosing an inch wide, mile deep niche strategy:

  • you get really very, very good at serving the needs of your customers in your niche by specialising
  • you have a deeper understanding of your target market and their needs which will help you greatly with your marketing and copywriting
  • you can increase the range and depth of the specialist knowledge, products and services you provide in your niche
  • you can become an expert and thought leader in that niche which will again add power to your marketing

This is what is meant by a profitable niche – the inch wide, mile deep niche strategy – have you chosen yours?  For that matter, what is mine?  I’ll let you know when I decide – it’s not an easy decision for me to make.


Mark Salmon is an internet marketing consultant. Mark creates digital information products about starting and building an online business. Prior to starting his online business, Mark was a corporate banker based in the UK, then ran a business consultancy for around 8 years before deciding that his future was internet marketing. You can connect with Mark at: Mark's Google Plus Page Mark's Facebook Fan Page Mark's YouTube Channel Mark's Blog

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