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The article below is the third of seven articles by infomarketing guru Marcia Yudkin that give you a quick, well-informed introduction to the key principles of creating and selling information.  After reading this piece, click on "NEXT" to read the next article in the series.  START AT THE BEGINNING.

How to Select a Niche for Your Information Marketing Business

by Marcia Yudkin

You'd like to start an information marketing business that brings you sales while you sleep. But you're wavering between doing so in Niche A, where you worked for 22 years but now feel bored about the topic and doing so in Niche B, your non-workplace passion, the hobby on which you lavish tons of time, money and affection. Or you have one particular niche in mind and want reassurance that doing the work to build your information empire has good odds of paying off. 

Use this checklist to make your decision easier. I've started with the more objective factors and then moved to the more subjective ones. Both are relevant and important.

1. Advertisers. Can you easily find companies advertising to the niche? Look both online and offline for this. Online, perform 10 searches related to the niche in question and give yourself a score of 5 if at least five pay-per-click ads come up with most or all of your search results. Give yourself a score of 0 if hardly any or no pay-per-click ads appear with your search results. 

To gauge offline advertisers, look for subscription magazines related to your niche, which can only exist when supported by related ads. Rate yourself a 5 if you find at least one print magazine in your niche, 3 if there are more broadly focused magazines that include ads for your niche and 0 if you can't find any print advertising vehicles at all for your niche.

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2. Existing information products. Search ClickBank, Amazon and eBay for information products for your niche. Finding these indicates that others have turned a profit serving your niche, which in turn shows promise for you, too. If you find at least five such products on these marketplaces, you rate a 5. If you find none, that's a 0.

3. Higher-end offerings. Try to find coaches, marketing consultants or for-fee associations that specialize in serving your niche, and events for the niche that cost more than $500, such as retreats, conferences, telesummits or other paid gatherings. If you find at least three of these, add 5 to your tally, a 0 if you find none.

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4. Breadth. How wide or narrow is your niche? In most cases it's far easier to attract and serve a narrower audience. Examples of broad niches include stay-at-home moms, retirees, car lovers, work supervisors, athletes and dancers. Examples of narrow niches include biodynamic gardeners, Shaolin martial arts enthusiasts, BMW bike owners, forensic accountants and foreign nannies working in the U.S. (or those who want to). Give yourself 5 points for a narrow niche, 0 for a broad niche.

5. Timeliness. Here we start getting to matters of personal preference. How up-to-date does information need to be for this niche, and how well does that fit with your intentions and capabilities? For example, anything in the realm of technology needs constant updates, corrections, news bulletins and revisions. If you enjoy keeping up with such constant change, write down a 5 for this category. 

At the other extreme, if you focus on business strategy, poker playing tips or tourism in Maine, these topics change relatively slowly, and if that's a match for your druthers, you can likewise write down a 5. Give yourself a lower score for a mismatch between the niche's need for timeliness or timelessness and your preferences.

6. Knowledge. How much do you already know about the niche? Get 5 points for deep familiarity with the subject matter and 0 for little to no knowledge as yet.

7. Enthusiasm. Occasionally this element becomes a prime mover when knowledge is absent. Rate yourself 5 if you love, breathe and sleep the topic or wish you could, zero if you're deathly tired of it and 1, 2, 3 or 4 for degrees of excitement in between those two poles.

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8. Longevity of interest. You may need to take an educated guess here. How likely is it, you reckon, that you'll still be interested in and excited about the topic in eight to ten years? Your best information marketing prospects accompany topics with personal staying power. Even if your interests tend to change every so often, some topics probably linger longer with you than others, so rate this factor from 0 for poor stickiness to 5 for highly likely to remain interesting for you.

Now add up your score. If you're comparing two niches to each other, the winner should be obvious now. If you're assessing the suitability of just one niche, consider anything above 35 a clear green light, a score from 25 to 35 a yellow light and anything less than 25 a signal to reconsider.

Did you find the scoring helpful? Please let me know.

Copyright 2012 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.  NEXT ARTICLE.

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