One of the major buzz words in internet marketing has to be 'niche'. There's a lot of disagreement surrounding this little word, not least of all how it's pronounced. The British use the French pronunciation - 'neesh', while the Americans call it a 'nitch'. At the Armand Morin Live seminar that I attended in London, each time Armand said 'nitch', the audience would, with one accord, chorus back 'neesh'.
But the disagreement doesn't end there. Some people say that you should look for small niches because those such as internet marketing, dieting and personal development are so overloaded with marketers that it makes it very difficult for a newcomer to get a toe-hold. Others say that it is precisely because these areas are so popular that they make a good starting point - popularity means that there are people out there who are hungry for whatever information is available.
Some experts say 'follow your passion'. But, as others point out, if your passion is French ormolu clocks or the life cycle of the sea horse, you're not going to sell many e-books. To sell a lot of information, you need a large market. And so the advice from practically every expert is to check out what's being searched for on the Google keywords site. If only a handful of people each month are searching within that niche - forget it.
I knew someone a year or two back who made a very expensive mistake by not checking out her market. She opened a mini leisure centre where her main offering was a floatation (sensory deprivation) tank. She thought it was wonderful and assumed that others would too. She advertised widely - but no one was interested. If she had checked on Google before she started, she'd have discovered that fewer than 2500 people a month worldwide search for the term 'floatation tank'. Little wonder that there weren't many people in her immediate vicinity looking for that facility.
And it's the same online. You can produce a wonderful website and a brilliant and informative e-book and you can spend a fortune advertising it - but if no one's interested in the subject, no one will buy. Of every person who reaches your optin page, probably only 30-40% will actually give you their email address and proceed to the next page. And of the 30-40%, perhaps two percent will actually buy - that's six people buying out of every 1000 who visit your site. So how many do you need to drive to your site each month to make the venture worthwhile? The advice to do the maths before you start seems very sensible.