As you are identifying the niche for your business and determining who your target market is, one thing you need to consider is your competitors. They’re out there, they are working hard to build their own success, and they don’t really want to see you enter their market.
Some markets online are over saturated. For example if you are going to establish another “tech blog” you will face serious competition from teams of people working full time at sites like Gizmodo and TechCrunch.
So no matter what market you are working in, you need to understand who are your online competitors and what are they doing to make money? Are they successful? If so what makes them successful?
Do some research – go online and look up some of the most common terms for your business. Who’s at the top of the page in Google? What are they selling? Are they entrenched in the market or are they small like you?
Also you need to consider what you can do different? This is called the “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP. It defines what is different about you and your business.
Being the same as everyone else online will not get you far. If you want some great ideas on how to be different, try reading the book “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. In it he explains that to transform your business you need to be different – i.e. a purple cow in a sea of normal cows.
The reason that being the same does not work is that everyone online is in a hurry. Studies indicate that people spend less than a second deciding whether your site is worth reading. Then even if they do read it, you have perhaps 30 seconds to capture their attention and drive your message home. Any more – and they are gone!
How do you differentiate yourself? There are many ways – you can offer a unique product or service, you can market it differently, you can focus on a different audience, or you can “move the free line” by providing a lot of great free information that will build a strong relationship. Some of those who love your free content, will likely be willing to sign up for your paid content.
So before you dive into your first online business, take a hard look at your competition and what they are doing. Then think hard about how you are going to make your business different. Its the secret to success in a busy, short attention span world.