Have you ever read a book or article about social media success and wondered why in the HECK you can’t get the same excellent results? Or maybe you follow someone on Twitter or Facebook and it seems like no matter how much you replicate the same practices “that” guy does, you just can’t replicate the success no matter how hard you try?
The fact is, although there are definitely some things you need to do no matter what, a BIG part of driving traffic and sales via social media comes from the niche that you’re in… WHO is following you.
Lets forget about social media for a moment and look at it from a different perspective. Imagine you’re standing in the middle of a huge, empty parking lot. All around you are hundreds… thousands of people. Now imagine all of those people are split up into groups. Each group has one specific interest. One group is full of people who are in the insurance industry. That group is huge because almost everyone has multiple insurance policies, so there are business owners of all sizes in that group. There are also the “little guys” and everyone in between including all of the actual consumers.
When you turn around you see another group. This group is composed of people who are into Geocaching. Geocaching is a MUCH smaller market… most of the people you know probably have no idea what Geocaching even is. But the people who are into it are very passionate about it. This group is much smaller simply because, unlike insurance, everyone in the world isn’t involved in it.
When you look to your right you see another group. This group is bigger than the geocaching group, but smaller than the insurance group. It is composed of people who support good, organic food and are against genetically modified food, unhealthy food additives etc. This group has some big corporate CEO’s etc. in it, but for the most part it consists of “regular” people and small businesses.
So we have three different groups here in three different niches. Now, just imagine, you walk up to each of these groups and you start talking. You walk up to the insurance group and just because it’s so huge, you are not going to get much attention, if any.
You then walk up to the healthy food group and start talking. This time, more people listen to you and give you a chance. Some even respond and start a conversation with you. But still, it’s not a HUGE response.
Finally, you go to the Geocaching group. Not only do people listen, but they’re excited to discuss the hobby that they’re so passionate about! Even if you have no idea what geocaching is, people will discuss it with you and tell you all about it, including stories of their experiences, because they are simply passionate about it and love talking about it with others, no matter who it is.
I use these three examples because I’ve targeted all three of these niches (including MANY more) throughout my Internet Marketing career and they stand as excellent examples of niche saturation and how it affects not only traffic and sales, but everything to do with your presence in the niche. So I know from experience that the responses above, although fictional, are actually pretty accurate for most Internet Marketers.
The fact is, one of the most important things to look at before getting into a niche is saturation! As Internet Marketing “mentors” many of us tend to get too far into the techniques like competition analysis etc. And while those things are also VERY important, we can’t forget the common sense factor either. Before you get into a niche, you should ask yourself: What are the chances that people in this niche are going to care what I have to see?
Now, there are certain instances when you SHOULD get into a saturated niche.
I ONLY get into a saturated niche when I have a strong passion for the niche and/or a good deal of knowledge in the niche. That way I have a good chance of “breaking through” and actually getting people to listen to me! If you try to get into the insurance niche and you do not have an advanced knowledge of insurance, a passion for insurance (that would be an odd passion) or something very eye opening to offer, you are NOT going to establish any kind of decent presence in that niche unless you miraculously obtain top SE rankings for some very competitive keywords.
The ONLY exception is in niche marketing, where you target long-tail phrases and get them ranked, then profit form adsense or affiliate offers. BUT the fact is, even the long tail phrases of extremely saturated niches, like insurance, are often more difficult to rank for than less saturated niches.
And even then, it often takes time. I typically work on (write articles etc.) all of my sites that are in saturated niches in my “off” time… I don’t consider it work, as I don’t expect them to make me any more for quote a while… it takes time to penetrate a saturated niche and start making real money. And since these sites are on my passions, I don’t mind it. Afterall, the reason I created them in the first place was to share my knowledge and passion… any income is only a added bonus as far as I’m concerned.
Target Low to Medium Saturation for Quicker Profits
Now more than ever, since google seems to be making it harder for authority sites to rank and just as easy as ever to make small, niche sites to rank, I’m focusing more on low to medium saturation in the niches that I target.
I feel like it’s important to mention this even though it may seem like common sense, because I think most internet marketers tend to focus on the search volume of a particular phrase… the CPC value, the competition analysis etc. more than the common sense factor. Sure, competition analysis, if done properly, will give you a decent understanding of whether or not you’ll be able to get that specific keyword ranked in google, but no competition analysis is 100% accurate and most techniques are focused on that specific keyword, not the niche as a whole. And not only that, but it’s almost always focused toward the search engines, not accounting for the ease or difficulty of penetrating the niche via Twitter or Facebook, which can be SUPER fact traffic and sales generators in the right niche!
My TweetAdder Case Study is an excellent example. I’ve done VERY little work on that site and twitter account. I just have tweetadder setup to auto direct message everyone who follows me. But the niche is not saturated and the people in the niche are so enthusiastic that not only do they not mind listening to what I have to say, they welcome it! I continue to get REAL responses to that one direct message on a daily basis, and I’m not even active in that niche right now. The site has also received 269 unique visitors just from Twitter (at the day of writing this post)… just from that one DM.
Compare that to my Ineternet Marketing Twitter account, which has over 19,000 followers. I do get some interaction on there when I’m active, but since I’m not very active on there most of the interaction is from the auto direct message that I have tweetadder setup to send out, in the exact same manor I have the direct message going on for the geocaching site.
The difference? My Internet Marketing account gets a few real responses every week that I’m not active, while the geocaching account gets MULTIPLE real responses every single day! Many of which also go to my site, which I link to in the direct message.
To Sum Things Up
What I hope you will get out of this, above all, is that niche saturation should always be one of the top considerations before getting into a niche! Remember, most competition analysis focuses on search engines. And that’s good and fine if you want your only source of traffic to come from search engines, in which case you also need to understand that it’s going to be more difficult to get ranked, even if targeting the long tail, than if you targeted a less saturated niche.
And also, something that kind of ties in with my last point, social media REALLY can be a serious traffic and sales generator, but it’s all determined by niche saturation!
So the question you should always ask yourself before getting into a niche like insurance, internet marketing, real estate etc. is: “Do I really have enough knowledge and/or passion in this niche to break through?” If your answer is yes, then social media is an excellent way to penetrate that niche FAST, while working on the SE rankings long term. If your answer is no, there’s one more question you need to ask yourself “Do I have the resources and connections to get a site in this niche ranked for some very competitive keywords?” If your answer to that is also no, then you should probably continue your niche research and find a niche that is a little less saturated.