Find your niche

Now you’ve heard me speak for a few minutes, how would you go about finding a niche? Think about what you do. How would you go about finding out exactly what it is you do? Any ideas?

Reply: Check existing client base.
Chris: Excellent. Anybody else?
Reply: Ask people.
Chris: Anybody else? One more. Anybody?
Reply: See where most of your money comes from.
Chris: Okay. Right, so these are all very good statements.

Check existing base:  how would you do that on the web? How would you check your existing base on the web? Any ideas? Okay, I’ll go straight to it: check your visitor logs because that’s your existing base. Check who’s coming to your site right now and check what keywords they’re using, which is the next one:

Ask people: the thing about the web is people want to tell you what their problem is, because their problem is painful to them, they actually want a solution. So they will tell you: This point about asking people is there in the keywords that are used to get to your site. All the keywords that are used to get to your site, not just the accountancy type ones.

See where the money comes from: great idea! To do that, we use a thing called Google AdWords, you may have heard of it. It’s Google’s system for selling advertising on the web but we don’t use it initially to sell advertising on the web, we use Google AdWords as a research tool. You can set up the Google AdWords system so it doesn’t make any money for Google but gives you a wealth of marketing information about what keywords people are using and in what quanitity and you don’t have to pay for it. So, turn around what Google is telling you they want you to use Google AdWords for because they want to make billions of dollars every month. Fine, and they’ll give you a free tool to do it, and they’re telling you that this tool is for advertising and you will get more prospects, blah blah blah, and all that is true. But as small businesses turn it right back round on Google and say, Thank you very much for your free tool (well, £5 or whatever it is), I am now going to use it as a research tool to find out where the money comes from.

When I find out the existing visitor database (through my visitor logs), when I ask people (through the keywords that they use) and I put them into the Google AdWords system, I see where the money comes from. When I know where the money comes from, then I spend some with Google to attract exactly that market, but not before.

Find your niche

Find your niche

Google AdWords is a research tool, it can be set up so that you don’t pay Google any money, but you get valuable marketing information from it, and then you decide when you are going to pay them money because you know what your return is going to be.

That’s where you start developing your niche, because using this process, the process that it’s your words that are down on this piece of paper, exactly your words, just use this tool to develop your niche. As you develop your niche you will increase your conversions, and as you increase your conversions you will get more prospects and then you’re in a stage of converting them from prospects into money. And, okay, all this takes time, I guess a lot of you have plenty of time, maybe, you don’t have to pay anybody else to do this, all the tools are out there.

Google Website Optimiser I used to pay a company four or five thousand pounds a year to give me the tools to optimize landing pages that Google now gives all of us for free. The point is to use Google’s techniques against them in a sense. Don’t do what they say: investigate ways of using their free tools to benefit your business, not theirs.

Right, you now have a niche, you now have a bunch of keywords, you know where the money is coming from, you know what your existing base is telling you, you know what they’re asking for (so you know what their problems are), so you’ve got a list of keywords.

Now we’re going to convert them into this prospect / money. The way we do it is a thing called a landing page.

Now this is why I have a bugbear about people calling web presence or web applications web sites, because I don’t really believe that they exist. There’s no such thing as a web site, because no one ever views a web site, the only thing that they do is view a page. The thing that is going to convert is a landing page, and a landing page is a page that you have control over, so you don’t have to depend on Google ranking you in some index, you create a landing page and you track and test it.

Landing pages - test and feedback

Landing pages - test and feedback

Now you’re spending some money with Google because you can’t stop doing it. You will be doing experiments where you can design a landing page from the keywords that you know and see which one converts better using the free tool, Google Website Optimiser.

You start with two versions of the landing page and, depending on what you want to sell, so the accountant in Dulwich wants to sell “accountancy in Dulwich’, he might have a big picture of Dulwich Town Centre for all I know, and some text and blah blah blah. This one might have a much smaller picture and less text, or whatever it is. But here he’s testing two ideas, and the free system will tell you which one is working better because each of these will have a call to action.

You will be able to track which of these is working, so you get 50 enquiries from this (or 50 responses) and you get 2 responses from this, so it’s pretty clear cut which call to action is working. Sometimes it’s less clear cut then you have to use statistical techniques to determine which landing page is working better. But, initially, you’ll be testing both ideas.

This is the key to the whole sub-structure I’m talking about because this is where the conversion occurs. This is where people pick up the phone or fill out the enquiry form or email you, or whatever action you’ve asked them to take, it’s right here. Here is the crux of all your activity after you’ve done all the basic work.

You need to track & test these and there’s plenty of stuff on the internet about tracking landing pages and testing them, you know, size of photos etc, but you will have things for your own niche that you will want to test. It’s all freely available.

What we do is have a list of keywords, eg:
– Accountancy in Dulwich
– Year End Tax

Those are the positive ones. You will find that systems like Google and Yahoo, anyone who wants to sell you advertising, is perfectly prepared to give you tons of these positive keywords. “Oh yes, you need lots in your advertising because anybody might be using any one of these key phrases at any one time, because that’s designed to make them money.

They give you lots of positive keywords because that’s where they make money from.

This is where we turn the system back on them, because what we have is a larger list of negative keywords, keywords for which we do not want the advert to appear, so no one will click on it and it won’t cost us any money. This is a much longer list, so for the accountant in Dulwich the negative keywords will be, eg:
– Minus Birmingham
– Minus Manchester
– Minus Scotland
– Minus Ukraine

If anyone searches for those keywords his advert does not even appear, so it doesn’t cost him any money. The search engines do not tell you about the negative keywords, they hardly even mention it. If you want to put them in, you have to go three links down in your system to put in a negative keyword. They really don’t want you putting in negative keywords because it stops your ad appearing, and if your ad doesn’t appear they have no way of making any money.

You’re just telling the system, Do not show my ad if any of these keywords appear. So if it’s ‘accountancy, Birmingham’ it does not even appear.

You want a long list of negative keywords and these will be derived from your existing base, from the keywords that people use, where you don’t want to work, who you don’t want to work with, all that sort of stuff.

So, you get this keyword list, and the important part about the keyword list is the negative bit, because no one’s going to help you with that; they only want to help you with the positive bit because that’s where they make their money. That’s fine, accept all the help, but realise that you can cut down your costs by doing it this way.

So, you have all these keywords and non-keywords driving your ads, then you have the ad which is three lines, so many characters per line and so on. You can set up your system so that when someone searches for ‘accountants in Dulwich’, what they get is an ad that headlines ‘Accountants in Dulwich’. The system can do that for you. This has been shown to increase the conversion rate of people clicking on your ad because they’re engaging with what is already in their minds. They have searched for ‘Accountants in Dulwich’, if they get ‘Accountants’ they are less likely to click on it because it doesn’t engage them; it’s not what they searched for. So you set it up to give you the headline keyword. You also set up the landing page so that when they click on it the title of it is ‘Accountants in Dulwich’. The title of your landing page achieves best conversion when its title agrees exactly with the keyword that was used in the search engines.

This is the process that increases your conversion rate from 0.1% to 5% or whatever, because you have a process of constant engagement and a call to action. You engage people by using this process.

That’s it!

Conversion process

Conversion process

The landing pages are important. The research is important, but if I reverse it, if you get your landing pages right (which are derived from the niche that you got, which is derived from the keywords and asking people, and all that sort of stuff), you will get increased conversions.

When you have this process working for what is already coming to your site then you can hire Mr Web Developer, Mr Search Engine Marketer, whatever it is, and say, My conversion rate is 2½%, I now want 10x the traffic in the assurance that you will maintain that conversion rate because you have your pages set up correctly.

If you do the reverse, you simply play on and make no improvement, you simply play on whatever was there before.

Increasing traffic is not the answer at first, but increasing conversions IS.

So, finally, money
from prospects
from conversions
from your niche.

It always starts here. We all have a niche, but it’s lazy and it’s also stupid, I think, to go about saying, ‘I am an accountant and I can work with anyone’. It doesn’t get you anywhere.

This process works, please have it with my compliments.