Once you’ve chosen your niche, I suggest you test your niche in the way that I’m about to describe before fully committing to it.
The reason for this is that I often see people putting a great deal of time and effort to building a complete website for their chosen niche before ever running any tests. As you might guess, pursuing the wrong niche can turn out to be a massive waste of time and resources.
To avoid what could be weeks or months of wasted time building the site, creating blog posts, and promoting those posts, you can greatly minimize the risk of picking the wrong niche by putting up a few landing pages and then driving traffic to them.
In my book on marketing automation, I cover in detail how to create landing pages and lead magnets. What I will be covering in today’s post is quick and easy way to drive traffic to these landing pages so that in a very short period of time you can determine, with a high degree of certainty, if a given niche is worth pursuing.
Two Ways to Generate Immediate Traffic
There are two techniques that I commonly use to drive traffic to a landing page in the shortest possible amount of time. While neither method is free, the cost of testing a niche using the method that I’m about to outline pales in comparison to the cost of putting weeks and/or months into pursuing the wrong niche.
Use Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
PPC Can Be a Great Way to Test Your Niche
Depending upon the niche you’re going after, you’ll want to try Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn paid advertising to drive traffic to your landing page. If your business is B2B, I would suggest that you use LinkedIn because you can target your ads very specifically.
If your business is B2C, I suggest you use Facebook for exactly the same reasons.
As a last resort you may also want to try Google Adwords; however I suspect you’ll find the costs are excessive when compared to either Facebook or LinkedIn; especially given the fact that you cannot target your audience nearly as well with Google as you can with the social platforms I just mentioned.
When using a PPC campaign to drive traffic to a landing page, you need to be aware that there are several variables that you’re going to need to test before you can determine if the experiment was a success or not.
Test Several Variables
The first variable that you want to test is the image in the headline of your ad. I would suggest that for the first part of this test you keep your headline consistent and use anywhere from 10 to 20 different images. Once you have identified the top performing image that I would suggest you test different variations of the headline.
After you are getting a satisfactory click through on your ads, you’re going to need to look at the conversion rate of your landing page. I cover how to split test the landing page in detail in my marketing automation book.
Some niches will be easier to reach with direct mail than with PPC advertising. For these niches, I suggest you use three-dimensional direct-mail, otherwise known as lumpy mail.
Old fashioned mail is another great way to test a niche.. provided you use it the right way!
The reason that 3D mail works so much better than conventional mail is that the recipient of your direct mail will be pretty curious as to what is inside the envelope and, as such, the likelihood that they are going to open your envelope is substantially higher.
The costs of sending out 3D mail will, of course, be higher than the costs of sending out conventional mail or postcards; however, I believe that the increased response rate will be more than worth it. (And yes, you could actually split test this, too!)
When choosing a 3D object to including your mailing, I suggest that you find something that closely relates to the captivating headline you put at the top of the letter you are going to include in the mailing (you should also split test your headlines over time).
The more creative you are, the better your results are going to be, so be sure and put sufficient time and effort into coming up with ideas for what you’re going to send before you reach into your wallet.
There are numerous suppliers from which to choose (Google the term “3d mail” or “lumpy mail”). When I run these campaigns I normally run them through these guys.
In our case, the call to action in the letter is just the same as it would be with the PPC ad – the landing page URL – which we personalize to the recipient.
How to Maximize Landing Page Conversions
To maximize conversions, we’ve built landing pages that are customized to each individual. On these landing pages we display a video was specifically created for the intended recipient.
In the videos we identify the 5 to 7 critical factors that are wrong with their site, and share how each factor is costing them money.
As with all the marketing that I do, this strategy relies heavily on some ninja marketing automation tactics to increase its effectiveness. To be able to replicate what I’m about to explain you’re going to need to use Infusionsoft, FuzedApp, and Wistia.
Wistia is the company that I use to host the video, which I embed on the landing page. Producing the video takes less than five minutes. All I do is have a look at their site, make a list of the deficiencies, and then record the screen share where I introduce myself and explain what these deficiencies are and their negative impact.
This video is then exported to a Dropbox folder, and thanks to FuzedApp, it is automatically uploaded to the appropriate folder in Wistia. I then use FuzedApp to set up video tracking so that I can apply a tag in Infusionsoft for when my prospect watches more than 75% of the video. (I chose 75% but you can pick any percentage you like.)
In each case, we have done our best to obtain a working email address for the prospect. The way that we do this is to go to their contact page and then view the source code to find an email address (search (Ctl-F) for “mailto:” and if an address is available in the code, you’ll find it).
This is the email address that we use in their contact record within Infusionsoft as well as in the URL of the landing page. To mask what is now an ugly landing page URL, we simply create a “pretty link” (easy to type) that includes their name. To do this, you’ll need the Pretty Link plugin for WordPress.
Using Automation to Track Video Engagement
By taking this approach, when a prospect receives our lumpy mail and then visits the landing page that we have specified, and if they watch more than 75% of the video, we receive a notification from Infusionsoft.
The goal of the landing page is to get them to opt in and download our lead magnet – which is highly relevant to the niche. When they download the lead magnet, we will have captured their preferred email address and then an automated follow-up campaign begins in Infusionsoft.
The reason the video tracking is helpful is because if they do not opt in, we are still able to tell if our prospect visited the landing page and watched at least 75% (or whatever we specify) of the video.
If, over time, we see the videos are being watched and we are not capturing leads, we’ll know that our direct mail is effective at getting them to visit the landing page, however, the landing page is not effective at getting them to give us their contact details.
There Are Unlimited Niches Out There, But Not All Are Good Targets – Pick Wisely!
As I hope you can now see, testing a niche using either of the methods that I have outlined above will give you immediate feedback on whether this is a niche that you can get traction with – and best of all, you will not have had to build an entire website.
It’s not enough just to believe that a niche needs your help, or that they can afford to pay you for it. If you cannot acquire a customer at a cost that is less than your average customer value, you will not be in business long!
Moreover, if you really want to grow, you are going to need a system for attracting customers on a regular basis, as opposed to just getting one every now and again via personal relationships. Niche testing will tell you if this is likely to be possible.
If you succeed in getting traction using this test, then it is a good idea to dive in, build a site, and begin creating and promoting your content on an ongoing basis.
How to Test the Viability of a Niche Without Wasting Valuable Time and Resources