Collecting attention to build a profitable niche audience

TODAY WE’RE all busy and getting busier. There are more products and more information trying to grab our attention than ever before. To succeed today your venture, product, or content needs to clearly answer customers’ fundamental question: “Is this worth my time?”

In the 20th century, you had to visit a store to shop. And that store had a large, long-term investment in buildings, equipment, staff, marketing, and the distribution relationships needed to supply its inventory. Meanwhile, media production was largely restricted to professionals who worked for a big newspaper, broadcasting, or publishing companies. But today all of those retailers and media businesses are fighting for their lives against low-cost Internet-based retailers and amateur content providers. Plus, there are distractions like video games, Facebook, and mobile devices (and video games played on Facebook on our mobile devices!) that keep people out of stores and distracted.

Profiting in the New Attention Economy

Today audience demand is more important than product supply so finding your audience is the most important part of developing your Click Millionaire business. Don’t make the mistake of looking for products to sell first. Focusing on supply is the old way of starting a business from the days when distribution was difficult. It can cost you thousands of dollars and leave you with a garage full of unwanted product samples if you don’t get it exactly right the first time. The Internet now makes almost any product or information quickly available. So you should invest your start-up time in finding people you can help, needs you can fill, problems you can solve—and building an audience around serving that customer demand.

To do all that, your website needs to be better. And “better” today means appealing more precisely to customer niche interests than mainstream media and retailers can. But you’d better hurry up. There are only so many hours in every customer’s day and only so many customers available. So your first challenge is not to find or create the perfect product—it’s to collect attention. If you can build a customer audience, you can make money online from almost any topic, from aardvarks to microbiology to zippers. What you need is to identify ways to serve the needs of your chosen groups of readers, listeners, or participants with your own content, product, or community system. Then you can make money through a combination of online advertising sales, e-commerce product sales, subscriptions, and anything else you can dream up that interests them.

Start building your audience today because if you start now when nobody is watching, you can make mistakes and have fun building your website and experimenting in social media. It’s also easier to make friends before the pressure is on and those friendships can spark the long-term relationships you need to build a long-term business success. And, by starting small and casual, you can learn along the way what’s most important to your audience so you can serve them better and more profitably. Plus, if you try to catch up later, it’s expensive! You will be faced with more competitors and likely have to buy your way into the market with expensive advertising.

Don’t Think It’s Too Late for You

It might sound crazy to you that today, even after 15 + years of Internet business growth, that there are still niche markets available for you to profit from online. But since my first

book, Internet Riches, was published in 2006, more multi-billion-dollar online businesses have blossomed than I can count. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Groupon, etc. All of these websites seemingly came out of nowhere in recent years to collect hundreds of millions of users (and billions of dollars in valuation). And those are just the big names everyone has heard of—imagine how many smaller entrepreneurs have found six-, seven-, and eight-figure success online in recent years, too.

Online advertising, e-commerce, international expansion, and especially mobile technologies are all combining to create new business opportunities for you as you read this. Even after 20 years of commercial growth the Internet still only attracts 15 percent of total ad spending in the United States, and only 8 percent of U.S. retail sales. That clearly allows room for billions more dollars to flow to online businesses like yours!

The Internet allows people to communicate across boundaries of time, place, and increasingly even language. This allows them to find each other and share rare pursuits, specialized topics, and niche activities that were previously isolated from each other. This creates new, niche markets for you to tap, especially if you can create services, products, or communities that help serve the previously underserved needs of these groups or give them places to meet one another. The challenge is finding an area where the audience is underserved that interests you so much personally that you are inspired to build a business around it.

Why I Like Niches

Niche interests and subcultures offer the best places for you to look for potential customers. Here’s why:

– There is less competition in niches so you can more quickly attract an audience and get on your way to making money.

– The people who populate each niche tend to be enthusiastic about it. This can save you tons of money in marketing because those people already know other people who share their similar niche interests. If you do a good job serving them, they’ll tell their friends. In the age of the Internet, that kind of word-of-mouth marketing is extremely cost-effective.

– If you pick a niche you like, you can find yourself enjoying your work more than ever before. That’s the point of Click Millionaire lifestyle businesses.

– And, last, niches are really all that’s left. The big, obvious business opportunities online have mostly filled up. And any big new ones that emerge are quickly pounced upon by venture capital–backed teams with strong experience, technical skills, and connections. You don’t need to compete against those guys. Building something smaller that you like to serve a niche you enjoy can be a perfectly good recipe for a profitable lifestyle business of your own.