Within webmaster communities there seems to be a great drive towards niche markets, and whilst they can be profitable, I don’t see them as the be all and end all of website ownership. For one thing almost all good niche markets are already full, and it can be damn near impossible to discover profitable new ones. This leaves non-niche markets, or ‘regular markets’. Most webmasters seem to be of the opinion that if niche markets = good, and over-saturated markets = bad, then within the spectrum of markets between these two parallels the markets closest to being niche will be more profitable. For example, it might seem better to create a website that focuses on digital art, rather than art in general. This makes a lot of sense, but things are rarely so black and white as this example.
Over saturated markets can in fact be very profitable, and should not be a no-go-zone for webmasters. The reason for this is what I like to call ‘exponential viral marketing potential’. To put this in more basic terms: In an over saturated market there are far more people to discuss your website and help promote it. Many niche-market advocates would argue that it is extremely hard to get noticed in an over-saturated mass market. However, I’m not saying that you need to rule your over-saturated mass market, but merely that to even make a small impact in a huge market will mean big things for your website.
It’s like the classic analogy of being a big fish in a small pond versus a small fish in a big pond. Both situations have there merits but most people would agree that the big pond, whilst daunting offers a lot more potential. Here are a few reasons why I like larger markets:
Now, moving back to my point of viral marketing that I mentioned earlier. This is perhaps my biggest reason for supporting over-saturated mass markets. Taking the example of my photoshop tutorials on Push Standards, they have hugely helped the blog through exploiting a over-saturated mass market (Photoshop tutorials). There are thousands of websites posting Photoshop tutorials, but rather than this negatively impacting me, it has had quite the opposite effect. With each of my tutorials I’ve only posted them to maybe two websites. This drives some initial traffic. However, the more valuable, passive, long-term traffic comes from the ripples of these initial promotions on my part. In the subsequent weeks I’ve seen people blog about my tutorials, and seen them featured on several other small-medium Photoshop websites. From two simple submissions my tutorials have ended up being seen by a huge number of different audiences, and thousands of visitors.
The key is to find an over-saturated market where people are viral. In the market of tutorials people love to share good content with one another - hence instant viral marketing. If you provide a great service, or piece of information within such a market then it will spread beyond anything that you could achieve personally and be close to the kind of exponential growth that all webmasters hope for.
I’m not giving up on niche-markets all together, but will definitely continue to exploit both kinds of market. Please let me know your own experiences with niche/mass marketing.