Find Your Audience: How to Identify a Niche Audience to Serve

find your audience

Image by Walsh

In this post I’m going to give you some ideas for the very first step you should take when starting an online business: choosing a niche audience to serve.

You should choose a niche audience BEFORE picking products, or setting up a website, or diving into affiliate marketing.


There’s one key reason why choosing a niche audience is so important:

Focusing on audiences (instead of products) lets you step back and take a “big picture” view of a market. Instead of stressing out over where you’re going to get enough traffic for your Acai berry weight loss offer, or wondering how you’re going to pay this months mortgage because an offer you were promoting was taken off the market, your challenge will be the opposite: how to find the time to promote all of the products that you KNOW your target audience is looking for.

So how do you find a niche audience that’s right for you? Here are four ways for you to consider:

1.      The audience as yourself. This is an obvious one, but comes with one drawback: when the audience is you, it’s harder for you to take a dispassionate, analytical view of your audience’s needs – because your own emotions, experiences, and biases might seep into your analysis.

Nevetheless, for those of you who are at a loss for WHO you should target, examining your own needs, challenges, pain points, and desires might be a good start (as long as you’re not a one-legged Albino monk – then you might not have much in common with anyone.)

2.      What group of people do you gravitate toward? This might not be obvious, because you might not hang out with, or be attracted to, people in your circumstances.

Take my example: I live in a city (Ottawa, Canada) where there is a huge government presence, and therefore a lot of bureaucratically-minded people. But I can’t stand bureaucracy, and tend to gravitate toward entrepreneurs. And even though I’m 38, for some reason I feel more in tune with people who are older than me (maybe it’s because I think 20 year olds today are slackers. “Let me tell you, sonny, back in my day…” 😉

3.      Take a “mercenary” approach, and just go after the audiences that have the largest presence online.

Here’s a breakdown of the largest groups online, according to a May 2010 Pew Research Center report:

95% of people aged 18-29 use the internet
87% of people aged 30-49 use the internet
78% of people aged 50-64 use the internet
42% of people aged 65+ use the internet

Here’s an interesting data table from that Pew study:

Note the strong correlation between income/education and internet usage: the vast majority of people with high incomes and educational attainment are online.

Having said the above, the size of the group might not be your most important consideration. You might want to:

–   Focus on the biggest online spenders, which, according to The Student Room, are college students. (A newer study by Forrester says that, in the U.S., boomers spend the most money online.)

–   Have a geographic focus. This Nielsen study reports that 99% of internet users in South Korea have shopped online, with 79% having made a purchase in the past month! (Do you think they’re buying “make money online” products? 😉

4.      Work backwards, by choosing a niche topic that you’re interested in, then work backwards to identify the main audience for that topic.

This approach is as straightforward as it sounds: choose a niche (like yoga, or NASCAR racing, or Indian cooking) then use a market research website like Quantcast, Compete, or Alexa to figure out the primary audience of that niche (more on that in a second).

This is how I homed in on the target audience that I now concentrate on for my sites: overweight, middle-aged males.

It turns out that this niche audience has a LOT of health problems. But I only discovered that AFTER setting up a site offering natural remedies for a particular health problem.

Once I started getting traffic to that site I noticed in many of the emails I was receiving that people would identify themselves as a “baby boomer” or “a guy in his 50s”, or often “the wife of a middle-aged man” (guys, in general, tend to neglect their health. It’s often their wives that push them to get treatment). I also did surveys on my site, and asked for the respondent’s age. This just confirmed what the emails were already telling me.

Once I started looking at my online business through the prism of my target audience, a whole new world opened: now my antennae are constantly tuned to information and products that I could pass along to my target audience – information and products that I know will be of interest to them. My challenge now is now finding affiliate products to promote, but separating the good products from the bad in a particular category.

Here’s a quick description of each of the biggest market research sites that you can use to work backwards from your niche topic:

Quantcast is a site that provides “audience profiles” for advertisers. They have a free service that allows you to enter the URL of a website and see the demographics for that site (provided the site has a large amount of traffic). You can also sign up for a free account to gather information on the type of people who visit your site, too.

Click image to enlarge

So how can you use Quantcast? Let’s say you’re really interested in NASCAR racing. Follow these steps to figure out what the main audience is for that hobby:

a. Go to Google and type in the term “NASCAR racing”

b. You’ll see the first site on the Google results page is….drumroll…www.!

c. Go to the Quantcast site and enter “” in the search box at the top of the homepage, then click the “View” button

d. On the next page, Quantcast will show you two kinds of data: traffic estimates and U.S. demographics for

Click image to enlarge

I’m not too interested in traffic estimates at this point; what’s more interesting are the tables below the “Monthly Traffic” graph that show U.S. demographics.

Click image to enlarge

We can see from the tables that more men than women visit (gee, I wouldn’t have guessed that one); that the demographic skews older; that a majority have no kids (that one surprises me); and that a majority didn’t go to college.

Here’s where things get cooler: if you click on the “Lifestyle” link on the left-side of the screen, Quantcast will show you data on the interests of the demographic that visits

Click image to enlarge

In my opinion, this is the most useful information that Quantcast provides. Demographic characteristics (like age and education) can often be guessed through “common sense”. But interests are harder to nail down.

You can use the “Lifestyle” information provided by Quantcast to round out your mental model of your target audience – and you can also use it to brainstorm affiliate products to offer to your site visitors, and to plan the network of sites that you will build around your niche audience. is another cool market research site that you should check out. The statement at the top of the homepage sums up their offerings well: “Free traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more for websites…” works much the same way as Quantcast. Simply type a URL into the search box at the top of the homepage, and Alex will present you with a bunch of information on the site, and the people who use it.

Let me highlight some of the information that turned up when I searched First of all, check out the navigation menu just above the Search Visits graph:

o       Traffic Stats is pretty self-explanatory – this page shows you the average # of visits, page views, etc. to

Here’s an interesting feature of Traffic Stats: the subdomains that visitors go to most often. As you can see in the screenshot below, a lot of people who like NASCAR also seem to like to buy (or at least browse) NASCAR paraphernalia: 16.6% of visitors to the site went to

Click image to enlarge

o       Search Analytics allows you see the top keywords that people are typing into the search engines to get to


This is definitely a screen worth exploring, as it can provide you with a glimpse into the interests of’s target audience.

From looking at the screenshot below, it appears that NASCAR fans have some interest in the people who drive the cars (see the searches for “Jimmy Johnson” and “Kasey Kahne”):

Click image to enlarge

Here’s another use of the Search Analytics data: if you’re promoting a product that appeals to’s demographic, try advertising on these keywords – even if the product is not directly related to NASACAR. Because you’ll be targeting the demographic, you might find some winning keywords.

o       The Audience page shows the same type of demographic information as we saw on Quantcast (age distribution, education, etc.)

o       Contact Info has the mailing address of the site owner, along with some company stats.

o       Reviews has, well, reviews of the site.

o       Related Links shows the websites that people who like also “may” like. is a little vague on how they determine their related links, but I still think this is useful information – because if you’re targeting the demographic, it gives you a ready-made list of sites to advertise on.

Click image to enlarge

o       Clickstream lists some of the sites that users went to immediately before and after visiting As with Related Links, you can grab this list of sites and load them up to your Google Adwords account – instant list of placement-targeted sites for the content network!

Summing Up

Choosing a niche audience to serve doesn’t have to be a mind-numbing process. It can be as simple as serving an audience that you belong to (or enjoy being around); or an audience that is online in large numbers; or an audience that are big online spenders. You can also “work backwards” from a topic you’re interested in and find an audience that way.

So here’s your homework for this week:

If you’re just starting out in IM, use one (or all) of the methods I describe above to start zeroing in on the audience that you would like to serve.

If you’re already promoting products and making money, give this some thought: of the products that make you the most money, what audience is most attracted to that product? Can you think of other products that would appeal to that audience? Can you research that audience’s needs further, so you can offer them more products?

And as always, your comments are much appreciated!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


    • Moe says

      Thanks, John! And we even share one more thing in common: you live in Hawaii, and I’d LOVE to live in Hawaii!


  1. says

    Hi Moe

    Not having used Google’s content network, I presume from your advice that it allows you to specify which sites you would like your ads to be displayed on. Is that correct?


    • Moe says

      Hi Richard – thanks for clarifying that. You’re right – I’m talking about using Quantcast and Alexa to find the sites that we can advertise on Google’s content network (now called the “display network”).


  2. says

    Hey Moe
    Finding your niche like going back to school – do your homework!
    Do you know of Glen Turner (Koscot and mink-oil fame in the late 60’s) ?
    He had a slogan K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid!) still relevant today……..
    Fortunately with my German Shepherd Dog site I don’t have to worry about all this Demographics stuff…………….. Have dog behavior problems, need help or advice with dog training, free tips on my site.
    It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or whatever, nice and simple!
    Graham in UK
    P.S. Good informative article about researching your niche.

    • Moe says

      Thanks for the feedback, Graham. I think “homework” is a good word for it – because it implies a structured approach to building an online business.


  3. Jimmy says

    Hi Moe,
    I’ve got my mind focused (no more analysis paralysis), unsubscribed myself from many IM newsletters, concentrated on yours and only yours. Your writing style and explanations are so crystal clear that they actually got me to thinking of other ways, while holding (or, standing) firmly on the foundations of your teachings!


    • Moe says

      Great to hear that you’ve got your bearings, Jimmy! It took quite a while before the “fog” cleared in my own head. I’ll do my best to provide clear instructions going forward…


  4. Tai says

    Thanks Moe. A very clear and informative piece, which is great for a newbie like me.
    I’ve been so overwhelmed with information overload lately, that I have now unsubscribed from many lists and it feels somewhat catharatic! However, I will keep on being subscribed to your list as you explain everything so simply.

    Thanks again


  5. Chelo says

    Hi Moe, I´m a IM newbie and you are a Doctor (you´ll realize way)

    Until last night I was suffering “analysis paralysis” because to much information in my head, that didn´t allow me to walk forward. I was very worried about it!
    But, that was until last night when I got your post on Click Bank blog about “Proven Techniques for Finding a Profitable Niche”. Today I came back to your Dr office, oh.. excuse me! I mean your blog to keep cleaning my contaminate head…LOL !
    Now I´m feeling good ready to learn more to become a happy and prosperous IMer!!
    THANK YOU Moe for your very useful advices.


    • Moe says

      @Chelo – and thanks to you for your compliments on my blog! I’ll try to keep providing effective “treatment” 😉

      Good luck in building your online business,


  6. says


    This was an excellent tutorial of how to begin to find your target audience. As for me, I ALREADY have 2 different products if you will. One is perhaps a bit more direct. This small non-profit about acceptance, anti-bullying, belonging, etc. I guess you can say the target audience or key words would be just that: Acceptance, anti bullying, etc. With that, I assume I would basically just substitute “Acceptance” (or other key words) in place of your Nascar example.

    The 2nd product is much more tricky. It is a memoir, Conversations Out of Chaos by Imeh Smith and we have no idea where to begin to find such a target audience. If you read the info sheet on her book, you can say it has very similar key words as The Circle’s Edge would. However a bully victim (which could be The Circle’s Edge target audience) may necessarily be single or suffer from loneliness or relationship issues (which is one of the central topics in Conversations Out of Chaos by Imeh Smith).

    So PLEASE HELP in assisting me hone in a target audience for Conversations Out of Chaos by Imeh Smith.


    • Moe says

      Hi Amy – thanks for your question. Your site deals with an interesting topic – as the parent of two school-age kids, I can relate to the topic of bullying.

      Since you already have products to sell, I would heed the advice of Eugene Schwartz, the legendary copywriter (you can read my summary of his classic book “Breakthrough Advertising” here).

      Schwartz said one of the most important jobs of the marketer is to become intimately familiar with the product they’re selling, so they can develop an “inventory” of that product’s benefits. Once the marketer has developed an exhaustive list, they can then go out and find an audience whose needs match that list of benefits.

      So, in your case, I would sit down and think of all of the benefits of your product (related to bullying, acceptance, etc.). What problems does it solve, what benefits does it provide…you get the point. Then, you’ll need to think about WHO is in need of these benefits, and develop a profile of a “typical” target audience member.

      Not an easy task, I know – but with some trial and error you’ll be able to home in on an audience match for your products.

      Hope that helps,


  7. says

    Typo correction from previous post.

    If you read the info sheet on her book, you can say it has very similar key words as The Circle’s Edge would. However a bully victim (which could be The Circle’s Edge target audience) may NOT necessarily be single or suffer from loneliness or relationship issues (which is one of the central topics in Conversations Out of Chaos by Imeh Smith).

    So PLEASE HELP in assisting me hone in a target audience for Conversations Out of Chaos by Imeh Smith.

  8. says


    Thanks for the reply.
    Wow….Not an easy task indeed!

    I guess I should appreciate that The Circle’s Edge does seem to have “key words” in their mission statement and goals. As for the book, Conversations Out of Chaos, this sounds more like a research project verses some basic key word Google searches.

    Then again, with the key word search, NASCAR or even NASDAQ would hone more results because they both are not just simple nouns, verbs, and adjectives but actual business and places with their own website. So doing a key word search for BULLY or LONELINESS will not land me at bully DOT com or loneliness DOT org which could easily track via o Quantcast or

    But thanks for the tips. Will check out your article as well. If I hit a road block (prob. in 2 hrs. lol) I’ll comment again for help.

    Also, is there any chance a friendly message board to help people find their target audience?!?!?!

  9. Fred says

    Hey Moe,

    i’ve downloded your free report and it’s great! I have only one problem in the first step when you have to brainstorm niches and immediately after you say
    -niche members are online in large numbers (ok but how do i find ideas for niches in the first place?)

    Lets say i’m passionate about underwater basket weaving but there are no money in that niche, how do i find other possible niches that i’m not aware that they exist?

    I think this is my problem because the others step in the process are pretty straightforward but i’m missing this critical first step


    • Moe says

      Hi Fred – thanks for your feedback on my report. I’m really glad you liked it.

      Regarding your question, the steps I recommend are this:

      (1) Settle on an audience you want to serve (in my case, that’s middle-aged men who are overweight)
      (2) Figure out the problems that audience is facing
      (3) Zero in on the problems that have the most profit potential (ideally, these will be topics that you’re also interested in)
      (4) Dig a little deeper to find out exactly what your audience is looking for
      (5) Find affiliate products that meet these needs, or create your own product
      (6) Put up a website
      (7) Get traffic
      (8) Make money!

      That’s the process, in a nutshell.

      Hope that helps,


      P.S. If you want to learn this process in-depth, I’ll be coming out with a paid course called the Niche Sherpa Video Coaching Course. Stay tuned!

  10. Taiya says

    Thank you for your structured approach to IM as well as your intelligent and clear writing style. Your eloquence and willingness to share real information is like a “breath of fresh air “among all those IM “experts”, who inundate us with webinars and newsletters full of pushy self promotions and little substance! (You are from Ottawa – is that it?! :-)).
    So, like Tai, I unsubscribed to all the irritating stuff and focus on the homework.
    Till next time…

    • Moe says

      That’s right, Taiya – Ottawa is the land of the pure…pure cold!

      I’m glad to learn you’re focused on doing homework. It’s really about striking a balance between learning and DOING. Sounds like you’re on the right path.


    • Moe says

      Hi Ben – I’ve used Market Samurai a little bit, and haven’t used MicroNiche Finder at all. I’ve heard from a few people that MicroNiche Finder is decent, so I’ll put it in my “to-do” list to do a review of it soon.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *