It’s hard to resist a trendy niche business, but if the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s taught us anything, it’s that novelty can wear thin quickly. For each business we sell at FE International, we evaluate the sustainability of the business model as well as the specific industry so that buyers can acquire a real investment. This work has given us some unique insights.
There are certain business niches that will always be of interest to investors. When looking to sell your website, you should evaluate your niche, its lasting power and how you stand out among the competition. This will not only prepare you for sale, but could act as powerful selling points that may increase the valuation of your online business.
Evergreen Niches and Why Buyers Love Them
An evergreen niche is an industry with everlasting appeal. It doesn’t rely on seasonal trends or gimmicks to attract customers, because it sells products or services that people inherently need or desire.
Here are some of the main reasons evergreen businesses are desirable acquisitions:
- They make money year-after-year
- Owners’ don’t need to aggressively market them – people already know what they are
- Investment is safer than with a new industry or model
- Long-term potential for profit
If you need some help seeing the forest for the trees, read on to see how you can evaluate your website business.
How to Evaluate Your Niche Website Business
Not sure whether your business is evergreen? In general, an evergreen niche will:
- Address intrinsic human problems or interests
- Not have an expiration date on its appeal
- Be conducive to growth and profit
If your business is lacking one of these qualities, it might be worth considering changes that could increase its evergreen appeal. For instance, if you have an ecommerce business that sells iPhone 5 accessories, is it possible to expand your product line to include other phones? If you’ve got an app that capitalizes on a celebrity’s current appeal, is there a way to remove that persona from the product, should their fame take a nosedive?
Even if there’s still an aspect of trendiness or seasonality, getting your business as close to evergreen as possible will help its appeal when on the market.
Conducting Market Research on Your Evergreen Niche
It’s one thing to have a business with lasting appeal, but that doesn’t guarantee there’s a market for it. In order to have a profitable operation, you need to have demand and a way to scale your business to meet that demand.
Luckily, we live in the age of data, so it’s relatively easy to determine the size of your market, who your customer is, and how you stack up to the competition within your niche.
Here are some of the questions you should research before selling your online business:
How Big is the Market?
There’s a slew of third-party research on sizes and trends of specific industries. Companies like Forrester, Gartner, Gallup and Business Insights regularly publish reports on the size, demographics and trends within a given market. Even the U.S. government has caught up with the data-driven times and publishes hundreds of thousands of reports on a number of industries on data.gov.
Further, Google has a suite of tools that can give you insight into the number of people searching for your product or service online. Google Trends is one of them, but you can also look at your own Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools data to see the size of your organic traffic and how it’s changed over time.
Using third-party research and search data can tell you the current size of your market, as well as where it might be headed. Whether your customer base will shrink, grow or remain stable is just as important a question as its current size, so don’t overlook this detail when preparing to sell your website.
Who is Your Customer?
Depending on the age of your business, you probably already have a good idea of who your main customers are and what they value. For further insights, you can again consult your own search analytics data, which can tell you your visitors’ age, gender, region and interests.
If you want to delve deeper into finding out who your customers are and what they desire, you can conduct surveys via email or even phone if you have the bandwidth. Paid advertising also offers great opportunity for defining your target demographic. For instance, Facebook allows you to send your ads to a number of pre-set and custom audiences. This means you can send a number of ad variants to different audiences to see which is most likely to engage and convert, giving you a granular look at your customer base.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Once again, Google comes through in the clutch. Check the results of a Google search for your targeted keywords – but remember to go incognito first so your personal search data doesn’t skew results. Any company showing up before or on the same page as you should be considered competition. Third-party tools, like SEMRush or Moz, can give you more detailed search data on your competitors, as well as how you stack up.
Competitors aren’t necessarily a bad sign. Just because a niche appears “saturated” doesn’t mean you should not enter it. Where there is strong competition, spend more time researching long-tail keywords where you are more likely to be able to compete.
Once you know who your competitors are, you’re better prepared to sell your website because any potential buyer will want to know where you stand among the competition.
Need Some Ideas for a Niche Business?
Evergreen encompasses quite a few industries, so we don’t blame you if you’re stuck for ideas. Here are some broad niche categories to get you started brainstorming:
Want more? Download our list of Evergreen Website Niches Buyers Love by clicking here:
Investing in an evergreen niche is a great way to make money online if you properly assess the business and its potential for growth. If you’re interested in buying an online business, talk to one of our brokers today about our websites for sale and whether they might be a good fit for you.