Is it possible to make money online and change the world? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. The key is to identify the right markets – lucrative markets that are filled with people who are hungry to buy – and offer your value packed, world-changing solution. There are 3 steps to this process:
- Identifying the right market
- Choosing the right demographic of target customers
- Deciding which business model will work best for your audience
Before we hop into these 3 steps, let’s explore some of the most lucrative markets in the online world – markets that are populated by customers who are frequently online and unafraid to buy online. If your intention is to start a purely virtual, Internet based business that allows you to live and work anywhere in the world, you will save yourself a lot of headache by focusing on an market characterized by a web-savvy audience.
This is because some markets are characterized by customers who really want to touch, feel, and try the product or service, so it will be hard for you to establish a purely virtual business. You may feel pressured to establish a physical storefront, studio, or office, which is a lot more business overhead in terms of rent, utilities, and staffing. Some of these markets include:
- Food & beverage
- Massage therapy
That being said, if you have a physical business, you can still apply the same principles of niche marketing to extend your brand online, reach a target audience beyond your locale, and sell both physical and digital products to customers worldwide. I’ll cover this below.
8 Highly Profitable Markets in the Internet Marketing Industry
There are a number of highly profitable markets in the Internet marketing world, lucrative markets where people are actively hunting online for products, services, and information – and are eager to pay to satisfy their desires. Many of these markets are also intensely competitive, which makes entry into these markets too costly for all but the biggest players.
However, within these markets are hungry niches and sub niches where traffic is lower, but the competition is considerably less intense, making these niches highly attractive to early stage entrepreneurs.
Let’s start first with a look at 8 of the most lucrative markets in the Internet world, and drill down into some of the niches within.
The 4Ps of Internet Marketing – Making Money in The Dark Underbelly of the Web
Now, if you have been schooled in business or marketing, some time in your education you may have learned about the 4Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – as the 4 key components of your marketing mix. The Internet marketing world also has its 4Ps, in a tongue in cheek sort of way, and these are commonly known as:
- Payday Loans
While these are 4 of the most profitable and competitive markets in the Internet marketing world, chances are, if you are a changemaker, these markets will probably feel a bit too yucky for you. In addition to the likelihood of adding more negativity, exploitation, and injustice into the world, you can expect to have daily encounters with shady competitors who engage in grey or black hat tactics, and have no qualms using them to take you down.
4 Profitable Markets for Changemakers – Make Money Online & Change the World
The great news is, if one of your primary motivations in life is to make a positive impact in the world, and the concept of “right livelihood” is important to you, consider creating an online business in these 4 hungry, highly lucrative markets:
- Health. Health is the only thing we truly have, and sadly, it’s easy to take our health for granted until the day we lose it. Think about the sheer volume of people who Google health related issues online first, before even considering seeing a doctor. Think about the sheer volume of people searching for home remedies or alternative treatments for innumerable health conditions. If you have a health related product, service, chances are, you are leaving a lot of money on the table by not building an online presence for your business.
- Wealth. Wealth generation is another market where people are hungrily hunting for information and solutions online. People who are focused on making money often understand that they need to invest in themselves and their business in order to achieve their goals. This can involve investing in information, such as online marketing training programs, or industry white papers, investing in tools, like software and software as a service, or professional services, and more.
- Love. A lot of people are looking for love, and looking for it online. They are trying to find their soulmates via online dating sites, or looking for advice on saving or improving their relationship skills or seeking products and tools to enhance their sexual lives. Or learning how to love and accept themselves, as well as be more compassionate and loving to others. There is a ton of opportunity and money in the love market.
- Spirituality. I am amazed at how hungry people are for spiritual fulfillment, yet it doesn’t surprise me. Our modern societies have evolved to be so materialistic, that many people are left with a sense of spiritual emptiness they feel compelled to address. Digital information products and online training courses in the personal growth and spiritual transformation space can be highly lucrative.
Step One: Choose the Right Niche Market for Your Internet Business
Now, the above mentioned markets are vast, and typically too broad to go after in their entirety. In other words, if you are trying to build a business targeting everyone who is interested in spiritual transformation, it’s going to be difficult and extremely expensive.
Because you are dealing with a market that contains innumerable segments – Buddhist spirituality, Jewish spirituality, Christian spirituality. Within these market segments you have even smaller niches, sub-niches, and micro niches. For example, within the Buddhist spirituality market, you might have segments of people specifically interested in Tibetan Buddhist spirituality, an even smaller subset interested in Bon Tibetan Buddhist Spirituality, and even more specifically Dzogchen retreats within the Bon Tibetan spiritual tradition.
So rather than going after the entire Spirituality market, you will need to identify which niche you resonate the most with, that has enough profit potential to support your business.
Now, there is an art to choosing a profitable niche market – especially one that you are passionate about – for your business. There is also a science to analyzing whether a niche market has enough profit potential, as well as a level of competition you feel comfortable taking on, to be worth all the effort in launching a business.
Action: Pick a market you are passionate about and brainstorm what some of the smaller niche markets might be. Write them down and follow the process of evaluating the niche profit potential outlined in this post.
If you are not sure how to identify a market you are passionate about, read this post.
Step Two: Target the Right Audience for Your Internet Business
This step is extremely important because where you establish your business determines who you will hang out with most your working day, and ideally you want to be surrounded by people you resonate with. Here are some of the different categories of people who will be your niche mates:
So you want to get an idea of who some of the most active groups of people are in your market. Teenage boys? Women over 50 who are empty nesters? Divorced men over 40?
If your target audience will be mostly populated by teenage boys, ask yourself, do you want to be surrounded by teenage boys all day long – online and offline? Maybe you manufacture skateboards and love the idea. It’s up to you to decide.
Action: Research the customer demographics of your niche market, and write down all the characteristics of this audience – age range, income, education level, values, lifestyle, beliefs. Write down their problems, pain points, and deepest desires. For each distinct demographic, create a persona (with a name) and write down this person’s brief bio, day to day life, and interests – as they relate to the product or service you are offering. Decide if these are people you resonate with.
Step Three: Decide What Type of Internet Businesses to Create
There are many ways to make money online, and different kinds of websites that will support the Internet based business you decide to establish. Some of these models work for brick and mortar businesses as well.
- Advertising. It’s incredibly difficult to make sustainable advertising revenue these days, but it can be done. However, in order to do it, chances are, you will need to create a lot of content, and generate enough traffic in order to earn enough advertising revenue to live off. You will need an army of writers pumping out content daily, and a support team of promoters to drive traffic- all of this can be extremely time consuming and expensive.
- Consulting / Agency. For service providers, this may be the easiest way to get started. You can easily launch a personal website and set it up in such a way where people can hire you for consulting gigs directly from your site. It’s still a dollars for hours model that’s difficult to scale – you only have so many hours of the day to work, and this limits the amount of work you can accept.
- Online coaching. Personally I find online coaching to be a better business model than consulting. Consulting can be highly customized per job, and can often take more time than you originally anticipated. By contract, if you create a group coaching business, you can add more coaching clients to your group Q&A sessions, without the additional clients taking more of your time.
- Affiliate marketing. This involves making money from commissions earned through marketing other people’s products. The key is to reach targeted customers who would be interested in buying these affiliate products. Common ways to reach customers include paid advertising, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and email marketing via joint venture (JV) partners.
- Online courses. This involves develop an online course, training program, and workshop and make money on enrollments. This can be presented live, or delivered in an automated way. This is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online, but developing an online course is a lot of work. It will involve everything you need to do to develop a value packed course your audience is hungry for, as well as all the marketing efforts you will need to make to reach your audience – from optin and sales page copywriting, developing webinars to sell the course to JV partner audiences, to creating the technology infrastructure to support this.
- Membership sites. Membership sites are a great way to earn recurring revenue from monthly membership fees. You will need to have a significant amount of content – base content to start up with, and / or new content to look forward to – in order to launch a site that delivers enough value for people to keep coming back for more.
- E-commerce. This involves building a virtual store with an online shopping cart. If you are a brick and mortar business that carries physical products, I highly encourage you to find a way to sell to your customers online. If you are looking to get into e-commerce and don’t want to carry inventory, you can set up a virtual storefront and sell products as an affiliate marketer, or build an online shop that consists entirely of products that can be drop shipped i.e. the merchants will warehouse the product, fulfill the order and deal any customer service issues and returns.
Action: Research some of the top websites in your niche market and figure out how these websites make money. Are they e-commerce stores? Is the niche dominated by online courses and coaching programs? Affiliate marketers?
If you are orienting towards making money online as an affiliate marketer, it’s critical that you visit some of the top affiliate networks, like ClickBank, Commission Junction, or Share a Sale, and research what products are being offered in your niche. There’s nothing worse that doing all the work to build an audience in your niche, only to discover there is little you can promote to your audience as an affiliate.
Decide what type of Internet based business to establish and research the best software to use to power your website.
What are other ways you can make money online and change the world?
Please share your ideas below!