#5: One Niche Source Reveals Thousands of Industries to Conquer Online

niche-ideasThe niche ideas you’ll receive in this series are created to inspire you with design, marketing and niche-angle ideas for current or future projects. You are not expected to follow these guidelines and recommendations exactly. Use them as a base foundation to build upon.

The ideas presented in this series purposefully contain no social share buttons. I won’t share these ideas outside of this email list and recommend you don’t either. My goal with this series is not to help you learn, but to make sure you earn.

Today you will learn:

  • How to target individuals on Facebook and run ultra-targeted ads towards them
  • The specific type of Facebook group that will give you thousands of niche ideas
  • Why I wouldn’t target individuals, but who I would target instead

Around one year ago I discovered two very interesting marketing angles at the same time.

The first discovery was that you can target individuals on Facebook and run ads just to them.

The second was that there is a specific type of Facebook group which gives you so many niche and angle ideas that you might not need another “ideas source” ever again.

Let’s start with how I came to that first discovery.

In August of 2014 Brian Swichkow – who is a reader of this series – had the genius idea to prank his roommate using specific Facebook ads that were highly targeted and only he could see.

Brian’s roommate is actually a sword swallower, yet he finds it very difficult to swallow tablets. Brian used this knowledge to his advantage when he set up an ad with the text, “Does it seem ironic that swallowing swords is easy and then small pills make you gag?”

The specific-ads prank didn’t end there.

The next one he created linked to a Youtube video with the headline, “We Heard You Swallow.”

Brian continued setting-up ads around these specific quirks his friend had. They were so relevant that he became totally freaked out about how much “advertisers” knew about him.

The entire story is hilarious and when you have a few minutes after this article, I recommend you give it a read. (That’s a rare clickable link because I know Brian follows these updates so we’re not “letting the cat out of the bag” if he notices traffic from here).

I had always planned to do something similar myself to mess with Diggy but never got around to it. However, I did notice a lot of potential with targeting ads to individuals when browsing a particular type of group on Facebook.

Since I move to new cities fairly frequently, I often join groups about that city on Facebook.

For example, last year I was thinking about going to live in Phuket, Thailand for a while (I later changed my mind) and joined a few Phuket-related groups in the process.

What you’ll notice about groups for Phuket – or pretty much any city – is that the “Buy sell” or “Marketplace” groups aren’t just for individuals with small-ticket items on offer.

They’re not just filled with people looking for a cheap smoothie maker or advice on where they can get their broken phone screen fixed.

Instead, you’ll find…

Restaurant owners looking for more customers.

Property developers trying to sell real estate.

Gym owners trying to get more people through their doors.

Theatre production companies trying to sell more tickets to their shows.

And so on and so on.

I realised that with this individual ad-targeting you could run an ad targeted to specific people looking to promote a specific business offering.

For instance, here’s a post in a Buy and Sell group for Geneva which has 606 members.

There’s a huge profitable niche right there: Landscaping.

Now, with the ability to target ads just to this person directly, think of what I could offer them the next time they open Facebook and look at their news feed.

Imagine their reaction if they saw an ad that said, “Want to grow your landscaping business in Geneva? Let us help you get more customers”.

Do you think that would get their attention?

Hell yeah it would.

All you need then is to pitch them with the right angle once they’re hooked.

If you’re interested in SEO, pitch that (and show them how badly they’re currently ranking).

If you’re more of a Photoshop guy, offer them logo design services.

Maybe writing is your thing. If so, let them know what improving their website copy could do for their conversion rate.

(Side note, don’t use the phrase conversion rate when talking directly with prospects. Say something like “Increase the number of people who come to your site and purchase a show ticket before heading back to Facebook”.)

If you’re good at getting people to take action online, teach them about how email marketing could grow their business and you would love to handle it for them.

Maybe they would benefit from Facebook Ads – they’re already using Facebook Groups to try and promote their stuff – and you know a thing or two you could teach them.

The options here really are limitless.

How to Target Individuals via Facebook Ads Option #1

In the sneak preview for Niche Idea #6 that I sent out I received more replies from people excited about the possibility to target specific people with ads than anything else I talked about.

Please keep in mind that what I’m about to share with you is against the Facebook TOS (Terms Of Service). If you did not collect this persons details – such as ID or email – in an authorized manner then you shouldn’t really be using their custom audience tool.

That being said, the likelihood of penalisation is very small. Unless you’re stupid about how you try to target those people.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, here’s how it’s done.

Facebook’s Audience Manager allows you to copy and paste email addresses of people you wish to target. So as long as you have their main Facebook email address, you can target them with ads you would like to run.

What you might not know is that for the majority of users, their Facebook URL with @facebook.com added on the end will work as an email address.

Try it yourself.

Take your Facebook URL – whatever is after Facebook.com/ and before ? – and write it down.

Then, send an email to that name or text with @facebook.com on the end. When I do it with my own profile, I receive an email.

So, as long as you know the URL to someone’s profile, you can enter this Facebook-style email and be able to reach them via Custom Audiences.

It’s not successful 100% of the time, but it should work for most people you want to target.

Now, Facebook has a rule where a custom audience you create needs to have at least 20 people in it.

So even if you just want to target one person, you need to have 19 other people in your custom audience.

The best way around this is to add the email of the person you want to target – let’s say they’re male – and then add 19 people of the opposite gender. Then when you start running your ads to your custom audience, you simple target it to the Male gender, eliminating the 19 other people you needed to add for Facebook approval.

Side note: A lot of Googling on this topic found that Facebook apparently say 100 people is minimum now for a custom audience. Yet I have one with 70 (shown below) and have no issues running ads to those people.

So why did I say you will be fine as long as you’re not stupid?

Well let me put it this way: I have uploaded dozens and dozens of Custom Audiences to Facebook and not once have they asked me to verify the source of that audience.

Of course, they are generally real audiences that I have acquired, but it has never been questioned.

As long as you’re not running ads like “Hey John Smith” or “Mr. Smith, I’m stalking you on Facebook” you should be fine. Make sure you’re not targeting a specific audience in a way that would make them report your ad.

People promoting TeeSpring campaigns used to scrape Facebook ID’s and target people with specific surnames in an overly obnoxious manner and that’s why Facebook started to crackdown on ID uploads (you now need a Facebook app to run ads targeting user ID’s).

I’m not telling you to go and break the rules – in fact I’m not a huge fan of individual targeting as you’ll soon read – but you can still do this relatively risk-free if you don’t stretch the boundaries too far.

That’s how you run an ad to just one person.

How to Target Individuals via Facebook Ads Option #2

As the heading says, this allows you to target individuals but you can’t just reach one person with this method (but it is within Facebook Guidelines).

The idea behind it is very simple so I’ll get to the point, use Facebook’s vast targeting system and enter everything you know about a specific person.

For an example, I’m going to use a person with the Facebook URL, /giku.floyd.

Why did I pick him? He says his name is Floyd Mayweather (how I would love to target the real Floyd Mayweather individually).

He gives away a ton of information that we can use to target him:

  • He graduated university in 2014
  • He lives in Atlanta Georgia
  • He’s from Milan, Italy
  • He’s 27-35 years old (based on his pictures)

Obviously your reach is going to be broader with this kind of targeting, meaning your ads could reach 1-2,000 people, but with a moderate budget and a bit of patience, that person you’re trying to reach is more than likely going to see the ad.

You can still make the ad text very specific towards an individual person, just 99% of the people you reach will have no interest in your offering.

Once again, this will not work for everyone, but it’s another way to target down on the specific person you want to reach and stay within Facebook’s ad guidelines.

Ignore Individual Targeting, Here’s My Preferred Approach

While individual targeting might seem to have a lot of promise, it’s not something I would personally use or get involved in.

That’s not because it breaks Facebook guidelines, it’s because there’s just too little upside from what I can see on the kind of people I would be looking to target.

I did make a joke inside The Vault that you could target Floyd Mayweather with a “Hey Floyd, I bet you can’t afford this!” ad and appeal so much to his ego he ends up paying $1m for that gold-plated iPhone you pitched to him.

Instead, there are two avenues I would take.

The big campaign.

Or.

Lots of mini campaigns.

The “big campaign” angle is really for people involved in a particular business already and know the kind of people they want to reach and what services to sell.

The “lots of mini campaigns” angle is for people who are still looking for an avenue to venture down to make serious money online but they want to make sure something “sticks” before they venture into it too much.

I’m personally involved in a big campaign angle. I have been building a list of people at the top of the biggest companies in my industry.

Now, I’ll be totally honest with you as that is what this series is all about: This is NOT easy.

It’s easy to find a celebrities Facebook fan page that has millions of likes, but it’s a whole other challenge to find their personal page.

Out of every 50 people I try to find regarding my specific industry, I match just 1 to a specific Facebook profile on average. That’s a terrible success rate, but keep in mind that I’m generally targeting millionaire decision makers who can make me a lot of money.

I’m trying to get at least 200 of them before I go ahead with the campaign; the product is ready to sell.

Another example of a “big campaign” is to target journalists.

Find the emails of journalists who generally cover your industry from publications like The New York Times and the LA Times to popular blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable and add them to your custom audience.

Then run ads towards whatever you would like them to cover, and hope they’re appealing enough to get at least one person to write about you.

As far as “mini campaigns” go, the sky really is the limit.

For instance, let’s just say that you offer website design services and you want to pick up more customers from Facebook.

The worst thing you could do is pitch yourself as a web designer for any and all industries.

The smartest thing you could do is pitch yourself as THE web designer for X, where X is an industry you’re targeting.

You’ll have far more success with a small niche than just trying to reach everybody.

The problem of course with starting to target small niches is that you don’t know if X industry will have people interested in web design services.

You’ll likely have to create a lot of ads targeting a lot of different niche angles to get going.

For example, you might target coffee shop owners and angle a page as “web design for coffee shops”. Or maybe the web designer for steak houses. Or gyms. Or doctors. Or personal trainers. Or lawers. Or dentists.

You get where I’m going with this.

Put together 15-20 pages for lots of different industries and then try and reach those people and see which example sticks.

$1 Per Highly Profitable Lead: A Very Quick Case Study

Before releasing this Niche Idea to the public I decided to set up a little case study just to show what I’m talking about really does work.

I decided to target property developers in Phuket, Thailand – I had noticed a lot of them posting on Buy / Sell-style groups – and see if I could pitch them marketing services.

Within one hour I had three wealthy leads and spent just $3 to get them.

I whipped up a very basic Facebook Page for a business I called “Phuket Property Marketing”.

Remember you have to be specific.

The logo took me 30 seconds to put together but I like to think it still stands out.

The cover photo was form a free wallpapers website.

I then put together two status updates to reach my potential audience. One was in Thai, and the other was in English.

I set both at $15 daily spend just so I could be sure to have some kind of data to show by the time this niche idea went live. Normally I try to set $7.50 or even $5 campaigns for ads I run.

Here’s what I wrote in the English version, just in case you can’t see it.

Now, I purposefully stopped this campaign very quickly because I do not want to waste people’s time. I don’t want people taking time out of their day and messaging me – and potentially even getting their hopes up – when I have nothing to offer them.

I don’t feel good about that; I just wanted to show this works.

In my Phuket Property Marketing example, I received messages from highly-targeted leads, very quickly.

What I didn’t tell you was that I also ran an ad campaign targeting the same audience in Barcelona, Spain.

My ads received a lot of likes, but I didn’t receive a single comment or message from anyone who might have been interested in my services.

I know in Phuket that the fall of the Russian ruble created a lot of problems for property developers as many of the properties had been built with Russian-buyers in mind (Russians seem to love Phuket).

Whereas in Barcelona, maybe the property market is thriving and people have no issue getting buyers for their condos, villas and houses.

This is why you have to test a lot of angles, see what sticks, and then delve into that.

A Personal Story That Uncovers a New Angle

A few months ago when I was looking for staff I had the idea of creating a Facebook ad to target the exact people I wanted. After all, I could target my potential audience by age, location and education level.

And, people were coming to me rather than me having to go through agencies or other job sites and reach out to others.

I whipped up this really quick page, literally just “[city name] jobs”, posted a status saying exactly what I wanted and told any interested candidates to send the page a message.

I have since hired four staff from this page and it has been so easy to just sort through the Facebook messages of the people I want to hire since they usually attach their CV’s and answer a question which shows me they’re suited for the position.

After I created the page for the first staff member I was looking to hire I left it alone for a few weeks since I didn’t need it.

When I came back to the page after just letting it ‘sit’ for a while…I noticed something very interesting.

People had been using the ‘wall’ feature on my Page to promote their own jobs.

These were not just people looking for quick translation work or painters or something. These were hotel managers and other people from very successful businesses who were expecting to find staff by posting on my page.

I ran another ad looking for staff at that time, and a few weeks later came back to the page. Again, there were new job openings posted on my wall from successful gym owners, restauranteurs and so on.

While there are hundreds of job sites out there, it seemed like people just searched Facebook for ‘city name jobs’ and posted their offer there.

Of course, my first reaction was: There has to be money to be made here.

I know there are specific sites like Monster.com set-up for this kind of thing, but surely you could contact everyone who was posting on the page and tell them for X amount you’ll write their job as a status and forward them all of the messages.

I see a lot of potential here.

Any “Marketplace” styled Facebook Group Should Give You Unlimited Ideas

Just one idea from looking at these groups can fire off a whole range of new angles in my brain about ways to make money.

For example, in a Netherlands-based group I saw someone offering his services as a minister for weddings.

Instant idea: All of the angles you can use to target engaged people. And yes, Facebook does let you target them specifically.

Just look at Geneva in Switzerland for example. A small town with just 300,000 people to reach on Facebook. Yet when I target people who are currently engaged, there are still 5,800 people to reach.

Half that number since, you know, they’re engaged to someone, but that’s still more than 2,900 potential opportunities to pitch products or services to someone who is about to get married.

I could pitch them specific dresses from a dress shop and ask that shop owner for a small commission on each item sold.

I could get a commission from wedding venues (usually one of the most expensive parts of a wedding).

Get commissions from vicars. Though small, there’s still money to be made.

Commissions from wedding photographers I could recommend.

Cake companies.

Rental car companies to transport the bride and groom.

Caterers.

The list goes on and on.

And that idea was just spurred from one post on one group about one city in one country.

Maybe I wouldn’t get interest from pitching people on a specific wedding venue – in small cities there might not be many options and the women probably know where they want to get married anyway.

But it could be that another angle, possibly for wedding photographers, becomes a smash hit.

“How would you feel if an amateur photographer forgot to put a memory card in his DSLR on your special day? Hire one of these professionals and all you have to worry about is how many beautiful photos you want to print out”.

I should probably do this one myself.

Please steal it before I somehow set aside some time for it.

Heck, I could take this even further and build a “Swiss Wedding Butler” service and target all engaged couples in Switzerland. Create an amazing site where I offer reviews on all of the different companies out there and then give companies the chance to be “featured” for a small monthly fee.

The Facebook ad clicks are so fugging cheap when you have this kind of specific targeting and angle that you could easily turn a profit.

Put retargeting cookies on people’s browsers so you can reach them again and again with new ads at an even cheaper price.

“We know your big day is getting closer, make sure you didn’t forget this one item on your wedding-preparation list”.

Can you imagine one girl preparing for her wedding who isn’t going to click on that link to make sure she didn’t miss something?

Me neither.

As I hinted at earlier, I don’t really recommend running campaigns for individuals unless you have a very specific reason for doing so.

Yet, if you start browsing these marketplace-focused groups in any country and in any city, you’ll be flooded with more ideas than you know what to do with.

Trust me on that one.

Thank you for reading and I can’t wait to send you the next niche idea.

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