7 Niche Marketing Lessons Learned From Working At NicheHacks For 17 Months

It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing for NicheHacks for nearly a year and a half now.

But I started working with Stuart in November 2014, and my first post published on December 1st.

And I’m not just kissing ass when I say it’s been one of my favorite projects to work on.

Stuart is great to work with on a person-to-person basis and cares about his readers in a way that other online business owners simply do not.

Plus, I love the satisfaction of being involved in reader empowerment and helping you guys learn what you need to know to grow your own websites and incomes.

I’ve learned a lot of niche marketing lessons in my year and a half with NicheHacks, so I’m going to share those lessons with you guys, and tell you what they mean to you as a niche marketer.


What I’ll Talk About

  • The importance of reader data for you to write better content and engage your audience
  • Why teaching-focused posts work better for you and your audience
  • What I've learned from the NicheHacks Facebook community and why YOU need one
  • Why I should go ahead and hire an assistant of my own (and how it could help you)
  • The actual potential of a new niche site


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1. You Need a Heavy Focus on Reader Data Collection (The Creation of “James”)

No, I’m not talking about collecting data on James the NicheHacks team member.

I mean one day in October last year, Stuart sent me a long email with an attached 3-page PDF called “Perfect Audience Member.”

The PDF outlined the extensive research he'd done into the NicheHacks audience to know that of the demographics of our target audience, the most common name for that person was “James.”

And beyond knowing the age and nationality of “James,” we know all these things too:

  • How many months he’s been working on niche marketing
  • How much money he makes from his sites every month
  • The kind of advice he’s tired of hearing
  • His biggest regrets in life
  • What he plans to do with his online business once it’s successful


Clearly, this list of characteristics was not something Stuart just whipped up in a 20-minute brainstorm.

It was carefully and deliberately researched, and for the better.

And since he’s done this researched and shared it with me, I’ve noticed more comments on my posts thanking me for their helpfulness… so clearly he was onto something.


What this Means For You

As soon as you start building an audience, take the time to get to know them.

Ask them to respond to questions in your email autoresponder or when they download one of your lead magnets. Welcome questions.

Or create a survey and incentivize your responses.

You can write your first posts based on assumptions.

But the more you know about what's going on inside your audience members' heads, the more you'll be able to tailor your content to exactly what they're looking for, boosting your engagement levels.


2. Adjust Your Blogging Style Based on Reader Interaction

When I started writing for NicheHacks, I was writing one really long, in-depth post per month.

But about the same time Stuart was doing research to define “James”, he noticed that my writing pattern with these long posts didn’t match up very well with the amount of time visitors spent reading.

So instead of one long post, I started writing two shorter, more actionable posts per month.

Now, visitors read more of what I write and feel more empowered to take the information I’ve shared in the post to apply it to their business… instead of being totally inundated with too much information at once.


What this Means For You

Some audiences like loads of information all crammed together in one posts, but other audiences prefer more digestible pieces of content.

Look at your on-site analytics to figure out which type matches your audience the best.

Or run experiments with the different types of posts to see which ones resonate better with your specific set of readers.


3. Make Sure EVERYTHING Resonates With Your Audience

Stuart is not a client that will happily accept whatever blog posts and paragraphs I send over to him for publication.

And while I do think he’s happy with my work most of the time, he doesn’t let anything publish that won’t be 100% useful to his readers.

Every month when I upload my posts into WordPress for him to review and schedule, he’s always got some kind of suggestion on how I can tweak sections of each post to be more relevant to “James.”

In the past, I’d moan and groan every time I got edits back from a client, but I actually look forward to these to the point that I email him asking him to make suggestions.

He doesn’t insult me saying “Why didn’t you make sure this section has an actionable takeaway, huh?!?”

Instead, he gives me ideas on where to expand, which I appreciate.

Not only do I get to create better blog posts for you guys to read, but it makes me a better writer by opening my eyes to critiques and considerations I wouldn’t have noticed on my own.


What this Means For You

If you don't do all the writing for your site yourself, make sure you're willing to take the time to review the work your writers are producing.

Don't be afraid to point out areas of improvement, and hold your writers to high standards. Your site will improve because of it.


4. Teaching is Important (And WAY Better Than Preaching)

Some of my favorite posts to write have been screenshot-by-screenshot tutorials that show you how to do things.

For example, I got to show you how to set up a popup with OptinMonster instead of just preaching reasons about why you should set up a popup.

Because while it’s good to know what a popup can do for you (the preaching part), that can pretty well be covered in just a couple of sentences.

What’s most important for actually benefiting from those popups, though, is the actual action of setting them up.

And while preaching with a lot of keyword-heavy phrases might get you some search engine traffic, it doesn’t really do anything for you as a site owner unless your readers see true value in it.

So when Stuart places a heavy importance on teaching over preaching, he genuinely helps his audience achieve their goals, which builds their loyalty to his blog, and improves his business.


What this Means For You

Go through your blog posts and make sure each one gives your readers some sort of valuable information they can actually act on.

If you've favored the preaching approach to blogging in the past, try writing only teaching posts for a month and see what kind of difference it makes.


5. A Community is Worth It To Build Trust

I used to think running an online community would be a huge time suck and not worth it for a solopreneur.

But since I’ve joined the NicheHacks Private Mastermind group on Facebook, it’s been really cool to see  members support each other and become even bigger fans of NicheHacks because of it.

Sure, no group is ever perfect and some rogue members do post bad advice.

But in general, it’s a place where people can ask questions, make suggestions, and learn to grow their online businesses.

I’ve also seen that maintaining an online community nowhere near as hard as it used to be now that Facebook offers private groups.

Now, instead of worrying about setting up logins, paying a per-person fee for a software, and making sure your site doesn’t crash, you can use Facebook’s free platform.

Only approve members you give permission to, and easily step in and manage conversations that might need a little moderation.


What this Means For You

If you've got a growing community from your site that wants more from you but you don't have time for another huge project, start a private Facebook group.

If you need to, you can give basic instructions about how to manage the group to a virtual assistant and have it as a relatively hands-off project that lets your fans talk to and help each other in a space you've created.


6. Outsourcing is Worth the Cost. You'll Save Time AND Make Money

While working with NicheHacks, I’ve noticed Nader doing a fair amount of blog and community management while Stuart either works on big-picture items or takes a vacation.

I don’t know Nader’s rates, I’m pretty sure he’s not the cheapest guy you could outsource to… which has taught me that while Stuart could easily do all of these things himself, he choose to make the investment not to do them.

This has been a big lesson from a personal perspective because I’m the kind of person that prefers to penny-pinch rather than spend money on “unnecessary” things.

And while that penny pinching has helped me afford things like plane tickets across the world on a personal level, it’s really counter-productive in my business. (And holds me back from earning more money for more plane tickets.)

Seeing the growth and peace of mind that Stuart has by hiring someone else to do his blog and community maintenance has inspired me to start the process of hiring my own VA.

I estimate it’ll save me about 10 hours per week, for somewhere in the range of $5 to $10 per hour.

I’m thrilled to see what the payoff is and how much more work I’ll be able to handle because of it.


What this Means For You

Think about tasks you do on a repeated basis that you could easily teach to someone else.

Go to Upwork, find a handful of VAs that specialize in that work within your price range, and invite them to apply to work as your VA.

Send each potential VA a few test assignments worth a few hours of work, and pay them for it. Choose the VA you like the best, and work with them for a month to see how things go.

It's an affordable approach, and now that I've started doing it for myself, I think you'll get pretty addicted to the idea.


7. You Can Grow a Successful Niche Site Very Quickly

It was really hard for me to believe that NicheHacks was only two years old when Stuart published his Progress & Growth Report in December.

I know it’s something I could have easily found out from basic research, but with the success level he was at, I just assumed the website was at least five years old.


It was only the site’s second year and it was already averaging almost $10,000 per month in income.


But also really inspiring.

Because while Stuart does work hard to provide only the best as far as content and experience on his site, I never really noticed anything special about the site or its marketing plans, to be honest.


"About the marketing plan....yeah I basically haven't had one," he said. "Crazy to think what could have been achieved if there was a proper system in place for promoting the blog. We weren't doing anything to get traffic for about a year: no active SEO, no outreach, no guest posting, no FB Ads."


Which to me, just goes to show that having a solid plan you follow through on really does pay off.


What this Means For You

I've noticed a lot of niche marketers (myself included) tend to read loads of advice about all the things we need to do to be successful, feel totally inundated, and procrastinate ever doing anything useful.

All the reading and mental stress from thinking about everything that needs done feels like work, but it doesn't actually accomplish anything.

Making a plan to try basic strategies and taking actual steps towards them (even if your plan isn't perfect) is a much better approach than trying to do everything perfectly.


To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now...


Conquer the World With Your Own Niche Site

I hope you feel inspired after reading through these lessons... especially that last one.

I feel more inspired just writing this article, and I've already had 17 months of behind-the-scenes learning with NicheHacks.

And while inspiration can take you far, it doesn't exactly to the step-by-step, daily grind type of work required to get a successful website working.

If you'd like to take your niche marketing to the next step, think about joining the NicheHacks Private Mastermind group.

It's a cool community where you can bounce ideas off other NicheHacks members in our exclusive Facebook group, plus Stuart sends out SIX new niche reports every single month to help you grow your online revenue.

That's more than one per week, people.


Comments (8)

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  1. Chelsea Baldwin says:

    The biggest lesson for me out of this entire list was probably within #7.

    NicheHacks grew to this level of success without any kind of solidified, official marketing plan. Which to me says that sometimes, rather than inundating yourself with information and planning, it's better to just wing it and learn as you go.

    What about you guys?

    • NicheHacks says:

      Whilst it has worked out OK for NH I wouldn't recommend not having a plan.

      I wish I'd taken Ryan Diess (he's so smart) advice when creating NH...

      "A book is read from the front to the back but a business is built from the back to the front"

      I didn't do that and honestly wish I had because I've reached a point now where I'm a bit confused about what direction I'm sposed to be going in next.

      If I had the business built from the back to the front or at least the plan in place this wouldn't be an issue as I'd have a roadmap to follow.

      I recommend everyone builds (or at least plans) their business from the back to the front and not from the front to the back.

  2. Hey Stuart,

    Niche Hacks is the perfect example of how an EXCELLENT blog should be. I am an avid follower of your work and really appreciate the amount of time and efforts you have put in it.

    Following your footprints, I have also started my personal blog where I will be covering my personal success stories, failures, and case studies. I have already shared how I reached to $10k/month mark starting from zero.

    I will call it a big success if it manages to be even 5% of what Niche Hacks is.

    A big salute to your hard work mate. 🙂

  3. Shan says:

    Thank you for this.

    I like the way you pointed out your experiences and tips on what we could do. I've been thinking about hiring a VA. Reading this confirmed it!

    Great post!

  4. Alan Monday says:

    Some people love to write, can do it very easily. But is it crafted correctly for Message? Others, like me can probably craft the message, but may write like a Stilt!

    And of course, the idea of risk/reward/growth is as old as people, I'd say. I work in the big iron computer business. Our saying is, "You can't run a business, one deep." Everyone needs a backup. As the saying

    "2 engineers, try to start a company and the first As soon as the first phone call comes in, you are down to only one engineer!"

    A single entrepreneur, then is in an instant quandary. HOW CAN I DO IT ALL?

    I found this a very helpful post. I certainly realized, I need to think more like a CEO to create direction and carefully hire contractors to get it done.

    Unfortuantely, just like the CEO, I get the pressure of decisions>

    Great post! I think I need a VA.

  5. Richard says:

    What an inspiring post... thank you.

    Love the honesty Stuart. Interesting to see how you go forward again.