Why I Like Spam and Why You Should Too
Unless you’ve been in a cave for the past 10-15 years, you’ve been exposed to massive amounts of spam both online and offline. In the early days of the internet, pop-up ads were very popular, but that is mostly under control today with the technology built into our web browsers. One type of spam that really hasn’t gone away is e-mail. Fortunately, e-mail providers such as Gmail and Hotmail have developed strict spam filters, so that you generally don’t need to deal with it. Even then, however, there’s a ton of spam that you inadvertently opt into, which often doesn’t find its way into your spam folder.
I’m here today to tell you something contrary to everything you’ve learned from your experiences on the internet – spam is good (under certain conditions).
Let me back up a bit before you call me crazy. I still love spam filters – there’s no way I want to be the one to sift through spam e-mail in order to find my important and relevant e-mail. There’s more to spam than meets the eye, however.
Here’s a Little Secret for You
First, step out of the shoes of the consumer. Remember, you’re trying to create a muse, not go shopping online (although the two probably aren’t mutually exclusive). Next, take a look at this little secret about spam: Someone else has already done niche research for you. Read the bold text again. It’s so simple, yet so often overlooked.
Spam doesn’t have to be evil. Think about it – internet marketers from around the world have spent time and money creating e-mail campaigns to advertise a product or service to you. They have done the research to determine what niches might be profitable. Moreover, they may have even already figured out niches that align with YOUR interests, because after all, you’re the target of their campaigns. They got your e-mail address from somewhere, so there is a decent chance that some spam is targeted at your interests.
This Doesn’t Only Apply to E-Mail
The reason I discuss spam e-mail initially is because it’s spam that is targeted to you. It really doesn’t stop here, however, because there’s a wealth of spam everywhere else.
Google (Internet) Ads – Just about every website today is riddled with Google ads (side note: You won’t find any here at My4HWW!). You certainly can’t do a Google search or read your Gmail without seeing these ads either. These ads are influenced by their context – in other words, the ads will usually be relevant to whatever website you’re reading, so they may be somewhat targeted to your interests. This is another area where advertisers spend thousands and thousands of dollars testing niche markets and ad language to create profitable campaigns. Leverage this free resource. Don’t get sucked into buying anything, but look at these ads and see if they help you with your niche research for your muse.
Magazine & Newspaper Ads – I know this is something Tim Ferriss suggests in The 4-Hour Workweek. Basically, choose a magazine that fits your interests, and you’ll find loads of advertisements for niches and products related to that general topic/interest. Don’t simply look through one issue of the publication. Scan a particular magazine from month to month and identify ads that continue to appear. These are most likely profitable ad campaigns, so you should take note of them if they’re relevant to your potential muse.
Direct Mail – This really isn’t my favorite type of spam, but I still quickly browse through my junk mail before I throw it in the trash. Often, direct mail is targeted to your geographic location and generally related to the retail, food, or local service industries. I’m not sure you’ll find many good ideas here, but it’s still worth a look.
Television/Radio Ads – For the sake of completion, I wanted to include this category. These are usually for larger scale campaigns, for products and services with known brands. You’re pretty much already forced to absorb this advertising medium, so it probably won’t add much to your niche market research. I wouldn’t completely disregard it, however, because you never know where or how you’ll find the inspiration for your successful muse.
Stick with Your Interests
If you’re interested in pet products, don’t become tempted to abandon it in order to become a Viagra salesman. Trust me, you will find plenty of things that will indicate selling Viagra is a profitable niche. This point of this exercise in niche research is not so you’ll read every piece of spam e-mail and think about every single ad you see online. Turn on a mental filter and focus on the advertisements that fit your interests.
Going where the money seems to be isn’t the only ingredient for success. I think if you aren’t working in an area for which you have a geniune interest, you have a higher chance of failing. The reasoning is twofold: First, you usually know more about your interests. This alone will be a tremendously important factor in your success. Second (and this is probably the most obvious thing you’ll read today), your interests are things you’re actually interested in. You’re more likely to stick with something that really engages your mind. Patience is crucial, because success rarely happens on day 1. If you’re bored by your muse, you’re very likely to give up too soon.
In summary: Spam is good, and you should leverage it in your niche market research. You don’t need a marketing degree to spot a profitable niche, nor do you need to pay someone loads of money to find it for you. It’s all there, right under your nose, and it’s free.
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