Lately it seems that everyone is talking about the importance of finding your niche.
Do a search for “niche marketing” and Google returns 1.1 million results. Type in “finding your niche” and Google returns 3.9 million results.
So is this just trendy biz talk or something you should really take the time to understand?
What You'll Learn in This Post
What Does Niche Marketing Mean?
Over the years, I have worked with numerous small business who try to be all things to all people. And what I have found is that they seldom last long. As they continue to expand and/or pivot their message, their message continues to get watered down. And they loose business to those who stand out in their field.
Niche marketing is a process of narrowing down your business focus so that you can grow your knowledge and provide greater value to your customers.
Do not confuse this with identifying your ideal customers or creating a sales persona (more about that in a future blog post). This is less about your clients and more about you.
What you enjoy doing. Your field of expertise. Your ability to make dominate a field and make a profit.
Determining your ideal niche to marketing to can mean different things.
It can refer to the industry you will be focusing on.
Instead of providing your services to all walks of life, you narrow your focus to customers on a subset within a particular industry. Say you are a web designer, instead of designing sites for everyone, you decide to work specifically with restaurants.
But finding your market niche can also refer to the services you offer.
This time, instead of working within an industry, you narrow your focus on the type of service you provide. So instead of restaurants, you choose to design only small to medium size WordPress websites optimized for speed. Here, instead of an industry specific niche, you chose a service specific niche.
Using Niche Marketing to Increase Sales
Let’s be honest, there are very few industries and fields that aren’t highly competitive.
The internet has definitely allowed entrepreneurs and smaller businesses to compete, and compete they have.
By narrowing down your business focus you are able to bring a higher level of value to your potential customers, allowing you stand out from the crowd.
Back to the web designer who specializes in websites for restaurants. By choosing this specialized niche market, over time you will begin to collect detailed information about the pain points restaurants go through taking their business online.
You will gain specific knowledge on tools that best serve those clients, as well as, how and where they should advertise. You become the go to expert when it comes to assisting restaurants on growing their business with an online presence.
This is niche marketing.
You are able to provide better results for your customers. It also allows you to better understand your potential customers.
It’s a win-win. They win because they get a knowledgable expert that completely understands their field, and you win because it becomes easier to find your target customer.
So how do you go about identifying the niche you should focus on?
Steps to Identify Your Business Niche
1. Start with what you like to do.
What topics and interests are you passionate about?
As you begin to grow your business, you will be spending hours knee deep in business development. The last thing you want, is to choose a niche that you simply don’t like.
What projects or subjects do you get lost in? Those ones, where you loose total track of time?
Write down every area, topic, or interest you are passionate about. Don’t edit yourself or judge, just write. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Already in business, what tasks within your business could you do all day. What specific business functions rejuvenate you?
2. Next, look at your areas of expertise.
Don’t get these confused. Passion first. Knowledge second. You can always gain more knowledge, but trying to stir up passion that does not exist, will only exhaust you.
Often times your expertise will give you clues as to what you are passionate about. Unless you were being forced down your current path, areas of mastery grew from time submerged in study. And spending that much time on one thing generally indicates an eagerness to learn.
So what are you good at? What things naturally give you the most confidence?
If these areas are not already on your list, add them. If they are on your list, star them.
Again, write down everything you do with eagerness and enthusiasm. Don’t worry about how to turn it into a business. We’ll get to that later. Just write.
3. What problem can you solve?
Hopefully, from the last two steps you have created a solid list of potential niche marketing ideas. Now, let’s take a look at your list from a potential client’s point of view.
Looking at each item on your list and think about someone who doesn’t share your enthusiasm or proficiency in that area. What would they find hard or impossible to do because they don’t have the knowledge you do? How could you help them solve their potential problems in this area?
Let’s look at an example. Perhaps, I am passionate about soccer. (I am, by the way!) And say it is something I would love to earn money from, but have no idea how.
Thinking about those I know, when would it be a problem if they did not know much about soccer?
My aunt just got volunteered as her daughters U6 soccer coach and has no idea what to do. This could lead me to creating an online coaching course for new soccer coaches or contacting local recreation leagues to offer coaching clinics.
This allows me to take what I am passionate about and use it to solve a need or problem someone may face.
I offer a word of advise here. Some will argue that by focusing on niche marketing, it will be hard to find enough people with a need that you can fill.
I encourage you to be creative in this step. If it is truly something you are passionate about, there has never been a time when so many tools exist to deliver great content, monetize blogs, and get paid as an influencer.
It might take you longer to find and grow your market, but if you can articulate your passion, marry that with expert knowledge, and creatively solve problems others are facing, you have the beginnings of a business.
Looking at your list, think about the needs others may experience because they don’t share your expertise. What pain point may they experience? When and why would they need you?
Based on this information, begin narrowing down your list. If you have a tie, choose the one that is the best personal fit but also lends itself to a service or product to sell the quickest.
You are looking to make this a business, so now is the time to think bottomline.
4. What will people pay for?
This is often called product/market fit. And the brutal truth is that a business idea is worthless, until someone pays for it.
But before you think I have deviated from my you-can-do-anything approach, hear me out.
If you are serious about starting or growing your business, you are dependent on sales. If you cannot generate an income, you will not have a profitable business.
It is truly rare that someone comes up with something totally revolutionary. And, my guess is that your business model exists somewhere.
So how do you make money?
This plays right into niche marketing. People want to buy from an expert. So be an expert. Learn everything you can about the niche you are choosing.
Remember when I said passion beats expertise. Now that you have narrowed down your choices, it is time for your knowledge and skillsets to catch up.
Your goal is to be the absolute best at what you are doing.
Consider the need or needs you identified in the last step.
What will it take for you to become an expert in this niche? And how can you use this expert status to provide a highly valuable solution to meet their needs?
Write down 3-5 ways you can monetize solving your potential clients problem.
5. Be agile as you gather intel.
As your business journey progresses, give yourself permission to evolve and refine your original idea.
No, I am not talking about two weeks from now, and because you have read four new books. Stick to your guns, but be observant to what your market is telling you.
Don’t be so rigid that you don’t explore opportunities that present themselves. You might find that over time as you become an expert in your field, you want to further narrow your niche or choose a service that better fits your talents and personality. That’s okay.
Success is a journey. Find your expertise, narrow your focus, but listen to what your client’s are telling you.
Remember, niche marketing is a process of narrowing down your business focus, becoming an expert in your field, and ultimately providing greater value to your customers.
Are you ready to stand out and make more money?