What is a niche?

“Imagine you were told you need brain surgery. Would you go to your local general surgeon or find someone who specialised in brain surgery? Chances are you would look for someone who only specialised in brain surgery.” – Instinct Education

Finding a niche market to sell to can be a short-term or long-term plan. The tendency of business owners to niche to the mainstream is a serious error. The KEY is to identify your target market and cater everything you do specifically to them. 

A niche market differs from a niche program, product, or service.

Niching down is often about finding a specific demographic, be that people or businesses who have a problem that your program, product or service solves. And whom you can cater to as a business. In other words, it usually refers to finding your niche market.  

Imagine you’re a nutritionist trying to find a niche market. You might choose a category like “women’s health”. However, that is both broad and vague. Narrowing that down further, the nutritionist could target menopausal women, thereby identifying a niche market within the broader one by narrowing it down by the health condition.  

Working with a niche programme, product, or service, on the other hand, means focusing your organisation on a specific offer type inside a larger category of the same or comparable offers. For instance, the term “coaching” is broad, but if your company is focused on one-on-one or group coaching, it will be simpler to maintain consistency in your back-end procedures.

Some brands don’t have niches. How’s that?

When a company grows large enough to effectively move beyond its current audience or niche, maintaining a niche can become obsolete. 

Because niches are small, they are risky

Changes in technology, policy changes, social media platforms, or search engines changing their algorithms can immediately impact your business. This is why companies should start with a small niche and aim to expand beyond it.

Businesses that grow beyond it end up niching differently by using market segmentation to narrow down who and what they’ll offer to particular client types. 

Leaving a niche, especially one that has worked well for your business, is a significant risk. 

What’s the purpose of a Niche?

  1. A new or growing business will yield better marketing results and customer satisfaction because your message speaks to your ideal client and solves their specific problem with your unique and tailor-made solution.
  1. The logic is simple: Trying to cater to the entire market as in everyone, everywhere, and offering them everything will take a lot more investment in terms of time, money, and technology.
  1. By serving a narrow market, you’ll better utilise resources, increase output, and develop a loyal customer base who can become your business’s cheerleaders. 

Niching enables you to develop a stronger market position and offer. How?

  1. When you narrow your focus, you are also narrowing down the things that influence your sector or industry, which will give you more significant insights into the opportunities to understand the strengths and weaknesses of that sector. 
  1. You’ll be able to gain greater clarity on the market and your competitors and build an irresistible offer to your ideal clients. 
  1. Your message will be clearer and more specific. Your ideal clients will see you as a thought leader, guide, and industry expert because everything you’ll speak about relates to their industry, so they’ll also be more confident in your brand strategy and offering.
  1. That’s not to say that every client experiences a cookie-cutter solution. But, it’s far less likely that you’ll have to develop something new for every client. Your process, framework, and structure of your irresistible offer will be the same because your clients will inevitably have similar pain points and require similar solutions. The result is that it makes it easier for you to deliver higher-quality programs, products, or services that are in keeping with what your ideal clients are looking for. And do it in a way where you provide incredible value.

Niching makes it easier for your audience to trust and become loyal to your brand.

  1. Speaking to a smaller audience is much easier to speak their language.
  1. When you’ve identified your niche and researched them, you can quote them verbatim in your messaging, making them feel like you are speaking to them personally.
  1. You’ll be communicating with an audience of people for whom your message is intended, so your ideal clients will think you are like-minded.
  1. This helps to build trust. Especially when you consistently name them, name what their problem is, empathise with them, etc. And when you’re creating something that’s exclusively for them. 
  1. The result is that your ideal clients feel understood, heard, and valued, all of which go a long way toward establishing long-term relationships based on trust and loyalty.

Niching doesn’t mean that you’re being disingenuous. It simply means that you’re showing up to serve a specific audience.

Reduce your competition

Two significant benefits of finding your niche are that you:

  1. Instantly reduce your competition 
  2. Gain a competitive edge even in a saturated market. 

Niching helps you eliminate would-be competitors paving the way to become your industry’s top thought leader.

When you are a big fish in a small pond, it presents opportunities to take more significant advantage of your network and dial in on your messaging, thereby setting yourself up to become a true go-to expert for your niche. All your work to successfully establish yourself in your sub-niche leads you to this point.

The result? You won’t just be saying in your marketing message that you are the go-to industry expert — you’ll legitimately be a credible industry authority. This means you’ll become a big fish in a small pond, with the opportunity to dominate your niche by becoming the biggest fish.

With this brand reputation, you will have even more demand for your services and be able to choose to work only with high-paying clients who grow your bottom line.

Another advantage is that the more specific your sub-niche is, the harder it will be for other competitors to model, copy or imitate your marketing and offers. And when you are unique in how you show up and serve your sub-niche, the result is that prospective clients will not be able to compare your offers with your competitor because of how bespoke you are. The significant advantage is avoiding a race to the bottom by competing on price. The benefit is that you have ample opportunity to charge more for your work and become more profitable.

Your Network Will Drive Your Business Success

When you target the mainstream or a broad niche, it can be challenging to build a network of connections that help you attract high-quality clients. Social media networks like LinkedIn or Instagram often result in a slew of followers who support you but are not die-hard raving fans. Whilst that might look impressive, it won’t drive your business forward.

When you niche down, however, your network and connection become infinitely more valuable. As a natural result of your specialised business focus, your network will also become more specialised.

Whilst the target market you’re working with may be smaller, the benefit is that people in that market will be more closely connected to others who are just like them. It’s much easier to ask for introductions, referrals, and connections in that instance because your client’s networks will be primarily made up of others with the exact needs and pain points.

With a more specific and specialised network, LinkedIn will become highly effective, helping you identify quality leads and connections with complementary businesses that serve a similar target audience as your niche. Leveraging your network in this way will likely result in more referrals and opportunities for strategic collaborations and business partnerships.

Marketing Messages (And Sales Conversations) Become More Impactful

Niching down gives your business a specific focus— and specificity attracts. When clear with your marketing message and brand story, it can pay massive dividends when trying to attract your ideal clients. Calling out who you serve in your message can be the very thing that invites people because they’ll think there might be something in your offer that can benefit them. And rather than learn about the world’s problems, you can learn about your specific niche’s problems and market to them accordingly. This is critical because people stop listening when they stop talking about their problems.  

Whether engaging clients through social media or a sales call, your in-depth knowledge of your target audience will help you adequately address their needs to make a more impactful impression. Personalised messaging will help you build a stronger rapport with prospects and clients.

This can be the differentiating factor in fostering loyal client relationships. With a smaller customer base, you engage with fewer people. This means you get to know clients more individually and are better equipped to follow up on any of their questions or concerns during lead nurturing and after becoming clients.

How to find your niche?

Reflect on your passions and interests.

  • What skills or talents come naturally to you?
  • What are you qualified to do?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • Do people ask for your advice on a specific topic?
  • How do you approach problem-solving?
  • What topics do you enjoy learning about?

Identify customers’ problems and needs.

  • Think of the problems, challenges, frustrations, and irritations faced by your target market. What skills or talents do you have that could become a program, product, or service that meets their needs and solves their pain points? What would be your ideal client’s motive for buying?
  • Research your potential customers to determine their buying behaviours and challenges.

Research your competition.

  • Before spending time and energy devoting your brand to a new niche, you’ll want to develop a competitive awareness by researching your competition. You might have a viable program, product, or service idea, but how many other companies will you be competing with?
  • Check out these websites that can help you with your competitive research:
    • Google Trends
    • Google Keyword Planner
    • ClickBank
    • Amazon
    • Use these websites as a tool to explore the best-selling, most popular things consumers are researching and see if your offer solves their problem.

Determine your niche and its profitability.

  • If you’re dedicating your time and resources to a new niche, it should have the potential to become profitable. Consider these factors when finalising the niche you’ll be serving:
    • Customer demographics
    • Customer psychographics
    • Buying Behaviour
    • Geography
    • Quality of your offer
    • Price and affordability
    • The problem you can solve is something they’re willing to pay for and is keeping them up at night
  • Your idea could still be profitable if you research the market and discover similar offers, but not many companies are selling them. It’s helpful to gauge your competitors’ price points so you can price yourself accordingly. Valuable resources to do this are Amazon (for products), G2 (for software), agency directories (for services), and PRICEFY.IO (for price monitoring).

Test your offer.

  • To find your niche audience, publish a simple website or landing page for your offer. Entice your audience to trial your program, product, or service by making it an irresistible offer. If you can offer it for free to some of your target customers, this is an excellent way of validating your offer. This beta launch should not cost much. You could invest in paid ads to drive traffic to your website.
  • If the beta launch didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, it may be a simple case of tweaking or improving your marketing or offer. Brainstorm!

How to dominate your niche.

  1. What’s the one thing that frustrates you most about your industry? 
  1. What would you change about how others in your industry service their client’s needs?
  1. What’s wrong with how your industry currently operates that you would love to change or fix?
  1. What specifically do you think could and should be improved?
  1. Do you think you can improve it? If so, how?
  1. What is a “standard” in your industry that you deem unacceptable? What is the best alternative?
  1. What was the most confusing thing about your industry to you when you started?
  1. What confuses the customers most that need your offers?
  1. What myths or misconceptions do people that need your offers have about it?
  1. What is the primary emotion or feeling your niche feels? What words and thoughts go through their heads?
  1. What do you love most about your industry, and what does it provide?
  1. What most common statement of praise do you receive from your clients?
  1. What aspect of your programs, products, or services are you most proud of?
  1. What do you do that’s brag-worthy?
  1. What is your favourite aspect of what you do?
  1. What aspect(s) of your work would you do if you had to do them for free?
  1. What is compelling you to be successful in your business?
  1. What is your most profitable offering?
  1. Why should someone choose NOT to use you or your process?
  1. What are the three most important things you want people to think about you?
  1. What three things do you definitely NOT want people to think about you?
  1. What makes you different or better than others in your industry?
  1. What life experiences can you draw on that may indicate who you’d be passionate about serving?
  1. With an open mind, brainstorm the niche audiences whose problems you could potentially solve.
  1. What are your financial goals? Are any of these niche audiences big enough for you to generate sufficient wealth?

Conclusion

Specificity attracts in every sense. When you market to a niche, you will have a much better opportunity to grow a successful business because your message will be focused on that audience’s problems. If you don’t talk about problems, there are no problems. Doing a deep dive to determine precisely what those problems are and using the exact language customers use will help with your marketing message. Diving even deeper and creating a sub-niche presents an even more significant opportunity to have high-ticket offers for fewer people, generating more profitability and creating the space for you to be an industry expert. 

Deirdre Martin is a business mentor specialising in brand, marketing, sales, and customer experience. She is a keynote speaker, business award winner, and bestselling business author. For a FREE business breakthrough call, go to Deirdre’s calendar and find a time that works for you. Follow on LinkedIn.

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