If you’ve been dabbling in the online business or marketing world for a hot minute, then you know how much this space loves a good buzzword.
There’s also a lot of advice that gets tossed around pretty frequently. Tips like, “You need to have a marketing funnel,” or “You’ve got to find your niche and stick with it!” Reaching your business goals has never been easier. Get seen by your niche audience and build your dedicated following on Facebook. Buy facebook page likes and reach out to your audience starting today.
While all these acronyms and industry terms are incredibly useful to know, it can be overwhelming to try and unpack all of that jargon and figure out what advice you should follow and who you should listen to.
For instance, let’s zero in on that last tip about defining a niche. There’s a lot of conversation out there about how to find your niche and all the steps you should take to do so. I even created a whole resource about it — more on that later.
But before we get into the ‘how’, I think it’s so important to make sure you know the ‘what’ and the ‘why’.
This is why I wanted to dial things back a bit and help you answer questions like:
>>What is a niche?
>>Why is it important for your business?
>>What should you do before you define your niche?
That way, you’ll have a crystal-clear understanding of what this term means and what it can do for your business so you can feel confident diving into the work of niching down your products or services and determining exactly who you serve and why.
Alright, let’s get into it.
What is a niche?
When people talk about finding a niche or “niching down”, what they’re really talking about is figuring out their business’ niche market, which is simply a smaller segment of a larger market (i.e. the customers or industry you serve) that has its own unique needs and characteristics.
For example, let’s say you’re shopping for a new t-shirt. You probably wouldn’t start by simply typing ‘t-shirt’ into Google, right? I bet you’d add a few extra descriptors first.
Maybe you’d type something like ‘green t-shirt’. Or ‘green long-sleeve t-shirt’ or maybe ‘green long-sleeve t-shirt for running’. You get the idea.
A niche market works in much the same way.
Let’s say you run a graphic design business. In theory, you could serve pretty much anybody who needs graphic design services but maybe you’re based in New York and only work with local businesses. Maybe you prefer to work with colleges and universities. Maybe you specialize in branding.
If this were the case, your market would be ‘graphic design services,’ but your niche market would be ‘branding design services for higher education institutions in New York’. See the difference?
Some common needs, characteristics, and questions that you can use to start defining your niche include:
Price — Compared to similar businesses, is your offer less or more expensive?
Demographics — Do your customers tend to be the same gender or do they fall into a particular age range, income level, or education level?
Quality — Do you offer high-end products or services or are they more budget-friendly?
Psychographics — Do your customers share the same set of values, interests, or attitudes?
Geographics — Do your customers tend to be from the same country, city, or neighborhood or does your business have a wider reach?
Why is a niche important for your business?
To answer that question, let’s play a quick game of ‘Would You Rather’.
Would you rather be kinda good at a lot of things or really good at one thing?
Also, if you’re looking for a product or service, would you rather buy from a company that has what you’re looking for and a bunch of other stuff, or one that has spent the time and resources to create a tailor-made offer that screams, “Pick me. Choose me. Love me.”?
This is what defining a niche can do for your business. It helps your business appear more professional and credible than your generic competitors. It makes it easier for customers to choose you. It can also help you be more efficient with your time and resources. Rather than running yourself into the ground creating a bunch of products or services for a huge market, you can scale back and focus on the customers who need you most.
At the end of the day, most customers aren’t just looking for an option. They want THE option. The one that solves all of their problems, upgrades their life, or gives them the peace-of-mind they’ve been craving. It’s nearly impossible to show up as the right choice for everybody in your market, so focusing your marketing, sales, and messaging around a specific target customer is the best way to maximize your efforts and get the best returns.
What should you do before you define your niche?
While choosing a niche can certainly make your business more attractive to potential customers, it won’t do you any good to combine a bunch of random descriptors and call it a day. At the very least, before you specify niche, you need to figure out:
Who you want to serve
Who needs what you offer
You can’t have one without the other. If you pick a niche based solely on who you want to serve, you may find that your target audience doesn’t have much interest in what you’re selling. On the other hand, if you choose your niche based on the size or potential profitability of the market alone, you may find yourself running a successful business and makes you feel empty and drained because you don’t have any passion or interest in what you’re doing.
The best kind of niche is one that allows you to combine what you love, what you’re good at, your mission and values, and what you can be paid for into one successful and sustainable business. This is your zone of genius and once you discover it, you might be surprised by what you’re able to accomplish.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a niche is and why you need one, you can dive into the fun part: actually selecting one! In my free PDF guide “Discover Your Million Dollar Niche,” I’ll take you through my signature four-step process.
You learn how to:
Identify your main market
Niche down and get really specific
Do some market research
Pull everything together into a super-concise value articulator statement.
With this guide, you’ll gain clarity around who you serve and why and feel confident knowing your business delivers real value for the right people. You can grab your freebie here.
I know it can feel scary to narrow down the scope of your business and it can take some trial and error to get it right. But I promise you that all of your hard work will be oh-so-worth-it when you have a business that effortlessly attracts your dream clients and customers.