When starting your business it's really easy to say "My product/service can be used by everyone - so I should tell everyone about it" and then spend all your time, money, and effort trying to reach an ocean of potential customers instead of fishing in a pond. This is where having a niche, a target audience, an avatar, customer profile - whatever you want to call it - comes into play.
It seems counterintuitive, but narrowing the focus of your business actually increases your success. Before I get into why, let's go over what a niche is, exactly.
What Is A Niche
A "niche" (an old French word meaning "make a nest"
) is a well defined segment of the population that your business focuses it's marketing efforts on. The interesting thing about niches, which goes back to the words original meaning, is that they are created by identifying your defined audience's needs, wants, and problems. You effectively create a nest where your audience feels comfortable settling.
Why Have A Niche
A niche provides you the opportunity to focus your marketing efforts, so you don't waste your time and energy reaching out to everyone and instead reach out to people who are looking for your solution. Often, entrepreneurs are told to "go for the no" (heck, there's a whole book
and philosophy around it!) and while there is a place for going for the no, it also can be a huge waste of your time.
As an entrepreneur, you aren't doing this as a full-time gig, you aren't making the money (yet) that you know you can, so why waste your time chasing down 100 no's when you could be chasing down 10 yes's instead?
This is where your niche comes in, by narrowing your focus to specific concerns, problems, or lifestyles that you're interested in and that you represent , you begin looking for people more likely to say "yes" than practicing your sales pitch on people who are bound to say "no."
Don't believe me? You don't have to.
Straight From The Experts
I went and asked experts, people who either help entrepreneurs or are them, for their perspective on finding a niche to achieve success.
Stand Out In A Crowded Marketplace
It's important for new online biz owners to narrow down their niche because the more specific your target is, the easier it is for them to see you as the expert they need in the crowded marketplace. It also helps you create content and marketing that speaks directly to them as an SME by using industry specific wording and phrases.Rachel Sheerin
- Sales Speaker, Trainer & Coach
Become An Expert
When you identify your business as the specialist in an area, your small target audience will strongly admire you because they feel like you’re speaking directly to them! There are so few specialists in comparison to the number of “generalists”, so when you pick a narrow road to go down the likelihood of you resonating with customers increases tenfold.
Nicole Faith - Founder of 10 Carat Creations
Understand Your Customer Needs and Meet Them
Client focus is a powerful tool for niching. When we are really listening, we understand the market better. It was a customer who led the specialization that turned our company's fortune around. We now focus on bollards—those short little posts that stop vehicles from driving where they shouldn’t—and other traffic management tools. Bollards were always a small part of our trade, but when our first rudimentary website was launched in 1996, we received an inquiry from Arkansas about them. By talking to the customer, we realized offering a stock bollard line could deliver a simple solution to a global audience of facilities managers, city planners, and security experts. Reaching our potential is about learning our clients' needs.
Brad Done - Reliance Foundry
Be A Big Fish In A Small Pond
When I created [DeskView], I knew the key was finding a niche -- in our case, an accoutrement to your daily desk rather than a replacement. DeskView is focused on adding space where you didn't have it before, whereas the other standing desk companies are focused on retrofitting or replacing your daily desk.
Strategically I've been pressed to make larger desks that can replace a current desk -- to which I reply that is not our market. You're always tempted to chase the bigger market (it's *bigger* after all), but it's much better to be a big fish in a small pond. With that focus for DeskView, we've been able to really make a name for ourselves and stand out from the crowd as not just another sit-to-stand desk.
Mike Bolos - Co-Founder of DeskView
Use The Right Language
Do you talk to your dog the same way as you talk to your teenager? No.
I know, the comparison seems obvious, but it is to make you understand the concept better.
Finding your niche when you have an online business allows you to be very specific in the way you communicate with your target market.
When you know all the characteristics of your niche - struggles, challenges, desires, pains, and especially what solution they are trying to solve, it is easier to market to them: you use their words, you talk their language and they totally feel that you « get » them.Fabienne Raphael
- Online business consultant, speaker, podcaster
Know Your Why
A simple formula to discover your “WHY,” create a business aligned with your values, and attract your ideal customers and partners.
It has been consistently proven that knowing why you do business will allow you to know how and what to do. This is what separates successful, innovative entrepreneurs and companies from the status quo. This engaging presentation reveals the breakthrough formula you can use to have a deeper understanding of your core values and the skills to authentically communicate your business mission to drastically increase profits. If you are everything to everyone, no one is ever going to buy from you.
Stephanie Staidle, Founder of The Right Brain Entrepreneur
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