Finding a niche
If you are marketing online in 2019, you might want to consider picking a niche.
It might be cheaper and faster niching down first, and then maybe you can expand when you saturate your niche or micro-niche.
In this post, I'll review this avenue, along with counter-arguments, that will hopefully help you find your next clients.
Maybe the ultimate question is: How deep to niche down?
1. What is Niching
Niching down is often described as picking a narrow segment of a market. It is a very good way of being unique and helping more people early in a business life. Another common term is Product-Market Fit, finding a market for your product or service.
For example, instead of targeting small business owners, you can target dentists only, or you go even deeper and target orthodontists only. It is very scary for most business owners, and I will share some common fears in this post, and how to explore the process of niching down.
Selling to everyone, or helping everyone is impossible. It's an illusion. Example: If you want to create a pair of jeans for everyone, you can't. By default, some people will not want to wear something that too many people wear, and some people don't wear jeans anyway.
Examples of Micro-niches
Here are a few of them.
This artist could probably draw anything for anyone, but he draws only maps and only for ski resorts
He has been featured in industry magazines, and people are calling him.
Market Size : 3200 Major Ski Resorts in the World (Source)
Email marketing niching down to a particular sub-segment
ConvertKit is a good example of a startup that started by targeting anyone wanting to do email marketing in a broad highly competitive market. After a slow start, they decided to niche down.
"Choosing a niche is the easiest advice to give and the hardest advice to take. When you don’t have traction, it feels like choosing a niche will exclude the few people who are coming in the door. In reality, when we chose “email marketing for professional bloggers” everything changed."
We eventually expanded to “email marketing for creators,” which now includes podcasters, actors, YouTubers, authors, artists, musicians, and so many more. Even with growing into that larger audience, we are still so much more focused than our competitors who target all small-businesses.
2. Fears of Niching Down
Before I talk about why you should consider niching down (see Point in this article), I'll list common fears that people have when we talk about it.
When I talk to businesses about niching down, very often it is met with a long silence. It's probably one of the biggest fear for any business. It has been addressed by many people, here are common fears.
The Fear of Niching down and missing out on potential clients
If you don't have many leads coming your way, the first fear is having even less leads. Here is Glen Carlson from the Key Person of Influence talks about this common fear.
Of course, what happens usually is that some clients might ask you to do something outside of your core expertise, you could accept to do it. You want get referrals of potential clients outside of your niche that you could help, and you could accept them as clients if you need to.
And now here's Jonathan Stark talking about niching down, or pigeonholing yourself. Jonathan preaches what he does as one of his niches being serving credit unions with mobile applications. It has also a completely different business helping software developers with their career as well.
0:13 - The fear of missing out. The fear of missing out or refusing clients.
4:16 - You don't need to niche your entire business all at once.
9:09 - How to test a niche or new target market.
10:19 - Test, test, test.
Positioning Fear Reflex
35:09 - Fear of not getting clients
40:00 - Fear of getting bored.
Fear that the market is too small.
How many clients can you serve at the moment? If your niche has only 100 businesses, and you can serve only 10% of this market, it's 10 clients, if they each bring in $24,000 /year each, it's a $240,000/year in revenue.
You can always expand to new niches if the market gets saturated, or disappear.
Don't forget that if you are ultra-specialized, you can be the only person in the world with your expertise, and many people do not care where you are located.
Fear of not being able to scale: How Facebook started.
Initial Market : 5,000 Harvard Students
Facebook is a good example of starting out in a very narrow niche, Harvard students only. Now, they have 2 billion users. You can always add new niches after you have saturated one.
Fear of the micro-niche to disappear
When picking a very narrow niche, like software that changes at a very fast pace, it is possible that the software solution you niched down to becomes obsolete. It did happen since technology exists, some companies go under, but you get adapt by adopting a new niche. It is an inherent risk.
Some people built their entire business on a specific software or platform, the most agile companies learned to diversify at some point.
Fear of not knowing the niche enough
Picking a niche where you have some expertise or knowledge about is always a good thing. But you good pick a niche you don't know much about. Asking a lot of questions, and starting with 1 client can be a good way to test the waters.
You can be honest. Often by telling your audience that you are willing to learn to solve their problems, they will be happy.
Fear of picking the wrong thing
Here is Jonathan Stark talking about this fear in this excerpt.
Fear of getting bored
Here is Jonathan Stark talking about this fear in this excerpt.
Fear of existing clients finding out.
When you have a broad niche, and you decide to narrow down, your existing clients might become aware of it. It's usually rare. Most clients will not go on your website once they are client of yours.
3. Benefits of niching down
Now here are why you should do it, or try it at least.
Here's a video summary of the book From Impossible to Inevitable by Aaron Ross.
Much less competition
Everybody fears niching down, so few do it and therefore there are a lot of wide open niches.
Choosing the clients you want to work with
If you get to a point where you have a lot of leads, you can then pick only the best clients, clients with whom you can do your best work and will respect you.
Being different and memorable
Easier to write about it
When you have multiple avatars, it makes it very hard to market to and to write to.
This includes writing a book.
Easier to be indexed by Google
If you write about a specific niche, and no one else does, google will love you and index your content and rank you high.
People will feel understood when they read or hear you.
If you know something about the industry or the background of your client, you have something in common already, and you will create an instant bond.
By niching down, and understanding your segment, you can move away from one-on-one work, or custom work, and start to productize your services. This is a very good way to simplify your offering and increase your profit margin.
Cheaper to market too
If you advertise on google for the a broad term, you will pay a lot of money as you will have a lot of competition. There are niches or micro-niches with very little competition, and you will pay much less per click.
If you are the only one bidding on Google Ads, and might pay 50 cents or $1 for a click, instead of $10, $20 or $100 per click.
People searching on Google, and other search engine, are people actively searching, and is very valuable. Sometimes they are looking for a solution, and have money to spend solving that solution.
Thrive Leads Shortcode could not be rendered, please check it in Thrive Leads Section!
Less unqualified leads
When you reach a point of getting a lot of unqualified leads, niching down can be a very good way to only attract qualified leads.
Command higher price
This come down to supply and demand, expertise and perceived risks. If you want to increase your rate, niching down can be a very effective way.
4. Problems with not niching down
- Problems in writing, you will be very general, and people will not recognize themselves
- People might be confused by how you present things to them, because it's too general
- You will get random leads that you can't help. Or if you can help them, all of your clients will be in different industry requiring a lot of research, learning and you will spend more time learning than serving.
5. When you should niche down
Niching down is not always necessary, you can always test your hypothesis, and if it works, great.
Some people have niched down too early, developed a product to then realized nobody wants it. Pre-selling your product (or doing a MVP) is a great way to find if your product has a fit in the market, and to see which part of the market would buy it more.
6. Why not niching down at all
John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing makes a point in this video that maybe you should try different clients first. He doesn't address how to get those clients first.
Highly creative people needs a variety of clients. And there is a real benefits to clients to have a vendor with broad experience that do not only know a specific niche.
On top of it, if you are starting, the variety of clients will help you learn a lot more compared to working only with a narrow niche.
7. Types of Niches
- 2:13 Vertical (Industry)
- 5:06 Horizontal specialty (Client often doesn't know)
- 8:15 Platform Specialisation (Client knows)
10:04 "You can differentiate in 2 ways, either you have a great product that nobody else has got or it's better than everybody else, or you focus on a particular niche that you understand so much better than everybody else."
He goes on and talk about the perfect pitch.
8. How to find your niche
Look at your own knowledge, expertise and value
Look at opportunities
MVP - Focus on the problem you solved and find desperate clients and fire bad clients.
Why people fail.
Niche Picking for Designers
Flaunt: Niche Picking and DIY Niche Marketing for Designers
9. How to test your niche
- Go all-in and update your homepage.
- Creating Hidden Page on your website and share that page only.
- Add a vertical in your main menu
- Go half way, sub niche.
- Create a new separate website and brand.
- Treat it as a separate campaign.
10. How to create messaging and communications for your niche
1. Start with an urgent, important, expensive problem
- Choose 1 Pain, Frustration, or fear.
- Find the motivation to solve the problem by asking why 5 times.
- Clients needs to be motivated to buy.
- Define the currency to measure results.
- Use their lingo.
- Example: I only work with Established Chiropractors that are very motivated to go from Point A to Point B in the next 90 days.
2. Talk to people with the problem.
Talking to people one-on-one is essential to really understand the problem people live with. Very often is better to listen, and come up with what the client really need, versus want to prescribe themselves.
3. Come up with a product that can provide a solution to the problem.
The solution will help your clients achieve their goals, desires, dreams and aspirations.
11. Pay Someone to help you.
1. Key Person of Influence, Dent Global.
Dent Global has an accelerator program helping small business owners find their niche through their 5P Program. Pitch, Publish, Products, Profile and Partnership.
How to rate your progress as a Key Person of influence in your niche.
The KPI Scorecard is a quiz you can take to see where you fit in your niche
- Take the free KPI Scorecard
2. Taki Moore
Listen to Taki Moore talking about picking a niche for coaches, but this is valid for a lot of businesses.
- Already in motion (Pain and Urgency OR irrational passion, OR Money made or money saved)
- Easily reached (like Architect)
- Proactively searching
- Already Spending Money
- You Past & Your Passion
3. Fletcher Method. A Course For Coach, Agency and Consultants
The Fletcher method has tools to find your Perfect Avatar and your target market. It's part of their online course that covers much more.
Watch the Coach, Agency or Consultant LaunchMap Webinar