Defining Your Niche and Why You Need One

We are all familiar with the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none”. It is a figure of speech used to describe a person who has tried their hand at an array of skills, rather than gaining expertise by focusing on one.
Certainly, being good at a few things has its benefits but it is in developing your specialty or finding your niche that you can make your business stand out. You can’t be all things to all people.

Attract the right customers

Having a niche helps you stand out. That’s tremendous advantage. But, there is another very important advantage of tailoring your business to a niche market – you attract people that really need or want what you do. They are your ideal customers because they will see value in doing business with you because you offer the best solution to their specific needs. When your customers see value in working with you, they will continue to do business with you. This is customer loyalty – you want that!   Remember that getting the right customers is more important that having the most customers. Determine who your customers are and focus on servicing them. Too many businesses try to service as many customers as they can to generate revenue even if it means straying from their core business, over extending their resources and putting in more effort than would be required if the customer was a good fit to begin with. Without a niche, not only do you fail to stand out, but you won’t attract your ideal customers.

Talking is easy

Trying to cater to everyone dilutes your marketing and your messages won’t really “speak” to the hearts of anyone. When you have a niche or a speciality, it is easier to customise your marketing and communication to speak directly to your ideal customer in ways and in a “language” that is relevant to them.  Marketing to a niche is also more cost effective that trying to reach everyone. If you know who you are talking to, where they are and how to reach them, you can scrap the channels that miss the mark. Instead of “spraying and praying”, you can choose one or two really effective channels and leverage those to the max.

Let’s look at defining your niche

In business, whether you offer a product or a service, it is about providing solutions to needs. Customers will do business with you if you can offer a fast, convenient, credible, quality and cost effective solution to a need that they have. Too many businesses try to be all things to everyone by servicing too many customers or over diversifying their offerings. Define your core business, understand your core customers and focus on what you are good at. What is your specialty? Who are your customers? What are their needs? How can you address these needs better than your nearest competitor? If you can hone in on the answers to these questions and give your customers what they want, you create demand for what you do. Of course, this is what you want. To define your niche, look at what you do or offer and how this can be targeted at a specific type of customer, based on their specific needs. Some of the most common ways to define a niche include:

  • Price – is your offering positioned at a high-end market or is your selling point that you can offer something at a discounted rate?
  • Psychographics – your offering could appeal to a specific market base on values, interests or attitudes.
  • Locality – perhaps you are the only company offering a particular service in a geographical region?
  • Demographic base – perhaps you are targeting working moms? Or a particular age group, income level or education level?
  • Level of quality – are your products of a premium level of quality that is sought by an exclusive market or are your products cheap? Yes, there is a market for cheap too!

You need proficiency and passion

Hopefully, you are in business doing something in your field of interest or expertise. This is half the battle won. Too many business owners make the mistake of going into a business that simply just isn’t right for them. Without passion and proficiency, you simply won’t find your niche. If you are still at the drawing board, try to find a niche where you already have some experience or expertise. Do some brainstorming around where your passions lie, what your strengths are, where your experience lies and the unique selling points of your products or services.

Test the demand

It is important to do some market research to determine whether there is a demand for your niche service or product within the market you are targeting. If there is no need, you don’t have a market for your niche and it will not be profitable. Yes you can commission the help of marketing consultants to test the market for you. However, you can do your own research for an understanding of whether or not there is a demand for your niche. Begin with discussing your idea with family, friends and colleagues. Ask questions such as:

  1. Do you believe there is a market or demand for the idea?
  2. What kind of people do you think would purchase this product or service?
  3. Would you purchase this product or service?
  4. How much would you be prepared to pay for it?

If the consensus appears favorable, spread your net further by inviting responses from people outside of your immediate circle. The internet is a great resource for testing your idea. One of the best places to start is with online forums that deal with topics that are related to your product or service. Online tools such as Google Insights, Google Trends and the Google Keyword Planner will also provide insights into what people are searching online, which words and terms they are searching, as well as where they are located. You can consider conducting surveys via email, on social media or by canvassing people at shopping centers, markets and expos. By making the effort to research your market and the viability of your idea, you will get a good understanding of its potential. Finding your niche is nice but it must have the potential to be profitable!