Finding Your Niche- Everybody Needs Them
One of the very first things that all business owners should do is define WHO their business is serving. This is typically called “finding your niche.” We will use “niche” and “target audience” interchangeably through the rest of this post. Despite having a silly sounding name, a niche is pivotal and can make or break your business but a lot of people gloss over this part.
I explain why this is a BIG mistake here-
Let me explain further… with some fishing metaphors.
Let’s say that you are the fisherwoman (or man) in our metaphor.
The marketplace (where transactions happen) is the water.
All the customers in the world are all the fish in the water.
Your product (or service) is your bait.
The niche would be the location of your boat.
The fishing rod would be your marketing and copy.
Without losing ourselves in this metaphor, let’s get to the point.
You should not go after deep-water fish near the shore. You may catch some fish, but not the ones you’re truly after.
This is why it’s important to thoroughly study your niche and your ideal customer.
Niches are all about compatibility and connection. It’s about finding your little pocket of raving fans in the entirety of the marketplace.
You don’t need to cast a wide net
In fact, I think that casting a wide net in this day and age is a sure way to blend into the the background. There is so much noise that we as consumers (and producers) have to sift through. Where there is differentiation, there is the potential for connection. What I mean by that is that you’re more likely to connect with the right people by sticking out. This is the whole message behind the marketing brilliance of Apple, Inc. Their motto “Think Different” has enabled them to connect with the misfits, the outcasts and the square pegs of the world. This is what has propelled them into their current popularity. If they had positioned themselves the same way as Microsoft in the 90’s and 00’s, I would probably not be typing on a Macbook Pro right now.
Your niche defines your communication
Your niche is made up of all your ideal customers. Having a strong understanding of your niche will greatly influence the language you use, the imagery you employ and your actual product offerings.
We all know this at a subconscious level. It’s what makes us prepare for first impressions and what helps us win people over with our words. You wouldn’t speak to your grandmother the same way you speak to your employees. We know to consider the person on the receiving end of our text messages but forget that our customers are actually people too. Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you communicate in a way that creates true connection with your buyers.
Your niche defines your products
Let’s say your skill is knitting. Knowing your ideal customer and what they like will save you a lot of time, sweat and yarn.
When you’re first getting started, you may feel like you should make the items that appear to be best sellers for other knitters.
Statistically, there’s a chance this could work for a while. If there’s a trend around that, you might catch it and there’s nothing wrong with that. But catching that wave is more about being in the right place at the right time and it’s a really risky way to manage your business over the long term.
However, finding your niche is the best way to run the race of business. It may have a slower start, while you’re figuring things out, but those customers will be repeat customers and even super-fans that refer others to you. Think of all the marketing funds you’ll save if your customers refer you via word of mouth. Think of all the time you’ll save by NOT making things that your customers don’t want to buy.
Having a good connection with your customers allows you to test the waters with new ideas before developing and making an entire product line. I do this all the time. I will post about an idea that I have and ask for feedback on it. My customers will either rave or give me some new things to think about.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series. In the next installment, I’ll talk about what to do with all this data you’ve collected about your target audience.
Need help getting your target audience/niche straightened out? Download my Niche Workbook for free by clicking here!
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