Barrett Brooks joins us on the 13th episode of Smart Brand Marketing with Tom Libelt.
Picking a niche sucks.
Its one of the toughest things for a person to do. When you first start your business and are trying to stay afloat thinking that one can pick and choose who they work with is close to insane.
This is exactly what we tackle in this episode.
Barrett Brooks will help you figure out how to do go about picking a niche and towards the end of the episode drops some productivity value bombs.
Finding the Right Niche For Your Business
Much of the success that any business can enjoy depends on the kind of services and products they provide and to who. This is why the markets you choose to offer your services/products to can make or break your business depending on the case.
The only problem with this is that, even with the right kind of markets, there is no assurance that your business will remain competitive in them for the longest possible time. if you really want to stand out more, then your business has to learn how to pinpoint its offerings to target a more specific group of people. And this is where a niche comes in.
Why Going for the Mass Appeal Approach Does Not Always Work
So why should you find your niche in the market? There is quite a lot of answers to that question but it always boils to one element: clarity.
As you run your business, you’d find out that it’s actually being pulled by three different pressures:
- 1. Competition – After all, you don’t want to be left out by other businesses in the area which is why you might want to do whatever they are doing. The only problem with this is that there is little to no distinction at all when your product or service is viewed at from a buyer’s perspective.
- 2. Information – You also want to attract the attention of every single person in the market which means that you would be putting out a lot of content out there. However, people right now have the tendency to tune out what they consider to be “noise” i.e. the types of content that do not directly or specifically appeal to them.
- 3. “The Jack of All Trades” Model – Whenever your business struggles in establishing itself in the market, you start considering turning it into something that appeals to all. Yet this is a trap that can lead your business into more challenges in actually finding its own identity in the local area.
More often than not, you will find these three areas pulling at your business right at that instance when things are not going its way. Things like not making enough sales or an inability to connect with the market will lead you think that there is something in your business’s “appeal” is wrong. That may be true but trying to correct it by targeting more demographics is not always the answer.
- 1. Not Everyone is a Target Market
A lot of business owners think that their business should appealing to everyone. This is not the case for most as you would find out that not everyone shares the same psychological profile, preferences, and even buying habits that trying to appeal to all means that you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin or “homogenizing” your product to the point that it’s no longer identifiable to buyers.
For a good example, let’s look at the videogame industry. Every year, videogame developers like Ubisoft, Activision, and EA churn out games that aim for that mass appeal which is obvious in the way they were built from the ground up. We have games like Star Wars Battlefront II which caters to both casual and hardcore gamers and even those that favor graphics over gameplay.
The game does not stop with those people as it also caters to “whales” (that’s publisher terms for people that are not hesitant to pay a lot to get the most out of their game) through micro-transactions, loot boxes, and exclusive content that you can only access if you purchase the deluxe editions or higher.
And there are games like Assassin’s Creed that cater to a lot of people by cramming in too many gameplay systems in every entry such as open-world exploration, side quests, naval battles, unlockable outfits, multiplayer, co-op gameplay, and real time strategy, amongst several others.
If possible, look at your target market and break it down to specific chunks. You can do so with qualifying terms like gender, occupation, marital status, income level, geographical location, and age. Anything that can make one person distinct from another will do at this point.
- 2. Target the People that Have Converted
Here’s a scenario: You own a pizzeria in the middle of nowhere. What do you think would guarantee your little joint’s success? Is it the location or is it exposure? Is it an aggressive marketing campaign or a good social media presence?
The answer is none of these. Instead, what you need are lines of hungry people forming at the front of your counter. Your niche should be comprised of the people that require little to zero convincing to purchase whatever you are offering to them. The reason is simple: you’d have better profit margins selling to people who already know, want, and are looking for whatever you are offering.
- 3. Be Careful with Non-Buyers
A lot of businesses, even major brands, make this mistake in recent years. Just because a group is the loudest in public forums or takes up a portion of the population does not mean that they are the best people to target to.
Take, for example, every brand right now right now like Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel that is targeting a certain group of people called Social Justice Warriors. Sure, the demographic was very specific enough: people who have strong left-leaning values with an equally strong level of interactivity in online communities.
The only problem? These people tend to be content with just getting offended and complaining when a company does something that they don’t like as opposed to buying what that company offers if it does fit with whatever their ideologies are.
There’s nothing really wrong with catering to SJWs, mind you. It’s just that you have to be find ways to do so without alienating other paying demographics. If not, then know that whatever Marvel did in 2016 caused a massive drop in comic book sales from that year onwards and the last two Star Wars movies did not perform as predicted in the box office.
Another classic example are children. Yes, you can directly target them but you have to also target their parents as well since most kids don’t have purchasing power on their own.
Pinpointing Even Further
Granted, you would end up with more than a couple of niches to target if you thoroughly researched the market. So which potential target is the best one for your business? It all goes back to two basic elements.
- 1. Who Does Your Business Serve?
More often than not, knowing what demographic your business was designed to survive right from the start can make the process of finding a niche easier for you as well as create compelling offers. For instance, an insurance company’s services are catered towards individuals of the middle-income class with mid to high-risk occupations while a fine dining restaurant can be catered to people belonging on higher income classes.
Knowing what people you were meant to serve from the start can give your business some sort of direction to follow in identifying which niche to target. If not, then it should give you an idea as to what other demographics and niches you can venture out into while you are still securing your foothold in your market.
- 2. What Problems do You Intend to Solve?
You have to think of it this way”: your business is not really a business unless it provides something of value to your clients. As of recent years, people care less about being loyal to a brand which means that the traditional way of converting your audiences into paying customers will not work.
Simply put, you should offer something of value to people which, in other words, means that your business has to provide a solution of sorts to a specific problem people might encounter daily.
Finding a purpose is easy for products as it’s automatically embedded in their design. A shave is meant for cutting extra hair for the body while detergent is meant to be used for washing clothes. Services, on the other hand, will require you to detail the process as well as the favorable results it generates. Of course, this will require you to understand first the problems that your customers regularly face.
What if You Already Found a Niche?
So, assuming that you had already established your business in the market and are netting in a considerable amount of profit on a regular basis. More so, you already have a strong following in a certain group of people who are regularly paying for whatever you offer to them.
The question is “what now?” The most direct answer would be to expand your presence in the market. Finding your niche is actually quite useful if you are still trying to make a name for yourself in the market but you should not stop on just focusing on that specific niche.
Once you have a strong following in that market segment, your next best move is to venture into other niches and markets. For instance, you might have been offering dishes for those with a vegan diet which gives you the option to expand into other healthy diets include gluten-free and fish-only diets. Or, if you are a hobby shop targeting model kit and toy collectors, you can venture into card collectors or those who love anime.
If possible, you can also narrow your niche even further by identifying what even more specific segment of that market you have yet to tap into. The kind of people you want to target now is really up to you. Just make sure that you have your bases covered first before you expand your business’s reach.
The niche that you focus will determine whether your business will do its own version of a superhero landing (that’s a Deadpool reference, by the way) on the market or it a belly flop. Always remember that the key to finding the right people to target lies in your business’s focus. If it’s looking at the right places, and at the right direction, your business should find that group of people to hyper-focus its products and services on.
Have you found the niche for your business? What other tips do you know to discover other segments that businesses to focus on? Let us know in the comments below.
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