Mean Something to Someone: Know Your Niche Market
Not everyone will love what you do.
Everyone learns that life lesson eventually. Aiming high is important, but it’s no use if you miss the goal completely. Since no business has the luxury of appealing to everyone, it pays to prioritize a niche market and mean something to people. That’s how you dominate and grow as a business — by inspiring trust and confidence with audiences that respect your expertise.
In this article, we’ll examine how to identify a niche market for your business and make it easier for customers to say: “These are the guys for me.”
What is a Niche Market?
A niche market is a specific group of people who might be interested in buying your product or services. They will have common characteristics, such as geography, gender, age, and consumer behavior.
Choosing a niche market as a small business is a smart way to get a foothold inside a subsection of a broader audience. For example, a large corporation will dominate the bread market, but a niche company may target artisan banana bread fans, who prefer homemade food products.
Think Small to Grow Big
Going down a niche path doesn’t mean your business is unambitious. Instead, it’s more about finding a specific audience and providing solutions to them.
Identifying a niche market is a crucial first step for any small business. Remember, targeting specific groups does not mean excluding anyone. It’s about making sure you appeal to the right people.
Who Should I Be Targeting?
When you’re targeting an audience type, you’ll want to know everything you can about them. Think about your business and ask what kind of person, or people, would use your product or services? Who are they?
If a business wants to sell vegan handbags and accessories, then brass tacks: who buys this? It’s far more likely to be college-educated women in urban cities, than middle-aged fathers in the rural suburbs.
Questions you may want to ask may include:
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What’s their relationship status?
- What job do they have? Are they still in education?
- Where do they live?
- How do they spend their weekend?
- What do they hope and dream about?
- What problems do they have that you can solve?
By getting answers to these questions, it will be much easier to create a personalized marketing campaign for your business.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Once you’ve identified your niche market and potential audience groups, it will be much easier to pinpoint your customers and sell to them.
For example, an interior design business in Austin, Texas, may prioritize middle-income homeowners between the ages of 40-70 with incomes up to $250,000. They could specialize even further, and target customers who want their kitchens fitted in a classic style. They could even break their audience down into two segments: working families and early retirees.
Once you have this type of demographic clarity, check out the competition and see what great ideas you can plunder.
Good Artists Borrow; Great Artists Steal
Most business ideas have already been indexed online, so even if you have a grand vision for a new product, you’re still part of an existing sector. Chances are other people will have shared your midnight epiphany too — so just do it better.
As part of your market research, identify what your competitors do well and how they could improve. Go on their websites and social media pages, download their app, and sign up for their email subscription lists. Read their Facebook posts and tweets and see how they speak to customers.
If they’re doing something right, then you can appropriate it for your business. Big companies, sports teams, and governments are always looking for winning formulas, so if you come across a great idea online, you should grab it with both hands.
Once you know your competitors better than they know themselves, you’ll be in a better place strategically.
Testing Ideas with Customers
When it comes to speaking to customers, it makes sense to test your assumptions by chatting with friends or someone who fits your customer profile. Listen carefully to the language they use — as words are gateways to human aspirations and motivations.
Social media platforms also provide free audience insights, so look out for news, trends, and topics relevant to your niche market. If you want to feel your audience’s pulse, why not post on Facebook community groups and ask pertinent questions?
For instance, an aspiring yoga business in Cleveland, Ohio, might want to advertise on local Facebook groups and see if there’s an audience available.
Alternatively, you can research keywords and hashtags on your favorite social platform and see what people are saying. By analyzing their comments, you will discover ideas that will appeal to your audience.
Mean Something to People
As you can see, identifying your niche market is a lengthy process, so if you’re thinking about launching a business, the most important thing you can do is provide value to people.
Mass marketing is a bit like throwing a fishing net over the Pacific Ocean and seeing what you’ll catch, while the niche approach is more specific and requires bait, skill, and patience.
Trying to appeal to everyone on the Internet is a waste of effort, time, and money. It’s also impossible. So think very carefully about your niche market and audience share. Any sector or industry you choose, from eCommerce to engineering, will require you to have specialist skills, and that’s where your business can prosper.
Choosing a niche market isn’t easy, but if you get it right, it’s a lucrative way to become a brand authority.