… and what you should do about it.
When talking with soon-to-be, new, or even seasoned business owners about marketing and branding, the word “niche” invariably comes up in our conversations. After all, most popular literature on business today will tell you to niche yourself down – target a smaller segment of the market.
“Niching in the key to success!” they say…
“Anyone can be successful if they find their niche!”
I call shennanigans.
Just like the “find your passion” mantra, those that tell you to “find your niche” are really only telling half the story.
The problem isn’t niching itself. In fact, everyone reading this should know what niche segment of their market they are working with. The problem comes when you try to market only to that niche – and start focusing on the niche part.
What the heck is she talking about?
Okay, lets get a real, workable example here. Let’s say that you wanted to open up a pet store. On the wise advice of someone you consult (or by your own desire and passion) you decide that your pet store will only sell holistic, organic, all natural pet food. That is your niche – organic, holistic, all natural pet food.
Here is where people make the mistake. If you’re a pet store in the holistic, all natural, organic niche, where would you market? Well, one would assume that you would be marketing anywhere that all natural, holistic, organic shopping people go, right?
Well, no. I mean you could – and people would read your ad, thinking…
– “next time I need some pet food, I might go check them out…”
– “if I had a dog, that’d be the place I would go…”
– “I’m happy with what my pet is eating now…”
You might get some customers from it, but likely… Not. At least, not right now – and maybe not even in the future.
Okay, so we know what NOT to do…
But what can someone like you do when you figure out your niche? Well, lets pretend you’re the above pet store owner. Where do you advertise?
The same place every other pet store does.
What? That’s the complete opposite of everything I’ve ever been told!
Well guess what? Everything you’ve ever been told probably isn’t working, either! Yay!
Sure, the big chain pet stores have resources that you don’t. But don’t go looking for holistic, organic, all natural people – look for PET OWNERS.
See, most people don’t recognize a need for your specialized expertise – and they rarely even realize you exist.
Someone looking for all natural, holistic, organic pet food is probably just going to look for a pet store that carries it, right?
So if they go looking for a pet store that carries holistic, organic, all natural pet food – and see that you specialize in what they’re looking for – who are they going to choose? You, or the other big box guy that *might* have what they’re looking for? YOU!
This works in other niches, too.
Selling soy candles? Market yourself alongside other candles as a “natural, safe, eco-friendly alternative”. Those who value natural, safe, and eco-friendly products will choose you over other candles – even if they weren’t looking for that type of candle.
Fair trade coffee? Market with regular coffee, using fair trade as your “unique selling proposition” or USP.
Life coaching for women? Market with regular life coaches.
Counseling for couples? Market with regular counselors.
Free range beef? Other beef.
Shoes for 7-toed above average foot sizes? Other shoes.
This literally works for every niche, every market, and every product.
If you have a niche, find out where people are looking for products like yours, and tell them about your specialty!
What do you think? Are you ready to scrap the “niche” part of niche marketing?