Find Your Business and Blogging Niche
It might surprise you to know, that of all the business advice I give, ‘finding your niche’ is the most ignored.
Sometimes it is ignored in a guilty, semi-on-purpose way, usually accompanied by ‘I know I should niche down, but….’
Sometimes it’s not ignored at all, but simply implemented too widely.
For example, female entrepreneurs between the ages of 24 and 35, is a great starting place, but still leaves you with a considerable ocean of potential clients.
So, before we get into how your find your niche, let’s answer the obvious question.
Why Is Finding a Niche So Important?
To get straight to the point, if you you try to talk to everyone, you end up talking to no one.
Having a niche means that when someone lands on your website, within seconds, they think: wow, it’s like this website was meant for me.
People want to know that your product or service is exactly want they want. If they have any doubts, if they think your product is less than perfect for them – they are gone. On to the next one.
You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention on your website before they leave. If your branding, your copy and your visuals are tailor-made for your visitor, it’s going to catch their attention.
We can narrow our niche in various ways, however the three following criteria are an excellent place to start. The more criteria you niche by, the more specific you can be.
- What we sell,
- Who we sell to and,
- How we sell it
But won’t I lose out on visitors/clients/buyers?
The short answer is yes. By being super specific about who you are here to help, naturally you are going to lose the interest of people who don’t suit that category.
But that’s a good thing.
The way I look at it is this: you may lose out on getting more traffic or followers but at the end of the day, you end up with more sales. So, if you want to get as many visitors to your site as possible, then having a very specific niche is maybe not the way to go.
But if you want to attract motivated and interested buyers. The niche is very much your friend.
For example, if you are a photographer, specializing in taking graduation portraits and you are looking for a copywriter to write your sales page, which title is going to appeal to you?
- Copywriter for small businesses
- Copywriter for photographers
- Sales Page Writer for portrait photographers
It’s going to be the last one, right? Because you look at that and think, hey, that is me and that is what I want.
That person is going to go for the specialist every time.
When you go to the doctor, if you’ve got pain in your eye – you want to see the eye specialist, not the GP. Your GP might well be able to help you but given the choice, you want the guy (or gal) who spent the last ten years studying eye balls.
I don’t know why I used eyes as the example here, eyes freak me out. Can’t even put eye drops in. Anyone else have that problem?
When I started my marketing diploma my instructor provided a great nugget of advice, which I shall now pass onto you.
No matter how small the niche, if every single person in the world who fell into that category decided to buy your product, you would not be able to keep up with the demandClick To Tweet
I always feel encouraged by this thought.
For example, you might feel that only appealing to single mothers, who work in an administrative position, have a gluten intolerance, a child under five, love Gilmore Girls and are struggling to exercise on a budget is very specific.
That would cover, literally, thousands of people.
If one thousand people brought your product/service this month, would you be able to cope with the demand?
How To Find Your Niche
Maya Angelou — ‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
When it comes to finding your niche, many people dive straight in and only consider ‘what’ they do and don’t consider the ‘how’.
For example, you might know that your passion is in making fruit scented jewelry but find you hate running an Etsy shop. Which inevitably leads to disappointing sales, the daily running of the shop feeling like a miserable grind and frustrating growth results.
So, what we need to consider when finding our niche, is the following:
- What we love doing,
- What are we good at doing,
- How we want to do it and,
- Who we want to help
To really make a difference you need to perform a delicate balancing act. You need to find something that is broad enough to be of interest and helpful to your niche audience, but specific enough that you can stand out from the crowd.
At this point my advice is fairly general because only you know what special nugget of brilliance sets you apart. I know that sounds daunting but everyone is unique. No matter what you do, your approach will always be slightly different from someone else’s.
PS If you already have an idea or an established blog, you might need to narrow down the ‘core’ of your business.
Think about the following:
What topics seem to be doing best on your site? Can you identify a theme that links your popular posts together? Are there other posts not doing as well? Are there topics that just don’t link in any meaningful way to the rest of the blog?
What We Love Doing
What do you love to do? I mean really love.
That you are happy doing no matter what. That if you were told you could never do it again, your life would be considerably poorer for it?
I state this so strongly because many of us have interests, hobbies and things we think would be a good idea for a business.
Running a business will test your passion to the limit. Especially if you are starting a side hustle, it means getting up early, working late when you come home and fitting tasks into your lunch break.
It means finding a thousand different way to talk about your topic. It means knowing things, or coming up with ideas that are a little bit different from what has come before you.
And, trust me, a casual interest or even a strong interest, sometimes isn’t enough.
It has to be true love.
If you are not 100% sure whether you’ve found that passion yet – here are a few exercises to help.
What We Are Good At (ie Your Mad Skills)
What are you good at?
What do your friends and family always complement you for? Are you a good listener? Are you the one that they come to for advice? Perhaps you are an exceptional writer, or maybe you could sell snow to the Inuits.
Most importantly, do you enjoy doing it?
Your boss might tell you that you write the best company newsletter ever, but if you absolute hate doing it then you are not going to survive long having writing as your main focus.
Think about the skills you’ve learnt in life, as well as work. Think about skills you might have picked up at school, university or out of hours. Make a list of all of your skills and pick the ones that you enjoyed learning.
Take what you are really skilled at and add it to your passion.
Passion (artwork) + Skill (marketing) + Skill (giving advice) = Business Coach to Artists
Passion (fashion) + Skill (illustration) = Fashion Illustrator
How We Want To Do It
Say for example, we make jewelry, the obvious choice to monetize our passion by opening a store selling jewelry. However, there are so many different ways of making money online, you might want to explore all the options.
Or even just take a unique spin on a traditional money making idea. For example, instead of selling pre-made pieces you might only make custom anniversary gifts. Or have a monthly subscription box where people get a different piece of surprise jewelry every month.
You could think about coaching, providing a service, teaching, curating a shop, working on custom orders, for special occasions only.
Think outside the box a little bit. If you are a seamstress, for example, you don’t necessarily have to only work with one on one clients. You might make sewing templates for your favorite designs, you might teach group classes to hen parties or introduce the art back into primary schools.
You might love working with one on one clients, especially brides, doing wedding dress alterations. Or making custom dresses for special occasions.
Remember that the most obvious avenues of making money, aren’t always necessarily the best for you.
One of the main mistakes I see people make, is that they choose a way of making money because they think that’s going to be the easiest way to make money.
And, hey, it makes perfect sense. We’ve all got bills to pay right?
But if you become a coach, because you think that’s going to be the quickest way to cover your monthly expenses – but working one on one with people turns you into a nervous mess, it’s going to be difficult to sustain.
It might be difficult to begin with, but the easiest way of making money, in the long term, will be to do something you enjoy and excel in – because that way you can blow the competition away and not end up being burnt out and miserable. Always a plus.
Who We Want To Help
At it’s core, people make purchasing decisions because they need help.
Sometimes their needs are clear cut, for example, they can’t write to save their lives and they are in desperate need of a compelling sales page – enter copywriter stage left.
Sometimes it might be a little less clear cut. A woman shopping for a dress might not express a particular ‘need’. But it might be she is struggling to find a dress that covers her knees without making her look like a matron from the 1820s. She might be looking for an outfit because she has a really important meeting next week and she wants to make a good impression.
A huge part of finding our niche is thinking, specifically, about who we want to help.
The best place to start, is what problem is your product or service solving?
A good product or service, should, very fundamentally, be able to solve a (preferably) urgent problem which your audience is experiencing. Make sure this is a specific problem.
There are literally millions of websites out there helping solve the problem of ‘loosing weight’. You want to get as specific as you can. For example, helping women who have just given birth lose weight through yoga techniques they can do at home.
What kinds of people have this problem?
What kinds of people have this problem? Are they male or female? Professionals or stay at home fathers? What age are they?
The favorite example I liked to use is that of the healthy cook book. This cook book helps you prepare healthy meals, in under twenty minutes.
Who might benefit from a cook book like that? What type of person is interested in both healthy eating and easy meal recipes?
Busy people? People who do long hours, or perhaps busy mothers? Busy mothers who work long hours?
Lets drill down a bit further, what kind of people are really busy, do long hours but want to keep healthy? Maybe young professionals at the bottom of the corporate ladder? So, that being the case, what are their priorities and lifestyle likely to be?
Probably renting, not home owners, educated.
Get as specific as you can. Remember, if you feel like you are being too specific, think about how many thousands of people you are describing – even when you are using a lot of detail.
Finding your target audience is quite a big subject, that you can go into some depths with. If you want to learn more about how you can find your target audience you might want to check out our blog post here.
CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
Now, I’m wary of phrasing this in such a way. Competition brings to mind huge chain stores hiding their secret recipes and hiring men in trench coats to follow each other around.
Well that’s what comes to my mind anyway, totally normal I’m sure.
There are so many potential customers out there on the internet and this can be daunting. However, look at this way. Because there are so many customer out there, we don’t need to be hustling each other to try and steal them from each other.
Especially if you are positioning yourself in a way where you are the only choice for your potential customer.
And the easiest way of doing this is making your offering so specific to that particular customer, that it doesn’t make sense for them to go any where else.
The Market Place
Anyway…when I say check out the competition, more accurately I should say: have a look at the marketplace you will be entering. This sounds a little daunting so I recommend starting with some keywords. Just type a few phases your potential customer might be looking for into Google and see what comes up.
When researching selling eBooks on Amazon I found their ‘auto-fill’ search bar really useful. You know when you go to Amazon and you start typing something in? It will ‘guess’ what it is your looking for and complete it for you.
You can get a really good idea of what people are searching from this, as Amazon (& Google) will basically tell you what the most common thing people are searching for when using your keywords.
This will come in super handy in the future, especially if you start marketing your own eBooks. For now use it to check out what kind of things are popular and selling in your area of interest.
A word of caution: when exploring different business ideas I once came across a very specific niche that was totally devoid of books. I mean, there were like three.
‘Excellent’ I thought, ‘hardly any competition at all!’
What didn’t occur to me at the time (which seems obvious now) is that while there was not any competition, there was no market either.
So keep in mind that maybe the world isn’t ready for that business adviser for synchronized Corgi ballet teams just yet.
Take Douglas Adams to heart on this one and don’t panic. Looking at the saturated market on Amazon and Google seems daunting. Try to look at it in a positive way. There are lots of people out there willing and eager to buy your product or read your blog.
Instead of being overwhelmed just think, ‘how am I different from everyone else?’
Remember if you are offering something unique and helpful you are not in competition with all those other people, but your audience is out their waiting for you to blow them away.
Being on the threshold of a new business venture if super exciting. If your idea is already making you giddy and your mind is running a thousand miles an hour, then you are on the right track!
Many people struggle when starting a business, especially when it comes to being ‘different’ to everyone else out there. Having a specific niche, whether that is what you do, how you do or who you serve, is an easy way to instantly stand out.
Is it 100% certain that you will fail without a niche? Of course not, nothing is impossible.
But it is really, really hard. And we want to make our business successful as quick as we can right?
Finding a niche can help you:
- Stand out from others in your marketplace
- Improve your offering (to be tailored made to your audience)
- Make it easy to craft copy, speaking directly to your audience
- Give you a very specific direction to work towards
- And make it easier to find customers
Once you have your niche sorted, you will want to get to know that audience you’ve signaled out a little bit better. So go ahead and take the step, finding your ideal audience.