It’s beyond a buzzword now: The concept of a business niche is everywhere. Chances are you’ve either tried to find your niche or you’ve planted your feet firmly on the broad ground you’re used to and refused to narrow anything down.
In working with small business owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers, I’ve found that avoidance is the more common response to the challenge of finding a niche. That’s because most people don’t really get what it even means. Or they misunderstand the concept and think it doesn’t apply to their industry.
But if you’re not narrowing down your focus in some way, you’re also missing out on business.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you could narrow down your focus—or find your niche—so your marketing and sales efforts will result in more clients.
Who is going to buy your product or service? This is where I challenge you to think “dream client.” Who would you absolutely love to help? Who would really—and I mean, really—benefit from your help? These are the people you should be helping. Could their cousins and neighbors also benefit? Maybe. But they aren’t the ones who will see rapid, amazing transformations thanks to you.
Aim for the people who have the means to apply your work. That doesn’t mean crank your prices up for only the wealthy clients. You can offer discounts, promotions, and even scholarships if you want. But the main focus of your time and money should be on the people who are capable of paying you and doing the legwork to get the results they want. Niche down your audience.
What questions are these buyers asking? If you already have a narrow audience, make sure you understand the way they think about their problems. A lot of business owners try to sell to people by focusing on what they see as the problems their customers face. But what are the customers themselves saying about their issues?
For example, maybe you have a social selling business and your focus is nutritional products. You know with the help of your products, people generally lose weight, have more energy, sleep better, and have improved digestion. But do most of your potential customers even realize that their nutritional intake is their problem? Or do they think they just need to get more willpower around carbs, take a sleeping pill, and keep popping antacids? Probably the latter, right? So if you go at them with a lot of information about how to up their nutrition, you’ll fail to capture their attention.
Instead, narrow your promotional language, including your social media posts, to the issues they’re having and how they think about them. Niche down your marketing.
What solution are you focused on? I drove through a small town in Texas one time and saw a business called Auto Parts & Laundry. How are those things even related?
Are you confusing your potential customers with what you offer? Sure, you might have access to a wide variety of products you could sell through your business, but do you need to talk about all of them? Or maybe you have varied professional experience and offer differing services to maximize your potential earnings. But is that the best use of your marketing time and money?
This is where an audit of your previous sales comes in handy. Take a look at what you sold last year. How much did you sell in each category? How often were those sales directly related to any promoting you did? If you talked your head off on Facebook about your new products but no one wanted them because they initially came to you for the old, unrelated products, you’ve got a decision to make.
Ask yourself what services or products you can really get behind and put your focus on providing that general solution. Keep a clear message. If you’d like to offer other items to your existing clients, go for it. But keep your cold message to prospective clients streamlined. Niche down your offerings.
By narrowing your focus in these three areas, you greatly improve your chances of attracting the right people for the right sales.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
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