As an (aspiring) online business owner, you probably already know that you need to “niche down” to really grow your business. Or that you should. If you’re reading this post, it’s highly likely that you haven’t yet found your niche or maybe you’re not quite sure how to.
Before we go into the how, it’s important to understand the difference between a target market and a niche. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but it’s not the same.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TARGET MARKET AND A NICHE
Think of your target market as the specific group of people you serve and think of your niche as the particular services (relevant to your target market) that you’re specialized in and can offer as a solution.
For example, you have two people: one’s a web designer and the other is a virtual assistant. They have both chosen business coaches as their target market. The web designer specializes in branding and building websites specifically for business coaches.
On the other hand, the virtual assistant specializes in helping business coaches with setting up processes and systems for client intake, content creation, and social media marketing.
They both serve business coaches (target market) but in entirely different ways with their own distinctive services and offerings (niche).
So when someone recommends you niche down, you need to interpret that as finding and offering services, products or solutions that you are specialized in and are most suitable for your target market/your brand persona/your ideal client.
This can be daunting at first because in filtering your offerings and making it specific to one certain target group, it can seem like you’re narrowing your focus, and with that, the number of potential clients you will attract.
Who would ever willingly want to limit their pool of potential clients or customers, and with that their income, right? Well, wrong.
Reality is that when you zero in on a particular audience and offer solutions for their main problems and concerns, you make yourself available as the best viable option when they’re looking for products or services that can help them. By going an inch wide and mile deep, you maximize both your client base and your income. How does that happen?
HOW IS FINDING A TARGET MARKET AND A NICHE BENEFICIAL?
Once you hone in on your target market, you’ll know where to find your potential clients or customers because you start from the position of knowing who they are and where they hang out.
Secondly, since like attracts like, every potential client that does come in contact with you (or works with you) will go on to talk about your business and the service you provide to others just like them (i.e. traditional word-of-mouth, which naturally attracts a wider net of potential clients with similar problems or needs that you can address and help with).
Lastly, and this is crucial, since your target market knows that you’re a specialist in your niche and focus solely on serving them, you’ll become their go-to person, their ‘expert’, and in turn, they’ll become your raving audience, organically and by default.
HOW TO FIND YOUR TARGET MARKET
In exploring your own personal and professional experiences, you will find answers on who you can directly help.
For example, if you have experience in growing communities on social media for food and health bloggers, either for yourself or clients, your experience is extremely valuable to other food/health bloggers that are struggling to establish themselves and their brand on social media.
Use the questions below to guide you in the exploration of the ideal target market for your business:
• What personal/professional experiences are you most passionate about sharing with others?
• What have you personally/professionally worked through and achieved that others around you are struggling to accomplish?
• What major challenges have you successfully overcome?
• What are the qualities, quirks and traits that make you uniquely you?
The answers should give you a sense of who you can best serve, either because of your experiences or based on the skills/knowledge you possess.
HOW TO FIND YOUR NICHE
In exploring your ideal work situation, as in the kinds of things you like to (or would like to) do, you will find answers to how you can best help your target market.
For example, if you have been able to repeatedly create and grow Instagram profiles within X amount of time by following certain methods, you can package the learnings from your personal experience as a service which can be of extreme value to those who are looking to do the same in their business.
• In what capacity would you feel the most inspired to serve others? Would you be better suited as a coach, an educational source, or as an entertainer?
• What personal experience could you replicate, package, and offer as a service to benefit your ideal brand persona?
• How could you have the greatest positive impact on the lives of your readers?
• What form of service to others would bring you the greatest personal fulfilment?
The answers should give you a sense of how you can best serve your audience, based on the professional experiences you've had or the ideal situation you would like to work in.