Finding Your Niche and Target Market
I’ve noticed it, have you? The term Niche (pronounced Neesh or Nitch for our American friends) is being used interchangeably with the term Target Market.
The trouble is, they are not the same thing.
Your target market is who you work with, your offer is what you do for them. The combination of your target market and your offer, is your niche.
Knowing this tiny bit of information can be the difference between a business that is booming and a business that is struggling to find its voice. Yes, it is extremely important to define your target market and who you are serving as a business owner. But what you really want to define is your niche.
How to Define Your Niche
A mistake many entrepreneurs make when they first start out in business, or even after many years of being in business, is keep their target market and their offer broad for fear of losing potential clients. What ends up happening is a business that is ‘all things for everyone’, leaving your marketing flat and making it hard for you to set your business apart from the rest.
Successfully define your niche, and you’re on your way to building a more successful business.
There are a few ways to define your niche, and not all ways will work with all businesses. You need to decide what works for you. There is only one rule: you cannot be scared to start eliminating potential clients that do not fall into your niche. We promise this will serve you in the long run (don’t worry, we will get to this).
Let’s start with your target market.
You may have been taught to create a customer avatar, but for this exercise we want you to move past the idea of just listing their demographics. Instead, we want you to start thinking of your target market as an ideal client, a client you would be thrilled to work with everyday. This ideal client is not just an avatar; she is a person with unique behaviours and interests.
Can you answer these questions about your target market?
- Where do they live? (Urban/Suburban/Rural)
- What are their hobbies/interests?
- What stores do they shop in?
- What coffee shops do they love?
- Where do they hang out online?
- What are their personality traits? What language do they use?
- What stage of life are they in?
- What are their needs/wants?
Now, define your offer.
You are a genius! Congratulations!
Every single one of us has knowledge and skills (or a zone of genius) that makes us who we are. I know that sometimes it can be hard to give ourselves that much credit but it’s the gosh darn truth. This is what makes you as perfect for your perfect client as they are for you.
What you do FOR your target market, your unique zone of genius, could be the exact thing that sets you and your business apart from the rest. (This means that your zone of genius could also be your personality traits.)
The sky’s the limit here because no one can DO YOU like you. Some questions that might help you with your offer:
- What do friends/family/clients always ask me about?
- What are my strengths when working with clients?
- What do I know a lot about?
- What do I love to do?
- What problem can only I solve for my target market?
- Is there a market for this, is this something people want/need?
And finally, find your niche.
Now, let’s put it all together. Remember: Target Market + Your Offer = Your Niche.
When defining your niche, you have to strike a careful balance. You will need to be sure your niche has a broad enough reach to sustain your business but is also specific enough to allow your business to stand out. We have added some pregnancy/birth related examples because, well, it’s our favourite!
Broad Offer to a Specific Target Market:
A good example of this might be creating Childbirth Education Classes (broader offer) for plus-sized pregnant women (specific target market). You are able to keep your broad expertise but you’ve created a narrow niche by being very specific with who you work with. You are able to connect with your target market more easily because you are specifically talking to them!
Specific Offer to a Broad Target Market:
A specific offering is quite often something that is unique to you. It can be a specialty/education/product you have that others do not have. This offer is unique and you will want to be able to reach a broader target market so that there is a large enough market to sustain your business. For example, one of our Doula Training graduates was an expert hula hooper and went on to teach hula hooping (specific offer) for pregnant women (broader target market).
Specific Offer to a Specific Target Market
In an effort to narrow down and define your niche you might be tempted to become specific in both your offer and your target market. If you are too specific in your niche, you may not be able to reach enough people to sustain your business, unless you create a VIP/Premium experience. An example of this might be offering ‘Starting Solids’ classes (specific offer) for infants with special dietary needs (specific target market).
Broad Offer to a Broad Target Market
This would bring us back to the ‘mistake’ we talked about earlier: being ‘all the things to all people’. Unless you are a marketing goddess there is a good chance that if you try to reach everyone, you’ll wind up reaching no one. People want to feel heard and understood, they want to know their problems will be solved by working with you. Achieving this would be nearly impossible with a broad/broad niche. An example of this might be offering childbirth education (broad offer) to pregnant women (broad target market). While we do understand that pregnancy is a bit of a niche in its own right, our goal with this blog post is to create a niche that allows your business to stand out in a crowd.
How will my business change now that I’ve Niched?!
1. You get to work with people you love, doing what you love - Marketing for your niche is a natural ‘weeding’ out process. Without offending anyone, we all know what it is like to work with clients we don’t really mesh with. It can be exhausting. We want you to love your business and love your clients, and we want your clients to love you right back!
2. Marketing becomes easy(ish) - It is normal for marketing to be a bit of a challenge if it is not your background, but we promise that knowing your niche will instantly make it easier. Once you know your ideal client - what design catches their eye, what language they use, what problems they have - you can easily connect with them.
3. Less competition - The more you can stand out from the crowd, the less competition you will come up against. Not that healthy competition is a bad thing :).
4. Word of mouth increases - The easiest and cheapest style of marketing is word of mouth so you definitely want your word of mouth game to be strong. How do you do that? You become the ‘go to’ person when it comes to your niche. People love to ‘be in the know’ and want to send their friends to the ‘expert’ in a certain field. Be that expert!
Doesn’t that just sound nice? Creating a business that feels easy might be as simple as spending time defining your niche. Don’t let worrying about getting it exactly right stop you from putting that pen to paper. Your niche will change as you change and/or learn more about yourself and your ideal client. And that is OK!
bebo mia supports female entrepreneurs in the pregnancy, birth, and mama market through online training and business education. If you have questions or would like to know how we can help you with your business, please email Natasha (the short one).