I believe that one of the biggest challenges for solopreneurs in online business is marketing yourself. All of your marketing depends on understanding your niche. Your articles, blog posts, social media sites, videos, and emails should be targeted to your niche. If they are not, you are shooting in the dark.
Like anything else worthwhile, finding your ideal niche takes work. When you have a system to walk you through it, it becomes a lot easier.
Why You Need a Niche
Many entrepreneurs think that selling to a vast market is the way to success. They are afraid to go after a niche because they fear losing business by turning away clients. But this approach is not very effective.
Some of the benefits of niche marketing include:
- Simpler to become an expert. By focusing on a niche, you become an expert at offering your service or product.
- Focus your marketing resources. When you are familiar with your niche, you understand their buying habits and how to reach them.
- Adapt your programs and services. When you serve a niche, you can offer products and services that meet their specific needs and what they are motivated to purchase.
- Speak their lingo. When you understand your niche, your can effectively communicate effectively what you offer and speak directly to their situation.
- Differentiate yourself. In zooming in on a niche, you can significantly reduce your competition and create a distinctive personal brand.
- Command more money. As an expert you can set higher fees and leverage your efforts into multiple income streams.
Many solopreneurs fail because they put the cart before the horse—they do not conduct the research or planning. They spend a lot of time and money without being aware of the needs of their target market, the solutions they offer and how they can differentiate themselves from the competition. Spend the time at the onset of your business to get your foundation in place before you start spending time, money and energy on marketing.
What a Niche Is
There are various definitions of niche and target market. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Let’s use the following working definition of target market and niche:
A target market is the group of people most likely to purchase your product/service. These are the people your product is being marketed to. Think your target market as your ‘who’.
A niche brings in another dimension. It combines your target market with the solution you are providing. You want to become the solution provider for your target market. It is your “Who” plus your “What”.
Niche = Who (target market) + What (your solution)
In understanding your niche, it is important to realize that people do not purchase a service or product—they purchase a solution. That solution can be a goal you assist your target market to attain or a challenge that you assist them in overcoming.
We begin with our who or our what. I believe you should start with you. You cannot be outstanding at everything; however, there is an area in which you have your own special offering. Now, you must determine who wants what you have to offer and if they are willing to pay for it. There must be synchronicity between what you offer and what your target market desires. When you find that union, you can determine your niche.
To succeed in business, you must give value to your target market. That value is primarily you. You have a unique offering and there are people who can greatly benefit from it. You have to tap into what that is, then locate the people who are driven to pay for it. Begin by evaluating your skills, passions, education and experience. Brainstorm and make a list. What stands out the most? These are the areas that you can use to come up with your “what”. Remember that the things that make you unique come so naturally that you usually do not think of them.
Determine Your Target Market
Who can benefit the most from your solution and motivated and capable of paying for it? If you are already in business, take a look at who you are currently attracting. List the common factors among your existing clients. Pay attention to the people you love working with, the people that naturally seek you out for help, and the people you already have some experience with.
Determine Your Competition
We do not live in a vacuum. It is important to know who else offers a similar solution to the identical target market. After all, your clients know who they are so you should also. Identify, study and research your competitors. Determine what sets you apart. Take into account who you are as a person. Prospects want to see if they can connect with you on a personal level. If they are able to resonate with you on a deep level they will be magnetized to you. Be able to clearly communicate your “Why”.
Assemble the Pieces
Your What (solution), Who (target market), and Why (competition) are the three components of your niche. You have to address all three of these pieces in order to arrive at your ideal niche. It is a synergistic process. You want to ensure that you have a solution that is invaluable to your target market (it should be their burning desire) and that you can deliver it in an unequaled manner.
Research Your Niche
In order to link up with your niche in an authentic and compelling way, you must have in-depth knowledge of your target market. What worries, challenges, dreams, goals and needs do they have? How do they learn best and where do they turn to seek information? Where do they hang out on the internet? Some on the ways you can conduct this research are:
- Interview and survey people in your target market.
- Join discussion groups and social media sites where they hang out.
- Uncover what your competitors are doing to serve and attract this niche.
- Conduct keyword research.
Evaluate Your Niche
Some of the criteria you should use to evaluate your niche:
- Well defined–has specialized interests and needs.
- Strongly desires what you offer.
- Competition—businesses are already serving this niche but not so many that it is saturated.
- You can reach your niche via clear-cut communication channels.
- The group is large enough to produce ample business.
- You have a connection with them—both inside knowledge and you enjoy working with them
- They have the income to invest in your offerings.
Broadcast Your Message
Remember that people do not purchase processes—they purchase solutions. Can you clearly explain who you help, the solutions you provide, and the outcomes they can expect to receive? Create a Problem/Solution Statement where you cover four specific things:
- Who you serve.
- Their needs and desires.
- What you offer that truly serves their needs and desires.
- The results your clients get and the benefits of those results.
Understand Marketing From a Niche View
You should develop a marketing plan that allows you to authentically connect with your niche. Some important ideas that are necessary for niche marketing success are:
- Market Strategically. Hang out where your target market hangs out and speak their lingo. In addition to understanding who your target market is, realize who within that group is your ideal client. Everything you write should be steered at that person.
- Realize the Emotions Behind Decisions. Oftentimes, logic plays a secondary role to emotions. For your marketing message to be compelling, it must go beyond rational thinking and strike the true emotional chord.
- Recognize That Marketing Helps People. Many solopreneurs fear marketing. This fear is unnecessary once you understand that marketing is simply helping people make a buying decision. A good way to accomplish this is by creating valuable content that helps your target market solve a problem or reach a goal.
- Set the Intention to Always be Marketing. Marketing is an ongoing process of repeatedly informing people of the results you can help them achieve. You have to devote regular time to your marketing activities. Become aware of how other people are successfully marketing their businesses and learn from them.
- Take Marketing One Step at a Time. Avoid drowning in a sea of overwhelm by having too many marketing plates in the air. Take things one step at a time. To begin, discover what kind of marketing is the best match for your skills and interests, as well as what will resonate the most with your niche.
- Sell “You” First. Attraction marketing attracts your target market using the power of the Internet in conjunction with sound marketing principles. It is like using a magnet lure the people you want. Remember that you are attracting people to you. You must sell yourself before you can even consider selling a product, service or business. A great way to this is by providing educational information that is of value for your target market. Educate—do not sell!
Create a Targeted List
You have heard the expression, “the money is in the list. The money is in having a targeted list of your perfect clients. Your goal is to attract your perfect clients and inspire them to opt in to your email list so they can receive further information from you. Essentially, Have an opt-in form with a valuable freebie on most, if not every, page of your website. Without a great giveaway, you will not be able to build your list quickly. And without a list, you cannot build a booming online business.
Once a prospect opts into your email list, you then have their permission to communicate with them. The best way to do this is with an autoresponder system. Autoresponders allow you to send emails to your list so you can build relationships and share your offers. Be careful to not be excessively promotional or people may unsubscribe. You need to continue to provide invaluable information.
Enrich Your Niche
After attracting your niche, cherish them and maintain open communication with them. There are numerous ways to communicate with your clients and prospects–phone, emails, cards and conference calls. You also want to inspire your customers to communicate with you. Surveys are a good way to gather information and show that you are listening. You can also have areas of your website that allow your customers to communicate with you, such as a “contact us” area form and comment areas on your blog. You may even want to install a live chat system on your site.