One of the first things I ask my students to do is to define their niche- their target market. Seems like a simple enough task – it is hard to know who to talk to if you, well, if don’t know who you are talking to.
Despite this seemingly obvious task, I almost always get push back, and often a lot of it.
- “I get my clients from multiple areas, I can’t focus my efforts.”
- “If I focus on one specific niche, I might lose clients in another.”
- “I want to make as much money as possible, I need to be able to work with everybody.”
The challenge, is that if you try to be everything to everyone, you will end up being nothing to nobody. How can you be remarkable? If you try to be everything to everyone, you aren’t unique, and you aren’t special. This happens with people who try to amass large followings with every possible type of person on social networks.
If you sell insurance in Huntsville, Alabama, having 10,000 followers in San Francisco, California isn’t going to be as beneficial to you as having 100 in Huntsville, Alabama.
It is impossible to be an influencer to everyone. In attempting to reach this unattainable goal, it is easy to alienate the people most likely to be influenced by you.
Benefits of defining your niche
There are significant benefits to defining your target market or core audience including:
- Ability to listen to your core audience
- Ability to interact and engage with core audience on a deeper level
- Ability to understand and address the specific needs of your core audience
- Ability to target your marketing messages
If you don’t identify your core audience, it is easy to waste a substantial amount of resources trying to reach and engage people who are unlikely to ever use or even recommend your products or services.
Identifying your niche
I often find that organizations and business people who balk at identifying their niche already have one! For some reason, they forget about the niche they have created in their offline worlds when a twitter account and a blog are thrust in front of them.
- Analyze your current customer base. You are likely to already have a niche without actually being aware of it! Note: If you dissatisfied with your current customer base, you need to analyze the reasons why and determine if you want to continue to focus on that niche. Perhaps that niche was not a viable option in the first place.
- Identify what makes you passionate. Is this a niche with viable business opportunity?
- Does this group of people have a need for your product or service?
- Can this group of people afford my product or service?
- Do I have the skill set to help this niche?
Keep in mind that your niche may evolve over time. The process of defining your niche isn’t sexy or glamorous. It takes serious analysis and may take an investment of time but you can’t afford to skip it.
It is, and will always be, very hard to hit a target if you don’t know what you are aiming for. Identify your core audience and focus your efforts to reach them.