Developing a niche is like doing yoga. Most people are afraid to try it, but once they do they wonder what took them so long to walk into the barely lit room and do a downward dog while exhaling all of their worries away. Niching creates a whole new clarity, and can really make doing business exciting. Even knowing this, a lot of small business owners still don’t take this step. Why?
Perhaps the number one concern with developing a niche is that you’re limiting your target market. You imagine turning unhappy customers away because you can’t fulfill all of their needs. So, instead, you continue to service everyone and miss out on all of the great things that niching has to offer.
Benefits of Developing a Niche
The best way to explain the benefits of developing a niche are to think about it in terms of contracting an illness. If you get really, really sick, like oh-my-gosh-I-don’t-know-if-I-will-live-another-day sick, what kind of doctor do you want to go to? A general practitioner or someone that specializes in whatever it is you have? You want to go to the specialist, right?
You know that the specialist has the expertise to fix whatever is wrong with you in a quicker and more effective manner than a doctor that knows a little bit about everything. This makes that person much more desirable, especially when you want results! Well, this is how your customers feel about you when you have a niche talent. You suddenly become more desirable because of your “expert” status.
Additionally, people are willing to pay more for specialty services. Thus, developing your own niche and becoming a “specialist” in your field will most likely raise your income. For instance, according to Indeed’s Salary Search, a general practitioner in Lapeer, Michigan earns roughly $85,000 a year. However, a surgeon (a specialist) in the same area brings in almost triple that amount, or $208,000 annually. Imagine tripling your income simply by developing a niche!
Now, if you’re ready to take advantage of these two major benefits of developing a niche—becoming more in demand and being able to charge more—the next question is likely how to do it. So, let’s get into that now.
How to Develop Your Niche
Your first step to developing a niche is asking yourself who your ideal client is. Is it a man or woman? Someone who is older or younger? Someone with a particular background or educational level? Someone in a specific income bracket or geographical area? Who is your perfect client?
If you’re unsure who your ideal client is, think about the people that you enjoy working with the most. What makes them so pleasurable to work with? The more qualities or characteristics that you can come up with, the better as knowing exactly who your target market is will help you create a plan as to how to reach them more effectively, which is the next step.
Now that you have a crystal clear image of your perfect client, you need to decide how you can best reach him or her. Where do they hang out (both online and in the “real world”)? What types of events do they like to go to (professionally and casually)? What kind of media do they respond best to?
These are the places you want to be and the marketing avenues you want to use. Effective marketing requires meeting your market wherever they are. So, figure out where they are and place yourself there, right in plain sight.
Dan Kennedy, marketing guru, suggests that another way to make your niche more successful is to combine your occupation with a particular subculture. In his article titled Profits From Niches and SubCultures, Kennedy uses an example of focusing on dentists who ride Harleys. This makes Sturgis and Daytona prime spots to be if you want to be in the face of your target market, which you do!
The third step to developing your niche involves promoting your expertise in the niche that you have selected. If you have an education that supports your niche, let your target market know. Consider classes you may have taken, certifications that you have obtained, and trainings you have attended that would have deepened your knowledge base. (If you need some of these things to become more knowledgeable in your niche area, then now is a good time to start getting them.)
Additionally, share your experiences that have added to your knowledge base so that your niche market fully understands what you have to offer. Tell stories that your target market would connect with, such as how a past client had a problem that you helped solve. Let them know that you get where they are at with their problems and struggles, and that you are the person who can help them move forward.
Develop Your Niche and Don’t Look Back
Once you define your niche and go after it, you may be tempted to take a step back and still offer a wider variety of services the moment one client asks you to. However, just remember that having a specialty, a niche, makes you more in demand and can raise your small business income dramatically. So, you’re better off sticking to your niche and letting someone else be a “jack of all trades and master of none.”
I’d love to know more about your niche as well as how you developed it, so feel free to comment in the fields below!