The 21st century is known for being fast-paced and technology-driven. The development of the Internet and social media has allowed for everyone, no matter the distance apart, to be connected to each other. For businesses in particular, this has become an incredible marketing and networking opportunity. The main setback, however, is that this market has become saturated and competition is at an all-time high. The days of going to the only car repair shop for 100 miles are over. With a world that is bursting with creativity and entrepreneurship, it’s essential that you get specific about YOUR niche market. Why? To avoid being buried beneath the mountains of information and to stand out!
Why Do I Need to Define My Niche Market?
Getting specific about who your business is isn’t just about standing out. It’s about building TRUST. It’s common to feel that if you’re too specific, you’ll shrink your potential audience. This isn’t always true!
Here’s an example; If you’ve been injured during a game of football, you might be more inclined to go to a sports chiropractor rather than just a general chiropractor. This is because you feel that the sports chiropractor is more of an expert for your specific injury and will therefore provide better service.
When getting specific, your audience may stay the same size, but you’ll attract more faithful customers over time. This also allows for you to create an appropriate marketing strategy, where you highlight your expertise and market to your specific target audience.
5 Ways to Get Specific
Whether you’re a successful business that wants to take things up a notch or just brainstorming about a future business, here are some ways to clarify your niche and build customer trust.
Identify Your Passion
The first step to identifying your niche market is knowing what your passion is! Even if you’ve been in business for several years, it might be time to remind yourself of why you started this venture in the first place.
Take a couple minutes to journal about the passion and vision that drove you to start your business or what is currently pointing you toward starting a new project. Answer questions such as, “Why am I doing this?”, “Who do I want to serve?” and “What problems can I fix with this?”
You might be surprised at your own answers. Use this journal entry as a guiding force and something to refer back to for inspiration in the future.
Narrow Down Your Purpose
What is a niche market anyway? Here’s Business Dictionary’s definition:
“A small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer. Niche markets do not exist by themselves, but are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them.”
That about sums it up! You have to narrow down who you are and what you provide to stand out in the market.
Let’s go back to the chiropractor example. The medical field is considered an overarching market. However, a sports chiropractor in Western North Carolina that specializes in spinal issues is a specific niche. A niche exists within a larger market.
To get clear on your service or product, create a mind map. In the center, write down who you are. Branch off from here and write down elements such as your product, service, expertise and audience. Then, continue to branch off of these bubbles to become more and more specific. The greater the detail the better!
Identify Which Problems You Solve
As stated in the Business Dictionary quote above, niche markets are created from needs that aren’t being addressed by others. The most important aspect of having a successful business is solving a problem that is very relevant in the world.
“Business is all about the customer: what the customer wants and what they get. Generally, every customer wants a product or service that solves their problem, worth their money, and is delivered with amazing customer service.”
Talking about the problems you solve will be the pinnacle for your marketing strategy. It will become your most important asset. Take some time to write down the problems that your business addresses with its products or services. If you already have a business, then ask your previous customers for testimonials about how you’ve helped them out in the past. This will give you a clear picture of what you’re providing to your customers and how they’ve benefitted from your services.
Learn Your Competition
Some say that having competition is a good thing! It means that your product or service already has a market carved out for it, so it’ll be easier for you to establish yourself. Plus, a little healthy competition is only going to push you to be better and stronger, right?
It’s a good idea to take some time researching all of your potential competitors. Create a spreadsheet if you have to. Start browsing the Internet and keep an eye out in your community for fliers, business card and other hints of similar businesses in your own market.
Your discoveries will go into your spreadsheet, along with what these companies provide and the needs they address. Do they have an amazing brand? A glamorous website? Honesty and accountability? Also note what they may be lacking or what they’re doing differently than you. Perhaps they don’t have a very specific niche or are focusing on the neck rather than the spine in their chiropractic practice.
Use this spreadsheet to determine what holes there are in the market that you could be filling. By studying your competition, you can see where your particular services may be needed or what you could be doing better.
Know How You’re Unique
With such a saturated market, you’ll need to go the extra mile to be unique and stand out. The truth is, if you have an idea, there is probably already someone doing it or something like it! With that being said, be sure that this issue isn’t being addressed by anyone else or there is a way that you can do do it better.
Think about what makes you unique. Are you the only sports chiropractor in Western North Carolina? Have you healed more spinal issues than any other doctor on the East Coast? Do you offer complimentary check-ups after a client’s injury has been healed? What are you doing differently?
If you have a business already, play up your expertise in your field. Customers are drawn to people who have a lot of experience, as this makes them seem more dependable. Someone is probably more likely to go to a sports chiropractor with a high education level and many successful testimonials over someone who doesn’t. Use your knowledge, success stories and reviews to your advantage and in your marketing strategy.
At the end of the day, just have fun with it! Starting a new business or re-branding your current business, although a big task, is always an exciting adventure. Remember to be specific with your niche and do all of the research necessary to see where you can position yourself in the market. Ultimately, this will lead to higher profitability and help you stand out.