Regardless of how long you have been playing in the online space, you will hear from everyone, everywhere, how important it is to have a niche, to niche down. A focus on whom you serve and the problems you solve.
Your business succeeds when your message resonates.
You get traction when your words echo the thoughts in the minds of others:
“Wow! I feel like you are describing me, I’m going through that. This person understands, they are like me. They get me.”
This is what you want your prospects to think as they consume your content.
If you aren’t clear about who your prospect is, then can you see how creating messaging that resonates becomes almost impossible?
Don’t fall into the trap of settling for a broad level of detail on your niche, thinking that will do, it won’t.
If your niche right now goes something like “I help people to...” then this is a surefire sign that there is more work to do here.
People = 8 billion humans on the planet. Can you help all of them? More on this in a moment...
Erm, no, I work with small businesses (an example). Ok, what type of small business?
Well, any type that needs my help...
Around and around we go.
Get Clarity on Who You Serve To Find Your Niche
Another mistake people make with finding a niche is to assume you have to pick a vertical, plumbers, dog groomers, etc. This, again, is a fallacy and not the best way to play.
As you will see shortly, it can be part of the formula, but not the entirety of how you define your niche.
Let’s jump back to the 8 billion people on the planet.
What connects all 8 billion humans?
Oxygen, we all need to breathe.
Food, water, shelter, and basic needs of all humans.
Emotions, we all feel.
This one is important. Since emotions drive the buying decision. It makes sense to understand the emotions that trigger your clients to buy, right?
Emotions connect us...
When you are trying to find your niche, focus on the things that CONNECT your ideal clients.
The obvious connectors are age, sex, income level, where they live, etc.
The less obvious and more powerful connectors are emotional and behavioral connectors.
What emotions surround the problem you solve?
The answer to this question will give you a starting point.
Now you no longer help ‘people’, you help resolve emotional states with what you do.
I bet you didn’t realize you are actually a therapist, did you? Unless you really are a therapist 😉
Who do you help, and what problem do you solve?
Let's take an example, ‘I help parents.’
Dial this in a little further too, I help parents come to terms with the trauma and loss of a child.
Can you see here, how just that one sentence narrows our focus massively?
Now we are looking to parents who are experiencing grief, loss, and trauma through the tragic loss of a child.
We could focus even further, perhaps we focus on loss because of drug abuse, gang involvement, or suicide. Here, it might make sense to layer on a demographic (age, sex, etc.) and specify teenage children, or Mum’s, or Dad’s.
Can you see how each of these layers takes us a level deeper into the rabbit hole of finding our niche?
This is an extreme example, granted, but it serves to illustrate how you can find the same level of focus.
You need to take a layered approach to find your niche.
The content and messaging we create for parents who have lost their teenage child to suicide will have much greater resonance with that group of people, than if we were to say we help troubled parents. Can you see that?
The latter (struggling parents) is too broad.
When you say I can help anyone, you guarantee that your message will resonate with no one. You are dooming yourself to certain failures.
Focus on the connectors, the universalities that connect people together with what you do.
Describe the emotions that surround the problem you solve.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who do I serve?
- What problems do I solve?
Kaizen & Purpose Is The Secret To Your Success
The second area is behavior.
Once you have identified the problem you solve and the surrounding emotion, what behaviors are your ideal clients exhibiting?
What are your ideal clients doing right now to solve the problem?
My ideal clients try to solve the marketing problem, the fear of not sustaining themselves and their families, and the fear of not being good enough, by seeking answers in tools, tactics, and courses.
I’ll buy this course that shows me how to create and launch a product. This will be the answer to my prayers. If I can just set up the perfect webinar, or perfect funnel, then I’ll be all set...
Newsflash! You’ll never be all set!
You will always grow and learn and adapt. If you can’t handle that, then you need to do the inner work that will give you the strength of purpose to continue.
Those that are successful in life and business embrace continual improvement. The Japanese call it Kaizen, which translates to change for the better or, as I learned it in business school, continuous improvement.
Self-reflection and connecting with your purpose play a critical role in finding your niche.
As Nietzsche says: “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how”.
Connecting with your why gives an even greater purpose to the problem you solve and the resonance with which your ideal clients connect with you.
You can also match your unique experiences and abilities to create what marketers call unique positioning.
Take Laura as an example... As a sex worker with a history of drug abuse who lost not one, but two wayward sons before their time, one to heroin, and one to suicide, trying to fix this pain in herself became Laura’s mission.
Laura is now a trained psychotherapist and healer and works tirelessly to help grieving parents who lost their teenage children to suicide.
Can you see the overlap here? Can you see how Laura’s why, her origin story, and her experience, weave together with whom she serves beautifully?
I read in Russell Brunson’s book Traffic Secrets something that resonated with me, and it is that most times, your mess becomes your message.
This is so true for those of us in service of others. We obsess with overcoming our own challenges and then look to offer those learnings and experiences to help and serve others on their journey. Sound familiar?
Laura is entirely fictional, by the way. I created this as an example to illustrate the point so you can substitute in your circumstances and make headway in identifying the niche focus for yourself.
Refining Your Niche
One piece of advice in finding the answers for yourself in all of this is to consider yourself. You know you already.
Look within and consider what a conversation with yourself three, five, or ten years ago look like.
If you were in conversation with old you, what would be your best advice? How would you collapse time for yourself? What would you say?
This is helpful because in creating messaging that would resonate with you, you inadvertently appeal to your ideal audience. It also forces you to focus your energy on ONLY the critical pieces of what you do, the important bits.
Refining and sharpening your marketing messages and your niche is an iterative process.
The best marketers are constantly evolving their thinking, their process, and whom they serve.
One of the most useful documents I create with my coaching clients is a word bank. This is a collection of the words and phrases your clients used to describe what you do, the problem you solve, and the questions they have.
Finding your niche is an ongoing process.
If it is set in stone, then you are doing it wrong. Most people figure they create an empathy map, or persona, or avatar, and you’re done.
Just like in life, you will never be done. When you breathe in, guess what? You got to breathe out again, over and over.
Work on these things regularly. Revisit your ideal client profile regularly.
Review and refine your answer to the questions ‘why do I do what I do?’, and ‘who do I serve?’ And ‘what problems do I solve?’.
Getting clarity on finding your elusive niche will grow and grow.