E live in a world full of opportunity, where you can make business out of virtually anything.
The modern times have brought us a stream of tools, connections and open doors to creating a business and a personal brand, without the need to invest great amounts of money or setting up a team.
Anyone with a device connected to the Internet can reach an audience, and either get them to buy some of their products or monetize in other ways.
This means two things:
- You can make a business happen - now more than ever.
- Everyone else too.
Just pay attention and you will see - markets are flooded with competitors.
This is - however - no reson for you not to start your business.
Because no matter how hard you think you have it to comete, there's always one solution.
Do you want to know what the solution is called?
It's called niche marketing.
Let's see why.
But before going any further let's see what niche marketing stands for - as described in the Business Dictionary:
[Niche marketing is] Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well defined segment of the population
Niches don't exist, they are created:
[Niches are created] by identifying needs [...] that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms.
We could say that the aim of niche marketing is like being a big fish in a small pond, rather than being a small fish in a big pond.
Why is it important?
Because it gives you a chance to compete in any market.
By narrowing down your focus, you're able to specialize among a certain chunk of the market.
In doing so, you become more of an authority.
Which enables you to compete and dominate in your niche.
Also, defining your niche gives you the ability to maximize your marketing budget, since you know exactly where to advertise and promote.
Even search engines makes it easy for people in your niche to find you, as opposed to those in a borader industry.
Make your sneakers sell better than Nike's
Let's say that you want to compete with Nike and out-brand them.
Well... if you're competing on sneakers, I guarantee you're going to have a bad time.
Now - let's say - you sell a sneaker line that donates one part of their benefits to a charity that supports a cause your niche is concerned about.
You're in the same market as them:
Having the ability to choose, the general public will go with Nike.
However, a certain sector of the sneaker market might decide to go with you because of the edge you add to your product.
Their choosing your sneakers over Nike's!
That's the beauty of niche marketing.
Here are a few examples of what a niche looks like:
market: Computer Security
niches: Victims of identity theft, parents of teenagers with internet access, eldery learning about Internet security.
market: Law firms
niches: paterinty issues, insurance issues, lurkers on a strike
niches: Mothers trying to get in shape, military training, calisthenics.
And the list goes on...
But I think the concept is pretty clear.
The more specific you can get, the more of a chance at competing you have.
What customers want
Remember the premise?
Customers are not seeking the perfect product, they're seeking the perfect solution.
Nikey might have better sneakers.
But you're satisfying their need to contriubute to a cause.
So you get the deal.
Luckily enough for Nike, they're still going to kick your ass outside your niche.
But you still made some money.
How specific should you be?
This is a relative question that mostly depends on you long-term goals.
Are you planning to run a mult-million dollar company?
Or just enough to make a living so you can quit your dayjob?
If the answer is A, then go for a broader audience.
You will have much, much, much more work to do.
You will also have a multi-million dollar company that serves the masses.
If the answer is B, then get more specific, reduce your audience, and rid yourself of competitors.
Now that we know what a niche is we just need to take action.
Here's - what I consider to be - the 3 phases of a niche'd business:
Phase #1: Defining your niche.
You must recognize that you can't do business with everybody [...] Otherwise, you risk exhausting your self and confusing your customersDr. Lynda Falkenstein. Author of Nichecraft: Using your Specialness to Focus your Business, Corner Your Market, and Make Customers Seek You Out.
As it is explained in Niche Hacks - the criteria to determine whether your niche is profitable or not are the following:
- Does it have a proven track record?
- Does it have a demand?
- Are customers in your niche easy to find?
- Are there products being sold?
- Are there websites, social media groups, and forums regarding that niche?
You could of course target people over 54 with green hair looking for a wrench matching the colour of their shoes.
But only God knows whether people like that even exist.
You should narrow down just far enough.
Far enough that you know there's an existing demand, but there's not too strong competition.
If there isn't competition, the niche isn't working.
You're not going to figure out by yourself a new and revolutionary niche market that hasn't been targeted by anyone ever. Those things don't happen.
If there is a niche with high demand / low supply, the market will immediately fill the blank, as there's going to be people hitting on that niche before you and making profits.
The point isn't to find a niche with no competition.
The point is to find a niche with comptetition you can beat.
You can't beat Amazon.
But you can beat a smaller e-commerce for sure.
Or at least try to get a portion of the cake...
Now where do we start?
Do you have a passion you're an expert about?
Is there an existing demand?
Can you leverage it and define a sub-niche out of it?
Is there a chance to comete?
If the answer to all of those is yes, then it's your lucky day, because you've just found your niche.
However, not everyone has it so easy.
For some people, it will take becoming an expert in the niche they've found the most profitable.
There are a few steps to determine wheter a niche is profitable or not. You can see how here.
The reason why you should choose to become an expert in that niche is because you've seen a chance of competing before the market gets flooded, and you need to learn the ropes as fast as possible.
If you're lucky enough to be knowledgeable in the niche you found prditable, then props to you, you have a greater chance at dominating it.
Bonus: You can visit Niche Hacks, they provide excelent information on this topic, plus a variety of proven niches that work and are still not saturated.
Phase #2: Get it Up and Running.
As I explained in my second article: you need an online pressence to succeed.
Once you have defined which niche you'll be targeting you can proceed to set up you website, social media and SEO to have a constant flow of engaged leads.
Step 1: Set up your website.
There's two approaches to this as I see it.
You can sign up for WordPress - and a lot of other tools, create engaging content and post it on your pre-designed website template.
You can hire a designer that will take care of every aspect better, faster, and more efficiently than you could.
Since you're going to have a lot of work to do, I suggest that you free some time by picking the latter.
Tasks such as creating a logo or choosing what theme to use for your site should be the least of your worries. You have so many other things to focus on, like the money-making aspect of your business.Kevin Ocasio. Digital Marketer, Business Coach and Author for Design Crowd.
Step 2: Being on social media.
This is a key part of your business - since social media is where everybody's attention is - here's where you have you best chance for attracting customers.
For further info on this read my article on this topic.
Step 3: Get the SEO right.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is defined as:
[SEO is] the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that thei site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Just like the previous step - and since it is such an important topic - it might require a dedicated article to fully grasp.
Phase #3: Grow it and Compete.
Now that you have a well-defined niche, a target audience, and all the channels to perform your business, the only step left is to grow it and succeed.
Focus on Branding
I can't stress it enough:
Branding is the foundation for any business that wants to grow and prevail nowadays.
Specially those who are competing on the Internet (which is the vast majority).
Growing your brand will make you appear more relatable in front of those customers that compose your niche.
They need to identify the tailored solution you offer to your recognisable brand so they know where to go if they need an authority for that specific need.
If you don't have plans to grow and nurture your brand, you won't have much reputation.
People respond better to the emotional connection they feel toward the brand, than they do to the quality of a given product or service.
If you can build up a brand that creates engagement you won't have to worry as much to keep on convincing those to buy more from you - they will make the conscious decision as a means to reward you for the value you provided to their innermost, unaddressed needs.
Networking and Collaborating
Did you think all competition was bad?
The good thing about niche markets is that your competitors don't necessarily have to compete on the exact same level you are.
You might be selling scissors for left handed teenagers in school. Your scissors have a cool design.
Your competitor might be selling scissors for left handed children in pre-school. Their scissors have rounded ends so that they don't compromise their security.
Even though you're on the same market: scissors for left handed people.
There's an edge that differentiates both.
There's no need to steal leads off each other - instead - you could have them write a guest article in your website, so that in case a left-handed teenager needs a scissor for their left-handed sibling in pre-school, they can buy one extra from your website.
The other way around also applies, you're feeding the extra leads that didn't have the specific need covered to each other, so that these leads can find more relevant information.
It is a win-win
I consider this step to be the first and foremost if you're trying to build an online business, or rechanel your current business' focus toward a more rewarding one.
It is not an easy task though, you can read my article on how to define your niche when you don't know where to start for more detailed info on this process.
You can also see some examples of what a succesful niche looks like.