While there are many benefits of niche marketing, finding your niche market can be difficult. Among the different types of customers that you can market to for your business, which one do you pick? How do you find the most profitable fit for your products and services? This article will give you some guidelines on finding your niche market.
What is Niche Marketing?
Niche marketing is a way of specializing in a highly specific product, service, or population to get your business to stand out above the competition. Niche marketing can help you to get more customers, not because you meet more needs, but because you meet a special need. When you specialize in something specific, you can leverage your expertise to distinguish yourself from your competitors and showcase your capabilities in a unique way.
Finding Your Niche Market
As every business is unique, there is no right answer for how to find your niche market. In fact, there are several approaches you can take. Below is a list of 14 sources that can help you on your search for a niche market that aligns with your niche market strategy.
1. Your Business
Make a list of the core product or service you provide, and then brainstorm variations or highly specific uses for it. If you provide moving services, variations include moving for families, offices, or college students; or short or long distance moving. Each of these variations could potentially be a niche.
Set aside your identity as a business owner, and focus solely on yourself as a consumer—of your own service, or just in general. What interests or intrigues you? What do you avoid? What added convenience or benefit do you wish you could have? What do you consider worth paying more money for?
If you find your niche based on something that is of importance to you personally, you will be naturally better at marketing it; and your shared concerns with your audience will enable you to better resonate with them. Finding your niche in something entirely new to you, on the other hand, means that you may be in foreign territory with your marketing methods.
3. Your Strengths
Your strengths are one of the best sources for finding your niche market. If you are a real estate agent and you find that you have your biggest successes with newly married couples, you may have just found your niche market. If you are a dentist and you are particularly good at tooth extractions, you may consider this your niche.
4. Your Competitors
It is important for companies to have competitors, because they can help your business in many ways—even in your quest to find your niche market. Take a look at their services and see what they are lacking. Monitor customer reviews to find out what additional benefits they desire, or where they feel they are not being served. Find your niche market by filling in the gaps created by your competitors.
5. Your Audience
In addition to your competitors’ audience, you can also learn from your own audience. Rather than fishing through reviews and Google Analytics data, however, you can directly ask your audience questions. Conduct surveys, polls, and interviews, either in person or through social media campaigns to find out what specific needs or preferences your customers have, or to find out which types of customers are the most satisfied. Collecting data in this manner is a great way to not only find your niche market, but to increase social media engagement too.
Whether online or off, asking your audience questions to help you find your niche market will help you to build your business through customer engagement. It will also strengthen your relationship with your customers by showing that you care about their needs and value their input.
There are many ways to tap into the power of online reviews for improving your business. In terms of finding your niche market, review sites such as Yelp, Google+, and TripAdvisor can help you discover the deeper needs of your customers. These deeper needs can be the material around which you build your niche market.
If you are a service-based business, you may be able to find your niche market by looking at niche products. For example, an appliance repair business may choose to specialize in eco-friendly dishwashers. An auto repair business could offer services specifically for hybrid vehicles.
Another way to find your niche is to focus not on a particular end user population, but on manufacturers. If you install cabinets, you might find your niche by focusing on cabinet manufacturers who subcontract to installers.
People in a particular niche tend to gravitate toward other people in that niche, both online and off. They contribute to online forums, stay active in Facebook groups, join clubs, and attend meet-ups. Simply looking at what types of groups exist, without even having to delve into these groups, can assist you in finding your niche. However, participating in these groups is a great way to strengthen your company’s reputation.
You may also want to look at groups that your broader target audience participates in. Read through their commentary to identify needs, preferences, complaints, and desires that may enable you to find your niche market.
10. Social Media
Many of the groups listed above exist on social media platforms. However, there is another way that social media can help your business to find its niche. Most platforms enable you to look at topics and hashtags that are trending. Sometimes, these trends can be indicators of an up and coming niche. Drones, for example, may be a hot topic on social media. A person with the applicable skills could then find their niche market in people who need drone repairs.
11. Interest Lists
With today’s culture and smart technology, websites and applications that generate content tailored to individual users is very popular. These sites can be related to anything: music, news, books, jobs, and more. The account creation process for these applications asks you to check off or list your interests. Browsing around on these applications and the interests they list, such as StumbleUpon.com, GoodReads.com, and Meetup.Com, can be a great source for finding your niche market.
12. Category Lists
Another similar way to find your niche market is through the hierarchical category lists often found on websites. Shopping and magazine websites are two particularly good places to find extensive lists of products or topics, with several subcategories beneath them. The subcategories in these lists could all be niches.
Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find the information they’re looking for. Businesses use keywords throughout their content, such as in their SEM ad copy, blog, and business website to be more informative and to get found easier.
However, keyword research tools such as Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner are not just good for Search Engine Marketing Campaigns and business blogging. They can also be used for finding your niche market, as they help you identify the specific things people in your target audience are searching for. Popular keywords on specific items can provide you with ideas on finding your niche market.
Most search engines today have the ability to suggest what you are searching for based on the first one or two words you type. These autofill suggestions can provide niche ideas. For example, when you type “landscapers that ….” into Google’s search box, the autofiller comes back with the following suggestions:
• “Landscapers that remove poison ivy”
• “Landscapers that finance”
• “Landscapers that lay sod”
Not only are these niches, they are based on popular searches. Autofillers can help you to fid niche markets that serve a popular need.
There many advantages to niche marketing, even more approaches to take in finding your niche market, and a countless number of niches to find. Depending on your business and your audience, you may find some approaches that work better than others. However, it can’t hurt to try them all out, as your ultimate niche market may be one that you didn’t even know existed!