For many entrepreneurs, we started our businesses for reasons more than dollars and cents. We had a vision and a message to share with the world. We wanted to express our why in our endeavors. Through our work, and the process of “niching”, we defined our place in the community.
“The businesses that win in the digital age are the ones that have the greatest relevance to their target audience. They are the ones that are the most focused — they absolutely understand their market and the people they serve.”
Often times, in a business and marketing context, “niche” has a conclusive (and even judgmental) tone to it. A common perception of “niche” is that it lacks the fluidity and adaptability essential for long-term business success.
Niche is often misunderstood. Instead, let’s reframe our perception of “niching” from some disconnected marketing exercise to a continuation of how we express our values, convictions, and point of view.
1. Niche is not à la carte
Niche is not something you pick à la carte from a menu simply because someone says it is viable or lucrative. Niche is not determined solely external factors. It is driven by our inner values, convictions, and points of view.
When we have clarity and find the belief and conviction that drive us, it fuels purposeful action. It emerges organically from within. You cannot squeeze yourself into a niche handed to you by others if it doesn’t match your “why“.
Your niche is the undiluted expression of your value, conviction, and vision – made relevant by relating your inner truth to your community. For example, when it comes to content marketing, relevant content – be it written or spoken, distributed via text, audio, video, or live audience – is your magnet to pull those who resonate with your unique approach into your world.
It’s a process of organic self-selection.
2. Niche is about connecting
Niche is not just a collection of research data. Niche is about connection and resonance. Niche is about giving a sh*t. After we establish what matters, the next piece of the puzzle is to establish who matters to you and what matters to them.
Niche is about finding people who care about what matters to (your ideal customers) and connecting with them on an emotional and personal level.
Connection is the new currency of conversion.
To build that connection and create marketing messages and content that connects, we have to own our vulnerability.
How can entrepreneurs own their vulnerability? Start with empathy – not lip service like “I understand,” “I have been there,” or “It’s not your fault!” Too many canned phrases are flooding the marketplace because of a sales page checklist or script. To say “I know exactly what you are going through” minimizes a customers’ unique experience.
3. Niche is fluid
Niche is not a “set it and forget i” marketing strategy. Niche means that you are constantly evolving because your consumers are evolving.
Niche seems limiting, at first, because of this common misunderstanding. And it causes early-stage startups to resist defining a niche. However, there is power in focus because “the more precisely you can describe your customers, address their issues and deepen your knowledge, the more relevant and valuable your content will be and the more success you will get.”
For those who are multi-passionate, defining a niche can feel constricting, particularly if we approach niche as an existing label.
What if niche marketing was more of this and less of that?
When what you do doesn’t reflect who you are, your communication is not in alignment with your message. Consequently you won’t attract the right clients, doubt sets in, and you feel that your niche approach has failed you.
Consider this …
What if niche was less textbook and more fluid to encourage freedom and experimentation with marketing communications?
What if you seek out the golden thread that ties your brand into a cohesive narrative?
What if niche marketing became an expression of something deeper than a reactive statement to the outside world?
What if you could communicate with your niche market in a way that endures trends and fads, so you aren’t reacting to the market every six months?
What if your niche market became your North Star, keeping you true and consistent and helping you overcome the “bright shiny object” syndrome?
What if you decided to focus so deeply and authentically that you consistently filter out busy work and do what truly matters?
This article has been edited and condensed.
Ling Wong is an Intuitive Brainiac | Copywriting Alchemist. Through her unique blend of business and marketing coaching with a mindset and psychic twist, she helps the maverick-preneurs uncover, articulate and transform their why into content that connects, resonates and converts – by way of her intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years of experience in the online marketing industry. Get her brand new website copy alchemy video here. Connect with @slideberry on Twitter.
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