How to Find your ‘Superstar’ Niche as a Service-based Entrepreneur
In the work that I do helping corporate women become service based entrepreneurs, one of the key first steps is deciding what to do and who to serve. One of the key mistakes people make is making their offer to broad and vague. In this week’s blog I talk about why to define a niche and how, how this links to your target market (it’s not the same thing) and what comes next.
What is a niche market? Why niche?
Niche marketing involves selling specialized products or services that answer to the need of a relatively small target. If you are known to be an expert or leader in that specialized product or service, consumers are willing to pay more for this.
It’s basic economics: differentiated product, smaller market and lower economies of scale = higher price.
Think Crème de la Mer skin care – there is a limited distribution and product range, it’s exclusive and sells at a high price point. Only a certain kind of woman with certain needs would be willing to pay this price.
Mass marketing appeals to a broad market with wide distribution.
Think L’Oreal Paris and Garnier – the price is accessible and there are products for different age ranges. Competition is high, margins are low and the focus is selling volume. This drives the price of the product down.
The coaching industry is saturated. If you are a generic in your marketing and offering, competition is fierce and you won’t stand out. People will also be less willing to pay premium fees. That’s why having a niche is so important.
Not only are your marketing messages more targeted, but you increase the value you can provide them by establishing yourself as an expert in solving a particular problem.
Starting out, some people think that they need to broaden their target market rather than narrowing it: to maximise their chances of making a sale. It’s actually the opposite: the more specific you are, the more likely you are to sell that product – to a particular target market.
People say to me, ‘why don’t you sell to men? You are cutting off half the population!’ And why are you only helping people leave corporate? What about people who….’
The key is to choose a target market that is an inch wide and a mile deep. In my business I have found no shortage of people wanting to leave corporate to set up their own businesses – even among my friends and personal contacts. It’s specific, but there is a decent sized market for it.
One of the issues is a mindset that clients are scarce. If you are coming from that place, you will want to increase your chances. But as my mentor Gina DeVee says, there are 7 billion people on the planet – you only need 10 to 15 clients. How doable is that?
My experience has been that when you find the right niche based on who you are, your talents and what is needed in the market, it feels right and it’s clear to others.
How do I find my niche?
I believe the best niche comes by looking from the inside out and the outside in. It’s about seeing what you are good at and passionate about (this is where you will get the best results) and also checking that people want that.
I call it a ‘superstar’ niche, because not only is it specialised but it is something you can be the best in the world at.
- What do you see others getting paid for in the market that you already do well?
- What comes naturally to you?
- What excites and inspires you? Think of people you have met, books you read or speakers you have seen.
- What problem are you passionate about solving?
- What personal transformation or shift have you had that you see others needing in the market?
- What story do you have to tell that you see would be worthwhile for others like you?
Niche vs target market
Sometimes people use the terms niche and target market interchangeably. They are actually different things. The reason that they get mixed up is because what makes a niche market smaller is that its consumers tend to have specific attributes.
Here is the distinction:
- Your target market is the group of people you serve.
- Your niche is the service you specialize in offering to your target market
Getting a clear and specific target market is so important in being able to design suitable products or offerings and to write marketing and sales copy in a way that is irresistible to your ideal client.
If your market and offering is broad, you risk people thinking it doesn’t really apply to them or it’s not that much of a priority or pain point for them. In the reverse, when this is done well, your target market feels like you are speaking to them personally and you ‘get’ them.
In my work with women we go through the following process:
- First think about the niche in which you want to play e.g. corporate mindfulness coaching
- Define and research your target market – get really specific about your ideal customer avatar e.g. a woman aged 30-45 who are returning to work from maternity leave. She is struggling to juggle her work and family responsibilities and to be present with her kids.
- Then create your packages – e.g. a 90 day coaching program to achieve higher levels of peace, presence, connectedness and clarity,
using your own signature system. Then test your packages with your target market to see how they land.
The example above is a consumer based package, but could be adjusted to corporate i.e. who would the decision maker and influencer be (HR or Line Managers, Senior or mid level), what type of organisations (number of employers, industries, turnover), challenges they are facing (increased turnover of returning mothers, absenteeism, low engagement scores etc).
Want to know more? Get a copy of my ebook here and learn how you can turn your skills and talents into a business and make an exit from corporate to entrepreneurship. You will also get updates of my regular webinars and preview calls to help you get started.
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