As an account strategist, I often see clients with really great solutions that often go overlooked because they’re trying to talk to everybody instead of honing in on one vertical. Focusing in on a particular sector of a target market can help amplify your message to those that have a real need for your business.
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Regardless of what industry you’re in, you need to establish yourself as an expert in your field. In doing so, you’ll also define your niche, which is an essential part of your business’s growth. If you’re struggling to locate your niche (or you don’t know what a niche is) you aren’t alone—it’s something that many entrepreneurs and business owners struggle with. Here are a few tips on how to find (and continually refine) your niche.
What is a niche?
Your company’s niche is the specific area in your target audience where you position yourself as the expert. This is also where you focus the majority of marketing efforts for your products and services — and where you can differentiate your company from your competitors. This is the space where you really shine—bringing value and providing something no one else can do as well.
Why is a niche important?
Nailing your niche is the best way to gain a competitive edge against other companies. Whether you are a consultant, a small business owner or an entrepreneur, there will always be competition. And the best way to beat your competition? Be the leader in your domain. Your niche (because of your expertise, unique skill set and services) is also the reason why potential clients should buy your products or services over someone else’s. Finding a niche also helps you grow your expertise in a specific area within your industry. Not only does this benefit your business, but it also helps filter out prospects that aren’t a good fit. Once your niche is defined, only relevant prospects come forward because it’s clear that your business is right for them.
How do I find my niche?
To discover your niche, ask yourself and your team these key questions that help identify areas on which to focus; these will ultimately bring you closer to your niche:
What are your use cases? List your products and service offerings to figure out in what ways your products can be used.
What are your customers’ common pain points? If you have an idea of what your niche is, this is a great exercise to figure out exactly who your target audience is. Find out what frustrations your prospects have in common and use these pain points to define your niche.
What are your key differentiators? Why should someone buy your products or services over your competitors? What sets you apart from the crowd of similar offerings? Distinguish and highlight these differentiators.
What is your solution to the pain points? Once you understand the pain points in your market, it’s time to figure out the solution. Craft this message as simply as possible—your solution needs to be crystal clear. The clearer it is for you, the more clear it will be for a customer.
What is the result of your solution? People love statistics and they love to quantify good results. Find concrete numbers and case studies to prove that your solution is what they’re looking for. For example, “We helped this company save X dollars, generate Y% more sales, and we deliver Z in under 7 days.” Make it memorable.
Who are the decision makers and internal champions? Find out who the key contacts are that you want to speak with and determine what it is about your product that they should care about. Do you solve a personal or a business pain for them? If not, find new prospects. If so, contact these people and work to track down more similar leads.
Where are you hitting home runs? Find out who your top customers are. Do they have something in common? Zero in on this community and learn everything you can about them. What are their pain points? What do they have in common? Is there a trend with your top customers?
Why do your customers love/need you? Don’t just be a ‘nice to have’ company. You want to get to a place where your customers need your product to be successful. Find a way to refine your current offering so it’s a ‘must-have’. It may take some tweaking and refining, but the result will be worth it.
Once you have asked yourself these questions, take your responses and use them to help craft your niche. This will separate you from your competitors and make it easier for your potential customers to decide that you are a better fit for their needs.
During this process, you may hit a wall—but don’t worry, this will give you the opportunity to discover where your business can grow. Even once you feel you’ve nailed your niche, return to these questions and see if there’s room for even further improvement. A niche is specialized, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room to continually refine it.