Choosing a niche—a small, focused target market—for your services can be very beneficial to your business. It will help your clients to focus on and identify the services that you offer, and it will help you to develop deep expertise in a single area—and “niching” will help you to raise your rates and create a successful business.

But to maximize the benefits you’ll get, you want to make sure that you choose a good niche. To niche well, there are several questions to consider:

  • Can potential customers in your target market afford your services? If you’re offering a high-ticket item to a target audience that doesn’t have much money, then you can run into trouble. Or if your target audience doesn’t control the buying decision or isn’t authorized to meet the cost of your product or service, that can also lead to trouble. In these cases, you might explore packaging your services in a more affordable way, creating payment options, or choosing a new targeted niche market that will be easier to sell to.
  • Do they put value on your services, and will they be willing to buy? Do they think that they your services? Even if your target audience is able to afford your services, they have to also feel that your services have value to them and that they need those services. If they think that your services would not improve their lives or businesses, then they’re unlikely to make the purchase. Likewise, if your customers think that they can do it themselves, or that they don’t have a need that your services will fill, then they won’t make a purchase.
  • Do they understand your services? If your target audience doesn’t understand what you do—if it’s too technical or esoteric for them to even understand what you’re selling or why they might want or need it—then you’ll have a very tough time making any sales at all. Make sure that your target audience can at least be taught to understand your products or services and the benefits they provide.
  • How hard is it to find the people who are in your target market? If you can’t find the people who will make up your target audience, then they likely cannot find you and your offering. For example, the easier it is to find networking groups or mailing lists that have large populations of people in your target market, the easier it will be to market to them by speaking at events and sending out direct mails.
  • Are there a lot of other competing providers in your niche? If so, is there enough market for you? If the target you’re marketing to is served by many other providers, then it might be difficult to capture enough market share to sustain your business.
  • Is this niche within your abilities to deliver, and are you credible in it? Do you have experience serving this niche… or can you get that initial experience easily? Some ways to do this include through pro-bono work, discounts, or aligning with a professional organization to offer discounts to its members. You might also be able to read about the industry you’re planning to market to, to learn more about the specific problems and challenges they face.
  • Is the niche big enough to sustain your business? Are there enough potential customer companies or enough need in that industry that you plan to serve? If you choose a very specific niche, you might find that there are just a few companies that you could serve. If that’s the case, you might want to widen your niche.

 

If your niche fits these criteria, then it’s likely that you’ve created a great niche, one in which you will make more sales and grow your business.

About the Author

Erin Ferree is a logo, print, and web designer who has been making it easy for small businesses to stand out and to be visible, credible, and memorable for the past ten years.