Why “Find Your Niche” is Bad Advice
By Kevin Namaky
Your small business marketing strategy may go up in smoke because of this one fundamental mistake.
When it comes to marketing your small business, there’s no shortage of advice out there. Everyone’s trying to make noise in the marketplace.
Most online marketers tend to repeat what they hear from others. They all tend to put out the same advice, copying each other and repeating themselves until their “advice” becomes “gospel.”
That would be great if the advice were mostly good. But sadly that’s not the case. Most of what you’ll find is mediocre at best, and often just plain bad or misleading.
One of the most misleading marketing tips is to “find your niche.”
What Does it Really Mean to “Find Your Niche”?
If you do a little online research on “find your niche”, you’ll notice a theme. Most will tell you to pick a target audience that is very specific. While that sounds nice at first, what typically happens is that small business owners take it too far and end up with a niche that can’t sustain a long-term business—like female vegan marathon champions who practice daily meditation.
Don’t get caught in the trap of choosing a target customer that’s so specific no one else would bother to go after them. While it may work for a select few, for many it holds back what could be a blooming business. Think about it… there’s probably a reason no one else would go after a target that’s THAT specific (hint: there’s so few of them).
On the other end of the spectrum, some business owners throw their hands up and just go after the biggest applicable audience they can think of… like moms… or Millennials (i.e., people in their 20s and 30s). That’s not great either, because it’s so non-specific that it lacks relevance.
Audience-size Tradeoff is a False Choice
The real problem here is that most business owners (and marketing “experts”) view this scenario as a choice between a winnable audience size and a meaningful opportunity size. They imagine a scale with two sides, balancing winnability with opportunity to try and get things just right.
It’s a false choice.
Decreasing the audience (and therefore opportunity) size is not the only way to create a winnable competitive situation. Here’s the real question to ask yourself:
How can I differentiate so that I can stand out and win in the marketplace?
Framed this way, you’ll discover there are other “levers to pull” that can make your business more competitive without necessarily sacrificing opportunity size.
4 Potential Differentiating Factors
If you want to win against the competition, consider the following questions. By answering them, you can uncover new ways to stand out and be a unique solution without narrowing your audience to a pointless size.
- Whom do you uniquely serve?
- What’s the unique problem you solve?
- How do you uniquely solve the problem?
- What does your customer uniquely get as a result?
You’ll notice the first question resembles “find your niche”. But, framed in this way, it simply asks you to think about who isn’t properly served in the marketplace as opposed to …read more
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