To Niche Or Not To Niche, That Is The Question
There’s a long-running debate in digital marketing on whether or not “niching down” is a smart move to do. Niching down essentially means positioning yourself as an expert in only that one niche, subject, or service, no matter if you are a consultant or selling fruit in the market.
The pros are clear:
- The people in that niche will see you as the perfect fit for them as you only service others like them
- You will have a lot more testimonials that the business owners in that niche can directly relate to
- You can command higher prices for your services
- Referrals will be stronger and more frequent
- Your prospecting will be laser focussed and you can’t get distracted
- You will become a master of your craft, be seen as the expert in that niche, and be more confident in selling your services all around, making sales conversions go up
Just picture this scenario: You sell digital marketing as a done-for-you service to local businesses. So far you only have a couple of clients and they are pretty different from each other. Now, instead of scrambling to take on other types of services, or starting to prospect other businesses, you decide to only focus on one niche- plumbers.
You are now the guy who only does SEO and only does it for plumbers. You have a proof of concept and know how to generate business for plumbers because you’ve done it before. You have testimonials from plumbers. You are confident that if you get another plumber client, you will know exactly what needs to be done to get him results.
Will prospecting to plumbers then be easier or harder for you? You can literally call up any plumber and tell him exactly how you helped the other 4 plumbers in his state alone and how they’re killing it. If you were a plumber, won’t this feel like a perfect fit for you and someone you would definitely listen to?
This might have been a friendly reminder for you or maybe it opened your eyes to the idea of niching. But a couple of problems probably arose in your mind when reading that:
- Won’t I eventually run out of plumbers or people in my niche to market to?
- Isn’t it a conflict of interest to service two businesses in the same market and city?
The first problem of running out of people in your niche boils down to a limiting belief. Luckily it can easily be solved by picking a healthy niche and by understanding when to niche down. We will cover both soon, but for now just understand that there is no limit to the amount of businesses out there, even in small niches.
Just looking at some simple stats and you can see that you will have enough prospecting work cut out for you for a very, very long time. Over half a million businesses start each month, according to Forbes. When you run out, expand to another city or country. Broaden the targeting by including other businesses with the same clients (ex. people that do similar house-calls to plumbers) or in the same industry (ex. the company that sells things TO the plumber).
The second problem of ethics can be answered in several ways. First of all, It’s impossible for one plumber to service everybody in his city. Even if they expanded, there are others that charge less, do different types of plumbing, or even seem nicer. People hire services for so many different reasons, and one business won’t appeal to everyone.
Second, in most digital marketing it’s impossible for the same business to completely dominate. For example, with Google AdWords, one business can’t buy up all 3 spots, and a local business certainly won’t have the budget to serve up ads around the clock 24/7.
But still, it’s a conflict to want to help one person when you are helping his direct competitor achieve the same thing!? If it’s still bugging you, you can do one of two things. You can either work on only a specific set of services (keywords) for one client, or you can offer an exclusivity deal for one area.
A plumber for example will have 10+ different types of services that he can do in your home. There are multiple ways you can say or describe each service (search keywords), and you can’t rank for every single one. Simply focus on other services with each client and they won’t compete for the same rankings.
If the client brought up the issue themselves, you can explain any of the above, or offer an exclusivity deal which will just cost them a higher monthly fee to ensure you don’t work on anyone else in their area. Some other SEO agency is working on their competitor’s site anyways 😛
Now that you understand the power of niching, let’s discuss how to choose one.
How to Decide on a Niche
The perfect niche fits three criteria:
- Clients you’ve helped before and have a proof of concept for getting them results
- You personally enjoy working in that niche and can see yourself expanding
- It fits the marketing “sweet spot” by being in a niche that sells high ticket services
The sweet spot is a client that is not only tech-forward and adapting to changes, but that each client they get from your efforts is worth a lot and they generally have higher marketing budgets.
I decided on my niche when I noticed a trend in my overall client list. Not one of them was a local business, and almost all of them were business-to-business. This was probably due to the fact that I got my clients online and not through local marketing.
Some were SaaS businesses, and some sold goods online. So I took the common denominator of them all and decided on my niche: National Businesses That Sell Online. That’s it. Pretty broad, but it still sounds specific when I’m on the phone because people like to make themselves fit to marketing messages.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have much client experience, or you’re still struggling to find a niche, here’s a list of hundreds of niches to choose from.
When to Niche
In my coaching bootcamps, the number one section that people get stuck on is choosing a niche. I’m not sure if it’s paradox of choice or a procrastination method, but here’s a secret… niching isn’t always necessary and sometimes it’s not important at all.
The only reason we should ever niche down is because it helps us become more of a perfect fit when doing outbound marketing. In reality we can niche down “on demand” whenever we are trying to hone our marketing message or when we are reaching out to a specific industry.
Think of it this way- if you received a phone call from a hot roofing prospect that really wants you for SEO, would you deny them a consultation because you only service plumbers? Of course not!
Even for inbound marketing like Facebook ads, think how easy it is to duplicate your entire campaign but just change the word “plumbers” to “roofers” in your ads and landing pages… Just like that you’re the expert of another niche altogether.
You don’t have to dedicate your whole business to one niche, forever. As long as the prospect can clearly feel that you are an expert in that niche and have experience getting results for them, you should have no problem niching down on demand and growing your empire.
Have you niched down yet? How did you find your niche? Don’t have the limiting belief that someone is going to “steal it” if you share it with the world- it’s the only way to become an expert in it. Share in the comments below!