For example, Alicia on Marketing Professionals said, “I need a domain name, and I’m having trouble finding one. My niche is fitness…can you help?”
Her problem isn’t really finding a domain name. Her real problem is that “fitness” is much too broad. If she opens that gym, she’ll be competing against huge corporations, and established gyms with existing members and clients.
She’s not differentiating herself in any way. “Fitness” by itself isn’t really a niche, it’s a general category.
A real niche isn’t a broad term, like fitness. A real niche is a single slice of the fitness pie.
She needs to focus on that one slice, rather than trying to eat the whole pie all at once.
Why you need a niche
Say, like Alicia, you want to start a gym. You’re going to have a lot of competition. You’ll need to figure out a way to stand out from all those large companies, the ones with gyms in nearly every town, or even more than one location per town. You don’t have their staff, their resources, or their brand recognition.
So, you need to be different instead. Doing that, focusing on just one small piece of an enormous market, will help you in two ways. One, it builds that brand recognition. Two, it helps you focus your marketing efforts.
How to choose your niche
Staying with the gym example, pick something that the other all-purpose gyms don’t (or can’t) offer.
Cater to a specific group of people, and only those people.
For example, say you decide to focus on new moms. Now, instead of trying to sell to everyone (and we know how that works) you could target sites run by mommy bloggers to get the word out.
Have day care for the kids while mom exercises. Or, offer “mommy and me” classes so both child and mom can exercise, have fun, and play together. Your domain name might be stayfitmoms.com
Or, maybe you want to concentrate on stockbrokers. A fitness center geared to them could open very early (for a workout before the market opens), have TV screens playing CNBC or Bloomberg TV, offer massages to relieve stress, etc.
A gym that targeted baby boomers might focus on fitness for aging bodies, offer nutrition help, or 20 minute workouts for busy people.
Once you have that, you can start telling your story and the rest of your marketing falls naturally into place.
Find customers more easily and cheaply
Instead of looking for everybody and anybody, you concentrate on “your” market. You know who they are, and they’ll know who you are. You’ll be “the gym for stockbrokers,” instead of just “the gym down the block.”
If you’re “the stockbroker gym” you’ll have a better idea of what your website and your facilities should look like. You’ll want something that says “Wall Street”, rather than something that screams Disney. No cartoons, no animation. Instead, go for an atmosphere that’s buttoned-down, corporate looking, and geared to people who are driven and hard-charging.
Having a niche geared to stockbrokers also tells y ou what hours to open, where to locate, and what services to offer. You’ll also know where to advertise and what to put in your ads. The appeals to stockbrokers would be very different than the appeals to new moms.
The best part is, you’ll save time and actually make more money marketing to fewer people.
Photo: Daniel Philpott