5 Lies About Niches That Everyone Thinks Are True

Truth lies

Image via Wikipedia

There are a lot of misconceptions and untruths about niches.

Sometimes, it’s a question of not understanding what a niche really is.

Other times, it’s a bit of bravado.  Some of the biggest lies:

“Having a niche will kill my sales; look at all the business I’m ignoring.”

Actually, the opposite is true.  Once you specialize, you’ll become known for that specialty.  People and businesses will seek you out, because you’re now a recognized expert in that field.

You can also use that specialty to cater specifically to your chosen market.  For example, if you’re an expert on organizing, rather than trying to help everyone, focus on busy  moms.

Then adjust your schedule, and  your services accordingly, offering appointments during the early morning, when the kids are in school.

“It’s OK to combine two different businesses, like office supplies and fitness, under one website.”

Mashing two entirely different businesses together will just confuse your clients and customers.  People who want to exercise have completely different needs and wants than people who need to buy copy paper.

If  you want to run two businesses, set up two different websites.  Actually, better yet, start one, get that going, and then worry about the second one.

“We don’t need to specialize, everyone will want our product.”

This one is astonishingly persistent.  I’ve heard it from software companies, business event planners, pet food producers, you name it.  When you love what you do, or what you sell, it’s easy to think that everyone will want it.

That isn’t necessarily true though.  If that software is written in Chinese, it’s useless to people who don’t speak Chinese.  Yes, many large businesses use event planners, but most small businesses won’t.

You’ll have better luck targeting specific people, or setting your services apart in some way.  How about an event planner who understands both logistics and marketing/budgeting?  Or who specializes in exotic destinations for corporate meetings.

“I’ve got a big list of names, from several career changes, I can earn lots of money from it “

A large, random group of people who you’ve met over the course of several years isn’t a niche marketing list.  If you’ve changed careers or industries from selling accounting software to producing handcrafted guitars, not everyone on that list will necessarily be interested.

In order for a list to be profitable, they’ll need to have something in common, a need for your services (you solve their problems), and the money to pay for them.

“The more I offer, the better. I’m going to branch out.”

There’s a store near me that offers tech support services (fix your PC, troubleshooting and so on).  They also have a sign saying they buy and sell gold.  It doesn’t really make sense, does it. Those are two entirely different areas of expertise.

Figure out what your market wants, and stay with it. Only add something if it complements what you’re already doing, say PC services and Mac services.  Think about it this way, would you go to a fitness expert for brain surgery?  Or would you go find a neurosurgeon?

How to Eliminate Your Competiton

Picture of the bathroom tiles in the Schulz Mu...

Image via Wikipedia

My brother and dad own (and rent) several apartment buildings. One of the bathrooms needed some new tiles, so my brother went to look for replacements.

The building is old and the color is discontinued. He finally found a guy who sells them… for $15 each.  And these are tiles that probably cost 25 cents each when new.

What’s going on here?

The guy has found a specialty. He travels all over the world, buying up discontinued, end-of-run, and leftover tiles. Then he ships them home to New York. If you really (really) want a specific tile, he’s THE guy. He’s created his own niche, which nobody else can match or compete with (at least not easily). He’s not just standing out from his competition – he has none.

What makes YOU different?

How to Fix Your USP and Why a Niche Isn’t Enough

market niche and USP

Image via Wikipedia

What are you emphasizing in your marketing?  That you’re the best?  That you are the cheapest?  Or that you specialize in web sites for startups?

What, if anything, makes you stand out?  Do you have a USP (unique selling proposition)?

A niche means you concentrate on one particular sector or demographic (pregnant women, or SEO web copywriters).

A USP means two things. First, it’s something you do that fits a specific need your customers have.  Second, it stands out in your customers’ (and prospects) minds as unique and special.

If you don’t  have a USP, you’ll need to create one.

How a market niche USP works

Insomnia Cookies in NY promises fresh, hot cookies delivered to your door in the middle of the night (just the thing for college students and night owls with the late night munchies).

There are dozens of laundromats here, but there’s one near me that’s open 24/7 (so I guess you do your laundry and then order some cookies to eat while you wait).

Both of those places have unique selling propositions; and the laundromat has managed to find one in a really crowded marketplace.  They’re not just selling clean clothes, they are selling convenience.

What are you really selling?

Someone on Marketing Profs asked how they can tell their web site visitors that they’re the only vendor on the Knot (wedding) website that is located in Arizona and specializes in lighting. The other vendors all do lots of other things, including provide DJs, flowers, and decorations.

Right track

The lighting vendor is on the right track (if you’ll pardon the pun). He’s focusing on doing one thing and doing it well. He’s obviously learned how to find a unique market niche.  He does lighting.  For weddings.  Period. Not concerts, not conferences, just weddings.

Wrong USP

The USP needs to be fixed. He’s emphasizing something (being the only Knot lighting vendor in his state) that doesn’t matter to his clients. They aren’t going to care that he is the only vendor who does nothing but lighting unless he gives them a specific reason that his single focus makes him a better choice.

What does matter to a bride is looking good on her wedding day. What if instead of talking about himself (being the only vendor), he talked about what the bride would get.

“Look like a movie star on your wedding day.”

“Look so good Angelina will be jealous.”

He’s not really selling lighting. He’s selling glamor. What if he emphasized that instead? He’d have something that the other wedding vendors couldn’t duplicate (because they are trying to do too many other things besides lighting).

Do you know what you’re really selling?  What do your clients really want?  To look like movie stars?  To save time?  To have less stress?

How do you give that to them? And how do you do it in a way that makes you stand out from the competition?

Not sure? Ask in the comments.

Cool tools tomorrow!

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earn more with niche marketing

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  • select a “target” market and build a tribe
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Are you a Eierlegendewollmilchsau?

egg laying wool milk pig

Many thanks to cocoate for this image

What in the world is an Eierlegendewollmilchsau?

I just learned this word today, from Carmen, who was kind enough to let me share it with you.

It means an egg-laying wool milk pig.

Something that doesn’t make sense. An animal that is trying to do too many things at once.

Are you an Eierlegendewollmilchsau?

But, sometimes, in the rush to get new business, or grow our influence, we forget that companies cannot be Eierlegendewollmilchsaus. As Carmen said, “You can’t be everything to everyone and neither can your organization. Segment, compartmentalize, create a spin-off, do whatever you have to do resist the temptation to become an Eierlegendewollmilchsau.”

What that means is that you need to concentrate your marketing efforts in one place. Don’t try to lay eggs, produce wool, give milk, and become bacon.

If you want to pursue different passions, such as life coaching and opera singing, separate them.

Pick your “people”

Don’t try to sell to the US military, your local dry cleaners, and stay-at-home moms at the same time. Choose your “fish.”

Build your expertise and your reputation

If you’re a web designer, be a great web designer. Don’t try to design, develop databases, write copy, and streamline packing and shipping all at once.

That’s a Eierlegendewollmilchsau. If you regularly get projects that require multiple skills, form partnerships.

I’m good with words, for instance, but nobody in their right mind wants me to code SQL databases. I leave that to other people.

Share your thoughts

What do you think?  Do you know of any companies that are  Eierlegendewollmilchsaus?  And, did you think I’d be able to find a picture of one?