Defining Your Niche Market

A Critical Step in Small Business Marketing

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In my 12 years of experience working with clients, one thing I've noticed is there are some business owners that have defined their niche market and have a clear picture of whom it is they are marketing to, and there are others that tend to waiver or be unsure.

Often business owners view a niche market as narrowing their sales or cutting into a profit margin, so they fear it. The truth is, a niche market could be defined as a component that gives your business power. A niche market allows you to define who you are marketing to. When you know this, it's easy to determine where your marketing energy and dollars should be spent.

Take for example a car dealership. A car dealership calls and tells me they want me to help them develop an internet marketing strategy. My first question as always is "Who is your target audience?"

They answer by telling me that their audience is everyone. They want to market to anyone interested in buying a car. Now, let's keep in mind that this car dealership is located in New York. I approach the process by working with the client and explaining to them that, although they market to a person in Seattle because that "person is interested in buying a car" the chances of that person coming from Seattle to New York to purchase that car is very unlikely. Therefore, they've wasted time and money and will more than likely see no return on either.

By the time our conversation is finished, I've helped them see why narrowing their niche market down to be "anyone interested in buying a car within a 50-mile radius" makes really good sense. They now have power. They know where to spend time and money to market, and their vision is clear. They are now ten steps ahead of the other car dealership located 20 miles away who is marketing to "anyone interested in buying a car."

There is even greater importance in having a well-defined niche market when planning your internet marketing strategy to achieve marketing success online. The most common misconception about online marketing is that if you build it, they will come, or that having an online business will make you wealthy. The reality is that you have to find your niche market, offer a product or service that they're demanding and get them to come to you, in order to reach a level of financial success via the internet.

Why Defining Your Niche Is Important

Defining your niche market before you embark on your Internet marketing strategy is important for the following five reasons.

  1. You can maximize your marketing budget by targeting your defined niche market. You'll know exactly where to advertise. You'll know where to look to find blogs and related sites that are catering to your market. It gives you a starting point.
  2. Your website can then be optimized for search engines so that your niche market can easily find you.
  3. You can cater your website to your niche market. You can develop your site to guide your viewers and help them find solutions or products that you offer that are specific to the problems that your niche market encounters.
  4. A defined niche market makes it easier to develop ideas for new products or services that inherently appeal to your specific niche.
  5. You have an upper-hand in establishing yourself as a leader in your industry.

Do you now see the importance of having a niche market? Are you struggling with who your niche market is? If you answered “yes,” spend some time asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is it that my current clients have in common?
  • How do I set myself apart from the competition?
  • What is different about the services or products that I offer?
  • What are the "extras" that I bring to the market?

The best way to answer these questions is without analyzing them too much. Just write down whatever first comes to mind. Once you've completed them, analyze the answer, and it will be easy to define your niche market.