6 Techniques for Defining Your Niche Market

So you’ve got a great idea to start an online business, and you are ready to start selling online. There is one more step that you will need to take: defining your niche market.  The reason this is important is because you’ll need to know who you will be selling your service or product to, in order to appropriately and successfully market it.  Take a look at any successful business, whether B2B or B2C, and you’ll see that they have a defined marketing niche.

Many entrepreneurs may start out thinking that they can be all things to all people when they first start out, but many will find within the first few months that this is a recipe for a disaster. Businesses taking on this do-everything attitude will risk burnout, exhaustion, confusion, and failure.  By creating a specific niche, both you and your customers will know exactly what to expect.

Rather than ‘finding’ your marketing niche, which suggests that it is something that is ready-made or pre-packaged, you can actually ‘create’ one to give your business the greatest chance of success.

Define your marketing niche by following these 6 simple steps:

Step 1. Define Your Ideal Customer

Rather than choosing a broad category, narrow your target customer down with the following specifications: gender, ethnicity, age, geographical location, hobbies, familial status, political affiliations, occupation, income, etc…  If you are appealing to another business, focus on its geographic location, revenue, size, or other industry-related information.  By narrowing down your ideal customer you’ll have a better idea on how you can market specifically to future customers.

Step 2. Focus on What You Want to Sell

Narrowing down what specifically you want to sell to your customers will help you to define your marketing niche.  A retail accessories store is not a niche, but a field in which you will work in.  An example of a niche within this field would be “waterproof watches for surfers.”  Narrow your field down to be more specific.

Step 3. Differentiate Your Brand

Successful brands have differentiating factors that set them apart from their competitors.  Take a look at what really makes your product different from other products out there on the market.  Does it solve a problem that no other product solves?  Is there a need in your ideal customers’ life that is not being fulfilled? Present unique attributes that set you apart from your competitors.

Step 4. Make a List of What You Do Best

The best business is going to come from a stirring passion within you.  Take a look at what you have succeeded at in your past and take a look at the skills implicit in each of your successes.  Identify patterns and take inventory of your skills.  This will reveal your priorities and business focus.  Another way to do this is to look at your failures, and find important lessons from which you can learn.  By taking this intrinsic approach, you will be able to better narrow down your niche based upon your past experiences.  Everyone feels good when they perform well in the area of their natural talents- that is where you have a competitive advantage to perform better than anyone else.

Step 5. Identify Important Industry Trends

There are several ways to find out trends in the industry of which you’d like to sell in.  Here are a few to help you get started:

  • Google it!  If you want to start selling in the waterproof watch industry, try Googling “waterproof watch trends.” You’ll be surprised how this quick and easy action can teach you a lot about the industry.
  • Look for trends on social media.  Social media is where your audience lives, and it gives you insight into what they want and love.  Be aware that trending topics are not necessarily trends.  They are simply just a topic that everyone is talking about at a certain time.
  • USA Today Snapshots.  By reading this newspaper, you will learn a lot about lifestyle and business trends in short concise stories.  Snapshots are easy-to-read statistical graphics that present information on various trends and issues in a visually appealing way.

Step 6. Integrate Your Ideas to Create Something New

By this point, you should be getting a pretty good idea of what you will be selling and to whom you will be selling.  This is the stage where you should start to shape your product, your passions, and your customers’ needs to create something new and different.  Essentially, you will be defining your niche.  Take a circular process to steps 1 through 5 by refining your niche until you have a good sense of to whom you want to sell, what you want to sell, and how you want to sell it.

While it is important to be specific when defining your niche, you will not want to box yourself into a corner with your brand definition.  Remember that going through the cycle is an important process and that your brand definition can be refined as you learn new things about your niche.

Maintain focus while staying true to your values and passions.  These steps are proven methods that will ensure the longevity of your business’ success.