When I began my career as a marketing consultant, I was often asked,

“What’s your niche?”

I never saw myself focusing exclusively on small businesses, corporations, or clients within a confined geographic area, demographic, or particular industry, but I always felt a little goofy not being able to answer such a simple question. As the societal push to “nail your niche” was being asked of me again and again, I didn’t let guilt or shame kick in despite not having a clear answer….I knew there was something deeper to my resistance.

Why? It wasn’t an issue with knowing or owning a niche, turns out, the problem was the single-lawyer view of “niche.”

From a communications perspective, when you are clear on who you are, what you do, and whom you serve, it makes it easier to refine your message to connect and convert. Instead of “spraying and praying” with your communications, you can “point and shoot” to the people you truly want to serve.

A niche market is a subset of a larger market, customized to describe specific characteristics, needs, or preferences. Common qualifiers include:

  • Geographic area
  • Industry/profession
  • Financial
  • Demographics
  • Lifestyle

A geographic niche is the radius from which you can sustainably serve your clients. Depending on your business model, this may be local, regional, national, or global. An industry-specific niche caters to a particular profession or industry; think lawyers, healthcare professionals, remote workers, etc. A financial niche applies if a particular monetary investment or threshold is required to access your services. Demographics define age, gender, education level, and income, among other factors. A lifestyle niche identifies priorities or ways of living, including health, wellness, sustainable living, travel, and diet.

Your niche can either be a north star guiding the growth of your business, but if addressed in a near-sighted way, can be a self-imposed marketing constraint.

It is not enough, however, to identify a singular characteristic of your niche market; these descriptors will serve you best when they are layered. For example, perhaps your business caters to travelers via an online platform allowing you to serve clients nationally. Does your intended audience require a certain financial status to access your services? Does your business cater to a particular age or phase of life? Are your customers busy professionals or retirees? These questions will help you better define your niche market and identify growth opportunities.

Understanding the psychology of your niche is crucial for success.

While the above questions are a necessary first step, I challenge you to take it further by considering a psychographic niche.

Say you’ve established that your clients are late-life travelers, professionally retired, with ample disposable income. That’s great, but what else? Why do they travel? Do they seek adventure or leisure? Is their destination a life-long dream? Do they relish planning their itinerary or do they simply want to be along for the ride? Do they value culture and tradition? Life-long education? Are they serious? Fun? Social? A psychographic niche describes your clients’ values and beliefs, going beyond who they are on the surface and diving into personality, allowing you to understand them on a deeper level. Understanding breeds connection, which is a fundamental aspect of marketing.

Marketing revolves around relationships; we must communicate with current and prospective customers in a way that resonates with them. Consider what your clients have in common with you. Evaluate what compels your belief in your business, and seek clients who share that ideology.

What is different about your model? What do you offer that cannot be found elsewhere and why does it matter?

My original target (at the ripe age of 28 when I stated this business) was single-layered – small business. Our original tagline was, “Making Small Businesses Big With The Web.” Our language matters; but it can limit us. I did attract small businesses, but too many times, ones that were also small-minded, and disinterested in growth and change. I changed this language and got deeper to attract ideal clients.

Be yourself in your business. Time is money; spend it with the right people and be willing to exit relationships that are not a good fit.

For Web Marketing Therapy, it is not about the size of the client’s business or their financial capacity. We serve small and medium-sized businesses and corporations across a spectrum of industries. It’s about the mindset of our client; they believe in investing in support, they want change and are willing to make that change. There is no ego. All of our clients genuinely do what they do out of passion and purpose. We cater to intentional leaders, mission-driven professionals dedicated to their ideas’ success. We serve clients who excite us, whose dreams we wholeheartedly believe in. Clients who care about their companies and the people they employ and serve. We offer an unmatched level of support to our clients because we are invested in their success.

It is also healthy to revisit your niche over time. Messaging that served your vision ten years ago may not do so now. Be willing to reevaluate and adjust. Invest time to reflect on your niche. Take a layered approach, describing your intended audience as specifically as possible. Then, ask “why?” Get to know your future clients by considering why they would seek what you offer. What is it about your business that resonates with them? How do they align with your philosophy? Speak to that, connect with them. The saying “There’s riches in the niches is true, a deep niche connects your business to ideal clients.