Recently I was coaching a client and the pungent question came up of just how much a platform needs to be niched.
By now the niching pundits have hit the drum hard enough that everyone knows what niching is and why it matters – the Web requires everyone to pick a specialty so they can be found.
If you’re a marketing expert, say, you’ll get lost among other marketing experts . . . UNLESS you are a marketing expert to lawyers, say, or mom-preneurs, or recently retired academics who want to start a web business.
But the question remains – just when do you stop tightening your niche? Often when I suggest to a consulting client that they need to go tighter, a certain common fear arises. What if I draw the niche too small? Won’t my market be too small?
The answer is yes and no, because it all depends on just which niche you’re plunging into . . . and just where you want to land.
First of all, you have to survey the landscape and see who else is out there doing what you do. If you Google “Marketing consultants,” for instance, you get 5,560,000 entries. That’s a lot. Look at the entries on the first page or two, and yep – there are many marketing consultants out there. But if you Google ‘Marketing consultants for lawyers’ you get 365,000. Better. And yep, they are still mostly marketing consultancies working specifically for lawyers.
But then Google “Marketing consultants for women lawyers” . . . well, then it all goes kaphlooey. The listings (and we’re talking about organic listings here, not those ads to the right) are mostly around an article or two that was written on the topic by an academic. Or really unrelated sites linked to women lawyers.
That would be a case, then, of over-niching.
Now I’m not recommending that you put all of your niching eggs in the Google basket. That needs to be only one of a few different considerations here.
If you’re working with me, I believe we have to go much deeper into that competition, learn more, and refine your offer more so you really stand out.
One way to do that is to consider what will bring you joy. What, in your gut, is a stand apart quality that defines you? What’s unique to your life that makes you you – that can also be applied to your business?
Note: No connection is too tenuous! The wilder the better because it’s ownable and memorable in a crowded niche.
Example: one of my clients wanted to create a coaching business in a very crowded corner of the field. We cast about a bit, looking for his unique hook, when he happened to mention casually he’s a world champion in his age group for a particular sport. World champion! That’s the stuff great platforms thrive on! We dug in and determined a way to fit that championship message into his overall philosophy and marketing message.
Another example would be Tuck Self, The Rebel Belle, who I love to talk about in my presentations. Tuck came to me with a desire to do motivational creativity coaching for clients – yet another crowded field. But all she had to do was hang on the phone a bit with her lovely South Carolina accent, and the answer was obvious – create a creativity coaching site that is a “Southern voice for bold self expression.” We named her the Rebel Belle, and she’s done gloriously with it.
It’s critical that your niche contain indelible pieces of you that no one can touch. Then you can niche within your niche – and still stand apart even in a crowded field.
Go forth and niche – and celebrate your full potential!
About the Author: Suzanne Falter is a best-selling self-help author, speaker, and singer who helps men and women find true joy and fulfillment. In losing her 22 year old daughter, Teal, in 2012, her work has deepened to radiate her daughter’s free-spirited love for life and passionate quest for freedom. It is this spirit she is here to share with women at mid-life. Her articles and columns have appeared in numerous women’s magazines and she is the author of How Much Joy Can You Stand and Living Your Joy.