Five ideas to discover your marketing niche

marketing niche

A few months ago, Michael Stelzner and I had a phone conversation about the many unfulfilled business niches on the social web. Instead of pursuing these legitimate and focused opportunities, people entering the field as bloggers and consultants seem to be determined to simply copy everybody else and put out the same ideas over and over again in an already-crowded space.

We thought it would interesting to talk about this opportunity at the recent Social Media Marketing World conference. We took the stage to share our ideas with a packed room of marketing professionals. It was an excellent discussion and I wanted to capture some of the key ideas here.

Five ways to find your niche:

1. Start with research

Before committing to an area, spend some time researching the space to see how crowded it is. Can you define an area that is unique to you? Why would people listen to you or buy from you instead of a competitor? Have you found an area that suits your talents and experience? Can you differentiate by delivery method? By channel? By geography? By price? Through your experience? Your service?

Can you finish this sentence: “Only I …”  Have you surveyed your customers about un-met and under-served wants and needs?

You need to find a place to occupy that will allow you to express your authentic voice and passion or it probably won’t be sustainable.

2. Don’t be afraid to pivot as you learn

Test your ability to own a niche for a few months but stay open to adapting and adopting to market conditions. Feedback from your fans, readers, and customers may help clarify your niche. Bringing on a new employee or a new customer can open up opportunities, and relevant new skillsets and competencies. How do competitors react? Is the niche truly open or do competitors defend?

3. The work ethic

In our talk, Michael emphasized the dedication needed to occupy and dominate a niche over a period of time. Look at the leaders you admire and you will find an incredible work ethic. Are you prepared to patiently and tenaciously work to achieve your goals? A lot of success in this space is determined by out-working the competition.

4. Be a servant leader

In my new book The Content Code, I have an entire chapter dedicated to becoming a Heroic Brand. Everybody has a personal brand but few have what it takes to become a heroic, beloved leader who can transcend content, SEO, promotion, and other methods of moving to the top.

We both shared examples of the many people in the field who have a vision and dedication beyond themselves. The best leaders are sincerely dedicated to helping, serving, and elevating others.

5. Maybe your marketing niche is you

The obvious choices for a business “niche” would be a platform, a geography, or a price point. But another legitimate and often over-looked opportunity is your own distinctiveness. Maybe people buy from you simply because of who you are — your unique blend of experiences, education, and business approaches.

After all, there is only one you. You really have no competition. Perhaps your niche is you.

It was enjoyable sharing the stage with Mike on this topic. It’s on the minds of so many people. What else would you add? How have you found your marketing niche? Would you contribute your idea in the comment section?

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  • Jennifer Porter

    Mark’s voice always rings true to the human experience. Too often we compare ourselves with our competitors instead of finding our own unique skill set. As professionals if we are to continue to grow we need to continue to evaluate our skills and talents and be our own brand.

  • Great post Mark. Each new customer teaches us something new, contributing to our growth and success. i look forward to learning from your new book as soon as my 2014 taxes are complete.

  • Katarina Andersson

    Thanks for a great article. For me being a translator, often it is difficult to define a specific area or group of possible clients, even though I have my specific translation fields. This because clients can come a bit from every sector. And it is also true that often they might choose and trust me, because of me, because they know me through recommendation from others, by presence online, or by my memebership in trusted translators’ associations.

  • Hey Mark, Do you have ESP? I’m in a (painful) pivot mode right now! And one order of business today is to ask some of my top clients to send me 3 words that they feel describe me and then one sentence about what it’s like to work with me. Being a source of social media and blogging “how-to’s” is very valuable and that’s how most of my community has found me. But that in and of itself is not enough, especially in the crowded field I’m in. I’m very grateful that I have a big list of people who like working with me and are very supportive of everthing I do. And I’m very grateful for your blog… B

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jennifer!

  • Ha! I feel your pain on that one!

  • You certainly have elements of a defined niche right in that statement Katarina “the most trusted” “translation across any field” “a member of the translator association”

  • it’s hard to make money giving blogging advice when there is so much free stuff out there! Starting with your customers is the right thing to do.Also, Chapter 2 of The Content Code has some imdeas on measuring the information saturation of a niche. This can help guide you toward a new idea.

  • I have it in my Kindle…just need to sit down and read it! Thanks!

  • Thanks so much for buying my book. I think you’ll love it!

  • I”m on a incredible journey in my transformation from running an agency to becoming a consultant and teacher. It’s been full of great rewards so far. And it’s forcing me to dig deep…the way I’ve always done it for my clients. An amazing challenge when you’re doing it for yourself! A new shift every day…

  • Dan D Killmore

    Research is the key word here. And by research I mean getting on the phone and calling, asking letting the biz owner/prospect speak and ..wait for it, listening. Make some calls – listen- follow up with the results of your research by calling back the contacts you have made and chat some more. Do this with to 20-30 biz owners and you will have a niche to work in

  • Kevin Salas

    Love point #4… if you want to be a leader or start a movement, have the courage to follow, and show others how to follow. Great write up, Mark.

  • Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Thank Kevin!

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  • Thanks for doing that session with me Mark 🙂

  • A highlight. So much fun.

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