You are a realtor, broker or sales associate ready to launch your brand. You have a stellar logo that a friend created for you, business cards designed and printed at VistaPrint, and a Wix website populated and ready to go live. But before you take that leap, ask yourself some valuable questions:
Who are my customers?
Do they want what I’m offering?
Is there a need for my product that other mainstream companies are not addressing?
Rather than creating a niche, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of falling into the “all over the map” trap, claiming that they do many things and excel at all of them. Instead, if you can specialize in a particular area, you’ll vastly improve your chances for success. You’ll face less competition and will penetrate the market quicker than someone who’s pitching to the masses.
Let’s talk socks for a moment. Taking on an apparel item that’s traditionally very difficult to sell, the retail brand Bombas combined the buy-one-give-one (or “BOGO”) business model of TOMS with a fresh new design, infusing bright colors that appeal to millennials, early adapters, and athletes alike. The result: The socially conscious, uber-focused product brand had $50 million in sales in 2017. That’s a lot of socks.
Looking for your niche? Follow these steps to pinpoint your corner of the market:
1. Design the customer profile.
Who is your customer? When answering this question, be as specific as possible. Consider your customer’s gender, background, career, geographic area, economic status, etc. For instance, targeting “teenagers” isn’t specific enough; instead, target “male, African American teenagers with family incomes of $40,000 and up.” Aiming at “companies that design software” is too broad; however, aiming at “Northern California-based companies that design internet software and have sales of $15 million or more” is a better goal.
2. Focus your product.
Of course, the product or service that you’re offering should appeal to those specific buyers who fit your customer profile. But authenticity is also key—so your niche should arise naturally from your unique interests and experiences. If you spent 10 years in a consulting firm and the next 10 years working for a small, family-owned company, you might decide to start a consulting business that specializes in family-owned small businesses.
3. Test the market.
Once you have defined your customer and focused your product, it’s time to start selling. Give your audience the opportunity to buy your product, and—more importantly—track how your customers respond. Launching a product is a fluid process; your results should be closely monitored, and your marketing strategies should be adjusted accordingly. Should I narrow my niche? Do I need to expand my budget? These are the types of questions you’ll ask yourself again and again, and for good reason.
The more you know about your customers, the more you can speak directly to them. Your marketing efforts will be more pointed and, ultimately, more successful. Continue to narrow and define your customer profile, and you’ll always be the big fish in the small pond.
Article originally published in Community News.
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Founded by Tana M. Llinas, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, visual storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention. www.brandpoets.com