Every week I get messages like this…
“I would love to be more strategic and target the right clients. I just don’t know how.
“I’ve created landing pages and lead magnets, implemented local SEO and video marketing services, and I’m still unable to find the right fit for my company.”
“What are going to be some of the most profitable niches?”
Nailing your niche is foundational to your marketing success. And yet, most new business owners struggle with it.
Many are scared to niche down because they think it’ll limit their pool of prospective clients. It won’t. If you try to target everyone, no one will raise their hand and say, “Yup, that’s for me.”
Your job is to find a sub-culture you can dominate. Because by zeroing in on your sub-niche, you can target and reach a very specific audience, making your marketing 100 times more effective.
So whether you’re new to entrepreneurship and are looking for business ideas and potential niches or you’re an established brand looking to build your business plan, I’m going to help you find your niche. Try these eight steps or download our 12-step niche framework.
How to find your niche
To be clear, you don’t need to use all these options. Finding your niche can be as simple as using two, three, or even four of these options and intersecting them to build a clearer picture of your niche audience.
1. What interests you?
If you’re living for the weekends, you have a job, not a vocation. As cliched as it sounds, the whole point of starting your business is to find something you’re passionate about. I want you to look forward to Mondays, not dread them.
Business isn’t always a smooth ride. You’ll have ups and downs. If you’re doing something you don’t really enjoy, staying committed in the rough times will be challenging.
To find your niche, answer this:
- What topics interest you? Start by listing five or 10 things you’re deeply interested in.
- Who do you enjoy working with? This can change as your business matures, but having an idea of who you want to work with is vital. So is knowing whom you don’t want to work with.
- What do you have experience in? You are an expert in your field. No matter how long you’ve worked in this industry, you have knowledge and experiences that you can draw on to help others.
For example, I came from an IT and Telecommunications background. To grow my first business, I invested a ton of time and money in learning how to market it. Helping other businesses master marketing to scale became a passion of mine.
2. Use location when relevant
It comes down to who you want to work with and the service you provide.
Are you a brick-and-mortar business serving your local community, or can you target a global audience?
Service-based businesses like coaching, copywriting, accounting, therapy, design, VA, and PR can work for international companies. Obviously, you still need to know the market you’re serving, but the location is less important. The same goes for online stores. Provided you can deliver your goods globally, you’re not bound by location.
In comparison, restaurants, lawyers, doctors, and home-gardening services rely on their local communities to scale. So you’d location-based advertising to strategically target your audience.
Knowing your location determines the URL you choose for your business. Someone based in New Zealand and selling to the NZ market will choose a co.nz over a .com.
Is location important to your business niche?
3. Decide what demographic you’ll target
Who is most likely to buy your product or service? By knowing their age, sex, income, and interests, you can tailor your content to their lived experience, and start building an engaged audience.
For example, if you’re going to be selling high-ticket items (thousands of dollars), you’ll likely target a more affluent customer. Perhaps they’re older, with an established business.
But if you’re selling stretchy pants similar to Lulu Lemon, you might target new moms whose bodies are still changing but who want to feel comfortable in whatever they wear.
Start by answering these questions.
- What is your audience’s earning potential?
- Would you prefer to work with men or women, or does gender not matter?
- What age would you connect with most?
What interests are relevant to your business?
4. Explore potential shared values
You want your audience to stop and say, “hey, that’s for me.” They don’t want to follow wishy-washy brands. They want to buy from businesses that share their values.
If you’re in the outdoor apparel business, you might target adrenaline junkies or adventurists. If your product is created from recycled goods, you’ll probably target people who are environmentally conscious.
A food blogger is going to target self-taught cooks, and a travel influencer will target people who love to explore new places.
Using your unique experience allows you to personalize your marketing message, which is crucial to building a loyal customer base.
So what do you value?
5. Choose your vertical
Which industry do you want to work with?
Even as a coach, I know there are certain industries I can get better results for. Mainly because I have direct experience with those industries. For example, dentistry, legal, SaaS, marketing agencies, etc.
Niching down the industry you serve also allows you to be hyper-focused in your marketing. Chances are your marketing budget is limited. Do you want to waste it targeting anyone who needs your service or a select group?
To find your niche, answer this:
- What industry do you have experience in?
- Is it profitable?
Would you say this niche is an inch wide and a mile deep?
6. Tap into desires
What does your target audience want? What do they need?
Most customers know what they want, but they lack clarity on what they need.
For example, people wanting to get fit will be motivated by losing weight, getting a 6-pack, or having a bikini-body. That’s what they want.
What they need is someone to guide them, hold them accountable, keep them motivated when it gets hard, and instill health habits they can take with them throughout life.
Your niche wants something, but it may not be what they need.
I’ll give you another example. Someone may want to write a book. They’re doing it to establish their credibility and build their authority. But what do they need?
They need your guidance on how to monetize that book so it gets found by their niche.
So to determine your niche, ask yourself, what desires can you tap into?
7. Identify the problem you solve
Profitable businesses solve problems. What problems do your target customers suffer from, and what solution can you provide?
Not sure what that is. Try these three methods for identifying your niche’s problems.
- Speak to your existing customers. Whether you do this in a webinar, on sales calls, or through an email Q&A, their feedback is crucial to your marketing messaging. When I started using customer feedback to build sales pages, conversions increased exponentially. It’s worth building out a series of questions that naturally lead to each other.
- Industry forums where your prospects hang out. Reddit and Quora are great sources of information on your target market. Filter your niche and see what topics are being discussed and the problems your audience has.
- Study the keywords your audience is typing into search engines and on social media. You can use AHREFS and Google Trends to find your niche-related keywords. Use these to build out emails, thought pieces, and social media posts.
For example, say you work with business owners who want to get PR coverage. They just don’t want to pay an agency thousands of dollars, they want to try to pitch themselves.
You could create a course that shows them exactly how to get featured in the press. In it, you’d add trainings from PR experts and journalists, as well as pitching templates and a list of media to target.
That’s incredibly valuable to someone. Use the tips above to zero in on the problem you solve.
8. Are there trends you can jump on?
ChatGPT, medical cannabis, cryptocurrencies, and AI are all examples of great trends that you can use to build a powerful business.
Specializing in a specific platform is also a great way to build a business.
For example, Matt Barker is a LinkedIn Content Creator who built a 6-figure ghostwriting business teaching people how to use LinkedIn to find business.
Every single one of his posts gets hundreds of comments and thousands of likes. Anyone promoting LinkedIn gets a handy boost from the social channel because they want more people to use it.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create a profitable business. You just need to look at the market and ask yourself, how can I do this differently?
And that’s how to find your niche. Now let’s look at a few examples of businesses that weren’t afraid to niche down.
4 Benefits of finding a niche you can dominate
You get to wake up every morning and look forward to going to work. So many people live for retirement, a chance to finally enjoy life. I don’t want to wait until I’m in my 60s to experience the best life has to offer, and I’m pretty sure you don’t either. Choose a career that excites you.
That might start with listing what you don’t want your life to look like. In a separate column, list your ideal work life.
- I want to have a view of the forest
- I only want to work four hours a day
- I want to be able to take an overseas holiday once a year.
You get the idea.
Provided you’ve chosen a profitable niche, you can make a lot of money doing far less than you are now. When I pivoted into business coaching, initially, I was charging $500 a month per client. Now I charge $6000 per month.
I work less and make more. That’s the power of choosing a profitable sub-niche.
Building your personal brand in a competitive niche is no easy feat. But carving out a space for yourself in a sub-niche that’s underserved is a clever way to build your authority.
Social proof is vital to cementing your personal brand. Try this:
- Identify a list of podcasts and publications you’d love to be featured in. Use a mix of well-known and up-and-coming.
- Ideate potential topics that you could share with their audience. Start with about ten.
Pitch these ideas to the publications. Particularly with regard to blogs, you don’t need to be a credible authority to be featured in the press. If you’ve got an interesting story or unique perspective to share, that’s enough to get you free media coverage.
Long-term customer relationships
Contrary to popular belief, the fastest way to increase wealth is not to find more customers. That takes time and moolah. If you want to scale quickly, get your existing customers to buy more often.
I’ve had customers follow me, from my IT business to my telecommunications company, to my marketing consultancy. The key, I’d invested time and effort into building and nurturing those relationships. They trusted me, and you can’t put a price tag on trust.
Having long-term relationships make launching new products a guaranteed success. How do you think so many first-time business authors get on to the bestseller list? They have a loyal database of customers.
Why your niche and marketing business plan go hand in hand
Marketing is never done. It’s an iterative process. That’s why I created the 1-Page Marketing Plan template. It’s meant to be a living document that you update and add to as you get better information about your niche market.
- What influences their buying decisions?
- What messages do they respond to?
- What media do they consume?
- How can you surprise and delight?
- Do they prefer to engage with you via email or on social media?
- What products or services are they interested in purchasing?
- Do they respond well to stories?
- Are testimonials crucial in helping them to make a purchasing decision, or do you just need to get them on the phone?
- When are they more likely to buy?
Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial to crafting a marketing plan that gets results and scales your business. So make sure you’re spending time with your niche.
7 Examples of potential niches
1. Go Nomad
Sub-niche: digital nomads
Are you a digital nomad in search of your next adventure? What if you could travel to the unusual, unknown, or unexpected? Maybe, discover a little town in the middle of nowhere rather than a bustling city. Go Nomad helps digital nomads find a place to live. Travel writers can make money crafting articles for this site, and in turn, they help nomads find their next home. It’s a niche that ranks highly.
Sub-niche: knee strength
Got a knee problem? Ask the knee-over-toes guy. People all over the world struggle with knee problems, especially as age kicks in. Those once well-oiled hinges now squeak and creak.
Before you search for a knee specialist, you’ll probably type how to improve your knee strength in Google, and you’d land on this guy. He has almost a million Youtube subscribers. That’s a lot of eyes on his videos. If you try his tips and you notice a difference, you’re going to trust him to get you results. It’s a niche that’s an inch wide and a mile deep.
Sub-niche: Bottle Manufacturers
Can’t get more specific than that business name. We Shoot Bottles is a photography company in the U.K. As you may have guessed, they take photos of bottles for a living. If you’re someone who manufactures bottles you could scroll through hundreds of photographers trying to find a good fit, or you’d contact these guys to photograph your stuff because it’s what they do. Specificity sells. So be specific in your niche.
4. Miss Excel
Sub-niche: excel for small businesses
You’ve just been promoted to manager, and now you need to track budgets. That requires Excel, only you don’t know how to use it. You could purchase an expensive course or watch Kat Norton dance across your screen while teaching you how to do things with Microsoft Excel. It’s fun, entertaining, and helpful. Kat makes well over 7 figures selling Excel courses every year. She’s proof that you can take a seemingly boring niche and turn it into something exciting.
5. Remote Ok
Sub-niche: recruitment for remote workers
Tired of long work commutes? Want the freedom to do your job from home while wearing your superman pjs? You need a well-paying remote job. You could look on LinkedIn, scroll through job boards, and reach out to your Network, but you’d have to sift through a bunch of job ads looking for in-house staff. Rather go to the place that only posts remote jobs. That’s Remote OK. It’s a smart way to find job talent and an ideal job.
Sub-niche: Family law
Got a legal question. Hiring a lawyer is super expensive. Do you even know if they specialize in the field you need answers to? The Legal Queen specializes in divorce law. She’s built her following by answering the most common questions about divorce. It’s a very specific target market and does a great job. There are no bells and whistles. She doesn’t have fancy graphics or music. It’s just her answering questions, and it’s getting her a ton of new clients. So just answering common Q&As can get you new business.
Sub-niche: apparel for weight lifters
If you lift weights, your hands take a beating. Raw, open blisters aren’t pretty, and they hurt. If only you had a pair of gloves. That’s where Barehand Gloves comes in. I actually bought a pair a while ago, so I know how much a pair of gloves can impact your lifting game. Again, don’t be afraid to choose a hyper-specific target market.
Common questions around niches
How do you know if you’re too niche?
It’s very rare that I’ve come across a business that’s too niche. You’d be surprised by the number of sub-niches that are doing incredibly well on Reddit. Businesses you’d never think of.
Start by looking at competitors. If there is healthy competition in your niche, you can be confident that it’s profitable. But if you’re the only one spearheading a niche, I’d be cautious. You may have no competition because there is no viable market.
Don’t be scared to test and pivot when necessary.
How do I know if there’s a viable market for my niche?
It comes down to research and knowing your numbers.
- Is there a demand for the product?
- Is it a profitable space?
- Is there a wide enough market to accommodate you as a new seller?
- Who is your direct competitor?
You want to stay away from products with low-profit margins and too little demand. Avoid customers that buy on price. Becoming a commodity business is a losing strategy.
Where do I research my niche audience?
Start with Facebook Groups, forums like Reddit and Quora, industry publications, and podcasts. See if there is a market for your product, and pay attention to the questions that are routinely raised.
Look for gaps in the market. Can you fulfill those customers’ needs?
How to gain insight into your niche customer with keyword research
Want to know what are the most popular questions your niche searches for daily? Use a keyword research tool like AHREFS or SEMRush. They’ll give you a list of frequently asked questions and the search volume for each keyword.
You can then use these keywords in your marketing efforts. Create webinars, blogs, social posts, and email sequences that deal directly with their pain points.
Can I have more than one niche?
I’m always impressed by business owners who have multiple niches. Provided you’ve not spread yourself too thinly, you absolutely can have more than one niche.
But if you’re just starting out in business, I’d advise that you dominate one niche before pivoting to the next. Remember, you have limited firepower (marketing dollars, resources, and time), so dividing your focus in the startup phase can affect your growth.
What you can do is have different segments within a target market.
For example, there are three segments that we work with. Business owners wanting to learn how to build a marketing plan purchase our course.
The next segment targets business owners doing between $500,000 and $30M who want to scale with marketing. We provide 1:1 coaching to this segment. Then we have people who want to become consultants, coaches, etc. They join our Certification program.
So, it’s totally okay to think of your target market in multiple segments. You might choose one small segment to focus on or work with 2 or 3 segments. It’s completely up to you.
HOW DO I FIGURE OUT THE REVENUE OF MY NICHE AUDIENCE?
We get this question a lot and it’s tricky because asking somebody who you don’t really know exactly how much money they’re making is a little awkward.
Instead, use proxy questions to give you a better understanding of how much money they’re making.
For example you could ask, how many employees do you have?
If you have over 10 employees, there’s a good chance that you have a good deal of revenue and you’re hitting around the 700 to over a million mark. Obviously, it can be much higher at that point, but at least you have a better understanding.
Some other questions you can ask are:
- What’s the volume of product that you’re selling?
- What’s the quality and quantity of the service or product that you’re selling?
I DON'T LOVE THE CLIENTS I CURRENTLY SERVE. WHEN DO I SWITCH NICHES?
Firstly, you don’t want to burn bridges.
If the target market you’re currently working with is bringing in more revenue, keep them for now. But start shifting the messaging of your promotional materials while you figure out the potential customers you want to work with.
Slowly test and treat this as a skunkworks until it’s been validated. You can then begin transitioning those clients you don’t enjoy working with out of your business.
Are you ready to determine your personal niche?
So many people get stuck on finding their niche because they want it perfect from the start. That rarely happens. Some of the most successful people I know got their start in very different businesses from the ones they run now.
I know I did. I thought I’d provide marketing consulting to corporates, but I hated it. Too much paperwork, too many reports, and meetings with stakeholders. Urg! Once I pivoted to small businesses, I was so much happier.
So don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. As long as you’re building relationships, you can always pivot.
And most importantly, once you know what your niche is, invest in niche marketing. That’s where your marketing plan comes into play. It’s going to make connecting with, nurturing and converting leads to customers so much easier.
Use this framework to find your personal niche.