The concept of figuring your real niche out is capturing more people’s attention. The search for how to do this has remained murky. Simply because it has long been described as niching down. when in fact it is niching in. The point I am making might sound trivial. I can assure you it isn’t. The concept of niching in is more effective and versatile than niching down. Let’s discuss the difference.
Long ago when our civilizations categorized species of mammals, animal, and insects, they needed a system. That system worked by categorizing a group and then breaking it down into another group and kept going until it was down to it being a single unique species. All the descriptor that each category added help clearly define it’s uniqueness. That meant a frog wasn’t just a frog anymore. That frog is specifically the northern leopard frog. That name comes with details that help you tell this specific frog apart from any other. This system is mapped out visually and it looks like a family tree. Which is why niching down is niching down is a vertical process. This system will help you achieved most of what you hope for. However, it does have some limitations. Especially for a growing business trying to strategize. The virtual world we do business in, doesn’t really adhere to the same rules as the physical world. So the vertical system is a bit buggy.
Trying to niche in your business to discover and connect with your ideal customer becomes broader when it comes to location. Do you remember when people said the three most important things in the retail industry are, location, location, location. We can disregard this brick-and-mortar motto for the most part. Your ideal customers can mostly be located in the same places on the internet while remaining in different places all over the world. This can make the niching down process a little bit challenging. While this might break the family tree it’s not the biggest fault in the system. Nobody every described how that norther leopard frog feels. The don’t tell you what his problems. That’s why it’s niching in, not down.
Instead of thinking about niche vertically, how about you take a more person point of view. If could picture a target lying flat on the ground. you know the ones with 3 or 4 rings and a bullseye right in the middle. Let pretend this target is massive and three hundreds of thousands of people standing all over it. In this system your ideal customers are standing right in the middle of the bullseye. They are the ones that your product or service helps the most. Each ring you passed through to get closer to bullseye is another category, a descriptor so to speak. Every category has a smaller one within in. And of course the group gets smaller. That in a fact of life when it comes to niching in. It might take 3 rings or 12 rings you must pass through to finally find your perfect customer. Now, looking at this a different way might feel like semantics but it is a better way to perceive your businesses niche when you start and when you scale.
When you start with your most perfect customers, they will be the ones to embrace your product. They will be your raving fans and share their discovery of you with others. That group is your free marketing team. If you can help them so perfectly, they will love you for it and will want to tell others. This can naturally boost your business. But this is where it gets interesting. While you are focusing on this group, the group that surrounds it, the one just outside the bullseye is watching. If you can show success and create hype with your first group, the next group out gets curious, and you start to convert them to new customers too. That’s not all. Let’s say you want to scale a bit. It is so much easier now to gain the attention of the people who are just on the outside of you bullseye because you now have proof of concept.
When you decide you want to expand whether it’s growing sales or expanding your product line, you know where everyone stands. It makes it easier to work your way our from the centre and make customers of people who are only slightly different from your ideal ones. You can tweak a product to serve a slightly different group without losing your place or orientation in the market. And it is the safest way to grow. Some entrepreneurs diversify so much the confuse their niche. This way helps you remain focus on the people you can help the most. Nobody comes to market and dominates a massive niche. They start from the centre and work their way out. Gradually taking up more area and a bigger share of the market.
Unlike the vertical system that so well defines the northern leopard frog, this one is about reaching in. Not just the basics. You reach in to connect with people. Not just with sorting techniques using basic descriptors. You reach in with emotions. How does the problem you solve affect them and how they will feel when you solve it. There is a lot more gold to be found knowing people’s behavior and emotional state. When you find the niche you can emotionally connect with, you are reaching in on a whole new level. A level your competitors won’t be able to beat. You’re not just trying to reach into the centre of the target, you need to reach in with your customers. You don’t quite get there vertically. That’s why it’s called Niching in!