Making life easier and more geeky all the time! Awesome!

niche marketing

How to Use Niche Products and Marketing In Developing Your Brand and Business

As creators who are wanting to start a business from our passions and interests, we are told from many marketing experts that choosing a niche audience is how you start a profitable business. They say you have to niche so deep that when you find an avatar – a representation of your perfect audience member – which will consider anything you make for them a must have. An example of an avatar might be a 25-34 year old, married, woman who finds herself stuck in middle management and wants to start making crafts for a living. (That’s an example, not my avatar!)

Basically, from this perspective, you make products for this one avatar. This type of business building is based on having a Niche Product.

The best way to get a niche product is to question anywhere from 5 to 20 of people who fit your avatar, find out what they want, how much they’d want it for, make it, and sell it to them.

Are you familiar with this method? If you’re a Fizzle member, you should be. If you’re a Foundation graduate you definitely should be. Both suggest that this is a relatively foolproof way of selling products.

Essentially, if you go this route, your recommended elevator sentence goes something like this: “We make ______ for _______ so that they can _______.”

I have no question that this model works… and it works well.

However, it seems to me that this might be missing the mark for some folks. If you’re like me, you might want to put your time into something that has a little more meaning for you in it. Something that you have a definite “Why” in doing. And to be honest, if you niche too far down, you might lose that Why. (We’ll talk about what that “Why” actually is in a second.)

To make it easier on themselves, some solopreneurs make their niche fit who they used to be. They make products and platforms for their old selves. Pat Flynn, Tim Ferris, and Lewis Howes are great examples of this. This seems like a straight forward solution. However, if you choose something outside of that, you might grow tired of working with that group. This fear of growing bored or even unwilling to work with a certain industry has given me issues in the past. The deeper I niched down, the further I got away from what I wanted to do. I have so many interests that all relate to each other that I couldn’t stick to one thing.

However, over the weekend, as I was listening to Brendon Burchard’s Thought Leaders Roadmap training and I had a eureka moment. Everything was made clear by a small section he discussed and I want to share it with you guys.

Definition of Niche Marketing

One of the things that Brendon touched on was a piece where he talked about Niche Marketing. He said that it wasn’t actually initially designed as I described niche product building above. I can see how many people use the terms interchangeably and it can become confusing. So let’s clear it up.

Niche Marketing is simply defined as

targeting a product or service to a small portion of a market that is not being readily served by the mainstream product or service marketers.

You might be wondering what the difference is. Well, for one, there’s no mention of an avatar. And, there’s no mention of building a product based on what that avatar wants.

It just simply says that you market based on the niche… not make the product itself based on the niche.

Example of Niche Marketing at Work

Can you think of any companies that use niche marketing? For me, Apple comes to mind. In his TEDx talk, Simon Sinek gives a perfect example of what separates their marketing practices from other companies. He talks about the Why factor being key in why they build what they build.

Let’s look at this elevator sentence: “We’re Apple. Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making sure our products are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make computers. Want to buy one?”

Now, let’s look at the first commercial series for the iPhone:

All you have to do with this is recognize that Simon’s message fits perfectly with these ads. Also, realize that it’s one product but multiple niches are messaged to through the various ads:

  • The first ad (after the intro ad) is for people already using an iPod. It shows how the iPhone is like an iPod – but better.
  • The second ad is geared more for a general demographic – maybe a little technology friendly..
  • The third ad is designed for the “on the go” type.
  • The fourth ad is designed for people who only browsed the web on their computers because they don’t like mobile versions of the web.
  • The fifth ad was designed possibly for those who might not know about the current trends in tech.
  • The last ad was for the busy on the go executive who needs things for their business.

You can see the same message being displayed in the next generation of ads. The difference is that they just added video:

And finally, here’s an example of an ad that shows their message for the Macbook Pro.

They didn’t even talk about the computer’s capabilities here! But why should they? They have brand recognition that it’s going to be easy to use because the iPhone was. What they did illustrate is that it was beautifully designed to drop weight down even more. This is part of their Why!

My Big Eureka Moment

The message that I’m getting across here is that there are two ways to market to a niche. We can take the advice of many of the popular marketing experts out there and make a product for a particular niche and get a definite sale. But we’ll be limited to our overall scope of how many people we’ll be able to sell to.

Or…, and here’s the big eureka moment, we can do both. We find out what several markets want, make one solution for all of them, then market it out to all of those markets like Apple has done with its products. (Apple may very well do this already. However, I know that part of what makes them who they are is that they build products that a lot of people don’t even realize they wanted. Most recent example is the Watch.)

I think that’s what Brendon does and that’s why he’s been able to grow so quickly in recent years. 4 Million Facebook likes of this writing. I think he knows what he’s talking about. 🙂

This Week’s Challenge:

Think long and hard about what you want from your future business. Do you want to create quick seller products? Or do you want to become an expert in your field – offering products that are not only meaningful to your brand, have a lasting impression, but also match your Why? If your answer is the second, think about what modality you’d prefer to provide your services in first and also think of a couple of possible complimentary products as well. In other words:

  • Create “high level” niche products and sell them through niche marketing.
  • Make sure that these products fascinate you (and you can talk about for 3+ years)
  • They’re in the modality you LOVE first. (Book, audio, video, or … etc.)
  • There are 3 products per “brand topic”. Then Stop. (Book, audio, and video, then … etc.)

If you’ve already started creating products, I’m curious – did you start with a Why? What kind of products have you sold that match that Why?

Good to Great: Learning How to Generate Greatness

What is greatness? Lewis Howes in his new book, School of Greatness, suggests that

“Greatness is the result of visionaries who persevere, focus, believe, and prepare. It is a habit, not a birthright.

As creators, a lot of us wonder what the difference is between people like Lewis and ourselves. We say things like, “Oh, it’s his good looks.” or maybe “It’s because he’s well connected as an athlete”. However, I think these are more of excuses of why we aren’t doing better ourselves vs why he’s doing so well. Yes, he has those things working for him. However, that isn’t the whole story.

The truth is that he’s gone from good to great… and he continues to do that daily.

When I first wanted to strike out on my own, I wondered about how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got to where they’re at. Mind you, this is back in high school and early college before I became too influenced by formal education. I seriously thought that they were capable of doing this because of their elite tech making powers. However, as I later would come to find out, this simply is just a part of the recipe.

The truth of the matter is, we all have this greatness in us. It’s simply the fact that many don’t know how to tap into this greatness. And it’s really not as simple as just saying “Oh, you need to try something out of your comfort zone.” Again, that’s only part of the recipe too.

At the end of this post, I think you’ll get a good grasp on what it entails to be a successful big name creator.

It’s All About Leadership

When we think about the differences between success stories like Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss, and Gary Vaynerchuk, we might have various thoughts about why they’ve all been able to get to the various levels of success that they have. Perhaps we simply say they were lucky. Or perhaps we realize that they’ve been able to follow a plan (knowingly or unknowingly) that has taken them to where they are.

 

When you think about these individuals, we realize that they have something in common besides simply being successful. It’s that when called to step up, they all have. Pat Flynn got over his speaking issues and has become not only a podcaster, but a successful conference speaker. Lewis literally got off the couch and started doing webinars. Tim didn’t end with just his one book, he did three. And Gary didn’t stop at doing liquor related projects, he’s actually grown Vaynermedia.

All of these acts could simply be described as them Stepping Up. They could have easily backed up and just done what they were comfortable with, but instead they’ve risen to the challenge again and again.

They have gone from Good to Great.

And, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert), doing that is going to take a little bit of Leadership.

How Do You Compare?

To become someone that’s great, we need to realize that there are 5 levels of leadership. Here’s a brief description of each:

Level 1: A highly capable person who is able to give to others through their knowledge, skills, and other good work habits.

Level 2: A contributing team member who uses their talents for the success of the group.

Level 3: A competent manager who understands basic organization of people and resources and is able to meet objectives and goals.

Level 4: An effective leader that is able to stimulate his followers to achieving a particular vision. However, they tend to do so for personal gains.

Level 5: An effective leader who not only gets his followers to achieve, but does so through humility and professional will. They care about the team and their followers.

Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s think about our examples again: Pat, Lewis, Tim, and Gary.

They all have been able to achieve themselves. They’ve all helped thousands of other people achieve. And, I would say that most of them honestly care about their fan base. So… yeah, they’re all Level 5 Leaders.

Furthermore, I’d say that the following could describe them even more:

  • They talk about their team, their company, their fan base more than they talk about themselves.
  • Not only do they set high standards for themselves, they set high standards for everyone around them.
  • They all would rather stretch themselves and those around them when it comes to challenges vs complaining about challenges.
  • They have ambition for their company and fan base. They want their fans and friends to help contribute to what they’ve started. (However, they’re not completely upset if they don’t want to come for the ride.)

How to go from Good to Great

Well, first off, we should remember that we’re not automatically Great. Again, it’s something that takes dedication and work to achieve. However, if you are wanting to have mass affect on your followers and get to a Level 5 Leader, here are some tactics to help you get there:

People are first, strategy is second. If we’re talking about customers and fans, it’s important to deliver what they want. Don’t produce something that isn’t wanted. You’d simply be wasting your own time. Once you have a viable product and have some people interested in your work, think about how you can promote some of your biggest fans to help work the machine. As you give off jobs that you once had to do yourself (based on your help’s strengths, of course) then you can add more products and/or ways of reaching more potential fans.

Facts and Faith. Simply be aware that as creators, we naturally have great imaginations. We’re always wondering “what if?”. However, that doesn’t lend us much to be a leader. I mean, it could help us be great motivational speakers, and if that’s all we’re wanting to be, that’s fine. However, true Level 5 Leaders have followers that have the same results and to help those people get results, we need to feet on the ground as well as our heads in the sky. (I think Pat does a great job of this one by showing his Monthly Income Report.)

Build Up to Break Through. It’s important to know that as a creator, the beginning is always going to be difficult and labor intensive on our parts. But, as we continue to meet the needs of our small team, customers, and our fans, then we’re building momentum. (If you have an online presence, traffic is a good indicator of this momentum.) Other momentum makers are improving ourselves (so we can stay on the cutting edge of our industry), and actually succeeding. When we have these things and show how well we’re doing, we create more belief with our followers.

Choose Simple Over Complex. Find out what you do well and play to those strengths. If you can’t do something, don’t try to do it until you find or hire help for it. If you’re jack of many trades like myself, then only focus on things that you really enjoy doing. Stay to your strengths, as we can work on our weaknesses but we’ll never get much with them. It’s all about eliminating what you don’t do well and concentrating on what you do. (If we use Gary Vee as an example, we know that he could be doing all of his social media stuff like a champ – but he’s hired people to do that stuff so he can focus on business development.)

An easy way to remember how to keep things simple is to focus on on three things:

  1. Is it what I’m good at.
  2. Does it make economical sense to do this?
  3. Will it excite my followers? Will it stir their passion?

If you’re able to answer yes for all three things, then it’s something you should consider doing.

Strategically Use Technology. As a creator, we want to limit ourselves as consumers. We all know how technology gives us the opportunity to consume information at a faster and faster rate every day. However, we need to learn how to leverage that same technology to get our message out there. It’s ok to be a first user if you think a technology is going to be widely used. (In fact, Gary Vee does exactly this. He believes that the sooner you get on a new technology, the less noise you have to deal with.) However, on the other hand, you can’t go from tech to tech to tech and expect your followers to be able to do the same. Pick something, stick with it, and test new technology out before you commit to it.

Develop a Culture of Discipline. Finally, a Level  5 leader wants to develop a culture of discipline simply because he or she doesn’t want to have to baby sit their fans and/or team. If you’re teaching people to do something, you want them to be able to do things and have their own results. If you have a team that is self disciplined, then you won’t have to redo their work over.

On top of having disciplined people around us, we also want to make sure that we have disciplined thought. Meaning, we need to be thinking continually about the right things. Once we have a product(s), customers, and perhaps a team, we want to make sure that our thoughts are based on helping them be the best that they can be in what they’re doing. On top of that, we also need to be thinking about other ways of building our influence.

Only when we have disciplined thought can we have disciplined action. Do things that help you and your business grow. Don’t do things that don’t.

Homework:

Hopefully this will help you focus on what you need to do to get to a higher level with your work. Remember, it wasn’t luck that got the big names where they were. It was focusing on the big picture and making sure that what they did positively affected those around them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about any strategies you’ve used to be more influential with your fans, customers, and/or team members. Do you see this strategy as being part of a Level 5 Leader? If it isn’t, can you think of anything you could do with that strategy to make it more impactful? (If you don’t know, feel free to ask.) Chime in below!

Top 10 Podcasts You Could Be Listening To (and 5 You Can Start On!)

Inspired by Cam’s video above, I thought I’d share with you all the podcasts that yours truly listens to as well. I mean, one of the things that we want to do in the newly created New Inceptions Masterminder group on Facebook is feature other people’s work. Not only does it build community when you promote others, but it also helps people find things they might not have known about in the past.

One of the things that LTD talked about all the time and that you might have heard is the phrase Leaders are Readers.

And I think that phrase has it’s merit. I believe to be a leader that you constantly have to be learning. When you’re learning, you’re moving forward. Likewise, if you’re not learning, you’re moving backwards.

However I believe that in today’s age many people don’t read as much as they used to. For example, while Facebook is full of text, it’s the videos that tend to go viral – not posts. For me, I’m naturally an audio person. I feel that videos and books must have your full attention to leave an impression. However, with audio (radio, podcasts, books on tape) I feel that you can be doing something (driving, walking, working out) and still be somewhat engaged in the material that you’re listening to.

So audio, I believe, is the one medium that every expert or online business person should be utilizing to build their audience. I’d imagine that podcasters would agree with this.

 

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, it’s never too late to start. Podcasts are generally free and can range in all kinds of topics, as Cam mentioned in the video above. I’ve been aware of them since I first had an iPod (2007’ish) but I believe they’ve been around longer than that. The reason you might not have heard too much about them is because they’ve been in somewhat of a rollercoaster of popularity over the years, but I think this current swing is a fairly large one.

So to help you get started (or maybe to just give you some more options), I’m going to share with you 10 podcasts that I’m currently listening to on a regular basis. And then, I’m going to give you my top 5 that I recommend that you should definitely add to your list whether or not you currently listen to them or are a newbie listener.

I will point out that I don’t expect you to listen to all of these all the time. Unless you commute daily and consider your car to be a mobile university, my recommendation would to pick topics that interest you.

The Top 10 Podcasts I’m Currently Listening To:

Smart Passive Income (Average Run Time [ART]: 45 minutes) – This is the first podcast that I ever started listening to. Over the years, Pat has done remarkably well with it. While I don’t visit his blog as much as I once did and don’t find myself regularly checking out his other material (which includes 2 more podcasts, a regular programmed YouTube channel, and “playing” around on Periscope), I do keep coming back to the original podcast. I think the main reason is his wide scope of guests that he has on the show. While he does manage to get big names on there from time to time (Gary Vee and Tim Ferris to name a couple), I think his real bread and butter is highlighting normal people who have successfully built an online business.

Solopreneur Hour (ART: 1 hour+) – Michael and his show recently came on the radar a couple of months ago when he was interview by Pat. I completely love his style of talking with people very casually. Just in the little bit of time that I’ve been listening, there have been HUGE bombs of wisdom dropped that I’ve used in either mindset or just getting things done. His background is definitely interesting in that he’s had big swings in his success. He’s killed it recently in the MLM world, but before that he moved from one place to another, struggling as he went. Oh and he loves his dog.

Joel Osteen Podcast (ART: 25 minutes)- This particular “podcast” helped me quite a bit when I lost my mom back in 2011. I was going through a transitional time in my life and having her pass just added to all the emotions of leaving college and entering “the real world”. While Joel might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I do think that certain people that are on hard times can be picked up by his inspirational message. Generally Maria and I will listen to this one together. (Also, there’s a video version of it as well as it’s simply the recording of his weekly televised show.)

The Charged Life (ART: 12 minutes) – Not as spiritual as Joel’s podcast, Brendon’s podcast is a quick message that he delivers about certain topics related to getting his listeners out of what he calls the “Caged” and “Comfortable” life. Like Joel’s podcast, there’s a video version of this one too which you can find on YouTube.

The Way I Heard It (ART: 5 – 7 minutes) – As being a fan of Mike Rowe since he started Dirty Jobs, I feel like I’m kind of in the same boat as him. Especially when it comes to how he is amazed by interesting people who do interesting things. This particular podcast was talked about during his interview with Tim Ferriss, and I thought I’d give it a go. Really glad I did! If you liked Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story, then you’ll love this – which is done in the same fashion.

Unmistakable Creative (ART: 55 minutes) – This show originally started out as the Blogcastfm.com show which was geared pretty much towards to what Pat talks about. In fact, Pat had Srinivas, the host, on his show back in 2013. However, around the time that Srini was on Glenn Beck’s show, was when the podcast was changed to it’s current form. At any rate, I’m still a fan of Srini’s and love the guests that he has on here.

The Fizzle Show (ART: 1 hour) – Another podcast and group I heard about from Pat’s podcast. While I love Pat, having three hosts on a podcast sounded very unique to me. While this format works well on the radio, not many people have used it for pure podcasting – at least not with the ones I’m familiar with. It’s because of this show that we decided to go with format that we did for the Angles of Lattitude Podcast. (Also, remember, that you can get your first month of being a Fizzler for free by going through this link here.)

Art of Charm (ART: 15 minutes to 1 hour) – Jordan Harbinger and his pals started the Art of Charm as a coaching service to guys who wanted to be better men. For a long time, that was the focus of the show. However, as soon as I started listening to the show regularly in 2012-2013, they started changing the focus a little more on just finding out how interesting guests became their current successful self. I will say that if you’re anyone who needs to work on your self image or confidence, that this might be a show worth your time to listen to. Guests on the show include upper tier successes.

StarTalk Radio (ART: 50 minutes) – I think this was the 2nd podcast I started listening to. It’s funny, but Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite popular scientists in today’s pop culture. He was the 1st host of the recent Cosmos (there might be future seasons from what I hear) and he’s also known for his phrase “We have a badass over here”. So it seems fitting that he hosts a show (typically with a comedian co-host) where they talk with guests about pop culture and science.

The School of Greatness (ART: 5 minutes to 1 hour+) – Like many other podcasts that release multiple times a week, the School of Greatness by Lewis Howes has long shows and a short show on Friday. Personally, I picked his podcast up in 2013 when I heard that he had started it. Being familiar with him by him being Pat’s podcast (where else?) and talking about webinars and LinkedIn, I thought he might be interesting to listen to as well. Fast forward a couple of years and I think he’s more known for doing the show now than he was with those previous topics. Types of guests that he has on the show typically are pretty successful, but a lot of the time he tends to mix in some pretty good topic editions (those are normally his short ones).

My Recommended Top 5 Podcasts for the Podcast Newbie

If you’re just getting into podcasts, I wouldn’t recommend subscribing on iTunes to all of these just yet. Honestly, there’s a crap load of information coming from these folks and I don’t want you to get hammered with too much all at once. If you’re finding my list, there’s a good chance you have an interest in improving your career. So, what I’ll do for you is give you the ones I think would help you out the most in that quest. Then later on, you can come back and subscribe to the other ones I listen to for edutainment.

These are in order of how relevant they are based on where you might be in your career. The first three are for anyone while the latter two are geared more towards people who want to be experts in their field.

  1. Art of Charm – Basically just teaches people how to crush it all around – in their jobs, in their relationships, and in life. Jordan is very engaged with his guests which is interesting. You can tell he does his homework. He comes across as a fan of everyone he talks to.
  2. School of Greatness – Like the Art of Charm, however, Lewis lets the guest talk way more which definitely makes it a different show.
  3. The Charged Life – I think more people need to be aware of Brendon and what he offers. Ideally, at New Inceptions, we’re trying to help you move from a Caged or Comfortable life to a Charged Life as well.
  4. Smart Passive Income – I think it’s important that people know that there’s a way that you can make an income on the side using the skills that you already use day in and day out. While Brendon does that for a premium (he can, too – he shows you EVERYTHING you need to do to be a success in expert space) Pat shows you how to do it all for free. He’s also exposed so much of the world to me in general, that I couldn’t not post his show.
  5. Solopreneur Hour – I like his technique. It’s hard to say how much he actually researches his guests, but I think that adds to his style. He and Pat say that they don’t research their guests too much because they want to sound more authentic when finding things out. However, he does seem to know a lot about most of them. I like the conversation effect that this gives his show.

Homework:

I’d love for you to check these out and let us know what you think. If you’re a podcast newbie, take a listen to my recommended top 5 and let us know which one sounds the most interesting to you. What did you like about them? What didn’t you like about them? If you were to make a podcast, what would you focus on? If you’re already a host, please let us know about your podcast below. Be sure to tell us why you started it and what your focus is. Let yourself be heard!

Innovation in Indiana 001: Techpoint Innovation Summit 2010

In the past year that I’ve been in Indianapolis, one of the groups that I’m glad to be plugging in with is Techpoint. Essentially Techpoint’s goal is to help foster up-and-coming companies from around the state. Also, they act as a podium to bring together speakers from various backgrounds to come and give their two cents on given topics.

On a yearly basis, Techpoint holds two large events that recognize entrepreneurship in Indiana. One, the Mira Awards, features companies from around the state that have done well in their respective field. It is generally sponsored by several schools including Purdue, Indiana, and Ivy Tech as well as several other key names within the state such as Indiana Business Journal, Barnes and Thornburgh, and ExactTarget. While seeing the companies being recognized for their achievements is great, the networking opportunities are awesome. And considering that this is a site dedicated for helping you with your new path(s) in life, if you are in Indiana and specifically Indianapolis, don’t pass up next years Mira Awards!

Secondly, the Innovation Summit is a place where a collection of speakers and business owners can get together and share ideas. In a way, you could think of it as Indiana’s Innovation TED. While I have not attended the Summit, I am looking forward to attending it next week on October 27th. Here’s a video for you to get a glimpse as to why I’m looking forward to it!

Link to the full story via their Blog.

If you’re an Indiana based Entrepreneur/business owner who would like to mix with some of the best minds in the area, I would say it’s in your best interest to make it to a Techpoint meeting in the near future!