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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?

How to Find Your Voice

Let’s start with a story by Brendon Burchard as he recounts his days as being a TA back in college:

I love this message. It’s one of my favorite inspirational messages about getting confidence in one’s self. After hearing this story, it’s so easy to understand how developing your voice can boost your self confidence. I know first hand.

Finding Your Voice Helps You Gain Confidence

There was a time where I couldn’t say a word in front of a classroom. In fact, it was hard for me to just read in class.

I was literally afraid of what people thought of me. If I made a goof up in my reading, I believed they’d think “Oh, that’s just John being John. What a screw up!” Little did I think about the kids who really were bad at reading but they didn’t care as much as I did.

Later, in college as I was starting to find myself, I was still petrified of what people thought. This was the new me. The real caring me. Sad to say, the more I cared, the worse I did. In fact, I’d say that Speech class, and the two times that I had to defend my major projects (senior and thesis in grad school) were times where I couldn’t help but be a deer in headlights. I knew my future was riding on it and I didn’t want to screw up. So, like anyone else that is seriously focused on their responsibility, I over compensated and did worse than I would have if I hadn’t had tried to be perfect.

After graduation, I became an algebra instructor a year later. There’s a couple things about that. First, I hadn’t had algebra in 7 years at that point. And second, I was still deathly worried about speaking in front of people. Let alone, a classroom of people. However, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. So I had to deal with this problem.

In the end, teaching algebra for a couple of years taught me how to be myself in front of others. I believe that doing it repeatedly finally made me face my fear and deal with it. Was I the best? No. But was I able to break that “Deer in headlights” look? You bet.

How You Can Find Your Voice

You know, I’m sure there are other ways that people have found their voice over the years. But I just wanted to share with you how I was able to find mine while teaching algebra.

  • Accept that you have one. You know, many times I hear people talking about how no one ever showed that they cared about what that person had to say. This was the case in Brendon’s story. Well, John Maxwell has a saying that I think covers a lot of things, not just leadership. He says, “People don’t know how much you know, until they know how much you care”. This saying exactly reflects what Brendon did for his student. Likewise, when I focused on the fact that I had students that needed me to teach them how to do a certain skill to pass a class and the fact that they relied on me to teach them that skill, that’s when I started realizing that not only did I have a voice, but my voice mattered. If I did not realize that they relied on me, I probably would have been a horrible teacher.
  • Learn How to Be Present and Listen to the world around you. What do others say that you’re knowledgable about? What do others ask you about all the time? Knowing the answers to these two questions should help you realize that you have a certain subject and subjects that you can teach others about.
  • Realize that you know what you know. This was my major hang up. I focused so much on making sure that I knew everything and all the little questions that I wasn’t able to focus on the big picture – that people were comprehending what I was saying. Did people comprehend what I was teaching? It’s ok to not know the answer sometimes if it makes you more understandable. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be to convey your message in a way that resonates. It’s ok if your audience ask questions. It’s called feedback.
  • Be Relatable. Speaking of resonating, another part of having an impactful voice is to be authentic. I can tell you that if I was just regurgitating everything that was in the book, I probably wasn’t focusing too much on what the students were asking. So, I had to make sure that I was relatable. While I struggled at times, I found that the more stories or examples I used in class to explain a concept, the more likely the students were to understand what I was talking about. That said, how can you be relatable in your voice? In other words, how can you keep yourself from sounding like a robot?
  • Take Your Time. There’s a certain truth about things being rushed. What results have you had when you’ve been rushed? Some say that they do well under pressure. That might be ok with you. Personally, I know I haven’t had as good as results when I’m rushed vs not being rushed. Last week, we released a podcast about being proactive vs being reactive. Those who work reactively are more than likely being rushed to accomplish something. On the other hand, those that are working proactively do so in a more leisurely manner. Either way, when you take your time to get your message out, then you come across as being confident with what you’re saying. This will earn you more listeners.

 

Homework:

If you really want to find your voice and figure out why people should be listening to you, try the above. You might not have a class that you can teach, but there are other organizations that will allow you to practice speaking. One of those is Toastmasters. There’s chapters all around the world.

Another idea would be to simply create your own group or meetup. As it grows, you’d know everyone that became part of the group. Or, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can join another one. As you get to know more people in the group, you might not be so afraid of them over time.

If you’re someone who recently was able to find their voice. We’d love to hear from you, too! How’d you do it? What steps did I leave out above that would help someone else build their confidence?