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How Do You Know If You've Truly Found Your Niche Market?

Niche market is one of those buzz terms that gets thrown around a lot. Just about any marketing book, article or blog post worth its weight talks about niche marketing. It’s so prevalent that most small business owners would say they’ve heard the term.

But just knowing about the term niche marketing doesn’t mean you know what niche marketing really is. Or how it applies to your business.

Most service-based business professionals I work with and talk to have some idea of niche market. Often, they think of it as the group of people their business serves or the market they target their services for. And while it’s true that your market is who you sell your products and services too, it doesn’t mean you’re selling to a niche market.

There’s a number of ways to define niche marketing or niche marketing. Wikipedia defines it as a focused, targetable portion (or subset) of a larger market. The New Oxford Dictionary defines niche as a specialized but profitable corner of the market. Personally (and professionally) I think of niche market from a point of problem/solution. So for me, I find my niche market in identifying a highly specific problem or set of problems that my service solves in a highly specific way.

A comment in a recent blog post gives me an interesting example to play with here. On my recent post, Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of The Econimic Crisis, I spoke to how highly niched small businesses will be affected much less during turbulent economic times. One commenter, who identified themselves as CSS Gallery (obviously not their name), made the comment that “One niche market that is growing considerably is SEO.”

As with all comments, I deeply appreciate the thought and sharing. And it’s true that SEO is a growing market. But SEO, in and of itself, is not a niche. SEO is a market. And being a market, you can find all types of focused, targetable portions of the SEO market. So if you’re in SEO, your working in a highly unspecific market and with a little effort you could discover the niche market you best serve within the overall SEO market.

For instance, let’s say you’re an SEO specialist. You’ve worked with a lot of different types of companies in a number of different markets. But you have a perpensity toward graphic designers. You’ve worked with a number of graphic designers and understand the market a bit. You’ve even had some success at getting rankings for the graphic designers you’ve worked with. You could decide that your niche is in SEO for graphics designers. That would be a subset (niche) within a market (SEO).

But you can go further – and I recommend it. You can look at SEO for graphic designers as a market itself. Now I’ve said it’s a niche – and it is a niche of the seach engine optimization market. But you can also find niches within doing SEO for graphic designers. Let’s say, for instance, your SEO track record showed that you got great results working with graphic designers who create logos. You could further niche yourself by providing SEO services for logo designers. And you can go even further with this (and I suggest you do) by defining what type of logo designers you specialize in working with.

You see, the goal is to find the most specific niche you can and market to it. That’s how you can dominate a market. The more specific you are in your defining your niche, the more your marketing message (and SEO, by the way) can target that niche’s specific needs. That way when the logo designer is looking for SEO and finds you, they’ll feel as though you’re speaking right to their needs. And when they see that you specialize at working with their type of business, wouldn’t it only make sense that they’d contact you?

The key to niche marketing is to find a real niche. By real niche, I mean the subset of the market you serve. Sometimes it’ll be the subset of the subset of the market you serve – and so on. The goal here, though, is that you’re speaking only to the specific people whose specific problems your services can solve. Find them and you’ve found your niche.

Are you marketing to a specific niche within a market? Or are you still marketing to everyone?

And if you do have a niche, how have you defined it? And in defining it, how has it changed your business.

Let’s talk about it.

(note:  image from  The Jamoker on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. I believe I defined a good niche market for my blog.

    It has to be narrow, focused and have good traffic.

  2. I think a niche can really be very easily defined. The question is if it’s successful or not.

    Much harder. There needs to be unfilled demand. But I think it’s easier than people think, and looking at resources online can sometimes scare people off. Just spend the time to develop and you should find your niche!

    Still working on mine.

  3. Marketing and defining for a niche is very effective. However, you much find your specific niche that actually has a profitable amount of consumers in it. Become too specific and you run the risk of not having a large enough customer pool. Good post!

  4. Mike Allan says:

    I agree with you 110%. I got into SEO because of the success I was having generating traffic for my video production web site. So my niche marketing is now video production companies in Toronto. I’m just getting started but I’ve already placed two companies in the top 10 on google for their core competencies. Like your example – graphic design, video producers also have niche markets. It’s a WIN-WIN for everyone.

  5. At first I thought I’d found a niche within freelance writing – web content writing. In recent months, however, I’m realizing that a true niche would be marketing my website copywriting to, say, small businesses or freelancers. I could get even more specific and go for accountants or petsitters.

    The problem is that I’m not comfortable tweaking my site to target a niche like that, possibly turning off people from other niches. If I customize my services for accountants and a pet sitter comes by, they’ll just click away to someone else who’s more inclusive.

  6. We are shutting down our business because our target niche way back in 2005 have no enough money to spend playing games here in my i-cafe.Have to start all over again and this time I should be targeting a niche with lots of moolah.

  7. Finding your niche market is just one of the ingredients needed to succeed in business. Once you’ve found your niche, never let it go until you’re ready to develop a new one.

  8. If seo is done in the right way then you can get some good returns.

  9. I found a few niches I really enjoyed and also found a few I thought I would enjoy but it never worked out. I found out the stuff I had a passion for worked out a lot better then the stuff I just wanted to work on because of the large amount of money available in that niche.

  10. niche is found when it’s found.

  11. what I meant was, you never really know unless you know it’s beforehand it’s a niche. paradox?

  12. Wired Keyboard says:

    SEO is a dying art! Google is cracking down on so many areas it is hard to promote business online..

  13. SEO is not dying you just cant think of new ways to link build!

  14. I try to balance but must admit am worried that going for a specific niche limits my profits

  15. that’s a very interesting point and i totally agree with it… when you have what you think is your niche, you can always look a bit closer; you can go down and find a more specific niche…

  16. Raj Krishnaswamy says:

    I liked the definition that you came up with for niche markets. And that to me is the only correct definition, especially the properly used term “highly specific”. I run an offline business that fits the term “niche” in every possible manner. First there are only a handful of sources to buy the widgets I make; second of all it is so expensive from capital equipment stand-point that the barrier to entry is high; finally it is so specific that most generalized companies cannot afford to focus on such a tiny but definitely needed product. The key that I also find is that even in niche markets, marketing is very critical for without proper marketing, the customer will simply buy from your competition. Thank you for a nice article.

  17. Niche is like the zoom button.
    You Niche and Niche, and at each state… you are still looking at a niche of the big picture.

    I am an SEO professional for a website competing in the printing industry.

    Printing is the Niche of the Internet Market

    SEO is my niche of the Job Market.

    But the real Niches of SEO are the keywords, and which ones you chose to focus on.

    So now I can say I am niched SEO professional niching on the Printing Industry, even more niching on the keywords ‘custom postcards’ and ‘postcard printing’.

  18. Being in real estate we have many niche markets that we can choose from. I personally have chosen property management. At some point I can even get more detailed and only do certain types of homes. Finding your niche is sometimes a hard and daunting task. Once you find your niche you will know it. I also found myself to be more successful when I found my niche because it was something that I enjoyed.

  19. Honestly, Dawud. I spent three years scouring and collecting all the useful data online. The reason I’m doing this is to determine the best niches that I can develop on it.

    The truth was it’s harder than we thought here…

  20. Dawud, Niche marketing is passe! It is now Blue Ocean Marketing!!

    Let us have your take on this pearl of wisdom from some serious Marketing
    Gurus.

  21. Raj, in such niche markets, you will need to differentiate yourself by superior quality and service.

  22. While I agree it’s important to recognise the difference between different business niches while working in SEO, I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to confine yourself to one or the other. Different niches present different issues that you can learn a lot by facing.

  23. I am so glad we found your blog. Niche marketing seemed like a mountain that we would just climb up-get half way up and roll back down.

    My mouth dropped when you said you have over 100 ways to drive traffic to your site……where have we been. We are experts at Removing Hair Extensions and Braids-but how do we climb this mountain again. We see the people at the top of the mountain asking for our help!

    Thanks…keep up the good work-teaching us how to fish.

  24. Very Nice Post! I had a meeting with a client recently and this client couldn’t get the fact that he/she should be concentrating on his niche instead of trying to break into the general market and getting a piece of the pie.
    He wanted to find clients with the shotgun approach, while he should be picking up his sniper rifle!

    Conversion is also much easier if you focus on your niche as the potential client found you by searching for a specific product or service. This means the browser is much more likely to go over to action!

  25. Awesome content lots of great wisdom and inspiration here, bring truths of the simple facts alive

  26. I believe it occurs when you are comfortable with it and enjoy doing it.

  27. I am finding that to do well the niche really has to be specific these days and you have to put a ton of info out there to generate traffic. You are going for the long tail of search terms and need to be perceived as an expert.

  28. Hi, everyone! I’m still finding my own niche. Though I’m getting comfortable with 2 or 3, I think I have to choose only 1 and concentrate with it… Well, I think I’ll settle for 2 because I love variety. I envy those people who are one-track minded and can decide on things firmly. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts here. :)

  29. Choosing a niche is one of the toughest things small business owners face.

    As a traditional, off line marketing consultant, I deal with a lot of highly successful, by the bootstraps entrepreneurs. These guys learned by doing, are not particularly well versed in marketing.

    When I tell them they need to focus more than they already are, they can’t fathom doing that.

    The response I hear most is: Why would I cheat myselft out of all that business?

    I have a hard time convicing them, but when I do – the results are nothing less than stellar.

    Good post and nice way to give a succinct reason for honing down a niche into a sub-niche.

  30. Thanks for passing useful information regarding Niche market..But one thing is it occurs when you are comfortable with it and enjoy doing it.

  31. I took the advice of a business advisor and targeted my offline business towards two specific niches, it has worked VERY well and what happens is that I get niche specific referrals but I also get general ones, I am known in the local area for my niche and always busy.
    I have recently applied the same niche targeting and identified and niche that I can take online. It’s one of the best pieces of advice I was given!

  32. I think a niche can really be very easily defined. The question is if it’s successful or not.

  33. This is a huge topic. Being able to understand how to choose a great niche takes years of experience.
    I have nowhere near this experience, but i do have some advice for people just starting out.
    The advise is targeted at internet marketing, but can just as easily be used in offline business.

    1. Find a niche that has some value.
    There is no point in targeting a niche that has no customers or other ways to make a buck.
    2. Find a niche that has low competition.
    This way you can easily dominate the niche with as little effort as possible.
    3. Find a niche that you actually have some knowledge about.
    Having some knowledge makes it so much easier.

    If you can find a niche that satisfies these 3, you are well on your way of finding gold! :)

  34. Actually I’m really a newbie about online business. If I find the niche market, what is proper next step I have to do?

  35. CSS Perk says:

    I agree with you that something like SEO is just way too broad to be considered a niche. It’s like saying car repairs is a niche. But what about a car repair shop that caters to housewives wives who feel intimidated by traditional “grease monkeys”? I think that’s a niche. A niche website that I witnessed experience great success was one that catered to middle aged religious men who were interested in advanced fitness and bodybuilding. I’m currently working on finding my niche and I agree that it’s very important to find your market subset and not just have a broad focus.

  36. Devon Cottages says:

    Niche is definately the way forward… start small and with a niche and then grow. Dont start big first.

  37. SEO is not a niche in itself, it’s the art of optimizing a website for a particular niche. It’s much easier to rank for keywords within a niche then general ones because of many issues such as domain theme, etc.

  38. I think SEO is practically an industry at this point. It is everywhere and everyone is an “expert”. Now, SEO for Trial Lawyers, that’s a niche.

  39. Nice and interesting article, thanks for sharing your opinion. Please keep on blogging, I am looking forward to read your next great article.

    Best regards.

  40. internet advertising and marketing says:

    Pretty good information, here is my blog if there is more interest on marketing for your business.

  41. Sometimes you find a niche; sometimes the niche finds you. Despite your positioning efforts, the market is already segmented. The million dollar question is: given your commercial proposal, how many people are in your niche? And competitors?

  42. Great post!!!Niche marketing specific the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intending to impact…I am fond of niche because it aimed at a wide demographics audience, with the resulting low price on high demand…Thanks for sharing!!!!

  43. I found a few niches I really enjoyed and also found a few I thought I would enjoy but it never worked out. I found out the stuff I had a passion for worked out a lot better then the stuff I just wanted to work on because of the large amount of money available in that niche.I am fond of niche because it aimed at a wide demographics audience, with the resulting low price on high demand…Thanks for sharing!!!!

  44. Dallas Web Design says:

    I agree with everyone. I ve been trying to get our site to rank int he top five for 2 weeks now. We have gone from 60 to 32 to 22 to 11 as of today and 10 minutes ago for some reason we went back down to 22. I can not for the life of me get to the time. We do have some fierce competition int he top 10 but by god I will figure it out.

  45. robe de cocktail says:

    I am fond of niche because it aimed at a wide demographics audience, with the resulting low price on high demand…Thanks for sharing

  46. I try to stay focused on a niche and not try to broaden my approach too much. Though sometimes you get the urge to try to make more by widening your market.

    I have tried this with some websites though and it always ends in abject failure. Stay niche focused I say.

  47. Updating website with fresh content regularly is essential these days at least from SEO point of view.

  48. Identifying the niche is extremely hard because you can see that you’re limiting your customer potential, but at the same time your conversion rate will increase and you’ll be hitting the target you really want.

  49. Jacksonville Florida Restaurant says:

    I agree niche is they way to go…. you can be a big fish in a small pond. But there is also something to be said for dipping your toe in the waters of a large pond and just skimming off the surface

  50. Niche is more specific in target like keyword and demographic, it zooms in what people want and how a company can provide. It’s supply and demand.

  51. I customize my services for accountants and a pet sitter comes by, they’ll just click away to someone else who’s more inclusive.

  52. First do good keyword research. Then check and see how much traffic there is for those keywords. From there you either move up a level if there is no traffic, or you move down a level if you don’t feel you will be able to compete.

  53. Finding the right niche is much harder than many believe. If possible one should always choose a niche that he loves as it will make the work much more enjoyable.

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  4. Email Marketing Systems » Blog Archive » How Do You Know If You’ve Truly Found Your Niche Market? | Dawud ... says:

    […] Dawud Miracle added an interesting post on How Do You Know If You’ve Truly Found Your Niche Market? | Dawud …Here’s a small excerptNiche market is one of those buzz terms that gets thrown around a lot. Just about any marketing book, article or blog post worth its weight talks about niche. […]

  5. Email Marketing Strategy » Blog Archive » How Do You Know If You’ve Truly Found Your Niche Market? | Dawud ... says:

    […] Dawud Miracle placed an observative post today on How Do You Know If You’ve Truly Found Your Niche Market? | Dawud …Here’s a quick excerptNiche market is one of those buzz terms that gets thrown around a lot. Just about any marketing book, article or blog post worth its weight talks about niche. […]

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