5 reasons why it’s important to have a niche
Years ago I when I first started doing videography work, I did all kinds of videos for a variety of customers. I was basically “that video guy.” That wasn’t a good thing. Or a good label.
I had no identifiable client group. No target market. I wasn’t a specialist. I was just “that video guy” or “that photography guy.”
Heck, I wasn’t even really seeing the difference between having a niche and having a target market. By the way, a niche is the service you offer to a target market. The actual target market is the identifiable people who you do work for.
The crazy thing is, way back in those early days, I already had a relationship with a target market but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
Today my niche is clear: real, natural and authentic video storytelling. My target market is also clear: eg. Biologists, ecologists, conservationists, outdoor educators, outdoors tourism operators, and conservation organizations who see the value in professional video and storytelling. The latter part about those who see the value is especially important. Not everyone in this market, or any market for that matter, sees the value. If that is the case, they are not part of your target market.
Here are 5 reasons why it is key to have a niche:
More and higher quality referrals
When you are a specialist and focus on a target market, you develop an intimate understanding and build relationships within that market. You grow trust, credibility and authenticity. You also quickly develop a precision understanding of who is and who isn’t your ideal target within that market. On the flipside, your high quality clients are far more likely to refer more better quality clients to you. You want to build your tribe. And most importantly (this is huge!), you stand to get more loyalty and repeat customers from within a target market. If you are a generalist, you will tend to get one and done type of work. Not repeat customers. Loyalty is fleeting. That’s because the focus tends to be on price.
Your marketing becomes more efficient
Truth bomb: People with similar interests tend to attract like-minded people. Marketing is always about attracting the “right clients.” Marketing is not about attracting everyone. That approach will exhaust you and lead to more rejections than acquisitions in the long run. Best of all, the “right clients” actually help you exert less of your capital on marketing because they do some of the work for you by way of referrals.
Want to be forever caught in the competitive race toward the bottom (a.k.a the lowest price)? Keep being a generalist. There’s a saying The Smaller The Niche, The Bigger The Opportunity. At first it can sound scary. Wait, what, focus on something smaller vs focusing on everybody!? Yep. Do it. When you niche it down you are becoming a specialist. The HUGE advantage of niching it down is that you become harder to compete against. High quality clients desire like-minded specialists. Don’t worry about those potential customers, who for example, will hire a wedding videographer to film a video about outdoor conservation education. Instead, focus on the potential clients who have a very strong desire to hire only specialists in the same field. These higher quality clients refer you because they see you as being authentically connected to what you do.
Stop trying to do it all
Everyone is not your potential customer. If you try to serve everyone you can’t possibly really get to know every one of these clients and their industries and what they like and don’t. At best, you will become a good generalist. Not a specialist. Sure, a generalist makes money too. But I doubt the happiness is there every time he/she goes out to video work. Eventually that vibe will become apparent. That’s not how you niche to down to win better clients, more referrals, and more business. The more you focus on a niche and a target market, the more you can strategically develop specific products and services related to that market that are not cookie-cutter. Your target audiences notices this because such products and services are created with them in mind. They can see that you genuinely care because you have put thought into helping the field you serve. You’ll start to hear customers in your target market say “Yes! That would be helpful for us!”
People will know ‘What You Do’
If you are a generalist, one of the biggest problems is people won’t know what you do. They will guess. “I think she does that?” Lots of new entrepreneurs start by being generalists because they think that’s how you get started. I thought that same way. Unfortunately, it actually slows the ascent to your goal. Your goal should be to become well known for what you do in a very specific field. If you try to be a generalist, your visibility becomes fuzzy. The longer you stay a generalist, the harder it also becomes to break free of your own self-imposed stereotype of being Mr or Ms Everything. Once you become locked down as the inexpensive small business videographer, for example, the more you will become pigeon-holed as the low cost small business videographer. Niching means it’s way easier to grow faster, build the value of what you offer, and authentically position yourself as an expert among the people who make up your smaller target market. Your visibility becomes clearer. It’s easier to get noticed. You want people in your target market to say “You should call (fill in the blank), that’s exactly what he specializes in!” That’s way more valuable to your career momentum than “You should call (fill in the blank), she does it cheap!”
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