Carve Out Your Niche By Dominating
I was recently interviewed by a print magazine
about niche marketing. In it, I offered several
tips and ideas on how to carve a niche in the
marketplace. Here are a few of them:
1) Michel, what do you do? How do you do
If you know my personal story, you know how
niche marketing played an important role in my
career. (See another interview in which I discuss
this, along with the strategies I used to propel
my career, at http://SuccessDoctor.com/transcript.htm.)
Long story short, I feared rejection immensely,
which led to a reclusive childhood. I wanted to
overcome my fears and decided to dive into the
world of sales in order to fight them. Years passed
and many failures ensued until I finally became
the top producing salesperson in Canada for a
Fortune 500 company.
How did I accomplish that? Since I hated prospecting,
I found and developed more effective marketing
strategies that caused high quality prospects
to come to me instead of the other way around.
I no longer had to prospect. I no longer had to
be rejected. In short, I went from prospecting
In other words, I decided to specialize in a
specific niche -- even though my employer did
not require it of me. I positioned myself as an
expert in a specific area (for a specific target
market). Essentially, even though I could sell
everything to everyone from this employer, I decided
to specialize in only one product line for one
particular category of prospect.
As a result, I attracted pre-qualified prospects
to my door.
People today are bombarded with information,
commercials and competition. Prospecting online
is not only difficult but also impossible, nowadays.
Thus, you have to market in such a way that causes
those kinds of people to come to your business
or website, and not the other way around -- like
Therefore, rather than prospect for clients you
must position your business as unique in a particular
category or industry, or for a specific audience
or market. And by being unique, you will naturally
become the leader. With all the competition out
there, it is no longer possible to be better than
the others. The goal, therefore, is to be different
-- and not better.
2) What is niche marketing? Why is it important?
Today's world has become overcommunicated and
hypercompetitive -- one huge blur of sameness,
in my estimation. If you attempt to be too general
or too wide in your approach, you will only dissipate
among the blur. And people will not see any greater
value in buying from you than in buying from the
One of the greatest errors committed by most
new businesses is that they fall into a trap:
they try to be "all things to all people." And
they do so because they are mislead by the notion
that, by offering more (or by serving more people),
they will generate more sales. That's understandable
for the survival of any new business depends on
the number of sales it makes.
Based on the law of averages, you will have to
advertise quite heavily so to be in front of as
many eyeballs as possible, all with the hope of
attracting an adequate amount of prospects that
will in turn translate into a certain number of
Undeniably, this requires a gigantic advertising
For most new and especially smaller businesses,
this is quite a challenge if not impossible. Admittedly,
it is true that, the greater your reach is, the
greater the potential quantity of responses will
be. But what about quality?
Would it matter if your business or website
generates a large quantity of uninterested visitors
that will simply never buy from you? Let's look
at the Internet. If your online business targets
everyone, then your marketing message (and that
includes your website) must therefore be painted
with broad brushstrokes as to appeal to everyone.
And the challenge with such an approach is the
fact that you will lose a large percentage of
They may fall into your target market, but visitors
that leave your website do so because they likely
feel left out or become uninterested fast. Others
simply choose competitors that might provide them
with greater perceived value. In other words,
the broader you are in your appeal, the less relevant
you will be to any and every individual visiting
If your site sells everything, chances are that
your audience will not perceive any greater value
in shopping from you any greater than from anyone
else. In fact, the only common denominator, with
which they have to work, is price. If there are
no other points of comparison, naturally the cheapest
Sales will increase dramatically if your site
is centered on a specific theme, product, industry,
people or outcome. A niche, in other words. Put
in a different way, the more focused you are,
the less you will need to produce a sufficient
quantity of website visitors to produce similar
results. (For more, visit http://SuccessDoctor.com/articles/article42.htm
3) How can someone find a good niche?
A good niche is one that: exists is easily identifiable
is easily targetable. The most commonly asked
question I receive from aspiring entrepreneurs
is this: "What product should I sell?" (Or "what
sells well on the Internet?") Quite frankly, everything
sells (and can sell well) -- from pet food to
travel packages -- in some way, especially online.
In fact, everything is being or can be sold,
somehow, in some form or another. But that's not
the problem. It's not what you sell -- it's to
In other words, don't look first for a product
to sell. Look for an easily targetable market
with an easily identifiable need -- a need for
a specific product, be it a good or service --
and provide them with that product. In order to
achieve this, you need to be observant and listen
to the needs of the marketplace. If people seem
to be asking for a specific solution to a problem,
obviously it is because a niche exists that has
yet to be filled. Once you have found a niche,
everything will flow from that point. In fact,
if you follow this tactic you will constantly
find products to sell.
Simply put, don't carve a niche. Rather, find
one and fill it.
4) What are ways to become an expert in a
If you offer a customary service or if your competition
offers the same thing you do, catering to a niche
helps to project an aura of uniqueness and superiority
instantaneously by virtue of the fact that it
doesn't appear as customary. Rather than copying
your competition, you isolate yourself from them.
For instance, if you required brain surgery,
would you choose a dentist? Would you choose a
general, medical practitioner, even a general
surgeon? Not really. You would probably choose
a neurosurgeon. It's the same thing for other
products. If you owned an imported car that needed
new brakes, would you choose any general mechanic?
Or would you choose one that not only specializes
in brakes but also specializes in imported cars?
Expertise is in the eyes of the niche. Specialization
is in itself a marketing process that, as a byproduct,
generates the perception of expertise. It's amazingly
effective in creating "top-of-mind" awareness
among a specific target market.
For instance, an accountant specializing in
car dealerships will acquire more clients than
a general accountant will. An advertising salesperson
specializing in home furnishing stores will sell
more advertisements than a typical advertising
agent will. A photographer specializing in weddings
will get more bookings than a regular photographer
will. Ad infinitum.
As more businesses get started, and the more
inundated with marketing messages our society
becomes, the less time, energy and money people
will have to spend in choosing the companies with
which they will do business. Thus, specialization
helps to solve that problem by projecting an aura
Take the mechanic, mentioned earlier. Rarely
would you call a general mechanic an "expert mechanic,"
unless she has invested a considerable amount
of resources in branding herself that way, or
in educating herself deeply in the world of mechanics,
backed by many, many years of experience. On the
other hand, it would be easy to dub a mechanic
-- even a new one -- that specializes in imported
car brakes as an "expert mechanic."
Similarly, by finding and dominating a niche,
you can become an expert by design -- not by default.
About the Author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter
and consultant dedicated to turning sales messages
into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of his
book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning,"
when you subscribe to his free monthly ezine,
"The Profit Pill." See http://SuccessDoctor.com/
marketing related articles