We’ve talked about choosing a niche, but a lot of people don’t choose the right niche.
When someone tells me they aren’t growing or they can’t get traffic, it’s often because they try to appeal to too many people and therefore don’t stand out.
So, no one pays attention to them.
One solution is to niche down.
To niche down means to narrow your topic.
Avoid broad niches like baking, cars, mom life, homeschooling, helping people “build a life they love” or anything else with millions and millions of people in its audience.
These niches are already dominated by others. They will be extremely hard to break into.
To niche down, go through this exercise.
Write down any broad niches that appeal to you. Now, narrow your focus. Get more specific. Ask questions like:
- What kind of [broad niche]?
- What aspect or subset of [broad niche]?
- What type of client in [broad niche]?
- What tool or method in [broad niche]?
- What’s different about the way I do [broad niche]?
Example 1: photography. Ask,
- What kind of photography? Wedding photography.
- What kind of wedding photography? Black and white wedding photography.
- What kind of black and white wedding photography? Black and white bridal portraits.
See how that works? Niche down. In some cases, way down.
Photography is a huge niche. So is wedding photography. Black and white wedding photography probably is too. Once you hone in on black and white bridal portraits, you’re getting there.
Example 2: lawn care. Ask,
- What aspect of lawn care? Grass.
- What type of client in lawn care? DIYers without a lot of experience.
- Result: Growing healthy grass for beginners.
Example 3: homeschooling. Ask,
- What’s different about my method of homeschooling? We homeschool all year.
- What method? Five in a Row.
- What subset? Preschoolers.
- Result: Homeschooling preschoolers with Five in a Row year ’round.
Hopefully you get the idea.
There’s not one right way to niche down. The direction you go will depend on your interests, how much you have to say about it and the other questions I talked abou tin How to Choose a Niche.
The point is, pick a niche where you have a good shot at becoming the go-to resource.
Beginners often ignore the advice to niche down. They think, “Going so narrow will shut out too many people!”
I understand, but trust me on this. You’ll get a lot farther faster if you niche down.
Tip: When someone asks me if they should niche down, my answer is almost always yes. In general, the people who don’t need to niche down don’t need to ask because they already know.
Test it. Are there already big players in this niche that dominate? If you mention your niche to a friend, will they immediately be able to respond with a person or company?
If so, explore other niches.
Examples of people niching way down:
- GAP Consulting. Not business consulting. Not data analysis. Not spreadsheets. Airtable consulting.
- Renaissance Ribbons. Not sewing. Not embroidery. Not ribbons. Embroidered ribbons. (Hat tip: Rachel Miller.)
- Succulents and Sunshine. Not gardening. Not balcony gardening. Not flowers. Not plants. Not desert plants. Only succulents. (Hat tip: Project 24.)
- Romperjack. Not clothing. Not men’s clothing. Not men’s shorts or men’s pants. Men’s rompers. (Hat tip: Shopify.)
- Kono Pizza. Not pizza. Not New York pizza. Not on-the-go meals. Pizza in a cone.
Another way to niche down
Sometimes a better niche can be found by looking for gaps in what’s already online.
Have you ever said, or heard others say, things like:
- I wish someone could tell me how to ___.
- All I want to know is ___.
- There’s got to be a better way to ___.
- Why isn’t anyone talking about ___?
- Where can I learn about ___?
- Surely there’s an easier way to ___.
- Why doesn’t anything useful come up when I Google ___?
They are often signals that there’s a hole in the market for something and you might as well fill it!