Defining your niche market

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In my one-on-one consulting calls, one of the first questions I ask is: “who is this product for?” As in, who is your tribe or ideal customer avatar? What is your niche market and who are your people?

Usually, the answer that I get sounds like this: “She’s a professional woman, in her early 20s to early 50s, she likes to shop and she appreciates nice things, she has disposable income…”

Does that sound familiar? If so, I challenge you to get more specific. Like, wayyyyy more specific!

Can you ever niche down too far? I’ll answer that with a story:

When I first started thinking about marketing Teak & Twine, I knew I wanted to work with creative entrepreneurs in the wedding industry– specifically, wedding planners (since they are the ones who usually refer the other wedding vendors).

Martha Stewart Weddings had just come out with their (I believe, first ever) list of the top 63 wedding planners in the country, and I used that list as gospel. I researched, followed, and got to know the work of all 63 of those amazing creatives.

Then, everything I did in launching my business, I did for those 63 people. Seriously! I literally niched down to just 63 people! It sounds crazy, but it gave me incredible clarity in those early days where the overwhelm is serious:

  • When I needed a product photographer, I booked one who worked with and was respected by those 63 artists (bonus, he was amazing!).
  • When I needed someone to design our logo and packaging, I turned to a creative team who had worked on dozens of weddings with my tribe.
  • When I developed products, I thought about what my tribe liked, noticed products they were sharing in their own feeds, and found inspiration in their Pinterest boards.
  • When I was pricing my products, I knew what these planners would pay, and what they were used to paying for similar offerings.
  • When I was starting out my marketing efforts, it was easy- I wasn’t trying to pay for Google Ads to target millions of people, I was just trying to build real relationships with a group so small I could literally remember their names.

 

To paraphrase Seth Godin, (one of my favorite marketing minds):

When you make something that is perfect for your tribe, they can’t help but love it- it was literally made just for them.

These days, I’m proud to have worked with almost every one of those 63 people- and even gotten to meet and become friends with many of them (pinch me!!!). I was shocked and ecstatic when my first order EVER (back when I didn’t even have a website, just an instagram page with an email address on it) was from one of those 63 people… and she was buying a gift for another one of the 63 planners!

BUT I really shouldn’t have been. Thinking about it now, of course that’s what happened!

There are so many decisions to make when you’re launching, running and growing your business. Identifying who your product is for (like, EXACTLY who) brings the answer to all of these questions into complete focus.

You may be thinking: “BUT WAIT! Now you work with lots of people who aren’t those 63 people. You’ve branched out into corporate gifting and large-scale partnerships… you could never have built a business off of those few people alone!”

You’re totally right! But when you make something that people really love, because it was made just for them, they tell their friends. And they tell their friends. And the snowball keeps rolling!

My first big client was The Knot (of course it was!), and my work with them caught the eye of someone who worked at a big tech firm.

And the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, maybe not exactly, but you get the idea! Of course there were lots of twists and turns between then and now, but defining and redefining Teak & Twine’s niche (and using it to guide our product development, marketing, etc.!) over the years has undoubtedly served us and our customers well!
Tell me: what is your niche market? Who is your ideal customer avatar? I would love to hear about who you’re creating for!

xx,

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