Older readers remember Aesop’s Fable about the man and his son going to market with their donkey.
A neighbor saw them walking beside the donkey and berated them: “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?” So the man put the boy on the donkey.
Each time they passed someone, they were shamed and told to do something different…let the old father ride…both should ride…and finally, carry the donkey between them tied to a pole.
Finally, as they crossed a bridge over a stream, the donkey kicked lose, fell into the water, and drowned.
Aesop’s moral to the story: Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.
Now, almost 2,600 years later, we’re still drowning our donkeys.
I’m talking about thinking our entrepreneurial service or product is a perfect solution for everyone, resulting in our broad, generic messaging that appeals to almost no one.
I know a bright person who has amassed a huge following in social media with interesting articles on a wide variety of topics. Yet she can’t get people to buy her programs.
She’s become everything for everyone…but not the only thing for anyone.
With so much competition online today – and with the old methods not working like they did before – the big online gurus are now talking about niching WAY down, down, down…
…and when you think you’re there, then keep going down some more…
…to a specific category of pain and need that is the super-sensitive pain point in the center of your ideal customer’s emotional core.
Apparently, laser-niching is the way to make yourself truly the only solution in town…and thus you become the clear go-to expert in your niche.
“WHAT?” you say, “My audience for such a tiny niche will be miniscule!”
Not so fast.
There are 5 billion people using the Internet…growing 200 million a year. You don’t need them all. One millionth is still 5,000 people, and that’s more than enough to fund your business over time.
OVERCOMING YOUR FEAR
Public speaking is usually listed as the number one fear of people, edging out even death.
We grow up afraid that people will laugh at us and think we’re stupid, useless, if we’re not the perfect silver-tongued speaker on stage.
Fear of failure leads to procrastination and non-action. Trying to please everyone leads to that very failure we fear…and we lose our donkeys.
Here’s the true solution to that fear: Realize you don’t need everyone who’s hearing your message to respond…only your ideal customer.
If you can niche now to the right person in need, with the right emotional trigger, those who resonate with the need will come to you.
We don’t care about the others who aren’t motivated. They aren’t your prospects anyway, and even if they bought, you’d lose them as unmotivated dropouts along the way.
The goal is to draw ONLY your ideal customer to you, so you can enjoy an extremely high transformation rate with a tribe of folks for whom you are truly the ideal and only answer.
NICHING TO ELIMINATE
Think of niching down to your ideal laser spot as weeding out everyone who isn’t going to be a great user of your product or service.
Like chiseling away all the block of stone that isn’t your statue, every step down in your definition of ideal customer eliminates another layer of people not right for you.
Now think about speaking live to a big group of entrepreneurs – all of whom you formerly assumed were ideal prospects.
Only now you see that the vast majority of them really are of no interest to your business. When they don’t run up to the stage or back of the room with credit cards in hand, that’s not a problem, that’s part of your plan.
NICHING TO SEGMENT
Say you start with “helping people sleep better.” Right off the bat, you lose the portion of folks who are sleeping well or well enough.
Niche down…”helping over-worked people sleep better”…now you lose another batch.
“Helping mothers of young children get enough sleep”…there goes another bunch…and so on.
If you surveyed the first broad group about their sleep-related needs, you’d see patterns forming into what’s called “segments” or “buckets.”
It’s in these more focused needs that you begin to niche down.
The first set of specific sleeping buckets might include having difficulty going to sleep…waking up several times at night…being groggy in the morning and finding it hard to wake up…and lacking energy all day.
You have four specific areas of need to choose from for further niching.
Now find buckets for “waking up several times at night”…could be prostate issues for men…maybe can’t turn of the mind from the mental activity of the evening…perhaps the bed and/or pillow are not working for you…and maybe you’re worried about your morning appointment or big presentation.
You see the process of niching down. There is a needy group of people urgently seeking a solution to their pain in each of the second level of buckets.
This process is similar to what’s called Root Cause Analysis, the process of sorting through all the symptoms of a problem by continually asking “Why?” until you get down to the actual root cause of the pain and frustration.
As a coach, you don’t fix the symptoms…you find the root cause and fix the source.
Niching down, therefore, is diving deeper and deeper through the general symptoms until you find the one specific issue at the very heart of the problem.
Hello…guess what? The niche has landed. You have cleared away the hillside and found your vein of pure gold.
Now you know where to aim all of your marketing and communications, and you can be confident in knowing you’ll get your fair share of ideal customers drawn to the only real solution to their unique need.
ASK ONLY YOUR LASER-TARGETED PROSPECTS
The surest way to get bad advice and aim in the wrong direction is to ask the wrong people.
Your friends and relatives don’t understand niching down. Their criticism of your best ideas has killed many a program.
Surveying your close peers online usually turns into a guessing game of clever titles that appeal to them, maybe…but they’re usually not your ideal clients.
Direct your specific questions ONLY to those in your narrowed-down bucket who actually have the pain and the fear to be handled.
Gather your ideal customers’ words to build a golden core library of content to repurpose.
Use that ideal body of their own language to talk back to them in all your communications – email, social media posts, podcast talks, you name it.
If that’s what draws the right peeps to you, why would you ever use any other language?
Now every message you put out there is exactly what the ideal, specific group of people are looking for.
Hopefully, now you can give yourself permission to let go of the vast majority of audience out there, and instead niche down and down until you’ve found the perfect, highly responsive group to build your loyal tribe.