One of the things we entrepreneurs and business owners dream of is for our products and services to have mass appeal. And we equate that with being for everyone. But none of us is for everyone. Think about Michael Jackson. His “Thriller” album, just one of his albums, sold over 100 million copies worldwide. That’s mass appeal, wouldn’t you say? And yet, Jackson’s music doesn’t appeal to everyone. There are actually, and strangely, people who don’t like his music.
And just like his music, as amazing as it is, is not for everyone, neither are our businesses, products, and services. Still, Jackson’s stylistic clarity distinguished him in the larger music industry and within R&B in a way that led to tremendous devotion and success.
Here are three reasons its important for us to be just as clear about our niche and target audience.
It Shapes Our Business Decisions
Many of the decisions we make as business owners- from branding to marketing to the services and products we offer- are shaped by the audience we are trying to serve and the purpose of our interaction with them. The language and tone I would use if I had a business for novice gardeners would be different than if my business were a B2B serving expert horticulturists.
My branding would be different.
My tagline would be different.
My services would be different.
A seasoned horticulturist wouldn’t need a class on basic gardening tools or how the condition of the soil affects your plants. But a novice gardener would gratefully sign up for such a class.
It expands your business by revealing potential partnerships
We are often conditioned to see similar businesses as competitors. But if we were clear on what our business was about, who it was for, and how we served them, we would see that some of our “competitors” could actually be partners.
Let’s go back to gardening.
There are two gardening businesses whose main service is education. On the surface, they seem like competitors because they both focus on gardening and they both do so through educational experiences. But after looking closer, they realize that though their general area is the same, and their methodology is similar, they’re actually speaking to two different facets of the gardening experience. One business focuses on soil health and its classes revolve around growing vibrant plants through diligent soil care. The other business focuses on growing food for those who want that farm-to-table experience. If these two businesses were savvy, they could partner for special classes, bringing their expertise together in cool ways that would serve both their audiences and broaden both their businesses.
It solidifies your place in your industry
When we are clear about what our business is, who we serve, and what we serve them, and we are consistent in that, it fortifies our place among our industry peers, making it easy for our target audience to find us when they’re looking for us.
Michael Jackson had a very distinct lane in the music community. Even though he explored boundaries within individual songs, his place in the larger music community was always very clear. His music was R&B. He never tried to do Country. He never tried to do Rap or Classical to try to reach more people. So when people wanted to hear R&B, they knew where to go.
Think about In-N-Out Burger: they sell burgers, fries, drinks, and shakes. That’s it. Their options are limited but their flavor is so distinct; and I have never seen an IN-N-OUT that didn’t have a line. When people have a taste for a certain kind of burger, they know where to go even though they have lots of choices for burgers.
Identifying your niche and target audience helps to distinguish and specialize the way you serve your customers, the way you present yourself to them, and the way you communicate and interact with them. When done intentionally, your customers feel seen, understood, and truly cared for and they show their gratitude with their patronage. It also expands your possibilities for business ventures through exciting partnerships that help you broaden your reach while maintaining your place.
Let me help you get clear about your niche and audience.