Everyone knows you need to “niche down” and get clear on your “target market,” your “ideal client.”
In fact I don’t know a single business coach who doesn’t talk about this on some level. That’s for good reason. If you don’t know who you want to solve problems for, who you want to create content for, who you want to work with, then what are you doing? How is that going to help you build a sustainable and successful business?
That’s what getting clarity on your niche does for you – when you have a singular person, or singular experience you. Keep an open mind as we talk about your target market. This topic doesn’t fit as cleanly into a nice little box as people like to think. There are many things that can be beneficial to get clarity on when it comes to who you speak to you in the online space and how you market to them.
SO – This came from a question during a training I did for Fré Skincare on how to create content for growth and exposure.
The woman understood that she needed to get clearer on her niche and who she speaks too online. She knew that this was important for building an engaged audience. But she was like you know, how much do I just be myself and attract people via that approach, and how narrow do I need to get with my messaging? She’d been told by other biz coaches that she needed to be super duper specific and nitty gritty with her niche.
We discussed two approaches. Because you know I believe there are core pieces that every business needs to establish and have clarity on. Yes, 100%. But there are often options on how we get that clarity.
Your options are not limited to the two I’ll share today, and you can certainly use a combination of them as well.
I think a lot of people get caught up in not knowing where to start with their niche. Or get overwhelmed with how specific people might say you need to get with your niche. And while I do think specificity is important. I hope that these two approaches can break down some of the barriers you might be feeling with getting clear on who your niche is.
Your offer and business is for a given demographic
Meaning you identify them by age range, gender, life situation (ie: millennial moms, high achieving, middle aged executives, military personnel, cross fitters). Either your expertise and offer demand this, or you have a preference on who you would like to work with. Both are allowed. Both are fine. If you’re like, but I want to work with men and women, that’s okay too! Option 2 is going to be for you.
Looking at a demographic is NOT your niche in it’s entirety.
Your niche is not white skinned, 40 year old moms who make $60,000 per year. That’s exactly what I said it is, a literal demographic. But it CAN be helpful to make some identifying factors clear if they are applicable. Age range, sex, past experiences, personality traits, industry or career, location, beliefs, values, income etc. There are going to be common denominators within your demographic. And some people are going to be very specific with those and other people are not going to be as specific with those. It’s important for you to know if you need to be specific and if there is room for that or if that doesn’t necessarily fit your offer and what you bring to the industry.
When looking at the demographic approach to identifying your niche it’s going to be important no matter what to make sure that you are clear on the shared aspects of people who might be in your niche. So ideally yes you are identifying one specific person and that is who you are talking to in emails, on Instagram, and a podcast, etc. But if you look at someone with an audience of 250,000+, obviously those are all individuals. But there is some thing that has caused all of those people to be drawn to a particular brand. And a piece of that might be that that audience is 90% women. Or 90% ages 24 to 34. Or all people who have a similar interest or past experience. These are things that we are identifying when it comes to the demographic approach to finding your niche. It is not that they all have red hair, or that blue is their favorite color. I hope you’re seeing what I’m defining as I demographic in this sense.
Knowing the past experiences of your ideal client, or understanding what their life looks right now allows you to paint better pictures for that ideal client. It allows you to demonstrate that you understand them. That’s the whole purpose of this practice. And the more actual clients you work with, the better you’re going to be able to do this. Which is why I say it’s a process that you are going to refine over and over and over again.
In the demographic approach you would also look at their worldview, and their personality, their core values. And while these don’t have to 100% align with yours, it’s unlikely that someone with a completely different world view or set of core values would be interested in what you have to offer if you are clear with your messaging. Because your core values or your brand core values are going to come through the content that you create and that is going to attract people who value those same things more often than not.
A roadblock that I get a lot with option number one is thinking that if you get super specific you are going to limit yourself with making sales and that no one is going to hear you. But that’s not the case. So if you find yourself having to answer questions like “what books do they read, what TV shows do they watch, what is their idea of a perfect morning routine?”And you can’t even fathom how to answer those questions yet, that’s OK. Answer what you can for now regarding your ideal client, and come back to those questions as you continue to learn about this person. Those to me, are like the cherry on top of the cake or the decoration. They are not the core of your ideal client.
With option 1, you are not restricting yourself to only, say, middle-aged people. You are simply using messaging that attracts and speaks to people who IDENTIFY with and relate to the desires and lifestyle of a middle-aged, high achieving executive. Right? That’s where getting specific leads to using certain references, and language. This is what attracts aligned audience members. Getting specific, ironically doesn’t limit you as much as speaking broadly. Go figure.
In my free ideal client creator download, I ask a variety of questions. You can answer some, or leave some blank. It’s most important to identify what IS and IS NOT important when it comes to your ideal client or niche. Maybe they have kids, maybe they don’t, maybe it is irrelevant to your offer. No matter what, it will benefit you to look at their past experiences, personality, desires, world view, in order to better understand who it is you’re looking to work with online.
And let me be clear – you will refine your ideal client for years to come. And yes, it can be very common for your ideal client to be a younger version of yourself. It’s not a bad thing. No worries there.
Let us also pause to mention that even with identifying your niche whether it is via a demographic or via option two, which will go over in a second; You are going to speak with your own voice and you’re going to create content that you want to create, regardless of who your niche is. Your content and your offers and how you show up in the online space is going to be a marriage of you and your personality, as well as the niche that you have identified and what information they need to receive in a given manner. I just wouldn’t want you to lose your self in your attempt to identify your niche and make sure you’re messaging is appealing to them. So be aware of that, I suppose, in your process.
Alright – option one is more heavy on the nitty gritty of demographic and personality. But what are you talking to that demographic about? That’s where the second option comes in.
The focus is the problem, and solution. Which again, is still needed in option 1!
But the problem can be something that anyone can experience. it is not specific to their field of work, their age, or their gender. So the pieces from your target demographic are less important in option 2.
It’s not that one of these approaches is superior. I think most people need them both. But it can help to view your niche from these two different angles.
A singular person – Emily, 32, a nurse who played sports in high school, found crossfit, but then learned that high intensity training wasn’t a long term plan, she’s comforted by feeling informed, wasting her time or dismissing her is how you can piss her off to her core, and It’s mort important to her that she can do what she wants, than the actual activity she is doing. She loves nature, and hates feeling rushed.
And also a singular problem – regulating metabolism, repairing menstrual cycles, enjoying your lifts, getting out of pain, running further, losing fat, making something doable.
More often than not, you need both. But you CERTAINLY need to know the problem you solve. That’s your niche.
The demographic takes your messaging to the next level – that’s where we connect with humans on the other side of these screens. This is not black and white. You identifying what TV shows they watch is not what makes or breaks your ability to market your offer. But it can add personality and relatability. It’s in the references you choose to use. The memes, and gifs. How you deliver your content, and where you deliver it.
Think of different people that you follow and the problems that they solve. Their audience all has a similar core desire. So I follow people who make fashion accessible. Seeing their outfits makes it easier for me to create outfits for my own or to find clothing from brands that I wouldn’t have otherwise sound unless this person was sharing that information. I do the same thing with people that I follow for home Decour ideas. They create content that helps people decorate their homes in a style that this person uses. Oh you could say the same for DIY projects, or cooking. These people aren’t creating content for a certain color of person in a certain age range. They are solving a specific problem for people who are interested in their area of expertise.
I follow a woman named Jasmine who is the hair queen and she teaches people how to train their hair. so how to not wash your hair for an extended period of time, how to grow healthier hair, how to wash it, how to brush it, how to retrain your hair to be behave how you want. She definitely speaks to majority women. But that’s about as specific as her niche gets when it comes to the demographic piece. I’m sure there are more similarities that you could see. Maybe in age range, but by and large she is just her self, and solves a very specific problem for hundreds of thousands of people.
With that, I guarantee she knows her audience. So if I asked her to write up a journal entry from her ideal client she would absolutely Express the desires and experiences of people within her community. Maybe not, but I would assume so. Shared values, shared humor, etc would come out for sure.
I feel like we were kind of all over the place with that one, but I hope that just looking at your niche from those two different perspectives was helpful. And I hope that you can get over the hump of nailing down your niche at least 80%. That is what I tell people who use my ideal client creator. The goal is not to fill out every single line on the download. It’s to get you 80% clearer on who you are speaking to. While keeping the perspective that you are going to refine this person and that you are going to improve your knowledge of them the more that you write, and the more that you interact with people in your actual audience.
Remember why you’re trying to identify your niche. Try to have fun with it, and don’t let the process of identifying your niche stop you from creating content and learning through action.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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