[This is a guest post from Ivan Taylor from Thirdforce Consulting]
When the economy tightens up, small businesses start thinking about expanding to new markets to find new customers. But that’s a tough road to travel on limited budgets. Believe it or not, identifying and targeting a tight targeted niche will not only increase your sales, but increase your profit margins because you’ll be offering a specific solution “customized” to a narrow niche that’s willing to pay for that unique value proposition that’s tailored to their needs and applications.
Now that you’re convinced that it’s more fun to have customers so you can sell them things, you’re wondering how you can even begin to figure out a good niche to serve. Stop worrying, I’m going to show you how to find a niche you’ll love that will love you back.
1. List general topics around your area of expertise that interest you. For example, say you’re in the software business. You might list things such as software as a service, customer communities, social media, etc.
2. Make a list of “audiences” or potential types of customers. They might be related to your areas of interest – or they might not. This is a brainstorm, so just make your list. I’m going to list, small business owners, marketing managers, freelance writers…
3. For each audience or customer type, list about three to five frustrations they might have. Small business owners might be frustrated about the high cost of finding high-end marketing consulting for just a project or two, they might also be frustrated about getting feedback from customers. Freelance writers might be frustrated about not being able to predict their income from month to month. You can take it from there.
4. Now play mash-up and mix and match some audiences and their frustration with a general topic on your list and see what new opportunities for offerings come up for you. For example I came up with a membership site for freelance writers that allows them to connect with small business owners who might need expert writing help. Not exactly the most creative idea, but I wanted to show you how the process worked.
Once you have your list of potential offerings together for your target audience, you can start pulling together a really fun poll or survey to find out what other opportunities might come up for you.
You can use a standard survey, but I’d recommend using IdeaScale! Put the widget on your web site and open up the conversation to your web site visitors. Put some suggestions out there yourself, write a blog post with some instructions and invite your community to start voting ideas up and down. Don’t have an active web or blog community? No worries, send an e-mail to your customers and invite them to participate in the creation game.
Online surveys used to be the ONLY cost-effective choice to get feedback, but now, IdeaScale is my new favorite. Not only is it an INTERACTIVE survey, but it’s a marketing tool that tells your customers what you’re up to and gets them involved in developing their next favorite product or service.
Jump into the IdeaScale pool and start uncovering profitable, fun niche markets today!
Ivana Taylor, works for Third Force Consulting, a strategic marketing firm that uses QuestionPro to collect and
analyze customer feedback and input for brand development, customer
satisfaction and loyalty.