2 common misconceptions about “niche marketing”

Being a lawyer and an Internet marketer/consultant I get asked a lot of questions. “Do you think I can sue?” “Do they have a case?” “Will it sell?” “How much money will I make?” “How do I figure out what to sell?”

You get the idea. Believe it or not, there are a few benefits to being asked the same questions over and over again. For one, you begin to receive some insight into many of the assumptions and misconceptions that typically accompany the question.

Let’s talk about the misconceptions people have about niche marketing. It seems that 95% of e-biz entrepreneurs are thoroughly convinced that they must find their niche. There is nothing wrong with that! Unfortunately, most of these people have an ill definition for niche. Definition time (brought to us by our friends at Wikipedia):

A niche market is a focused targetable portion (subset) of a market. By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by providers.

Misconception #1 – Far too many people are looking for an obscure market rather than looking for a “subset of a big market” (go back and re-read that Wiki definition).

For example, an associate of mine has a great business selling custom sheets. Drill down drill:

Sheets and other bedding (big market) --> Custom size sheets and bedding (subset of big market = niche)

When people ask me questions about niche marketing I always start by making sure we are on the same page in terms of our respective definitions for niche marketing. Far too often, people think they need to find something like an obscure herb from Guatemala that only 100,000 people know about in order to have found their niche. So I try to re-direct their thinking – subset of a bigger market – just imagine the number of people in the U.S. with odd shaped beds for their cabins, rv’s, boats… and all of these people need custom sized sheets! That is a niche worth selling to. Find a subset of a big market.

Misconeption # 2 – Far too many people believe they must be an expert on the niche product/service in order to market to the niche.

Why is the previous sentence a misnomer? I will give you a hint – the term expert does belong in the sentence above, but you need to insert another word in front of expert. Have you got it? The missing word is appear. You must appear like an expert in order to effectively market. The simplest way to appear like an expert is to outsource your content creation. There are most likely dozens of “experts” in the field who are willing to write for you on a 1099 basis. (I am sure most of you know about www.guru.com, www.elance.com, and other project outsourcing sites).

Of course, you can become an expert in many fields with a modest effort. As a lawyer colleague of mine once said “I can be proficient in any area of law a client needs, just give me a week.”

Get your niche on.

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