Sticking with your niche (when you’re not sure what your niche is)
How can you, a new freelancer or consultant, ensure consistency in your marketing message every time it is conveyed?
Determine your specific niche and consistently market to that niche all over the place, you may answer.
By the way, technically speaking, “niche” is defined as the service you provide, as opposed to “target market,” the group of people served. You can see this distinction in print in Book Yourself Solid, by Michael Port, c. 2006.
But don’t even attempt this, at least not at the start. This is not your first priority on day one.
Instead, experiment with your niche by going general on marketing tools everyone will see, such as your website. Then go specific on spoken communications that can be fine-tuned for each person you talk to.
Here’s how it may look on your website and business cards, at least at the beginning: I am a marketing coach for companies that sell consumer products.
And here’s how the same business may sound when you are phoning a golf club manufacturer: I develop websites for golf club manufacturers.
This example illustrates one reason that phone calling is such a great prospecting technique—you can tightly narrow your message on the spot for the individual you are calling. However, the corresponding online and print materials must be much broader to address any potential client you may be pursuing.
You may be thinking of producing different websites and business cards for each niche or specialty. However, this will drive you crazy.
What message do you give on your voice mail? Which business card do you hand out at marketing events? Do you reconsider which email signature to use every time you click “send”? How many different business cards do you carry in your wallet or purse? What do you tell your relatives? Aaack!
Aiming for absolute consistency at the beginning is exhausting and demanding. Save this for later, much later. Perhaps never.
Reason is on the side of consistency, but practicality allows varying degrees of specificity. Some day in the future if you define a precise niche, you can go back and align everything with it.
Originally posted 6-22-09