When people enquire about building a website, the first question we ask you is:
“Who is your audience?”
Because it helps us understand if we’re the right people to help you. But perhaps more than that, it reveals to us some crucial information about your business.
One of the biggest things that prevent people from creating a compelling online presence is not having a clearly defined niche. And we receive a lot of applications that say something along the lines of:
“I want to serve all people, all ages, anywhere in the world.”
This is admirable, but I’m also sure you’ve heard some variation of the quote:
“If you try to please everyone, you please no one.”
We’ve found the same applies to people starting out in business. If you try to serve everyone, you’ll end up serving no one.
What happens when you try to serve everyone
With that in mind, let’s look deeper into what I mean by not serving everyone.
Here’s a silly example of what I mean. Let’s say:
“I want to sell pizza online. My pizzas are awesome. All of my friends and family think they rock. Everyone who’s tasted my pizza loves them.
My pizzas make people happy, so now I want to sell them online and spread the joy.
My clients will be all people, all ages, anywhere in the world!”
Before I create my website and invite people to buy my pizza, I need to create the website content and decide what my product is. As a one-man pizza-maker, I need to keep things simple, so I’ll offer one type of pizza; an Italian style 12 inch pepperoni.
After a bit of research and a few calculations, I figure out that I can sell my pizza for £15 and make a profit.
All good so far, right?
Next, I need to make sure this pizza is suitable for everyone. To do that, I factor in that:
- Some people have issues with gluten, so I’ll use gluten-free flour
- Vegans don’t eat mozzarella, so I’ll replace that with a vegan substitute, and I’ll have to replace the pepperoni with a meat-free version too
- Some people can’t have too much salt and sugar, so I’ll take that out of the recipe
- And to make it suitable for all ages, I’ll change the size from 12 inches to 8 inches, that way it should be small enough for children.
Now the pizza is smaller, I’ll save a bit of money on materials, but the ingredient substitutions mean it’s actually now more expensive to make.
I’ll still make a profit, but it’ll be much smaller.
To sell to everyone, anywhere in the world, I’ll need to get creative. I can’t cook a pizza and send it abroad, so the best way to do this would be to send out the fresh ingredients and let people make it themselves…
I’m sure you see the problem here.
What started out as my much-loved pizza is now a box of DIY ingredients. Sure, it ticks all the boxes, but it’s no longer the same product. So, who’ll buy my box of expensive ingredients and make their own pizza?
I’m sure there’ll be a few, but I bet I’ll make a fraction of the sales I could have made had I stuck to my original product.
Not to mention, what will my website and marketing look like?
Probably something like this:
‘Fresh, vegan-friendly, gluten-free, low-sodium Italian pizza delivered to your door… all you have to do is make it yourself’.
What’s more, the passion I had for my pizzas is no longer there. There’s great pride in making a pizza, but packing ingredients into a box… maybe not so much.
And then the reviews come in…
- My carnivorous customers don’t like the vegan replacements
- They’re having a hard time cooking the pizza in a standard oven and are coming out soggy
- People are wondering why they should buy this when you can get a fresh pizza delivered to their door?
And just like that, my dreams of owning my own pizza business disappears.
All drama aside, things won’t be this bad if you’re delivering a service like coaching. In fact, probably the worst thing that’ll happen is you just won’t attract any clients.
What happens when you pick a niche
The trick is to pick your niche and make sure your ideal customer is clearly defined. This can change and evolve over time, but you’ll take your business further if you narrow your focus.
We call it going deep instead of going wide.
The closer you can get to a picture of your ideal customer, the easier everything will be. You’ll simplify the products you have, the benefits of working with you become clearer and you carve a place out for yourself.
Here’s what happens to my pizza business when my deal customer is clearly defined:
“I’m going to aim my famous pepperoni pizzas at men in their early to mid-thirties. They:
- Are meat-eaters
- Have active social lives
- Like online comics
- Spend a bunch of time on Instagram
- Have a nice chunk of disposable income
- Are willing to pay for craft products that use quality ingredients
- Live and work within 10 miles of central London.
In fact, I’m so focused on serving this one type of customer that I’ve given him a name, meet Ted.
Now, whenever I write a newsletter, post on social media or add something to my website, I ask myself:
- Will Ted understand this?
- Can Ted afford these prices?
- Is Ted going to connect with what I’m saying?
- Where else would Ted buy from if not from me?
I now make one type of pizza. I use the best ingredients available and deliver locally. People can buy pizzas individually or purchase the ‘group’ package, which includes 5 pizzas and comes with a 10% discount.
My website is uncomplicated, just a couple of pages and people say it’s easy to navigate. My marketing is fun, tongue-in-cheek and I’m creating a social media presence on Instagram.
One year from now, I expect to be the number 1 place for people like Ted to buy pizza from in my area.
In the future, I’d like to offer a vegan version of the pepperoni pizza and maybe even expand to another topping. And when that time comes, I’ll create another persona and tailor my new offering to them.
For now, though, I want to maximise sales and grow the business.”
Knowing who you’re serving sounds so much easier and fun, doesn’t it?
We find most people don’t know who to serve or what their niche is right away. But it doesn’t mean you’re lost or hopeless. It’s just a part of the process.
Ready to serve the right people?
Helping you find your niche is one thing The Good Alliance has gotten really good at. It may take a bit of time, but once you’ve figured it out, the clarity you get is eye-opening.
So, if you’re struggling to figure out yours, why not check out our Brand Incubator?
Together we can take the time to figure it out – believe me, your business (and customers) will thank you for it.
Project Success Manager
With a background in web design and development, Brett guides our clients through all aspects of our done-for-you branding experiences.