“Niches are needs.”
— Eben Pagan
Perhaps you have a general understanding of your “niche” but still lack specificity.
Perhaps you have doubts about the current niche you’re in.
Or perhaps you have no idea what niche to get into.
This lack of clarity keeps us stuck… some longer than others.
I’ve seen this hold so many people back from taking MASSIVE action… even from people who’ve had businesses for years. And I’ve struggled with this in the past as well.
This “holding pattern” keeping you stuck prevents you from progressing and growing your business.
To be fair, everyone’s fallen into this “niche overwhelm” at some point in their entrepreneurial journey.
So in this piece of content, I’ll show you how to become more clear on your niche so that you can increase your odds of being profitable (and feel confident to take massive action).
I’ll be covering some valuable marketing models that’ll help streamline your success.
You’ll be able to resonate more with your audience because you’ll be speaking to their wants and needs.
And you’ll be able to serve them at a higher level.
This is the foundation for your business success. So let’s dive in!
A Key Distinction For Escaping “Niche Overwhelm”
When someone lacks clarity on their niche, it’s usually rooted in their definition of what niches actually are.
I mentioned a quote above that “niches are needs.”
Going even deeper, the primary characteristic of these needs is emotional in nature.
As a quick thought experiment, consider the last time you bought something. Ask yourself a “trail of whys:”
- Why did I buy it?
- Why does it matter?
By the 5th “why,” you’ll notice that you’re diving into an emotional reason.
I’ll use a personal example.
Recently I bought the book “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. If you’re unfamiliar, Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor who became an accomplished author. And this book is an account of his experiences in a concentration camp.
- Why did I buy it? Because I thought it’d be interesting and people recommended it to me.
- Why does it matter? I’m not sure, but it was inexpensive, so why not.
- Again, why does it matter? I thought it could provide some insight into the human condition regarding apathy and finding hope in the midst of challenges.
- Why? Because I figured if someone could figure out how to find meaning and purpose DESPITE living in a concentration camp… it’s worth understanding their perspective on life.
- Why? Because I want to find the fortitude and strength to keep pushing forward even when times are tough.
By the time I got to the 5th “why,” I had reached an emotional reason for why I had bought the book.
We’re Not As Rational As We Think
In the copywriting world, there’s a famous saying:
“People buy with emotions, but they justify with logic.”
Studies have been done that reveal that the majority of our buying decisions happen at a subconscious level.
In one study, Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman notes that when measuring consumers’ unconscious physical reactions (revealing what they actually believe or think)… it contradicted what they said directly when asked.
This was found by measuring response latency and neuroimaging.
In simple terms, these tests showed that there was a disparity between explicit (conscious or “logical”) and implicit (unconscious or “emotional”) responses.
This intuitively makes sense, right?
If you’re driving down the road and an unaware teenager wearing headphones walks in front of your car… your instinct is to slam on the breaks!
You’re not going to logically say, “Well, I think it’s in the best interest of myself and this teenager if I place my foot on the brake system. I’ll instruct my brain to send a message to foot to slam on this brake system.”
By then, it’s too late.
I’m using an extreme example to illustrate my point, but you get the general idea.
Explained another way, I’m sure you’ve encountered people who say one thing, but their behavior indicates that they believe otherwise.
Our subconscious mind houses these emotional wants and needs.
So what tends to happen is we make emotional decisions, and then backward-reason why we did it “logically.”
So how does this apply to niches?
If you want to become clear on your niche, it’s important to look at the emotional reasons behind your consumers’ actions.
The War Between Demographics And Psychographics: An Important Distinction For Dialing In Your Niche
I see a common trend in marketing, specifically when discovering niches.
What many people tend to focus on is the demographics. What age is my audience? Gender? Income? Career? Etc.
These tend to be external factors that reveal VERY LITTLE about someone’s emotional needs.
For this reason, it’s FAR more effective to focus on psychographics first.
Psychographics embody the emotional needs of your audience. This information is much richer in the beginning.
Does this mean demographics are pointless? Not at all.
However, demographics alone don’t paint an accurate picture.
Start with the psychographics, and then refine with demographics.
For now, consider the questions:
- What does my audience want to achieve? These are their wants and aspirations.
- What does my audience want to avoid? These are their fears and frustrations.
Two Models For Identifying Emotional Needs
So I’ve covered that addressing “psychographics” first is vital for discovering your niche.
This is how you identify your audiences’ emotional needs (and reveals how you can help your audience).
So now I want to share two simple and robust models for discovering these “emotional needs.”
When I started viewing niches through these lenses, it made everything else click in my brain.
These will empower you and give you more clarity.
Model 1: The 3 Core Markets
This is a popular model in the marketing industry. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
I first learned it from a business mentor I had a few years back. And since, I’ve seen multiple entrepreneurs use it (Russell Brunson commonly uses it in his books).
But I want to make a distinction that I don’t see a lot of people making.
To begin, there are 3 core markets:
The majority of products or services fall within these core markets.
Why? Because they cover the most prevalent emotional needs of a human.
Which core market are you in?
Now, this can get tricky with certain offers.
For example, let’s use the company Gillette to illustrate this.
They sell razors, which isn’t directly related to one of these 3 core markets on the surface.
But when you look at their marketing, what do you see?
The advertisements that I’ve seen usually relate to “looking more attractive” or looking suitable for someone in your life.
So Gillette would fall into the “relationships” category.
The distinction here is that the 3 core markets refers to the BENEFITS of the offer, not the features.
Feature = Razor.
Benefit = look suitable for someone in your life.
And once you’re aware of the core market you’re in, you’ll want to get more specific about how you help people within that market.
For example: Instead of just saying you help people accumulate wealth. You could say you help real estate agents get more leads online.
You reach your personal “niche” gold mine by drilling down for specificity.
Model 2: Maslow’s Hierarchy
If you’ve seen this diagram, it’s Abraham Maslow’s model of human needs.
I want to include this here because it integrates well with the 3 core markets.
You can connect:
Health → Physiological and Survival
Wealth → Safety and Security
Relationships → Love and Belonging
This model also shows us that there will be a smaller percentage of people who value “self-actualization.”
I’ve seen companies use marketing messages based solely on this need. For example: these are businesses that focus on self-development, spirituality, and learning.
Word of caution: If you’re just starting out, then using marketing messages solely based on these “self-actualization” needs can be challenging. You may come off as being too nebulous. And nowadays, there’s a sea of people offering broad promises and benefits.
Better to start off as a large fish in a small pond versus a small fish in the ocean.
Suppose you find yourself in this category, no worries. You can still market a self-actualization offer by mentioning the health, wealth, and relationship benefits.
Having these two models overlap allows us to see a clearer picture of how to meet our audience’s emotional needs.
What emotional needs are you solving for your audience?
A Quick Formula For Bringing Your Niche Together
I briefly mentioned that you’d want to get more specific within your market of choice. You could also call these “sub-markets.”
Each of the core markets has sub-markets contained within them.
For example: in the wealth core market, you could have financial investments, digital marketing, sales, and many others.
These are all smaller components that fall within the bucket of “wealth.”
Understanding this will help you use the following formula.
This is a quick formula for gaining clarity on your niche… courtesy of Russell Brunson.
I like to think of it as the “ultimate result” you’re helping your audience achieve.
Fill in the blanks for yourself:
I’m going to teach/help [sub-market] how to [your niche].
If someone’s a fitness coach, they may say…
“I’m going to help [type 1 diabetic bodybuilders] how to [successfully compete in bodybuilding competitions].”
- **Here’s a pro tip for this formula: The “sub-market” is more of a description of your audience. And “your niche” is more about the result you’re helping them achieve.
Set Your Niche To A North Star
Even the most well-designed plans and strategies rarely work out exactly as planned.
But entrepreneurs who successfully discover niches don’t just “wing it.” They start by gaining as much clarity as possible.
Use the formula above to understand the “ultimate result” you’re helping people achieve.
Set it as your north star. And set sail.
You’re the captain of the ship. But you can’t control the climate, weather, and other external factors.
Discovering your niche is a never-ending process. It’s not something you do once and never iterate over time.
As you move forward towards discovering your niche, you’ll discover some gems along the way.
These gems could literally be the start of a new business or career.
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