my new niche ebook needs your help

I’m working on my new treatise on niche marketing. And I would love to get your help.

I have three questions for you:

1) What are the best, real world examples of businesses or projects with a strong target market? (if you can include the website or a link to an article that would be great).

2) What is your biggest question or frustration around niching? If you’ve been trying to niche for a while and still struggle – why is that do you think?

3) Is there anything smart you’d like to share that you have learned about niching and target marketing that you’d like to share?

Answer any or all of these questions – Many thanks in advance. Just leave your comments below :-)


Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program

About Tad

  • Hi! I have just been sent a link to this website… looks great! Hope you can give me the info to give my business the kiss of life! I look forward to receiving your free book…
    With love, Ivan.

  • Hi! I have just been sent a link to this website… looks great! Hope you can give me the info to give my business the kiss of life! I look forward to receiving your free book…
    With love, Ivan.

  • i hope you find some good things here :-)

  • i hope you find some good things here :-)

  • Hi Tad,
    Re: #1: I don’t know what criteria you want to use to determine “best” businesses, but right now my favorite mentors are Andrea Lee, Bill Baren, George Kao, Lissa Boles and Milana Leshinsky. Each of them seems to have found a strong, well-defined target market that matches the gifts they enjoy giving. Bright blessings to you.

  • hey there,

    and what would you say each other their niches are?

    – t

  • OK. What’s extra-attractive & endearing is that each of these gives his/her own unique style and flavor to the topic, as well as being highly effective in getting results.
    Andrea Lee: personal, light-hearted & effective thought leadership for entrepreneurs
    Bill Baren: gentle, honoring and deeply persuasive new client enrollment
    George Kao: brilliantly simple information product marketing
    Lissa Boles: soul’s journey guidance for entrepreneurs (through astrology)
    Milana Leshinsky: membership site creation
    Cheers to you and your new book, Tad! I look forward to reading it!

  • David Kamnitzer

    Tad … Re #2:  My niche is so cutting-edge and somewhat abstract (Transformational Leaders)  … that it is challenging in that I also have to define, educate, etc …

  • Nancy Juetten

    It’s one thing to get known for doing a certain thing.  It’s another to get paid for delivering the value or the relief to problems that people are serious about investing real money to enjoy the benefit.

    More thought needs to be given to that part of the equation because passion and gifts alone don’t pay the bills.   Clients do, and they have to be serious about investing in what you bring to the marketplace for your business to be viable.

  • Phil Strapp

    My niche isn’t abstract, but it’s also challenging in that it’s “way out there” for most people and I have to define, educate, etc. as well as help people warm up to their unrealized – or in some cases, denied – needs.

  • Tad,

    1. I’d honestly say that you and your Marketing for Hippies are a great example. Title says it all. Mark Silver’s Heart of Business seems broader in some ways but his niche of heart centered business owners is clear and his products are all super clear about what problem or part of the journey he is helping with (ie: “Sacred Sales” “Heart of Money” “The Momentum Course” etc).

    2. My fears/frustrations have often been around specifying the niche audience AND the specific concrete problem(s) I am addressing… Why? Cause I’ve been afraid I would lose established clients… that I would get type cast… and that I would actually start expanding and reaching more folks and OMG my business would become an out of control force of nature… all on its own! Ahhh!

    3. Getting the first part (who I serve) more lazer like has helped my business to shine… and getting the second (what problems I help resolve) super clear on a project by project basis is getting the right folks into the seats… It is also scary and on the edge for me and I am learning to like that!

    : )

  • Rosine

    My biggest problem with niching is that when I pick a niche, I feel guilty towards all the other people who might benefit from my services just as much but won’t get to. 

    Another problem with niches is that I get bored very quickly when I pick a niche. I actually hate the idea of working all the time with the same type of people who have similar lifestyles, fears, concerns and days! Maybe the niche isn’t right, then, but then how do I know my niche is so right that I won’t get bored of this type of people after a month? :)

  • Lynnroodbol

    I have a similar situation with  my niche; I think people aren’t ready for it, so I doubt myself and then I’m not able to promote it.

  • Tamara

    2) What is your biggest question or frustration
    around niching? If you’ve been trying to niche for a while and still
    struggle – why is that do you think?I haven’t stuck to the niche I decided on in your workshop, as of yet. The reasons may be a lack of self confidence
    – most current clients do not fit in the niche… but then again, I want more clients!
    – I’m afraid people in my niche don’t have tons of money
    – I don’t have enough real life experience in my niche
    – a fear of pigeon holing myself and turning off the other people… mmm, but then again, I could start with just one page on my site targeting this niche…
    Because of my lack of life experience I haven’t taken the time to interview other people in this chosen niche and come up with attractive real life challenges my work can help them solve… come to think of it, that is a good idea!!

    3) Is there anything smart you’d like to share that
    you have learned about niching and target marketing that you’d like to
    share? Nope, not yet
    I look forward to reading your ebook!!

    Answering your questions is helping me come up with solutions, so maybe your book can have a question process that will help people come up with their solutions

  • Hi, I can answer # 2.  My biggest frustration has really been just letting myself be so targeted.  It feels like I’m putting all my eggs in one basket, kind of thing.  For instance, I have chosen younger tradesworkers with their first on the job injury in the last year or so and are having problems doing their after work activities like going to the gym, amateur fighting, etc., to be my primary target.  I am a massage therapist.  Do they need me? Yes absolutely.  Are these people often proud?  Yup.  Will they want to listen to a young girl?  Maybe… but maybe not.  And… how the heck do I REACH these people?  I’ve got my niche – I care about them (my little brother is a drywaller with a back injury who has had to give up boxing, something he LOVED, because of it), but will the give a hoot about me?

  • These are great questions, Tad. I’m going in reverse order here. What I’ve learned about niching and target markets is that we simply can’t fabricate it. When I first started my culinary nutrition business I had all kinds of ideas about who I thought I wanted to work with but it wasn’t until I really worked in my business for a while, with a VARIETY of women, and then got very clear on “why am I doing this” (which you beautifully illustrated in your “why” post, BTW) that I started attracting the women I’m thrilled to work with. My business evolved from Conscious Bites Nutrition to Chocolate for Breakfast. (where pleasure meets permission) I now work with two very distinct groups of women but the “Conscious Bites” group eventually moves into my “Chocolate for Breakfast” world as they learn to trust the wisdom of their body and allow it some space to flourish.

    Frustration: watching people try to “force” the niche when they have a variety of men/women they enjoy working with. Why not design “niche specific programs” instead and leave a little room to experiment. My world gets a little bigger with each new client I take on and I love the variety. I love supporting younger women who haven’t a clue how to nourish themselves or their families. I love the older women who need to step out of the weight loss war zone and start loving their bodies enough to nourish them.

    Strong target market examples: This one is a little tricky. I’m not sure I can think of anyone off the top of my head but I’ll be back.

    Thank you for another thought-provoking discussion.

  • Charlotte Lammerhirt

    Mornin’ Tad!
    1) okay, here is an example of one that I like…..I recently decided that it was time start doing more second hand shopping/thrifting….and I found this site .  It is a fashion website all about looking good but ONLY shopping at thrift stores.  What I like about it is that it is really specific…not just about fashion but also about being able to find really fashionable things at the local good will/sally anne store.  The author also has set up some personal challenges for herself such as she is currently only allowing herself to shop at the good will stores for the next year and she has set a current budget of $50.  A lot of her outfits come in under $10.
    2) My biggest niching is question….it is hard to decide what is a niche and what is being unecessarily restrictive.  I can’t remember but I think one of your case studies on this site, you address this with a client.  So far for me, my niche has centered around first time home buyers (too big) but the past few days I have been thinking about First time home buyers who still live at home with their parents…but already I am thinking “too restrictive” and I wonder if I am being unecessarily restrictive?
    3) Smart…hmm….not sure if I am there yet!  All I know that is that once I am able to really get to my niche, my ideal clients should be able to recognize me more easily……

  • Sheelagh Matthews

    Hi Tad, Love your work! Thought I’d try to help out by attempting an answer for at least one of your questions, the one requesting something smart about niching and target markets. Here goes, and I hope you think it’s smart. ; )

    Entire species exist only because they have clearly determined their niche. For example, several types of birds can live in one tree because they have sorted out which part of the tree they will live in, which part of the tree serves their needs for food and shelter best. The big birds might live in the tallest part of the tree, where they can see their prey better from higher heights. The smaller birds might then live in the lower part of the tree, closer to the ground where they forage for bugs to eat. The bottom line is that the birds know what they need, and they know where to go and get it.

    And that is what niche marketing is all about, no more and no less: knowing what you need and where to go to get it.

    However, having said all this, the smartest species, the ones most apt to survive no matter what comes their way, are the ones which can adapt to changing times. For example, one of the reasons the white-tailed deer is so successful a species is because it can readily adjust its diet to almost anyplace it chooses to call home. So, as much as niche marketing is important, the ability to switch quickly to a new niche is important for survival, too.

  •  Response to #3: When I first began painting, I followed my heart and my passion for energy, the mystical, and personal clairvoyant visions. Though I was encouraged by one person to “paint flowers” because “that’s what people would buy.”, I am so glad I followed my passion and interests instead. It led to an art show,  3 large mural commissions in a healing center, many personal painting commissions ever since. I thank any success I’ve had on staying true to my heart, my personal passions and interests. I had no idea at the time that it was centering me in my niche, but it did.

  • Thanks for asking! I’ve been looking for a really good resource for finding niche–and dealing with niche-phobia–for a while. Everything I’ve tried so far has led me in not-so-useful directions. I think I need better questions, a more soulful inquiry into who I am and who I help. And a good, creative, appreciative way to deal with the stuckness some of us feel about nicheing at all. Thanks, and good luck! I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    Peace, Leslie

  • What I’ve learned about niching:

    1. Sometimes “the thing you do” can in fact be used by many, many people. Niche-ing is not so much about figuring out “who can use my services” but rather “who do I choose to offer my service to”. Sometimes it comes down to making a courageous decision and cutting off having multiple options.

    2. It can help folks to make that decision if they realize they never have to turn away ANYONE they want to work with, they are simply choosing who to direct their outgoing energies to reaching.

    3. Until you choose who you are speaking to your marketing language tends to be vague and waffly.

  • Hi, Tad,

    I feel like I must know about some good examples, but keep coming up dry. The only one I can really think of is ArtScene – they took a very particular concept (behind-the-scenes parties at arts events that are normally considered a bit stuffy and old-fashioned) and used niching to bring it to a whole new generation.

    The biggest lesson for me has been about choosing a niche. I started out with a niche for my effective-giving services. But it was the wrong niche. I picked older high-net worth charitable donors, figuring that they needed me because they were heavily involved in giving, and a prime target for fundraisers. I know one (my dad) who is very frustrated with the way charities interact with him. Add to that the fact that they can afford to pay me, and I thought I had it made.

    BUT – it was kind of a disaster. I soon discovered that I’m a bad fit with these people. Two big pieces of my point of view (1. that it’s the givers’ approach that needs fixing before we can impact the charities 2. that we do not have enough follow-up to verify good actually happening) did not resonate with these people. They are perfectly happy with the system as it works now. Or – they perceive any problems as things that charities are doing wrong, and see no connection to their own behaviour. Many of them have little interest in following up on gifts they have made to verify impact. They’re happy to take it on faith.

    I could not connect with these people. I had a lot of painful experiences in the course of attempting to introduce my concepts to them. I offended them. They demoralized me.

    I finally realized (with your help) that although they are a niche, they are not my niche. My niche, as it turns out, are people who are just like I was about 5 years ago: young professionals who are looking to make meaningful involvement in something that will improve the world a part of their lives. I get these people. They get me. My ideas resonate with them. They are interested. It’s too early yet to say whether I’m going to be a smashing success, but I feel a lot more comfortable now, and I’m not getting into so many doomed conversations.

    I hope that’s helpful. Take care, and best of luck with the book.


  • Anonymous

    Niche’s work because they cater to the details that generalists don’t. When a train collector goes to a hole-in-the-wall hobby shop that deals only in trains he/she knows they are connecting with someone who doesn’t just provide product, but shares their passion for that product or interest. That is what sets niche markets apart from other sellers—passion. As a copywriter and ghostwriter for instance I look for people who love words and immerse themselves in the fun of words. I’m an associeate editor of Airstream Life Magazine. Airstreams are RVs, but they’re a niche of RVing. They cater to people who are passionate about design, quality and tradition. Airstreams were the ONLY RV company to survive the Great Depression for instance. People don’t just buy Airstreams (new or used) for the quality, but for the lifestyle, the people, the other owners who are crazy about their piece of the niche. If you want to lead people to green, you don’t lead them to green in general. You find out what their passion about green is and lead them there. In a “Pay What You Can Economy” you tap into that drive people have to ensure their passion will still be there. People don’t miss Steve Jobs. They miss what Steve Jobs brought to Apple, to computer design, to coolness.

  • Lindsay Telfer

    Hey Tad, as you know my focus is a bit different then your clients but I feel there is so much overlap in social entrepreneurship and environmental messaging/marketing.  I’ll have to get back to you on any examples for #1 as I’m stumped at the moment but I’m sure I’ll think of something.  My biggest frustration around Niching/Marketing in my sector is how few organizations do it.  We identify our target market as the “public” or really resist narrowing down our target market.  We seem to really resist identifying our “niche” in fear that it will narrow our options too much or limit possible funder mechanisms when the reverse is actually true.  By being clear on what our niche is and thus who are target market is, we are much more purposeful in our goals and outcomes and thus attract more donors and funders due to that clarity and focus.  So again, I know a different sector then your niche but the parallels continue to intrigue me!  

  • lindsay. yes. totally. agreed.

  • Hi Sue Ann – I really enjoy your point here about “niche specific programs”.  This is something I may have heard Tad mention at his workshop but I wasn’t in a place in my business where I could (or really needed) to hear it.  Now that I am more established, I too feel a little constrained by the niche I originally worked in/with.  Now I am feeling ready to create mini-programs for some of the subsets that show up and are attracted to my business.  Coming across your post is like getting permission to make this a higher priority this year – thank you!