Sixteen ways to know if your niche is the root cause of your marketing woes

I’m working on a list of symptoms of a fuzzy niche in business.

Do you have anything to add?

1.    Your marketing strategy consists of “just getting your name out there”. Out there to whom? Anyone and everyone.

2.    You couldn’t describe a typical day or your client. You couldn’t tell me what they think about when they wake up, what their mornings are like, what kinds of things they typically do that the love or hate and what keeps them up at night when they’re trying to fall asleep.

3.    Your Unique Selling Proposition is a burned out platitude such as, “I work to truly understand my client’s needs.” There’s nothing that separates you and makes you special from everyone else who does the same kind of thing. You wish you didn’t look just like the competition. Or, perhaps worse, you can’t name many others who do what you do – you’ve never done much research on potential joint venture partners, hubs, niche-mates or competition/collaborators. Any research you’ve done has felt fuzzy and yielded few results.

4.    You define your niche only by external, demographic factors like age, income and geography. Your target is, “People who can afford me.” or “Women, ages 45-55 in Toronto.” This only tells you about their outsides – but not about their values, their worldview, their core beliefs – all of which are vital to understand in your marketing.

5.    Your word-of-mouth strategy is based on lines like, “The highest compliment you can pay us is the referral of a friend.” What kind of friend? Anyone! Do you see how hard it is for your clients to think of someone when it’s so vague and broad?

6.    You don’t love your clients. When you think of them it’s a ‘meh’ feeling at best and a clenched stomach at worst. Too many of your current clients just aren’t a good fit for you. You say yes to a lot of clients that aren’t in your “ideal” description, or even close, just because you’re afraid you’ll be broke if you don’t. And saying yes to work that’s fuzzy or not niched confuses that client into thinking they ARE the ideal client, and confuses the ideal clients into thinking they are not.

7.    You can’t easily give five specific answers to this question, “Where do your clients already spend their time, money and attention?” or “Where can you find your perfect clients?” You have no idea how to answer the question, “Where does your niche hang out? Who do they already trust? What groups are they a part of?” or “What do they tend to search for online to solve their problems? What terms and phrases do they most use?” You can’t answer these questions because you haven’t narrowed to any groups in particular.

8.    You are having trouble crafting an irresistible offer that your clients and prospects go crazy for. Your offers seem ‘good’ but not ‘irresistible.’ When you sit down to write your marketing materials it all feels bland, stale or over-hyped.

9.    Or, you’ve run plumb out of fresh marketing ideas (despite feeling like you’ve already ‘tried everything’).

10.    You use extremely vague descriptors for your niche like, “people who are stressed”, or “people who go through transition” or “people who are fundamentally open to change.” (these are code language for ‘everyone who has ever lived’).

11.    You’re not having fun in your business. You don’t light up when you talk about what you do and the people you work with/for anymore. I can often tell the niche is off in conversations with entrepreneurs when they talk about why it will work or how much money they can make instead of how excited they are or how they want to help, when they say, “I am going to do this, so that later I can this” which is their real dream or passion, when they talks about who they are helping and it is flat or the excitement feels pushed,
when they talk about some other idea or group and lights up in a way they didn’t sharing what they do do.

12.    You can’t articulate what you do in 10 words at the least and 30 seconds at the very most.

13.    You can’t really articulate what it is you do for your clients. You mumble, ‘well . . . I do a lot of things for them . . .’ but there’s no clearly definable result that you offer them (because there’s no clearly definable group of people you’re offering it to).

14.    When you describe what you do people can’t even think of a single person who could use it. You rarely ever hear anyone saying, ‘oh! he should talk to larry!’ or ‘wow. i need that!’. Instead you get people yawning, getting glassy eyed or clearly only asking you questions out of polite interest. When you say what you do, I should immediately get a picture of the ideal kind of client in my mind and instantly know if I (or anyone I know) fit into that group or not.

15.    Your current target market just doesn’t ‘feel right’ to you. There are emotional ‘red flags’ coming up that you can’t place. You can convince yourself it’s a good niche intellectually but deep down something feels ‘off’. Maybe you picked a target market because you thought you had to. Maybe you picked the one you thought you should pick or the one your marketing coach suggested. Maybe you picked lawyers as a target market because you were once a lawyer – and you can relate to lawyers . . . but there’s no spark in it for you.

16.    Bottom Line: You don’t have enough clients. You’re putting in a lot of market effort and getting very little reward. You blew your marketing budget on advertising that did nothing for you.


Anything you’d add?



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



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