The Art of Niches: How To Identify Your Target Customer

The people you set out intending to capture as clients or customers are probably not the people you’re going to initially attract. Your target customer probably isn’t going to come waltzing through your door, even if you did a perfect job of identifying and refining your niche. What’s more, the people you attract may be better customers than the ones you were trying to attract. How will you learn to recognize when that is the case? Should you serve them in order to pay your bills while simultaneously working to win over the target audience you first had in mind, or should you forget about that first idea and focus on the business you are bringing in? Or should you try to do both?

Your first paying customers probably won’t be from your target customer population.. and that’s okay.

Odds are you were wrong about your target to begin with.

Sounds simple enough, but we get so wrapped around the axle about it.

This is stuff to think about. If you’re not able to have an honest conversation with yourself about it, try talking to a trusted friend or mentor. Even some of your customers can be good sources of information and guidance! I can’t sit here and pretend to know the best answer for each of you who are reading this, but I can absolutely assure you that if you haven’t already faced this circumstance, you soon will.

When your target customer and your ideal customer are not the same

If you’re not careful, you can easily end up targeting the wrong customer. This can happen for a number of reasons. Maybe you misjudged who your ideal customer is. Maybe you based your target customer on someone you know personally, rather than on market research. Or maybe you just changed your mind about who you want to target. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself in this situation, don’t despair. You can still find success by targeting a different customer. Of course, this means that you may have to start from scratch in terms of your marketing and sales efforts – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it gives you a chance to reevaluate your approach and make sure that you’re really reaching the right people, and your initial efforts weren’t actually working in the first place. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you adjust your sights to a new target customer:

  • Don’t be afraid to change your strategy.If your original plan wasn’t working, then it’s time to try something new. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find an approach that works for your new target customer.
  • Keep your old customers in mind.Even though you’re targeting someone new, don’t forget about the customers who got you where you are today. They can still be valuable members of your audience, even if they’re not your ideal customer anymore.
  • Be clear about the changes that you’re making, and your reasons for making them. Being honest with yourself and your staff (if applicable) is important. You don’t need to announce to new customers that you just pivoted, but you do owe some updates to any existing clients. Let them know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and the ways in which you can still be of service to them. If you can’t provide them with what they need anymore, refer them to someone who can, even if that means doing some research on their behalf. Communicate. No one likes to be ghosted.

Is this the same as finding your niche?

When it comes to marketing, your target customer and your niche are not always one in the same. “Target customer” is a term used to define who you want to reach with your product or service, and it is relatively broad is scope. They are the ones who will benefit most from what you have to offer. Your niche, on the other hand, is the smaller group within your target market that you can focus your marketing efforts on. For example, let’s say you sell natural health supplements (not my favorite, but this is just an example). Your target market, which is comprised of your target customers, would be anyone interested in living a healthier lifestyle. But your niche might be women over 40 who are interested in natural health remedies for menopause symptoms.

When it comes to marketing, the terms “niche” and “target customer” are often used interchangeably. However, there is a big difference between the two. Your niche is the group of people you want to target with your product or service. Your target customer is the specific type of person within that group who is most likely to do business with you. For example, let’s say you sell natural dog food. Your niche would be dog owners. But not all dog owners are going to be interested in your product. Your target customer would be dog owners who are concerned about their pet’s health and are willing to pay more for a premium product.

To find your target customer group, you need to first identify your niche and then narrow it down further by looking at factors like demographics, interests, and needs. Once you know who your target customer is, you can create marketing messages that speak directly to them and make it more likely that they’ll do business with you. The key to a successful microbusiness is to first identify your niche, and then narrow down your focus to a specific target customer group. By doing this, you’ll be able to create more targeted campaigns that will resonate with your audience and help you “convert” (one of my least favorite business terms) more leads to customers.

I often get mixed up about the ideas of niche versus target customer. One could easily make the argument that the target customer group is the larger of the two, and one niche is the smaller group. Regardless, the point is that one is a subset of the other. Everyone has been obsessed with Venn diagrams lately, especially the one about the Japanese concept of “Ikigai”, so perhaps you can visualize your niche and your target customer group as concentric circles in a Venn diagram.

I believe that a lot of microbusinesses fail because they either fail to identify their target customer group within their niche, or they fail to identify their niche in the first place. That’ll be the topic of another article though.

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