A niche is a situation or activity specially suited to one’s interest or abilities. A niche market is therefore a group of consumers with a particular, common interest in a subject or topic. In other words, it is a gathering of select people who would be most likely to buy your product.
For example: continuing with our Shakespeare model, appropriate niche markets would include history buffs, theater and play groups, classic literature book clubs, Renaissance groups and clubs, and Shakespeare fan clubs (yes, they do exist!).
The Internet is a great place to find niche markets
You can discover e-groups, forums, chat sites, communities, fan pages, linkedin profiles and mailing lists on just about any subject imaginable. It is often advantageous during your test-marketing phase to spend some time joining several groups and forums. Introduce yourself to the members and start some dialogue about what you’re doing, what you’ll be offering, and why they should be interested. People are far more likely to buy from someone they know and trust rather than random advertisements from unspecified sources.
If you’re not sure where your niche market is, a good place to start is self-assessment. By defining your own interests, abilities, and the types of people you prefer to interact with, you can begin to search for like-minded souls and find out where they like to hang out on the ‘net. Then apply the aspects that interest you most to your marketing material, and start spreading the news in your defined target areas.
Here’s a quick self-assessment quiz to get you started
Ask yourself the following questions—be honest!—and think of as many answers as you can for each one:
1. What do you like to do? Think about the tasks you enjoy most at work, and what you’re most likely to engage in when you have no plans. Recall any activities you enjoyed, whether you expected to or were surprised by your enjoyment.
2. Where do you like to go? If you’re heading out for the evening, what is your usual destination? What’s the last vacation you took that you truly enjoyed? Where is your favorite room in your house? Your favorite chair to sit in? If you were given a million dollars and told you had to use it to travel, where would you go?
3. Who do you like to hang out with? What characteristics do you look for in a friend? List everything that made you fall in love with your spouse or significant other, or all the endearing traits that possess you to visit with your favorite relative, or the little things you find most enjoyable in your children. Imagine you’ve just entered a busy public place and plan to strike up a conversation with someone. What does your most likely candidate look like? What is she wearing? What is he doing?
4. What do you like to buy? Brainstorm your spending habits. What kinds of things would you be willing to plunk down $10 of your hard-earned money for? How about $20? $50? More than $100? What products would you only pick up if they were on sale? How about free? And what influences your decision to buy: price? Convenience? Testimonials from satisfied customers? Recommendations from friends?
Now take your findings and apply them to your product. This is also a good way to determine your interest level in the public domain work you’ve selected. Once you know what you like, you can look for people who share your interests. If they have similar tastes, they will be more likely to enjoy your offering—and they will then spread the word to their friends and acquaintances for you.