How To Niche Your Brand
AMY: In this episode of Mwah TV it’s me Amy Caiger from Amy Caiger Biz! Laura has asked me to be her guest cocktail correspondent this week and we’re doing a fully virtual episode recorded from here in South London.
LAURA: To up here 290 miles away in the North East!
AMY: Stick around to see me sharing my advice on how to niche your brand.
LAURA: Let’s begin with a quick intro Amy!
Meet Amy Caiger - An Expert On How To Niche Your Brand
AMY: If you've always wondered how you can niche your brand, then by the end of this episode you will know how I help business owners do this confidently. I've been in business for three years now and I started off as a jack-of-all-trades in the marketing sector, but now I'm a specialist. So, I know firsthand how important a niche is for your business.
I specialise in helping service-based business owners get clear and confident in who they help and how they help and how they can stand out, become the go-to person, attract their A list clients, and make a bigger impact.
I have a podcast Unleash Your Niche, and Laura is going to put that in the show notes for you.
LAURA: And don't forget how we met Amy!
How We Met
AMY: Ah yes, we met at one of Andrew and Pete's events a while ago, didn't we? I remember you were there going around, buzzing around being busy, taking your photos for that event. And then we got chatting over those really weird cocktails. Those flaming cocktails. What were they called?
LAURA: Oh my God, yes, they were called Flaming Moe's, I think, a bit like on "The Simpsons" but it was a real spectacular cocktail to take part in.
AMY: Oh yeah, that was it.
LAURA: They were so good, deadly, but good.
AMY: And then since then we have kept in contact online and you were even a guest on my podcast.
LAURA: I wanted to invite you on the show as a cocktail correspondent this week because talking about niching techniques and strategies is a key part of some brand strategy projects when you're looking at brand positioning. Niching is often misunderstood. So, can you just give us a little bit of clarity on this please, Amy?
Can you explain the different methods that somebody can think about taking when it comes to niching down their business?
AMY: Absolutely, and you're right, it is misunderstood.
How It's Misunderstood
A lot of business owners I come across, and who I work with, tend to when they start thinking about their niche, and what their niche should be, they go automatically to thinking about their type of customer, a kind of customer avatar, and then in doing so maybe they don't have a certain type of customer, so they panic a bit and then they start to make things up or they pick a type of customer out of thin air, someone they haven't worked with in the past before, so, someone they don't really know that much about, which isn't very helpful at all.
Your client is one way that you can define your niche, but it's not the only way. And actually defining your niche, or a niche is actually made up of three elements. And that's right, three. And people don't normally think of three.
The who, so that is who your client is.
It could be the what, so what are you doing and how are you doing it differently?
And then there's the YOU, and 'the you' is the icing on the cake. And the good thing about 'the you' part is that we are all different. So we've all got this one in the bag already, even if you're maybe not too clear on the other elements just yet. 'The you' part can be your personality, it's your personal brand, those sorts of elements. Basically, you need to think of what makes you different, what makes you stand out, and why is that a reason for your clients to choose you over somebody else?
So, if there was a lineup, say your ideal client was choosing between five of you, what is it that makes you different from those others in the lineup? So, what makes you different and makes you the perfect choice for your ideal clients?
A Common Struggle
And if you are struggling with that who part of what your niche is, then don't worry, don't get too caught up in thinking about the demographics or the type of customer, but instead think about their problems and their desires.
How are they feeling right now with their problem and how do they want to feel afterwards once they've worked with you, once that problem has gone?
It's super important to know this anyway, as understanding our clients is really, really important for everything that we do in our business, but it might just be that this is the element that joins all your ideal clients together. You might not have a certain sector or a certain type just yet, but it's these problems and how you solve them for your clients is what connects them all together.
So, focus on that. And then the more you find out about them, the more focused you can get with your niche.
LAURA: Another big misunderstanding and this is something that I feel like I hear all the time from different people who are frustrated about their business, and when I say to them, have you thought about niching or have you thought about checking out my good friend Amy Caiger, they come back to me with resistance and it's resistance around cutting off the possibilities of working with everyone or reducing the potential that you have with sales because you're not going to try and serve everyone.
Can you explain for once and for all Amy, why this is absolutely not the case when you niche your business?
AMY: Yeah, absolutely, 'cause when you have a niche, the thing that makes it so beneficial, and why it is so good for your business, is that you can be a lot more tailored and focused in your messaging, your marketing, and your offers, so that they really speak to your ideal clients.
The more you understand your niche and your clients, the more you can attract them to you.
And this is why making stuff up and deciding your niche out of thin air is such a bad idea.
How your niche comes about should be you thinking of what's working in your business and doing more of that and cutting out the things that maybe aren't working so well, or you don't like as much. So, it's a continual process of refining and tweaking as you go. And this is where people go a bit wrong and why they start to get a little bit nervous about niching. Because if you've decided to focus on something that's not actually happening in your business currently, for example, choosing a client you've never worked with before, then, of course, it is going to be so much more of a gamble because it's really unknown.
Its Going To Take Time
Your niche is something that is defined and refined over time. You don't need to go from one to 100 straight away. So, don't panic if you're not niche enough, just yet. It will come. And the important thing is you're focusing on what's happening in your business, where your business is going, and the direction it's going, and how, as I say, you can get more focused so you can tailor your business, so you can tailor your messaging, your marketing, and your offers so that they connect with and resonate even more with your ideal clients. That is the key.
How can you stand out, but connect with your clients so that it becomes a no-brainer choice, as it were, that you are the one for them?
A Big Red Flag - Is This You?
When you're defining your niche, you should never be worried about, "oh God, will I lose customers?" Or, "Will I be turning away customers and losing money?" And if you are, then you're doing something wrong.
So, Laura, when is it cocktail time?
LAURA: Lol! Yes, ok then. Before we get any further into this today Amy, let’s make it cocktail time! Please, tell us which cocktail you picked to accompany your correspondence today.
Amy's Chosen Cocktail to accompany how to niche your brand
AMY: Today I’ve mixed an Espresso Martini.
- Espresso Coffee,
- Cocktail Syrup (optional)
- and Coffee Beans
- A Cocktail Shaker
- A Martini Glass
- A Cocktail Measure
- To mix it begin by brewing the coffee. Leave it to cool and you can even pop it into the fridge to fully chill.
- Add ice to your cocktail shaker and then 1 ounce of cooled coffee,
- To that add 1 ounce of cocktail syrup, 1 ounce of Kahlua and 2 ounces of vodka
- Shake everything up really vigorously then strain it out quickly into a martini glass.
- Garnish this with a couple of coffee beans and you’re good to go!
LAURA: This is the best livener cocktail. A great one if you have been at work all day and you’re going straight into the cocktail hour! I’ve made the same! Cheers Babes!
AMY: Cheers. Mm, yum.
LAURA: Ooh, I'm already invigorated!
AMY: So now I have my cocktail, can we play this card game now then Laura?
The Card Game
Card Number 1
LAURA: You are as keen as mustard today Amy! I love this, yes, you may go ahead and open your cards.
AMY: Okay, let's have a little look. Now, I think I know what I'm doing here. So, I'm just going to dive in and pick the first card and read it to you. Is that right?
LAURA: Yup you got it, girl! What does the first one say?
AMY: This first card says,
Niching as a Creative
CARD NUMBER 1
So I'll take this one!
LAURA: Ok. Fire away! You are absolutely the expert on this!
AMY: It can be really hard in the creative business.
The urge is that you want to appeal to everybody and do everything, you know, just in case. But what that ends up doing is actually you end up appealing to nobody and you may well have heard this before. And the reason for this is not everybody is the same, so they won't all connect and resonate with the exact same thing.
Being a watered-down version to try and appeal to everybody is just that, a watered-down version. So, no one is really going to be that interested.
In this day and age, when you can work with anybody all over the world, then anyone can work with the best person for the job. They're going to want to work with that specialist. So, that means you need to be really, really clear that you are the best person for your ideal client. So, why then is a niche so good for your business?
You know, people talk about it a lot. People say why it was the key that suddenly helped them grow their business. But why is that? What actually is it about a niche, apart from just choosing an area for your business to go in? What actually does it do that's such a benefit to your business? So, the first thing is it allows you to create content that really, really connects with your clients so they know you are speaking directly to them. It allows you to create offers and services that your clients really want and that they will really love and that they can see it will be the perfect solution to the problem that they're having. It allows you to stand out in the sea of similar businesses.
What's Your "Special Thing"?
We need that thing, that uniqueness about us, that will make it an easier decision of why someone would choose you over somebody else. And you get to increase your prices.
When you Increase Your Prices...
So you get rid of all those awful clients that haggle on price, that want you to do more for less. You start to attract people who really value you, that appreciate what you do, and want to work with you and only you, which means you become a specialist, you become sought after, you become that go-to person, which enables you to be able to increase your prices, to reflect that.
It means you can attract those sorts of clients, those better, those higher-paying clients, quicker and more easily. So, that's so important. You want to be attracting these better clients. As I say, we don't just want to be working with any sort of person because not all clients are equal.
And Save Time
But also having a niche allows you to save time. And this is something that sometimes gets forgotten about. I talk about it a lot, but it is something that people don't automatically think of with their niche.
When you're not clear on your direction or what you should be saying or what you should be doing that's going to be really attracting and resonating with your clients, then chances are, you do things again and again. So, all those social media posts, those lead magnets, your website copy, all that stuff, if you're not clear on who you help and how you help, then that's all going to be wrong and you're going to have to end up changing it again and again, which, as I say, we don't have enough time as it is, but to be wasting time because you're not clear and you don't have your focus and direction, makes things so much harder.
Is This You?
So, if you are currently feeling like you are attracting a bit of a mixed bag of clients, you want to be seen as that go-to, perhaps you're not quite yet. You are being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, you want to just generally elevate your business, then perhaps now is the right time for you to start thinking about getting clearer on your niche.
through your mind when you're reluctantly getting out of bed and then you think about what you're going to be doing with them and you jump out of bed and get cracking on the work that you've got in store for the day ahead.
But, that being said, I think it's really important to say that these are the people who really respect your authority and expertise when you're giving them really well-considered recommendations for their business. And that is truly way more delightful Than the time wasters you've just spoken about there.
Let's do the next card.
Card Number 2
AMY: This second one says
“The moronic inferno and our responsibility as creatives to fight beige ideas.”
CARD NUMBER 2
Can we just cover what you mean by moronic inferno - is this some sort of a pun about Dante’s Inferno by any chance?
LAURA: Yes, that is bang on. This is a bit of an in-family pun and an idea we have spent a lot of dinner parties discussing. We have had the different creative renaissance periods in history, and with the mass democratisation of art and the slow degrading of education, it could be possible that we are slipping into a level of the moronic inferno. So I want to know what your opinion is on this idea, and if you think it is the responsibility of the creative community to fight the “beige-ness”.
AMY: Oh fantastic!
Yeah, as business owners, we really need to be putting our stamp on the things that we do. We can't just be doing and saying the same things as everybody else. If we do, then we're making it really, really hard for our ideal client to know who to work with and to make that decision. And if they've got a few people that they're thinking about and they're looking at them and there's not any difference between them, then they'll start to look for a difference and then that will come down to price.
The Race To The Bottom
This is a really, really bad place to be in. You don't want to be chosen because you are the cheapest. That is a really, really bad business model to get into. And then what happens when someone cheaper comes along? ... You're going to have to go cheaper! That is just not somewhere you want to be in your business.
to be recognisable so that we are front of mind when our client needs our help. This is once again, why a niche is so important.
Back to your "Special Thing"
We all need that thing that makes us unique as this is the key to why our clients will choose us over somebody else. So, you've got to really think about what makes you different and how you can amplify that so you become known for it.
The online world is so noisy, so you do need that thing that will make you memorable and recognisable. And I've got three examples of people, of business owners, that are doing this really, really well that I want to share with you.
Some Creative Niche Examples
Victoria Fleming - Buzztastic
So, the first person is Victoria Fleming. Now, I know we both know her really well. And Victoria is a sales consultant for SAAS Brands. And this is quite a traditional sector. So, a lot of her competitors are mainly men in grey suits.
Victoria is the total opposite!
For start she is a woman, but she also dresses in really bright colours, she has purple hair, she has the most fantastic array of glasses. You never see her in the same pair twice, I don't think, and she has the most amazing shoes.
She is also really bubbly and fun, which really goes against that kind of corporate, grey-suited man. So, you can imagine, when she goes into a potential client meeting, they're not going to forget her in a hurry.
The second example is Kyne. Now, she is someone that I've only recently come across, but her content is amazing.
It is focused on maths. So, automatically you think "like maths, that's a bit boring" but what she does is completely the opposite. And she has got nearly a million followers on TikTok because of this, which is phenomenal.
LAURA: WOW! 1 million!?
AMY: Yes, that's right, nearly one million followers for maths-related content. You would never have thought that. So, what makes her so different? Well, she has really great bite-sized tips and the stuff she shares is really mind-blowing, but she's also a drag queen.
You don't normally think of maths with drag queens. This is a real combo that is really making her stand out. And there is definitely no one else doing what she is doing. So, she has really thought outside the box and is definitely not beige.
If you're thinking, well, those examples are quite over the top, they sound very kind of vivacious personalities, but I've got an example for you that is somebody who has focused their whole business on being an introvert and a really shy introvert at that. And that is Fifi Mason.
Fifi has built her whole business around being an introvert. Everything she talks about is being an introvert and the benefits of being an introvert.
Yes, she does have blue hair, but I'm sure she won't mind me sharing, because it's something she talks about a lot, is that she has the blue hair because, as she was so shy, it gave her this conversation starter for when she did actually meet people online or face to face.
Use this as Inspiration for Your Niche Creative
You can see from these three examples that it's just thinking about how can you do things differently that just isn't the same as everybody else. And there are other ways you can do this. Those ones tend to be a lot more personal brands, but it could be:
- About your IP,
- Your content and what you're saying.
- How are you saying things that are different from anyone else? So, it might be that you've got a different stance on everything else that's happening in your industry. So, maybe you don't agree with the norm of what people talk about in your industry, or you've got another way of thinking about it that is different and it has a slightly different angle or hooks that people are used to hearing about.
- Or it might be what you do. So, how are you delivering your services and your offers? Or perhaps you're doing things in a slightly different way that hasn't been done before, or that isn't the norm in your industry. 'Cause, that's the thing, we don't just want to be doing the same things as everybody else. It's boring, it's beige, it doesn't make us stand out, it doesn't make people remember us, it makes us pretty forgettable. But what we want to be doing is fighting against that.
The Common Trap
It is really easy to just go along and do the same as everybody else because it's what we see and what we pick up from the environment around us and the content that we see. It's hard not to be influenced by all that, but it's just thinking about, okay, how can I do something that's a little bit different that will make me stand up and kind of think a bit differently. It will be these elements that will make it so much easier for people to connect with you, get to know you, and really like what you're doing, so they'll want to work with you.
LAURA: Love that! Thanks, Amy. The niche becomes the foundation or jumping-off point for having real fun with our creativity. But it’s creativity that is grounded in niching strategy. To you guys at home then, do you know what you are known for – why not share that below in the comments.
Shall we do the next one?
What does it say?
Card Number 3
AMY: So, this card says,
Just going for it as an independent creative professional.
CARD NUMBER 3
Ah yes, we hold ourselves back a lot, don't we?
I think particularly as creative professionals, we can be our own worst enemy sometimes, can't we?
We get the ideas and some really good ideas but then we get the fear and then the ideas just stay that way and they don't become anything and we end up doing nothing, which is way worse than doing something and it not working out as well as we had hoped.
I think as creatives, we have so many ideas. In fact, probably too many ideas. Our ideas are going all the time. If you're anything like me, Laura, I know you are, we have so many ideas all the time, but the number of ideas we actually act on and that we actually go for in our business, is probably a lot lower than that.
With a Touch of Shiny Ball Syndrome
I don't know whether that's because we then get distracted by the next idea that we have or whether we start to lose our self-confidence. I think it's probably a little bit of both of those, to be honest. I know for me, in my business, I see the biggest gains and the most success when I am going for it and acting on the ideas that I am having. It causes a sort of momentum in my business.
As soon as I stop going for it and stop myself, maybe by blocking myself, from doing the next thing, that's definitely where I see a difference. It's definitely something that affects, I'd say, both yourself and your business. When you're not actually going for it, this momentum stops.
Hone Your Ideas with Better Creativity
Done Is Better Than Perfect
If you are constantly putting yourself out there and doing the things that you want to be doing, and that you're thinking would be a good idea for your business. We need to try out these things in our business and see what happens. If something doesn't quite go to plan, then we need to reframe it.
Rather than it being a failure, we need to think of it as learning and think actually, what can we learn from this? Rather than just being oh, that didn't work, how embarrassing, how awful, whatever. Whatever those thoughts are that you think.
If you don't ever try anything out and you don't ever go for it, then you never know. You don't know what works and what doesn't. And knowing both of those things is just as important and is just as valuable to you as a business owner.
Feeling The Fear
Even though it is really scary to go and do something and think, oh God, what if it doesn't work out? But you definitely learn so much more when things don't quite go to plan. I also think as creatives, we are sometimes prone to be perfectionists. And I know that can definitely put blocks down in front of you feeling confident enough to actually do the thing and just go for it. And I always have to tell myself, done is better than perfect.
It really is, because, as I was saying, doing the thing and actually seeing what happens and how it works, whether it's as good as what you're thinking, whether it needs some tweaks for next time, doing something is so much better than doing nothing.
If you're doing nothing, then nothing changes. And if nothing changes, then you stay where you are. So, that's something to really think about, that actually by doing these things, by going through it, by testing things out, by acting on your ideas, you are moving your business forward, whatever the outcome of doing that thing actually is.
So, just go for it!
LAURA: Yes, it’s about filtering the right idea out. I really do believe that all failures are just a big lesson. It's not the end of the world if you make a mistake. But as a perfectionist creative, I struggle with that. So, I'm trying to say that as much as possible to learn that lesson for myself.
Card Number 4
AMY: So, I'm going to have another little sip of the cocktail and we'll go straight to the next question. Mm, lovely. So, this one says,
Going with your gut
CARD NUMBER 4
and I'd love to know your thoughts on this one first, Laura.
LAURA: Hmmm this is a good one to get into, I actually have mixed feelings about it. I can say with conviction that any big mistake or failure or should I say “Lesson learned” happened when I chose to not listen to my gut and go against my intuition.
This might have been because of me thinking that someone else knew better than me, or you might say that this was down to my own imposter syndrome and self-confidence in not believing my gut.
The flipside of this coin comes in with my natural propensity to be quite cautious, especially about taking a new risk in my business. I was totally the kid who stood at the deep end of the swimming pool and had a 3 hour long back n forth about jumping in. It’s just who I am. So I’m never going to be someone who says “Just do it!” unless I know the risk is probably minimal, or we have some data to back up taking the risk. Are you going to answer this one too, or forfeit it, Amy?
AMY: Yeah, I'll answer. All I wanted to add really, was that as business owners, we do second-guess ourselves a lot of the time. We lose confidence, we're not sure which direction to take, what decision to make.
LAURA: Yup! That’s totally me!!
AMY: And we sometimes go round and round and round in circles. I know I definitely have a lot.
But we should back ourselves more because we do know the answers, we do know what we should be doing. We know much more than we give ourselves credit for. And we do know, deep down, what the answer is or what direction we should be taking or what we should be doing next in our businesses.
So, if you are listening to this and you are at that point in your business, perhaps you've got that decision that you're not quite sure what direction to take or what thing you should be focusing on next in your business, listen to your gut. You do know what the answer is.
Less Is More
LAURA: I am totally taking this advice. One thing I'm actually trying to do less of in my business, especially, is asking other people for advice. For me, I know that I'm a sucker for doing this when I find myself stuck in a hesitation procrastination situation. And gathering more people's advice just makes it even harder for me to make a decision and actually take some action.
Instead, I'm trying to say to myself, okay, I'm going to sleep on this and I'm going to make a decision about it tomorrow. And that is absolutely inspired, by the way, by Scarlet O'Hara's, "tomorrow is another day." I'm going to go to sleep and tomorrow is another day. And on that day I will make this decision. Let's have a quick sip before the last card.
LAURA: And let’s have a quick sip before the last card!
AMY: The last card says,
Card Number 5
Burnout as a creative entrepreneur.
CARD NUMBER 5
LAURA: And go on, tell us about this.
AMY: Well, we try and do too much as business owners, don't we?
I know I constantly feel like a Jenga tower. Things are all going okay and then I might get a little bit too cocky and I'll add one extra thing to the top on my to-do list and then that whole thing comes crashing down. And I know this and I still do it. I am slightly better at not doing that, but I'm still doing it and I've definitely learned the hard way.
Time Off Is CRUCIAL
I also know that I'm not someone who can work every evening and work at the weekends. And sometimes that does make me feel a bit lazy, that I should be doing more, that I should be trying harder, that I have all this time, I should be working harder on things, but I know if I start working in the evenings and the weekend working starts creeping in, then it doesn't actually take me that long to get run down, to get burnt out, to get just really knackered.
When You Don't Take Time Off...
Then it starts to create a ripple effect and starts to impact things going forward.
I start losing motivation.
I start dropping things, as in an activity, not literally dropping things, and it's just not worth it.
I know the impact it will have, the negative impact it will have if I start doing those, what seemingly seem small things.
A positive that has come out of doing this one too many times, is that I know for myself, I have to keep things really, really simple. I can't do everything, even though sometimes I think I should be able to.
I need to pick and choose what I do and I need to stick with it. And this is also something I do with my clients. I don't try and make them do everything. In fact, I tell them to do less and we get super streamlined on doing only a few things and doing them really, really well.
Amy's 3 Key Areas
There are three key areas that we focus on and they are:
Visibility. Where are you showing up where your clients can see you and know about you? So, and that's just one thing, really, really important, just one thing.
The second thing is community. So, where are you building your community and where are you making those deeper relationships with your audience? And this can be the exact same platform or place that you're being visible on.
And the third thing is authority building. So, where are you creating content where you're showing that you are the expert, that you know what you're talking about? So, is this a podcast? Is it videos? Is it a blog? Just choose one main source for this, and that's it.
That's all you need to worry about those three elements. And not try and add too much or do too many things. And the other good thing about not trying to do everything and to be everywhere is that you actually become more known.
You would think it would be the other way around. If you were in more places, more people would know about you, but that's not the case at all. It's because you have that focus. So, streamlining is actually very beneficial for growing your business as well as making things a lot easier for you. So, that is definitely something to think about when you're trying to do too many things.
Your Invitation To Amy's Masterclass
If you want more help defining your niche so you can start attracting those A-lister clients quicker and more easily, then I've got the perfect masterclass for you.
LAURA: I’ve been your host Laura Pearman.
AMY: And I’ve been your cocktail correspondent Amy Caiger.
If you’ve enjoyed learning about how to niche your brand with me today, then you should take a look at these episodes from Mwah TV that also talk about this.
And! Don’t forget to come and see me over on Instagram:
Shall We Seal this With A Kiss? 💋
When you sign up to receive my Sealed With A Branded Kiss emails you can expect to get to know me a lot better, to be on the list for my exclusive offers and bonuses AND you'll never miss another episode either.