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This week I’m going to talk about why it’s important to be be niche and how being precise about who your audience is and explicit about who you are targeting, is crucial to your site or product performing better and you providing your users with a better experience.
Quite often the response to suggesting being niche is a knee jerk reaction of mild panic or indignance and it goes a little something like this…
- Surely that’s a big risk?! I don’t want to reduce my number of potential customers?!
- My product is actually for everyone, it’s great for anyone who has money and wants to spend it!
We’re going to look at both of those objections in a little more depth as let me tell you now, this is important guys…mass appeal is a myth. That’s right, I said it! Let that one sink in a minute.
Misconception – Niche targeting means less paying customers.
Truth – In most cases whether you’re business is selling a product or service, it’s a buyers market. Your potential customers have a plethora of choice and can choose any provider they wish. Why should they choose you? People’s purchasing decisions are determined by who’s offering resonates with them, mirrors their values and meets their needs. Position yourself to tick those all those boxes in any niche and you’ll reap enormous rewards if the market is there!
Here are just some of the benefits that you can expect to see when specialising and catering to a particular niche customer set well…
- Increased revenue through improved lead generation. Knowledge of the customers that buy what you sell can be applied to further improve your appeal to that specific group of people and in turn create better user experiences. Only catering to that particular audience also instills a feeling of exclusivity.
- Improved customer satisfaction and retention. The clarity that is gained from focussing your efforts on a niche customer type is immense. When everyone in a company (large or small) is on the same page as to who their customer is and how to make them happy, satisfaction and retention inevitably organically improve.
- Stronger product positioning and messaging. It stands to reason that when there is a clear and defined target audience, you can forge more compelling and effective messaging enabling your brand to gain strength and build trust. Stronger messaging that resonates with a defined target audience is a recipe for increasing your conversion rates too. 🙂
- Reduced waste. This can take a number of forms…
– Less time wasted on those less likely to convert as positioning yourself as a niche provider means you’ll get less leads taking up your time that aren’t a good fit.
– Less money spent on marketing/advertising as being niche enables you create a plan around only getting your offering in front of your relevant prospects.
– Less time and money spent on developing features for people that don’t want or need them!
To summarise, although you might be cutting down on the number of potential paying customers, you’ll be significantly improving the likelihood of select, better prospects becoming buyers, staying that way and encouraging others to become patrons too. Having a detailed knowledge of your customers and providing them with the best user experience has the capacity to provide incredible returns on your investment and sustainable, organic business growth… When was the last time you spoke directly with a customer?
Misconception – My product really is for everyone.
Truth – The mainstream is not a target market!
If you’re not clear on who your ideal customer or target audience is, you can’t know what they’ll need or what will resonate well with them. If you don’t know that, you can’t provide an experience that will make them happy, you won’t be able to delight them enough so that they come back time and time again (and tell their friends too!) and your best attempts to overcome any pitfalls or pain points will be a stab in the dark based on hunches and best guesses. It doesn’t work! You’re setting yourself up for a seriously bumpy ride.
Stop thinking about the revenue that targeting everyone will never bring you!
The only way to please your users and reap the rewards that happy customers bring is to really get to know them. If your audience is “everyone”, what you’re really saying is your customers are just a hazy, distant entity and it’s hard to care about something so indistinct.
As soon as you start to see your customers as individuals who share common traits, it becomes much easier and exponentially more rewarding to meet their needs and simultaneously accomplish your business goals which is what you want right?!
Trying to appeal to everyone is a surefire way to appeal to no-one and that haphazard cast the net wide line of thinking is the downfall of so many businesses that have a good idea. There’s an interesting Forbes article that puts it pretty well, take a look!
Also, if you really don’t know exactly what your niche is, stop telling others that you do and that it is in fact everyone, because it isn’t! UX’ers, investors and successful product owners all know that the mainstream is not a target market! I know I tend to decline teaming up with any businesses who aren’t clear on who they want to target and don’t want to find out. If a company doesn’t know their audience, it’s just not beneficial to start on-page or funnel optimisation (or any further amends for that matter!) because what’s actually needed is to take a step back and work on refining the audience together first. A deep understanding of the target audience ensures that user experience optimisation is infinitely more effective and yields better results…Win win!
By now I’m hoping you’re sold on the benefits of focussing in on a niche and I’ve allayed some of your fears 🙂 So what now?! How do you begin to drill down and focus on a suitable and profitable niche? Well that’s a pretty large topic in itself and one I’ll cover later but here are some pointers…
List your current audiences, then organise and prioritise them based on which users bring your business the most value, which area has the brightest future, which has the least competition and which area is easiest to reach and market to. Chances are you’ll have several potential audiences to choose from so you’ll need to do some strategic thinking and validate your theories. (Here’s some good reading material on the subject, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Running Lean by Ash Maurya.)
Having a firm understanding of who your refined target audience means next up is the really fun bit! You can start making reasoned changes and refining you offering to meet your ideal prospects’ needs and start seeing the results that providing your customers with a great experiences brings.
Go on… take the leap!
Concentrate your efforts on a niche that you can connect with and make a difference to and stop trying to please all the people all the time!
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