On the last post we looked at the most common fears coaches have with niching.
They don’t niche because they think they’ll lose out on opportunity or they’ll lose variety in their coaching business.
While these reasons have some truth, the benefits of niching your coaching business outweigh the risks by a long shot. Instead of cutting your opportunity in half, you’ll actually triple it. Instead of missing out on variety, you’ll gain an incredible depth of knowledge into your target market.
The third common fear — choosing the wrong niche — is what we’re addressing today.
Before you go any further, I want you to quickly make a list of 3-10 possible niches you could see yourself targeting. We’ll run your list through five filters — or screens — to identify the most profitable and most probable segment of your target market and narrow down the perfect niche for you.
The most valuable asset in marketing is understanding and empathy for a target market. -Taki Moore [Tweet This]
Filter #1: Already In Motion
This first filter is absolutely critical. We need to choose a target market that’s already in motion.
In other words, we don’t want to pick a market where the prospects don’t even know they have a problem. If we did, we’d need to educate them about the problem, the cause of the problem, the solution to the problem, why they need a coach, and why that coach should be you.
That’s five different things you’d need to teach them before they could even be considered a prospect. There’s absolutely no need to waste our time with that.
Instead, we want people who already know they have a problem and want a solution.
When I’m looking for prospects who are already in motion, I like to break them down into three categories. Once again, these are absolutely critical to finding your perfect niche.
A. Pain and Urgency
We want prospects who know they have a specific problem and want to do something about it right now. It’s really simple, clear, and obvious, but most people don’t know this.
One of the most downloaded Ebooks of all time is called Stop Your Divorce. Think about it that title for a second. It’s written specifically for the guy who think everything’s cool but comes home after work one day to an empty house. The wife and kids are gone and there’s a note on the table that reads, “It’s over. I want a divorce.”
That guy’s a prospect already in motion. He has pain and urgency, and he’s searching to find a solution to fix it right now.
We want to find something similar in your market.
B. Irrational Passion
Some markets may not have pain and urgency, but they do have people who are absolutely crazy about what they do.
We’re coaches, and I think some of us probably fit into that category. We’re crazy about helping people and making a great income. We want to make a difference and make a fortune, right? We’re passionate about this stuff.
The second most downloaded Ebook of all time was written for a completely different market than Stop Your Divorce. It’s called Cat Secrets.
There’s absolutely no pain or urgency here, but it nails irrational passions. Cat owners are clearly uber-passionate about their cats.
C. Money at a Discount
The third subcategory applies to people looking for an obvious ROI.
For example, you give me $10K and I’ll help you turn it into $50K or $100K.
This works for either money made or money saved.
Have a look at your list of niche possibilities and run them through this filter. Is there pain and urgency, irrational passion, or money at a discount?
If not, cross those potential niches off the list. We’ll continue to filter the list until we arrive at something really solid.
Filter #2: Easily Reached
This second filter is also absolutely critical.
We often make the mistake of thinking our ideal client is someone who is proactive and looking for the next level. That’s really cool, but it’s super hard to buy a database of “people looking for the next level”.
Instead, we want a niche whose names and addresses are easy to identify and import into a spreadsheet.
For example, if I said, “I’m in Sydney and I work with architects,” are those people easily reached? Totally! You can jump on Google and search for “architects in Sydney” and instantly have a contact list.
It’s much easier than searching for personality traits. If we’re serious about those characteristics, we can screen them later in the sales process. But, for the sake of choosing a niche, we need a segment that’s easy to identify and reach.
We should be able to search for these names on our own, buy a database, or find professional associations, magazines, or websites dedicated to the niche that we can channel our marketing through.
Basically, we either need an easy way to market directly to them, or through somebody else to them.
If they’re easily reached, you’ve got a winner. If not, then you’re facing an uphill battle, so cross off any niches from your list that don’t fit that category.
Filter #3: Proactively Searching
The next filters are still important but not as critical as the first two. You’ll probably find these more helpful in sorting out the remaining niches on your list.
Our third filter relates to the first (Already in Motion).
In this filter, we want to determine if these people are proactively searching for a solution. Ideally, these people are currently searching online for answers.
An easy way to check is through Google’s Keyword Planner. You can easily find out how many people are searching for a particular keyword each month.
Are people in that market proactively searching online? If they are, awesome! We’re doing really well.
Filter #4: Already Spending Money
If they’re proactively searching, and they’re already in motion, they should be already spending money.
They may not be spending it on coaching or consulting yet, but they might be buying books, going to seminars, advertising, hiring sales people, etc. We want to know if they’re spending money in any other way that helps them get the result you promise.
If they’re not currently spending money, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. If they are, then we should have a really easy job convincing them they should spend their money with you.
Filter #5: Your Past and Your Passion
If your list is looking a little thin, this last filter can also help you find new possible niches.
I don’t know how you became a coach, but before you were coaching, you were doing something else. For most coaches, they were doing whatever their job was but they got frustrated and decided to become a coach because of all that is promised.
That’s completely normal, but there’s a potential problem here. In the middle of that frustration when we changed occupations, we wanted to leave the past completely behind us and only focus on this new thing we’re doing.
The truth is, there’s opportunity in your past, whether you like it or not.
Whatever your previous career was, you have experience and knowledge there. You probably have a fair bit of contacts, and you definitely have industry-insider knowledge and jargon. You understand the problem, and you understand what people most want.
The most valuable asset in marketing is understanding and empathy for a target market.
So, if you come from somewhere that you’ve dismissed as a place you don’t want to go back to, I’d challenge and question that. There could be incredible opportunity in your past.
Once you can narrow your potential targets down to the perfect niche, your marketing can be laser-focused, you’ll have your audience’s captivated attention, and you can triple the impact of your coaching business.