It seems backwards that the smaller the audience or demographic that you focus on, the more sales you’ll get, but I’ve seen it happen over and over again in my clients’ businesses and in my own. There is something about being hyper-focused that puts you in the sweet spot where your ideal customers are waiting for you. I truly think that being niche is better and here’s why.
I know It is scary as a business owner to narrow down your focus – I’ve experienced it myself. Especially when you are just starting out, doing anything that will diminish your pool of potential customers seems like the opposite of a good idea. You’re worried that your already sporadic sales will dwindle to none. Or perhaps there’s indecisiveness weighing down the decision of what niche to choose and who to focus on.
Despite these fears, choosing a niche can be the best thing that you’ll do for your business. Choosing a specific group of people, community, or visual identity allows you to get to know those people really well. I’ve talked many times before about how knowledge and understanding of your customer feeds all your decisions from design, to marketing, to production. When you know your ideal customers, you can speak directly to and design specifically for them.
Think about this for a moment. When you are shopping for yourself and encounter a brand for the first time, are you thinking about how relevant the brand is to the general population or do you look at it as it relates to you? When you want to buy something, it is because you want to solve a problem or fulfill a desire. When a brand or product speaks directly to that problem or desire, you are more likely to buy. You feel like the brand “gets” you, understands your needs, and is talking to you like they know you. You see yourself represented in the marketing, and the words on the page feel like a letter just to you. It feels like the pot of gold at the end of the shopping rainbow. Do you care that the product or brand may not appeal to the masses? No. We each think of ourselves as an individual, not just a nameless part of a general demographic.
When you think about it from the customer’s perspective like this, trying to appeal to the masses is irrelevant. Appealing to the individual is the only thing that counts because it is individual customers who drive sales for a direct-to-consumer brand. Being too general may bring more eyes to your brand, but the brand and products won’t mean anything to them as individuals. As the saying goes: “When you try to please everyone, you’ll please no one”.
When you choose a niche and focus your business around it, you’re able to dive super deep into who your customer is and what she cares about. You’re able to understand her specific needs and fit challenges. You’ll be familiar with her lifestyle and what her schedule means for her wardrobe. You’ll know what values she lives by and what causes she supports. You’ll be able to design garments that are made just for her.
While niching may make your pool of potential customers smaller, the likelihood of each of the people in that pool actually buying from your brand goes way up! The more focused you are on one type of customer, the more effective you will be at solving her problem and making products just for her. And when someone feels like it was made just for them, they will be more likely to buy it.