In business, a niche is a specialized or focused area of a larger market that your business serves. Finding a niche helps you to differentiate your business from the competition and allows you to excel in your specialty. For the record, you can pronounce niche as “neesh” or “nitch”….you’re not wrong either way.

There are several niche markets within every industry. If you want to open a clothing store, for instance, you probably have a niche in mind already. Will you sell women’s dresses? Children’s clothes? Men’s suits? Each of these are niche areas of a larger industry. And even these can be broken down into smaller niches with very specific audiences. Suppose you open a dress shop, but you only carry sizes 14 and up. Your target customer is a plus size woman. Perhaps your dress shop is primarily cocktail dresses and formal gowns. This is a much smaller niche, but if you live in a community with a lot of social events, this might be the exact right niche for you.

Your Niche Strategy

Now that you understand the concept of a niche market, you need to understand who your target audience is and how to reach them with a well-designed marketing strategy.

Select your target audience. To identify your niche, begin by selecting the larger market. Who your business serves can be any relevant audience, but your ROI will be greater with a focus on the more specific targeted audience, a subset of the larger market
Locate an under-served need. Analyze your target audience and identify gaps in the marketplace that your business can fill. Your products or services should solve the problems that your audience currently identifies with.
Understand your customer base. Research to understand their needs, goals, motivations, frustrations and expectations of your target audience.
Write your business plan. Develop a business plan in which you define exactly what you’ll provide to your target audience and the need it will meet. Describe your ideal customer and pricing model.
Market your business to your specific audience. Just as your product or service is niche, your marketing efforts should be focused on this narrower audience as well. Clearly you won’t be marketing your formal dress shop to a male audience between the ages of 18 and 36. Translate your niche business plan to a marketing strategy that makes financial sense.