For small and medium sized businesses and freelancers alike, the concept of “niche marketing” is all the rage.  From bakers who only do cupcakes to web design exclusively for women, finding your tribe and working with and for them is the marketing trend of the decade.

But what makes this concept so revolutionary?

It’s intuitive.  It just makes sense. Despite our culture’s emphasis on super stardom and being the biggest fish in the sea, real success is more often found by swimming in a smaller pond and making the most of it.

It pays to specialise, and that is what niche marketing is all about.  But how to get started? Here’s our simple 5 step guide:

1. “Go Out On A Limb: That’s Where the Fruit Is.” President Jimmy Carter

It can be risky to turn away clients who want to pay you money, especially when you are starting out and need that cash.

The power of a niche should not be underestimated, however. Think about it like this: since 1955 McDonalds has focused on fast producing burgers and fries and now has such a presence globally that they are the largest real estate owner in the world.

Apple took a huge risk in the 1980’s when the largest purchaser of computers were corporations, not households.  But because they focused on home computers (rather than trying to do business machines and personal computers) they now account for 28% of all computers sold.  Their next biggest rival, Lenovo (formerly IBM) has a mere 17% market share.

The financial benefits of this kind of market dominance are obvious.

2. “Judge me by my size do you…” Yoda  

While we would never question Yoda’s ability to do anything, when it comes to finding your niche, finding one with enough meat on its bones is important.  One of the dangers of niche marketing is getting too focused and having a target that is too narrow.

Looking back at the Apple example above, when the home computing niche started to clog up with other competitors, Apple became the innovator of tools like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, – kit that we could hook up to our home computers and keep in our pockets and briefcases.  This innovation – and the widening of their net – has seen Apple dominate every industry they touch. And it pretty much goes without saying that it has been a nice little money-spinner for them. In the last 14 years, they’ve gone from within 90 days of bankruptcy to becoming the largest company on the planet, worth a staggering $475 billion dollars.

One of the keys to effective niche marketing then, is to find a niche that has sufficient capacity for growth and generating new business.  If your stated niche is too small, you need to cast a wider net.

3. “I’ll take the lot!” Harry Potter

The purpose of finding your niche is market domination.  Like Harry Potter taking every last sweet on the train trolley, once you find your niche, you want to take control of it.

This can take time, but it’s time well spent. By focusing on one or two key aspects of your industry, you can acquire specialized skills and knowledge. This turns into a reputation for excellence, and where there is excellence, clients and contracts are sure to follow.

4. “Will you walk into my parlour, said the spider to the fly.” Mary Howitt

This is where niche marketing comes into its own.  The real power in niche marketing is not in an increased ability to search out new customers, but in creating a reputation that acts as a magnet for those looking for what you have to offer.

Niche marketing is all about spinning a web. If you plant it in the right place, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the flies…or clients, as the case may be.

5. “I love it when a plan comes together!”Hannibal Smith

Finding your niche is an important part of any marketing strategy, but it’s only a part.  Once you find it, it is important that the rest of your marketing plans are updated to reflect it.  From print materials and speculative letters, to radio, print and online ad space, it all has to run like a well oiled machine. This may necessitate a marketing revamp, but when it all comes together, it can be transformative.

Finding your niche can be a cost effective solution to growing your business.  Instead of wasting time trying keep up with the Big Fish and swimming in circles in a vast ocean of opportunity, by selecting a nice little bay or cove and sticking with it, the world truly does become your oyster.