Matt Phillips
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How to niche your product, not your brand.

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Have you ever gotten a bit stuck trying to decide exactly how specific you should go with your product? Well, that's specifically what I want to help you with today. And really, across two levels, because people are making a mistake that I made when I first got started about niching down - which I'll talk about in a minute, niching down their brand, as well as their product.

So, "niching down" is this term that's getting thrown around in the online marketing industry a lot. It has been for the last 10 years or so. And it's this whole concept of identifying a group of people, a very specific group of people, and then even within that group, going even further down and saying this is exactly what I want to do, this is who I'm helping.

So the idea being that, say, for example, we’re talking about photography. There's a whole bunch of people that love photography. What if we said there's a bunch of people that have a hobby of photography, and they want to turn it into a business? And then within that, there's a group of people that love family portraits. They like taking people's family portraits, and they want to turn that into a business.

That's very specific, so, we develop a product, so that if someone comes across that or when we show it to them, they're like, "Hey, this is exactly what I need," and then they buy it. That's the idea of niching down.

The confusion occurs when we make the mistake of niching our brand too early, instead of our product, and that delineation is what I want to talk about today, and to share with you a mistake that I made when I got started and also how I would do things differently if I had my chance again to start over.

This idea of niching down comes from the history of niche marketing, and what I want you to lock in your mind is that it is ‘niche marketing’. That is what this concept is all about. It is about an ability to talk to a very specific group of people, because that's really the history of where this came from, before the days of Facebook Ads, Google Advertising and social media sharing, when we were back in the day of radio advertising and print advertising decades ago, it was pretty expensive to get your product in front of anybody. So, whatever your product was, if you tried to just get it out to everybody and you didn't have enough money, you couldn't do it.

It's not like today where you can just put up an ad and share it to a huge range of audience. So, people had to develop very specific niche markets to talk to about their product. And so, whilst their product might have served a lot of people, for example, our photography business idea that we were talking about a minute ago, we might have gone out and said, “Hey, do you want to talk about changing your hobby of taking family portraits and turn it into a business? That's exactly what this course does.” Now, the course might do a whole heap of other stuff as well, but it specifically does that, so we can market it to people like that.

I'm going to talk about this example here to help you avoid the mistake that I made, which I'll tell you about as I draw this picture. So, basically, when I started, there's a whole bunch of people that prepare for careers, right? Now, one group of these people, they were preparing for police exams, which is a problem I had faced. So, I had a small group of people over here preparing for police exams and I built a whole brand around helping people prepare for their police exams. And, you know, that was my first business that worked. It went really well and it's still going really well today.

The problem is that I ran into a couple of problems in expanding the business, because I went to change into a new market, which was to prepare people for another career I'd had, which was in the Defence Force. And so this was a group of people over here looking for exam preparation for the Defence Force. I had this whole brand here, and a lot of the resources were very relevant to this brand, so I could certainly create the materials very quickly, but as a brand, I had to start again from scratch.

Now, you might think, "Oh, well, you know, that's not too bad, Matt."

After all I've shown you in other articles and videos how quick it can be to build a brand and get yourself online. But I'd invested a lot of money and time into the search engine optimisation of this site and it ranked really well for exam prep stuff. But it was all about police, so when I had to start a new brand, I was nobody again, so I had to start it all again.

And the other thing that made this, a huge mistake in hindsight, was that there is a lot of people who are jumping between these before they even get in. I’m not talking about someone doing what I did and being in the army for 10 years and then becoming a police officer, I mean somebody who comes to my website to join the police, and they don't get in, and then next month, or even at the same time they might have an application over here. They only found this website, but they may not find this website. So, if I had done this a bit better, I would have built a larger brand up here about careers, or even just aptitude testing, for example, which is the crux of what the business is, and that would have encompassed this, and I would have just focused on this.

That would have been what it was all about for years, it's fine. And then I could have added another product over here, and then all the effort to get the search engine rankings up of this product under this brand would have easily transferred across to building this. I would not have had to rebrand all the resources because it's still under the same thing. So that's an example of where I got this wrong, and how I would change this if I did it again.

The lesson here is to choose a larger brand and niche your products. Niche your products, which align to niching the market. So, another example of how this might work is that I can take my brand and I can advertise to this group of people. That's called niche marketing. I'm marketing to a very specific group of people.

And then I can do the same niche marketing, if I wanted to take a very similar product, but sell it to people in line for preparing for defence exams, and all I do is have some new ads that go here, but it's pretty much the same, it's the same website, that's for sure. It's the same brand, but the products are different, and it allows me to niche market it.

An even better example of this is if I, developed one broad ranging product and say this is one product that did both, for example. Now, I don't suggest you do this, but there are markets where that might work, where it can help with numerous things, all in the same product, and it would make sense. Then you can focus on different aspects of that product.

So there might be an aspect of the product over here that suits these people. There might be an aspect of the product that suits these people. And I can market very specifically to them, and I don't have to change the product, because it's niche marketing.

And that goes back to the original example of when, decades ago, advertisers had to choose their market to advertise to, even though the product would help thousands of other people.

The final benefit of this is that, when you have a big overarching brand, you don't even know where the crossovers will be, but your customers know.

So, for example, going back to this police/defence example here, then I may not have even have realised that, but people might have been telling me, "Hey, Matt, I didn't get into the police, I'm looking at joining the army. Do you know anyone who could help with that?"

And if it's the same brand, great, we do that as well. Or, I might have actually learnt, “hey, that's a market I could address, because I'm getting a lot of people asking me about that”, and then it's easy to just pivot and adjust the resources and create something new, because I've got a huge brand overarching it.

Secondly, within that, people talk amongst each other. So, if you don't know where all the markets are crossing over, your customers, again, will talk to each other, and if they can browse around your website and say, "Hey, you know, I did this and you want to do that, but I also saw that, on Matt's website, they also do that." And then word of mouth continues to spread.

So, think about that. Develop a huge idea with your brand, and get very specific with your product.

About the Author Matt

Matt Phillips is on a mission to help others make the same transformation he made to a life of freedom and contribution enabled through building profitable and fulfilling online businesses.

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