Finding Your Niche Chat Summary from 6/15/2010

Continuing our month long discussion of marketing your small business. How do you find and define the right niche for your product or services? When should you expand your niche? Follow along with our discussion.

  • We’re on every Tuesday from 8-9 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on June 22, 2010.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.
sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://bit.ly/zb9dA
sbbuzz: Rules: 1)NO pitching till end 2)Be nice 3)Stay ON TOPIC! 4)Send ?s for group to me w/o hashtag 5)Use #sbbuzz in all messages 6)Have fun!
sbbuzz: Start off w/an INTRO: 1 message about you and your business and whatever else we need to know. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Hi folks! I help coaches and others write masterful content for their newsletters and blogs http://ht.ly/1Z0o0 (Intro for #sbbuzz
ginabee: Hello everyone! Gina here from WriteyTidy writing & content creation. I’m so happy to be here to discuss niches tonight! #sbbuzz
leoraw: Hi all! I build websites, esp. WordPress or Drupal. Sometimes I write at http://biz.leoraw.com/ about web building or social media. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @sbbuzz Hi All – I’m Scott and I work @batchblue on the Customer Experience team. I help folks do cool and productive stuff. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Hi everyone – Pamela here from @batchblue and the host of #sbbuzz. Excited for the chat tonight!
selahsynergy: Hi everyone. Susan here from Selah Synergy, small biz consultant and coach looking forward to another chat. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Uh oh – one of those nights! Trying again – Pamela here from @batchblue and the host of #sbbuzz. Excited for the chat tonight!
TraceyHolinka: Hi. I?m a web designr/developr @chaostoclarity. I show small biz & freelancers how 2 take advantage of the web. #chaostoclarity #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @pmohara That’s okay, we recognized you in the bee suit 🙂 #sbbuzz
stellel: Hi, I’m Christelle and I work @batchblue, too! #sbbuzz
stellel: @sbbuzz: Welcome to #sbbuzz, a Tweetchat for the next hour of small biz talking technology on Twitter. Join us! http://bit.ly/zb9dA #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Tonight we’re discussing how to find the right niche for your business. Send me any ?s you want included. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q1 Are you targeting a specific niche? How did you narrow your market? #sbbuzz
smitty1966: Hi folks Jeff – Technology guy for @edupros. Hopping on for a few. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q1 Re: niche – it was natural for me to work with coaches because I’m a certified coach and I’ve been in the field since 2002. #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: A1 We noticed a pattern of who our clients were and explicitly started target that group. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q1 – I started out as a generalist to learn where my talents & interests were. Looking to zero in on passions soon, though. #sbbuzz
smitty1966: Q1) Have to understand your core prospects, who they are, what they do and what they buy! #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q1 wish I could say my niche was well defined up front but it evolved over time as my exec clients became biz owners #sbbuzz
leoraw: Q1 – My niche is small to med. biz or orgs in NJ – my clients’ niches tend to be New Jersey people as well. #sbbuzz
smitty1966: Q1) Niche – Yes existing client profiles help. Need to revisit and categorize. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @selahsynergy I think that’s preferable because it’s so much more realistic, based upon your real world experiences #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Q1a. My niche market can be from fine dining lovers to families, golfers, runners, weddings, honeymoons. #sbbuzz
dothewoo: Good question RT @sbbuzz: Q1 Are you targeting a specific niche? How did you narrow your market? #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @ginabee I am lucky – the organic approach worked for me but it’s easier with a service business #sbbuzz
dothewoo: It takes research & analysis to identify the market and discipline & bravery to stick to it #sbbuzz Q1
leoraw: Q How did you narrow your market? A – even though 1can do online, nice to be able to meet ppl in person or to know geographical area #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q1) I target non-profits and small biz, plus some solopreneur coaching & blog set up. many have similar needs, so the targeting #sbbuzz
smitty1966: Q1) Narrowing your market, u can use of Google adwords. Great tools to understand markets and keyword searches. Test too! #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I get a lot of help from Disney about target markets. #sbbuzz
leoraw: @smitty1966 Can you be more specific about “Test too”? Thanks. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q1) I guess I narrowed my niche by creating content that interests my potential prospects & clients. It helps right client’s find me #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I made the mistake of targeting a market that I really had no passion for – – BACKFIRE. #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A1 No very specific niche. When we started we thought it would be RE agents but bad market and other B2B success changed us. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Our niche is WIMs – wired, innovative, mobile small biz. Rather than go for verticals we want the cream of all industries’ crops #sbbuzz
smitty1966: With Adwords you can set up Test ads that can follow a certain demographic and then track conversions. Geography a strong feature. #sbbuzz
ginabee: @DiSnEyTRAVELmum There’s a lot to be said about where your passions lead you – hopefully the $ is there too or… #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 How are you making your niche public – letting customers know who IS and IS NOT supposed to buy your product/service? #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @pmohara Can you say more about vertical niche versus — (how you would describe yours)? #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @DiSnEyTRAVELmum I was in a similar situation when I fell out of love with the whole corp thing so dropped exec coaching #sbbuzz
smitty1966: If the ad is not working – change parameters or just pause it or delete. #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @ginabee I thought “Hey! I’ll target Golfing at Disney market” I don’t golf so I didn’t have passion to move forward with it. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz Q2 I put their name in the title of my book 😉 #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Q2a. Example: I don’t market to teachers in the middle of the school year, but I’m a presence a couple months b4 Cmas/Summer #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A2 We do lots of in person networking. We build relationships, always try to educate, seek to refer and be referred not just sell. #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: Q2 We blog about topics that our target market is interested in. Also give lots of talks at related organizations. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q2) I’m in the process of defining customers a little etter on my site – been drafting it on paper, time 2 take it 2 the screen #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CathyWebSavvyPR Thanks 🙂 Not too subtle, eh? #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q2) something is working though, I get clients who find me on one SN site, read my blog, check me out & call 2 discuss proj #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q2) But when I better define who my audience is, and further match content 2 their needs equals a fuller sales pipeline #sbbuzz
pmohara: @lindadessau Rather than targeting certain biz type (hotels, schools, etc) we target 1% of any industry that’s innovating first. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @lindadessau what is your book title? if I may ask? #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q2 – I hate to keep harping on the passion thing, but when you do what you love, you are advertising it in every interaction. #sbbuzz
dothewoo: A2 To make sure that customers know if I am targeting them: Content that is relevant to them; offers that will work for them plus… #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 Q Is it possible to be too focused? Has anyone needed to expand their niche?#sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CathyWebSavvyPR The Customizable Style Guide for Coaches Who Write http://ht.ly/1Z1ip #sbbuzz
dothewoo: A2 ….cont….A page on my website that describes “you”, what u are going through, what u need…So folk will recognise themselves #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @sbbuzz yeppers #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @pmohara So would you say you focus on “psychographics” (innovative, creative) versus demographics? #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @dothewoo Seriously, loooove your biz name! #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q3) I am not too focused, but I have just added a reasonably-priced hourly coaching option 4 solopreneurs – it’s been working #sbbuzz
m4bmarketing: Q3 Yes if there are not enough customers who will buy on a regular basis or market too crowded #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: A3 If your don’t have enough business that might be a sign Ur to focus. Tricky 2 know. #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A3 We began focused on the real estate industry just before things got tough there. Not good timing to depend on work there. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee Absolutely, Gina – passion shines through every word, spoken or written. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz Sorry …I guess my answer to Q2 was more about expandins services than expanding the niche – butI focused on solopreneurs? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I need to feel personally connect with my market [hence the bomb w/the golfing at disney idea] so I started a Weigh Loss Vlog cont’ #sbbuzz
dothewoo: @selahsynergy Thank you Susan. One of the ways of identifying my niche is the folk who ‘get it’ and can connect to it. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Just an aside – who knew – I just got my Chico’s catalog & they’re on Twitter @LoveChicos…have 2 chk em out #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I will connect with others who share my need to loss weight. Building relationships for mutual benefits and support. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q3 Yes, my niche expanded as biz cut consult/coach budgets. Lower price point content sells to different markets #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: @DiSnEyTRAVELmum Agreed. Personal connection makes it more natural & more enjoyable. #sbbuzz
scoblitz: @lindadessau Psychographics are now my new most favorite thing. Thanks! #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @scoblitz You’re welcome! Just trying to get my head around it all 🙂 #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q3 – It occurs to me that a philosophy of “focused yet nimble” might be prudent. Must have something more to offer than the core. #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @TraceyHolinka I feel like a fake if I don’t feel a personal connection. #sbbuzz
pmohara: @lindadessau That’s what we’ve done – works well for our biz. I wouldn’t do it if I was selling Amish furniture supplies, tho #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @KevinLyons YIKES that’s a lot of chats! #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @selahsynergy Yes, I did that 2. cosulting or coaching w solopreneurs – wish I’d done it sooner. less time intensive, lower cost #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @ginabee Amen! Flexibility, resourcefulness are essential for biz. Ford couldn’t sell black cars forever and survive #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 What type of criteria do you use to define your niche – geographic, demographic, industry, psychographics, what? #sbbuzz
samuraivt: A3 We expanded services as we discovered new passions and also in response to difficult economic times. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @samuraivt Nice to remember the reason we’re entrepreneurs – we get to choose who we work with – we’re never trapped! #sbbuzz
pmohara: @samuraivt DId you expand services to the same target market? Or expand your market? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Q4a. My niche is all over the place. Most of my business is word of mouth. #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @CathyWebSavvyPR Wish I had changed sooner. But, it keeps me learning – new techniques to market products rather than services #sbbuzz
ImAfterdotcom: sbbuzz: #sbbuzz chat in 30 minutes. Wondering what a Twitter chat is or how to participate? See our instructions at … http://ht.ly/17KOBD
m4bmarketing: Q4 All plus attitudes and behaviour #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: A3 We expanded how we delivered R services but R target audience is the same. Allows us to provide services 2 more people. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Q4 So far I’ve been focused on industry to define my niche (coaches) – but I’ve been doing some thinking… #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @selahsynergy I’m working to add the prouct part of my biz 2, but I enjoy the one on one thing too #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Wondering what a Twitter chat is or how to participate? See our instructions at … http://ht.ly/17KOBD #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: RT @sbbuzz: Q4 What type of criteria do you use to define your niche – geographic, demographic, industry, psychographics, what? #sbbuzz
dothewoo: Vertical or horizontal markets.Can help 2define. RT @pmohara: @samuraivt expand services 2 same target market? Or expand ur market? #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: A4 With the reach of the Internet we don’t target geography but over 50% of R clients are local. Go figure. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 I’ve already answered this one, so I’ll just hum a little tune now. Hmm hmm hmm hm hm hm. 🙂 #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @TraceyHolinka Yeah, the longer I’ve been online, the more I seem to come up in local searches also. #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: @pmohara Can’t get that tune out of my head… #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Q4) something inbetween? I uses demographics & research to find where they “hang out” then develop content 2 meet their needs #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @CathyWebSavvyPR Same here. I am a people person so that’s where my energy comes from. #sbbuzz
americare: Q4: we are able to focus based on our service – home-based non-medical caregiving – for anyone in need, senior, new mom, etc. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz Q4) online geography with a demographic & phsychographic twist …2 id my audience #sbbuzz
samuraivt: @pmohara We refined our product and targeted new markets. In addition we added mew services. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q4 – Is good ol’ supply & demand a viable way to define? I have an ability that others don’t & I can supply that. There’s my niche. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Q4 About 30% of our business is international. Was not a target or niche – but we are adapting (updating currencies, legalese, etc.) #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @ginabee I can relate to what you just said – “I (we) have an ability that others don’t and we can supply that. There’s our niche.” #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 Can you target more than one niche market at a time? #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: @pmohara My market accidentally expanded out of country! #sbbuzz
pmohara: @TraceyHolinka Sorry – I’m evil. 🙂 #sbbuzz
samuraivt: @lindadessau Agreed, remembering those things is important. Doing what you love is one of the keys to success. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara Yes, I just had an author from Australia approach me – after following on Twitter & readig my blog. Need 2 see if it’ a fit #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz The risk when trying to target more than one niche at a time is that one or both of them will get confused or lost. #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Q5a. yep. my business counts on multi-markets #sbbuzz
selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q5 You bet. Of course, it may cost you to create and deliver a different message to a different target. #sbbuzz
leoraw: With social media 1 can address 1 niche in one place and another in another place – so it is possibility to market in multiple ways #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @sbbuzz Q5) It ‘s probably not ideal, but in this economy, you kinda have 2. Putting all yr eggs in 1 basket is scarier now #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @sbbuzz You want your business/website to feel like HOME for your target niche – so if more than one, it may not feel that way. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @lindadessau Q5) I know several biz owners who have multiple websites, OR several sites under one umbrella site see @TimBerry‘s site #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @leoraw Yes, exactly! That seems the way to address that – a different home base for each niche – but it complicates things a bit. #sbbuzz
ginabee: Q5 – I think if they are somewhat related it is possible. Some similar skills can be generalized for different audiences & purposes. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: @CathyWebSavvyPR Yes, it certainly can be done if it’s done well 🙂 #sbbuzz
ginabee: @samuraivt I agree – it would be nice to be a “purist” but we may not always have that luxury! #sbbuzz
pmohara: @CathyWebSavvyPR I think international markets are challenging , which can make it more fun. And boy can they innovate. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @samuraivt, @DiSnEyTRAVELmum, & @TraceyHolinka thankfor RT’s #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara would love to chat briefly if you have a moment sometime – follow & DM contact info? #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And now it is what we never call Celtics Time (but it is Pitch TIme). Please tell us a little about your business. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: If you’d like a once-a-week e-mail reminder of #sbbuzz (including the topic) sign up at http://bit.ly/dlxk9u #sbbuzz
TraceyHolinka: I?m a web designr/developr @chaostoclarity. I show small biz & freelancers how 2 take advantage of the web. #chaostoclarity #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I am a travel agent specializing in Disney. http://www.clickTHEMOUSE.ca & just started a Weight Loss Vlog to keep me accountable. Sandra #sbbuzz
lindadessau: How to write a top 10 article that will demonstrate your expertise to prospective customers http://ht.ly/1Z0mN (pitch time on #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: And another chat has FLOWN by – how does this always happen?? We’ll get the #sbbuzz summary posted on the site soon at http://bit.ly/1PxPjA
samuraivt: A3 like the idea some of you are mentioning re: dif online places for dif markets. Landing pages, FB pages, websites. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Thanks so much to everyone for contributing to the conversation. What a great way to learn. #sbbuzz
lindadessau: Thanks for another great chat everyone! Good night and thanks to our bee-autiful hostess! #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: I also write for http://www.play2podium.com a magizine for families who have children with disabilities like me. Support, Resource. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Pitch: 20 yr PR pro who let her inner geek girl out of the closet in 2007. I help non-profits & #smallbiz w Strategy & How 2 #sbbuzz
DiSnEyTRAVELmum: Thank you everyone! It was nice meeting you all! Sandra #sbbuzz
pmohara: @lindadessau Awes shucks – you’re making this bee blush. 🙂 Thanks! #sbbuzz
leoraw: Thanks everyone for another great chat – I learn more so I can teach my clients. Love the conversation and ideas. #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: Also, if any one is in DC, I’ll be there 6/17 pm 4 @LifeTuner‘s (client) Social Media & Money panel 2 @themotleyfool & @Feedthepig + #sbbuzz
CathyWebSavvyPR: @pmohara thanks #sbbuzz
samuraivt: We’re Samurai Virtual Tours: virtual tours, websites, inbound marketing. We capture, create, communicate for your success. #sbbuzz
ginabee: http://www.writeytidy.com Content creativity for websites, newsletters, social media & more! I use my words to tell your story. #sbbuzz
pmohara: Thanks everyone for the great chat! Pamela here from @batchblue psychographic CRM for small biz #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: #sbbuzz is a small business Twitter chat hosted Tuesday nights 8-9 PM ET by the folks from @batchblue Come again soon!
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