WARNING: This article may insight violence
Everything you read about marketing says that you really need to connect with a niche. For years, I tried to avoid doing this because I didn’t want to alienate anyone. At least that’s what I told myself. The reality is that I was afraid to market to a niche because I thought I’d miss out on more opportunity. I told myself, “I love working with all kinds of people. Afterall, I am a people person.” Nevertheless, it (niche marketing) keeps gnawing at me, like a splinter in my mind
Niche marketing is a good thing
Recently I read Duct Tape Marketing and, again, was faced with this topic. Elizabeth and I were driving along the Washington State coast and had an in-depth discussion about niche marketing. We talked a lot about what we like and don’t like and who we really love working with. Several clients kept coming up. We decided it was time to nail down our niche.
Here’s where things start to get sticky.
My wife and I are very spiritual people. We are super in-tune with what is going on around us. Usually when I say that, people think, “greener,” “new age,” or any other natural, earthy practice. That’s not the case in our lives. We are very devoted Jesus followers. It isn’t just a religous practice for us. We actually believe Jesus is a real person who created everything, that He talks to us and we can talk to Him. That belief either makes us spiritual or insane. You choose.
Being that way means we lean very conservative. Morality is black and white. Law and order are good things. Rules don’t limit creativity. Sex outside of marriage hurts people (yep, I went there). That’s who we are. So, as Elizabeth and I began talking about niche marketing, we realized, those are the kind of people we want to serve. It just makes sense.
What does that really mean? Well, if you want us to make a website that is all about hooking up and casual relationships, we are not going to be a good fit. It’s not that we can’t do an amazing job for you. We can. But…what we really want are deep, longterm relationships. That’s hard to do if we are not sympatico. Don’t you agree?
What it doesn’t mean is that we hate everyone who doesn’t fit into our niche. We aren’t like that. We love people and talking with folks who have different opinions because it helps us define our even better. There’s no way I can hate everyone that is different than me. I still need products and services that aren’t offered by like-minded vendors. I’m ok with that.
Everyone, put on your BIG BOY pants
Being able to talk about this without getting a ton of negative feedback is almost impossible. There will no doubt be a few people highly offended by what I’m writing. All that I ask is that you simply change the channel. What I mean is, just stop reading and move along. If you don’t like what I’m saying go and hang out with some folks that you do like. Encourage them and let them know that you appreciate them being there for you. I’ll do likewise. 🙂
I want to work with people that think like me. That is GOOD niche marketing. The only people that don’t want to do that are folks that want to get others in trouble. Let’s not go down that road. That’s bad niche marketing. 🙂
Our perfect client
Over the years we’ve worked with a variety of people. Some of them were absolutely not inline with our core beliefs and we still pulled off a great product. We recently built a very simple website for a guy running for Seattle City Council. He didn’t fit our normal “profile” and, yet, he was thoroughly enjoyable to work with. But the customers that we love hearing from over and over again look something like this:
- Conservative: believes most of what the Bible teaches
- Very Middle-America: pro-guns, outdoor recreational activities (hunting, fishing, etc)
- Male or female: no gender bias there
- Age: Usually between 25 and 70; older folks aren’t looking for our services and younger ones think they can do it all
- Fun (yes, conservatives can be fun too): Outgoing personalities, energetic, passionate about life
What does this mean for you?
We all want to be around people that we like. When you work on a project, with a team, for a long time, there will be all kinds of emotion that comes into play. It’s easier to deal with those feelings if you really like the people on your team. It takes a lot more effort (and is much more draining) when there is tension because of a conflict in core beliefs.
Let’s not do that to each other. I won’t pretend to like you in order to get your business. I’ll be honest and say we aren’t a good fit or one another. I hope you will be honest, too, and admit that you want someone more like you to work on your project.
The big finish
Ultimatley, we want you to succeed. We really do. Sometimes, for that to happen, we need to NOT be the ones working on your project. It’s ok. We don’t mind. If there is someone that can help you achieve your goals better than us, we will gladly point you in their direction. At the same time, we hope you won’t try to make us fit into your image of what a marketing company should look like. Let’s not do that whole ‘try to fit a triangle into a circle’ thing.
The best outcomes in life happen when like-minded people get together and create something amazing. Let’s do that, no matter what it takes.