From country-wide demographics to whittling down a small corner of the ecommerce world, everyone needs a niche. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working for small businesses or larger market companies: a niche helps you define your audience, whittle down your brand messaging, and sell to the people who care about what you’re selling.
There’s just one question. What is the niche market for you?
Finding the niche audience that works best for your specific needs might sound intimidating, but you’ll likely find that it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll tap into what it means to be a “niche business,” show some examples of niche markets, and tackle how you can position your brand to be #1 in the niche you choose.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Niche Marketing Strategy?
A niche marketing strategy is one in which you position your brand to a specific demographic—or segment—of customers. For example, let’s say that you sell a specific type of soap. You can consider bar soap to be a “niche” within the personal care market. Or you could “niche down” and get more specific about the type of soap you sell.
Maybe your potential customers are men who don’t typically buy specialty soaps. You’ve just made your target audience more specific—which makes it easier to take on a brand voice that resonates with your audience.
In choosing a niche marketing strategy, you’ll often analyze a market beyond its overall size, looking to narrow down the specific psychographics and demographics of your target market. But what does that include? Here’s what you should expect to consider as you whittle down your marketing efforts to a niche:
- Demographics. Demo, using the same prefix as “democracy,” refers to the studying of people and any subset of people. That can include large, population-wide groups of people, such as those who live in a certain area. Another common demographic is people aged 18-25, as they’re believed to be the driver of trends. But people aged 45-65 tend to have a lot more purchasing power, which can make them more lucrative customers. Ultimately, the demographics you approach with your niche will help shape the marketing campaigns you put together.
- Psychographics. This word refers to organizing people by their dominant mental attitudes. In other words, you’ll use a lot about a person that doesn’t define where they live, or which part of the population they belong to. Instead, it’s a prevailing attitude that you want to tap into. For example, Harley-Davidson taps into a psychographic of independence and rebelliousness—it doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 70, because either age can belong to that psychographic.
As the business owner, you have to consider how you want to target the broader market—or in this case, the narrower market. Usually that doesn’t come from casting as wide a net as possible. Sure, some brands—like Coca-Cola—can tap into near-universal values. But a carbonated beverage naturally has broad appeal.
What if you sell something far more specific, such as men’s facial cream? Well, if it’s exclusively for men, then it wouldn’t make much sense to advertise to women.
That’s the trick of finding a niche. You want to find one that’s specific enough to target relevant customers—but not one so specific that you never find any relevant customers. It’s part art, part science, and you’re going to have to know how it works if you want your niche product to take off.
Examples of Niche Markets with a Strong Customer Base
We won’t start with the steps. Instead, let’s pretend you don’t run an online niche, but you do want to learn how a market segment works. The easiest way to do this is to look at examples of niche markets with a strong customer base—just to give you an idea of how choosing a niche for your online business might work.
It’s so large, that you might not even consider it a niche market. The famous “pet rock,” for example, is one of those business ideas that many people didn’t believe it could work. But when it comes to our furry friends, the target market is large. People want to and need to care for their animals, which makes anything designed for pets a potential way to reach a new market.
Beauty and Self-care
Again, we’re starting high up here—beauty and self-care are major industries. But they’re not as universal as, say, selling water. These industries especially support a large influencer market. People can’t get enough of YouTube makeup tutorials or high-quality skincare routine recommendations these days. In the world of digital marketing, this is one of the go-to products that consistently find engagement with its niche. After all, a jar of bronzer runs out, eventually.
Supplements and Health
Today’s health market is huge—and for good reason. People need to take care of themselves. Supplements are a huge market because we expect conveniences in our modern lives—we want the vitamins and minerals we need, but we don’t necessarily have the time to spend all day cooking. Healthcare in general is an enormous “niche”—if you can call it that. It’s really a conglomeration of niches, which is one of the benefits of niche marketing—you can continue to hone in on people's unique needs, or you can broaden your appeal. It’s really up to you.
Blogging, growing your social media, advertising on Amazon—there’s always something that people want to figure out online. From keyword research to tips on finding a profitable niche (how very meta of us!), you’ll find that digital marketing is a surprisingly large market. People are launching their businesses online more and more these days. There’s a potential niche market in digital marketing anywhere you turn over a rock.
Fitness and Athletic Wear
You might consider this an offshoot of supplements and health—and you might be right. But they’re such a large market in and of themselves that fitness and athletic wear deserve their own mention. A lot of people have brand loyalty in this niche, because, after all, who wants to wear clashing clothes, even if it’s to the gym?
Food and Beverage
People need to eat and drink! Yet there is a more specific audience for different types of food and beverages than you might imagine. Yes, people around the world love Coca-Cola, so it seems like the broadest possible style of product. But you wouldn’t believe the niche opportunities that rise all the time in the food and beverage arena—heck, in the beverage arena alone. Consider the recent craze for carbonated beverages that aren’t quite “sodas,” for example, and you’ll see there’s always room for a unique specific product.
Let’s put it this way. A few decades ago, did you ever hear of coconut water?
People love to travel. Love, love, love. Niche market ideas often come about simply from combining one of the niches above and combining it with travel. For example, what about food and beverage products you can take with you while you travel? There’s an instant niche. Or travel totes for dogs? Another niche. A beauty kit you can take with you wherever you go? It’s such a large field of products, you might not even consider it “niche.”
One of the keys to the travel market is that it creates a lot of pain points for the traveler. They have to take care of themselves while they move. They have to seek out conveniences they don’t have because they’re not at home. This makes the travel market an ideal way to cross-reference with other niches and see what you can come up with unique markets that feel original.
Again, we’re starting off at the higher levels here. It’s fair to say gaming is not “niche.” Within gaming, there is PC building culture, livestreaming, competition, and all sorts of other mass market ideas that have created a loyal customer base over the years. Like travel, this one is easy to cross-reference with other niches to find new ideas. For example, a gaming chair combines furniture and gaming—easy-peasy. Snacks designed for gamers? They exist, too.
Home Furniture and Organization
With the rise of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” there seems to be a mass market appeal to the idea of getting organized. And that’s a good thing. If you can sell products that help people maintain better homes and clean up their lives, you’ve tapped on a specific niche that can be profitable as well as helpful.
In the months during the onset of COVID-19, you might have noticed that stock in Zoom skyrocketed. What was going on? The world was becoming increasingly remote worker-friendly—mainly out of necessity. Now that we’re in 2022, not many people are finding that they want to go back to work. Enter the major-market niche of remote work. People will even buy fresh plant subscription services to keep their home offices smelling fresh and looking good. It’s a niche you can tap into from a variety of angles.
And we’re not talking about the sitcom. Given how many homeowners there are across the country—indeed, across the globe—it only makes sense that a huge percentage of them care about upgrading, maintaining, and repairing their homes. That makes for an absolutely enormous market full of repair tools, home-improvement kids, shelves, and anything else under the sun that you can consider part of making a home better. Cross-reference it with other items on this list and you may find some fun niches, as well.
A lot of people are concerned about plastic in the ocean. What does that have to do with your marketing efforts? Simple. You’ll find that sustainable products can turn existing products into a new niche. For example, let’s take plastic straws. People who really care about the environment don’t want to use them. So you might market to a niche that wants to buy reusable, washable straws for specific types of drinks and drink containers. With any niche on this list, you might ask yourself if there’s a large enough market to offer a more sustainable, plastic-free version of it.
Clothing isn’t really a niche, considering how all of us need clothes, but there is a market for plus-sized clothing that prompts body positivity and normalizes people of all sizes.
It wasn’t long ago that alternative methods of education formed through correspondence courses. But today’s digital infrastructure makes it easier than ever to learn how to to build new skills. The digital world means you can teach someone in virtually any niche with video lessons, quizzes, PDFs, and more. Education is a large niche because of all it encompasses, but in digital marketing, it can be applied to any micro-skill you can think of and still become profitable.
How to Find a Profitable Niche Market
Whew. That’s a lot of niches. And those are high-level ones, the niches that contain multitudes of other niches.
So you might be wondering how your online business might fit into all of these niches. After all, you’re not planning on selling the next Coca-Cola, or building the next Fabletics. How do you find your niche without narrowing your choices down so much that you avoid a market altogether?
The trick is to start “niche-ing down” until you find a sweet spot: an underdeveloped niche that still has enough people looking to buy what you’re selling.
Let’s explore some strategies for doing exactly that.
- Add a demographic or psychographic to make your niche more specific. For example, let’s say that your niche is gaming. A big market, no doubt. So how do you find a profitable market that’s underdeveloped? You might go to gaming communities in social media platforms like Reddit to see what kinds of questions are asking. Maybe you come across a popular post by someone who is 70 years old and asking what gaming setup they should get. Voila—you’ve niched down. What if you focused on products for an older demographic that wants to start gaming, but doesn’t know how?
- Search individual product categories to see the niches that already exist. Let’s say you go to Fabletics, for example, while knowing that you don’t want to compete with Fabletics. But you might be able to specialize and niche down. Why not browse their categories to see what other niches people are enjoying? You might not find a niche right away, but chances are you’ll find stimulation for all sorts of new ideas that can help you develop your online marketing skills.
- Enter a Google or Bing search and look for “People also asked…” about popular products. Here’s a little SEO secret if you’re not into SEO: Google and Bing publish some of the most relevant questions that users are asking related to your own keyword. All you have to do? Enter in that keyword yourself. You can do this to find if there are any product questions that people are asking that makes a product or service more niche-specific.
- Weigh your results against popular keyword tools. If you use a popular keyword tool to see what people are searching for online, you’ll get a sense of how many people might belong to the niche you picked. For example, let’s stick with the “bar soaps for men” example from above. If you were only to advertise “pine bar soaps for men” you might find that it’s not quite enough to support a business—but if you offered all sorts of different scents, you could create a business around that. It’s all about discovering that sweet spot where your business has an edge, but doesn’t get so specific that it niches itself out of the marketplace.
This should give you a few tools to start poking around and exploring various niches. But as you poke around, try to write down the niches that appeal to you. Then sleep on this list. Let it simmer overnight—or a few nights, whatever the case may be—and return to it. Try sharing the list with a few friends, to see if any of them stand out as particularly underserved niches.
Chances are, you won’t get very far until one screams at you as a potential niche to try out.
How to Create a Niche Market if There Isn’t One Already
Let’s be honest: not every niche seems obvious at first.
Take the advent of the iPhone, one of the most revolutionary commercial products in the last few decades. The iPhone promised to bring all sorts of functionality to a single phone, providing it with a computer-like experience and putting it within the range of your palm.
Yet this niche didn’t exactly exist before the iPhone. People simply didn’t know that they wanted—or needed—a mobile phone with that kind of functionality.
Before small cellular phones, no one might think it would be a good idea to put a small, lower-quality camera into something that can fit in your pocket. Sure, mobility is nice—but the idea of having a small camera that wasn’t that high quality didn’t sound all that great at first.
Then, things changed. People realized that they did like the convenience of having so many devices work through their phone. The world changed. Software grew with the mobile phones. People started using them for games more often. They started texting more often. Social media became a thing—and people wanted to see who was posting what on these things called “apps.”
Granted—it’s kind of hard to compare a massive overhaul in the way we live to creating any old niche market from scratch. But let’s look at some specific steps you can create a niche market if you don’t find one already:
- Be wary of listening to feedback. People often say one thing and do another. It’s simply part of the human experience. Don’t put too much stock into peoples’ hypothetical opinions of your niche or your online store before you launch it. What really matters is what people buy, not what they say they’ll buy. And you’ll often find that in business, the two concepts are very different things indeed.
- Move a niche into the future. One way you can create a niche market that doesn’t already exist? Try to take a niche that already exists and add something to it. Some brands do this by combining existing concepts into something that hasn’t been seen before. Other brands might do this by innovating in the technology, creating a new product category.
- Watch where customers are pointing you. Do you already have an online business up and running? If so, you have an invaluable source of information available at your fingertips, assuming you have analytics that can point you to what customers are doing. You can see which categories are getting the most traction. Which of these categories might you combine, to create a new “subset” niche when you introduce new products?
Ultimately, moving a niche into the future is going to be a challenge—but it’s certainly something you should keep in mind if you want to build a more unique online presence. And the more your company sticks out from the crowd, the more memorable your brand will become.
Choosing a Niche Market that Works For You
What is a niche market? It can be big or small. It can be wide or narrow. But ultimately it refers to a market that serves a particular set of people with specific tastes and needs.
In this article, we’ve outlined many examples of large niche markets. But there are subsets of each of these niche markets that can keep going down and down the ladder until you arrive at something highly specific—i.e., cleaning kits for the jewelry you buy for your pet. That’s highly specific.
But keep in mind that specificity doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make a profit. It’s up to you to test the niches, find out what works, and ultimately, position your brand to fit the needs of your target market.