Everyone says the riches are in the niches but not all niches are winners. Here are the top three ways to pick a bad niche for web design.
What We're Looking For
When identifying a good target market for high-ticket web design there are three criteria we want to look for.
B2C or B2(small)B
It's best if your client is in either the Business To Consumer or Business to Small Business space. Large businesses have too long of a sales cycle for or tools (email lists, webinars, paid ads, funnels, etc.) to be effective. Non-profits often times don't need a $10k+ marketing plan. I don't even touch government contracts.
$100,000+ In Gross Revenue
The client's business needs to be able to sustain at least $100k in gross revenue. They don't have to be there yet. But, if they can't sustain that level of revenue then they don't need a $10k+ marketing package.
We want the annual value of the client's customers to be at least $1,000. That doesn't mean the transaction value is $1,000. We want the customer to spend at least $1,000 over the course of the year. For example, a chiropractor may only charge $100 for an adjustment but the patient comes in every month. So, that patient is worth $1,200 per year.
This leaves a lot of room for good target markets like, real estate, HVAC, roofing, lawn care, auto detailing, residential painting, pest control, personal trainers, local gyms, etc.
Bad Niches For Web Design
Now let's look at a three different categories of niches that tend not to fit this model.
Hobbyists and Side Hustlers
There are some industries that tend to be considered “fun” businesses and they attract a lot of daydreamers who fantasize about how cool it would be to have a business doing something that was exciting all the time. In other words, there are some industries that tend to attract people who aren't all that business savvy and they are very hard to work with. They tend to have a very hard time making decisions and they also have extremely low budgets.
Work Now, Get Paid Later
People in this category tend to want you to share their enthusiasm and “invest” your work into their business in exchange for some future payout. If the client isn't fully committed to their own business, it's unfair for them to ask you to be fully committed. This shows up when people ask you to work on commission, on payment installments, or in some way where you have to lay out a bunch of unpaid work upfront in the hopes that you'll get paid later.
Notorious Hobby Businesses
I'm about to make a bunch of sweeping generalizations which obviously aren't always true. But, in my experience, these are the niches that I've found that tend to attract daydreamers with low budgets who have a very difficult time committing to a marketing plan.
- Artists and musicians
- Dropshipping businesses
- Most apparel/clothing businesses
- Health/diet coaching
- Yoga studios
- Event/Concert promotion
Micro-Businesses Trying To Compete With Giant Businesses
This category is not as rare as I originally thought. I regularly get contacted for marketing advice from people who believe they are going to take down PayPal with a new online payment system. Literally, yesterday, I spoke to someone who wanted to take down Amazon in favor of a local online marketplace.
The problem is not that these people have bad ideas. The problem is they have absolutely no idea what they're getting themselves into from a financing, staffing, and marketing perspective. It's easy to get excited about really good ideas, but those ideas also need the structure and funding to support them. Most of them don't.
The Selfish Niche
This is the most common problem – by far – that I see when working with people on defining their target market and picking a niche.
One of the things we put some serious thought into together in DoubleStack is defining your niche. In fact, there's an entire 5-lesson course in DoubleStack called “On Target Marketing” where you and I dial this in together because it's the first step in developing your Solution First Marketing strategy. The most common problem people have is picking a target market based almost entirely on what they like or what they feel like would be exciting to work on.
Obviously liking your work is important but when picking your niche, the most important thing is identifying a whole in a market that your skills can fill.
This isn't easy which is why we work together to research a variety of different target markets. One of the things that makes DoubleStack so effective is that I've spent almost 20 years exploring and working in a wide variety of different industries as a web designer and online marketer. So, we'll take a deep look at your skills and interests and overlay that on what I know about the wholes in different industries so we can match you up with a good niche that will be both profitable and fulfilling.
Once you find a hole that you can fill in your unique way and you start seeing your clients get outstanding results for their business, the industry that you're working in is far less important. The joy you're creating for your clients is an absolute rush. Seeing their lives change and watching how that impacts their families – and knowing that you played a big part in generating that success for them is unbelievably rewarding even if they're running a relatively unexciting business like residential painting.
The Main Point
Identify an area in a specific market that your skills can improve. Discovering and filling that hole will change the lives of your clients and will give you a powerful marketing story to tell. This will solve your problems with lead generation and pricing. It's also incredibly fulfilling.
If you want help dialing this in for your business, just let me know.