Finding Your Niche … The Easy Way

One of the most critical – and challenging – elements of effective marketing for new copywriters is identifying your market.

Many people try to promote themselves without focusing on a specific market. They tell themselves that everyone needs copywriting, so everyone – every company, large or small, no matter the industry – is a potential client.

And that may very well be true. But if you try to market yourself to everyone, your efforts will be spread too thin to be effective.

Unless you focus on one group of people in a particular industry – who have similar needs and will respond to a common message – your efforts will be haphazard and ineffective.

Start With What You Know

The best place to begin marketing your services is in a familiar arena. That’s where you’ll have the most confidence and credibility, and it’s an area in which you won’t have to start from scratch.

For example, if you worked as a mortgage broker for 20 years, this could be your “natural” market. You’re familiar with the industry and its needs, you already have contacts there, and your experience will enable you to provide potential clients with relevant samples.

Of course, most people have experience in multiple arenas. Resist the temptation to pursue them all at once. At the end of this article, you’ll find an action plan to help you identify your best market option.

Qualify Your Market

One or more of the potential markets you identify may not be fertile ground for your services. To qualify a market, ask the following five questions:

  1. What is the current state of this market?

    If it isn’t in a growth mode, it may not be a good time to get in.

  2. What is the size of this market, and what types of projects are available?

    Determine if you’re able to handle them, if you can handle them profitably, and if it’s work you would enjoy.

  3. Does this market know they need your services?

    If they don’t perceive the need, you aren’t likely to find work.

  4. Are other service providers like you already working in this market?

    If the answer is “no,” there’s a reason. The market may be unwilling to pay for these services, or may not perceive a need for them.

  5. Do you like the people?

    Doing business means working with people. If, for example, you quit your job as a hair stylist because you disliked all the gossip (generally speaking), you probably won’t be happy marketing your services to hair stylists.

If your answers to all five questions are satisfactory, then this market is a good match for you.

Action Plan
Identify Your Target Markets:

  1. Identify 10 markets with which you have some connection, experience or familiarity. List each market, why it’s a good candidate, and mark down if you have – or could easily produce – samples. Use the examples below to guide you.

    Market: Fundraising
    Why: I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, I regular donate my money and time to causes I care about
    Samples: Yes

    Market: Software developers
    Why: I’m married to one
    Samples: Yes

  2. Take a break – at least an hour or so – and return to your list. Review your list, and determine the three most promising candidates among the 10. Then, qualify each of the three with the five questions found in the section “Qualify Your Market” above.

  3. Finally, to determine your most promising market, use the questions below to further research any of the three candidates that passed the qualifying questions from Step 2.

    1. How many prospects are there (locally, nationally, globally)?
    2. What is the average project size or purchase value?
    3. How often would they need your services per year?
The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: October 16, 2006

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