To niche or not to niche, that is the question
Divisive topic alert! We’re going to talk about whether copywriters need to find a niche or not, the pros and cons of finding a niche, and the pitfalls to avoid. Now some copywriters SWEAR blind that you need to find a niche to be successful, and others think it’s not necessary at all. Today, we’re going to look at both!
As I mentioned, some copywriters love the idea of niching down in their copywriting business. They get super specific about what type of service they offer and which type of business they offer it to.
Other copywriters can’t think of anything worse than tying themselves to a specific copywriting niche. They worry that niching down will result in them getting fewer leads, fewer customers, and earning less money.
So, should I niche or not?
It’s a divisive subject, but when it comes to your copywriting business, my personal belief is that if you’re looking to build your authority and make more money, niching could be just what you need.
It’s not black and white, and it’s definitely not true in all cases, but after speaking to many copywriters, I think choosing a niche has benefited more copywriters than not.
And here’s why…
When you decide not to choose a niche, the copy on your website or LinkedIn profile can be vague or confusing. Prospects arrive on your site or profile looking for a solution, but the vagueness makes it difficult for them to say, ‘That’s me!’ That means they don’t know what results you can generate, or what you can do for them. So they take their attention and their money elsewhere.
As niching expert Amy Caiger puts it: “Knowing who you are as a business will make talking to people about what you do so much easier, and if you are confident about telling people what you do – all those hard things like selling become easier too!”
Why you need a copywriting niche
Reason #1 – faster growth
When you compare what you write now to what you wrote a year ago, there’ll always be an improvement. That’s the nature of writing. If you specialise in one type of writing, your growth will be faster because you won’t waste words on six forms of writing instead of one.
Reason #2 – specialist knowledge = dollar, dollar bills y’all!
The specificity of your writing skills means you get better results for your clients. When you’re able to gather evidence of delivering unbelievable results in your industry, you get the pleasure of charging more money for your specialist knowledge. And because clients have faith you can deliver, they’re happy to pay more for it!
Your specialist knowledge also increases your brand, which can lead to you attracting bigger named clients and even household brands you’ve always wanted to work with.
Linked to this, is when you work in one particular niche, you get to know your target audience (and your client’s customer base) really, really well. You’re able to keep on top of the latest trends and get a deeper understanding of what makes people tick in that industry or what works best in your specialism.
This deeper understanding means your copy is much more likely to be successful because you understand every nuance, whereas a generalist wouldn’t.
Reason #3 – more opportunities
And if that isn’t enough, it can also result in an increase in opportunities like speaking gigs, product endorsements, and book deals – all things that can further show how knowledgeable you are in your industry, attracting even more prospects and clients.
When Amy Caiger made the decision to niche into helping other businesses find their niches, she found she no longer had to send pitches – everyone started coming to her. And she had an increase in guest expert opportunities of 400% in six months. Now that’s some serious growth.
While it can be hard to quantify the effectiveness of niching on a business as every niche is different, LinkedIn expert Louise Brogan found that when she focused on LinkedIn, her business grew by 30% – despite her working fewer hours.
Email marketing experts Rob and Kennedy, meanwhile, found that choosing a niche made their decision-making process easier. They could say yes or no to opportunities based on whether it was related to their chosen niche or not.
When you niche down in your business, you become more trusted to solve a specific problem for a specific person. Think of it this way – if you were getting a new bathroom fitted, you’d want a plumber to do the pipework, not a general DIY expert, right? You’d trust that the plumber has the adequate training to fit everything properly and would be less likely to cut corners.
They’ll be some that are willing to chance that they’ll still get good results using the generalist, but I for one wouldn’t be messing around when it comes to toilet time!
What can you niche into?
How do you know which areas you can niche down into? What are your options?
There are a lot of different ways that you can niche, but the two biggest are by industry or type of copy. You could also choose a combination of the two. The more specific you get, the clearer your offer will be.
It may sound like it defies logic, but the more niche you get, the more people you can help. And, as we’ve already discovered, the more money you can make.
Areas like website copy, product descriptions, sales pages, landing pages, microcopy, and email copy are just some of the areas you could choose from. These all sit at different parts of the marketing funnel, but they all serve the same purpose: getting prospects through the funnel and converting them into a customer.
Each of these aspects of copywriting requires a slightly different skill. Microcopy, for example, involves understanding what compels people to click buttons or move to the next step, but it’s incredibly hard to niche down into this. Why? Well, most businesses in the world don’t have the budget, the knowledge or the desire to pay someone to handle such a small part of their marketing.
On the other hand, every business should be using email in their marketing. Email copy is about tapping into prospect’s emotions and forming a connection. It’s also responsible for a lot of sales, depending on the industry.
Most large companies send multiple emails per week, and even smaller companies should be sending them. Therefore, choosing to specialise in email copy presents you with more opportunities. However, that also creates its own problem…everyone else has realised that too!
More opportunities = more competition!
What about general copywriting?
If someone is looking for general copywriting help, they have a million options to choose from. There’s also the possibility that if they want a jack of all trades, they don’t really know that much about copywriting and how much it can benefit their business. They may not know the difference between content writing and copywriting.
That means that they might not value your skillset, and as a result, you won’t be able to charge the high fees you need to make it as a well-paid copywriter.
But if they’re specifically looking for someone to write landing page copy for an online course for small business owners, that’s much more specific. And they’re likely to want someone who specialises in either small businesses, landing page copy, or both, to help them.
Areas not to niche into
When it comes to niching, some things really don’t matter. A lot of companies focus on things like a client’s demographics, age, or even their marital status and the number of children they have!
Unless you offer a product or service related to demographics, age, marital status, or parenting, none of these things matter when choosing your niche. Instead, what matters is how you solve a problem for that person or business.
If it’s clear that a particular niche doesn’t pay well or doesn’t suit your background, then I’d recommend avoiding it.
Choosing your copywriting niche
To choose your niche, you need to consider where your strengths lie.
- What’s generated the most success for you in the past?
- What’s generated the most success for your clients?
- What do you find the easiest to sell?
- What would your clients be willing to pay for?
If you’re not sure, reach out to previous customers and ask them. You could send them a survey to make things easier, or, if they have time, arrange a call.
If you do arrange a call, have a set list of questions so that you can compare the results.
It really helps to get numbers, too, such as the increase in conversions, how many extra sales they’ve had, or how much more revenue they’ve earned. This isn’t always possible – some companies don’t like to share this data – but if you say that it’s for your personal decision-making and won’t be used on your own sales pages, they may be more willing to share. These figures will make it easier for you to quantify how successful you are at what you do.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have any prospects to ask, consider your background. What type of copy have you written previously, perhaps as part of an in-house marketing role? Were you good at it? Did you enjoy it?
Enjoyment is an important – and underestimated – part of niching. If you’re going to go big on one area, you need to actually enjoy what you’re working on. After all, didn’t you become self-employed so that you could live your life on your terms? If you’re writing copy that you don’t enjoy and that doesn’t make you want to get out of bed in the morning, that’s a sign you’ve strayed down the wrong path.
Look at areas you’ve studied in the past, too, or want to study more. There are courses on just about everything these days, and these can help you decide if that area is something you’d be comfortable writing about every day before making the decision.
The most important thing to remember is that niching is a balancing act. You need to find an area you enjoy, that you’re good at, and that people want help with.
More money, less work
Deciding to niche down – and choosing your niche – can be nerve-wracking. But there’s no need to keep biting your nails down to the cuticles. You don’t need to get this right on the first go! You can try writing in one industry or one type of copy for a while and see if you like it. If not, no worries, just pick another one and give that a whirl!
Just remember regardless of what niche you choose, getting it right can help with your business growth and your long-term peace of mind.
Adjusting to a new direction can take time, as you need to update things like your website, LinkedIn page, and your business approach, but it’s hard to say no to a decision that means you get to work fewer hours, make decisions more easily, and earn more money.
I hope that helps with your decision and feel free to pop me a note with any questions. Good luck on your niche-ing journey!