What Is a Niche Market? And How To Reach One

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn what a niche market is, the benefits of marketing and selling to one, and how to reach your niche market.

[Featured image] Three women work on a niche market plan for their yarn business.

What is a niche market?

A niche market can be defined as a segment of consumers that share characteristics and, because of those characteristics, are likely to buy a particular product or service. The consumer characteristics you would examine fall under three main categories: demographic, psychographic, and firmographic. Demographics are specific socio-economic factors such as age, ethnicity, or income level. Psychographics are behaviors, attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological factors. Firmographics are factors used to characterize the operations of businesses and organizations, and can include the industry type, organization size, and revenue.

Niche markets comprise small, highly specific groups within a broader target market you may be trying to reach.

Identifying a niche market and learning everything you can about it enables you to do several things:

  • Develop products and services that meet your niche’s unique needs and desires

  • Show empathy for your niche through your marketing messaging  

  • Build trust with your niche and turn them into loyal customers 

  • Compete with larger brands

  • Become a credible “go-to” brand for the specific solution you provide, and ultimately attract more customers

Now that you have a clear definition of what a niche market is and why identifying one is important, let’s take a look at some niche market examples and steps you can take to find yours. 

3 niche market examples

This section explores three niche market examples in different industries, along with products and services that consumers in these niches might purchase. Draw inspiration from these examples as you identify and serve your own niche markets.

Aspiring novelists

Think of aspiring novelists as a smaller segment of writers in general. Aspiring novelists might share some characteristics with other types of writers, such as journalists, bloggers, poets, playwrights, copywriters, and technical writers, in that writers of all kinds typically enjoy using language to express their ideas. 

As a niche audience, though, aspiring novelists would exhibit unique goals, interests, challenges, behaviors, and other demographic and psychographic characteristics that you’d need to take into account. That way, you could develop products or services, as well as messaging, to appeal specifically to this niche market. 

For example, aspiring novelists might be interested in courses on how to build page-turning plots and unforgettable characters, or even apps to help them navigate a book-length document. Depending on the demographic and psychographic information you discovered, messaging could appeal to this niche market’s “dream to tell stories” or desire to “bring ideas to life.”

Long-distance runners

Think of long-distance runners as a smaller segment of athletes in general. Long-distance runners might share some characteristics with other athletes, such as body builders or dancers. For example, athletes typically enjoy the physical and mental challenges of exercise, as well as the benefits. 

In researching the unique characteristics of long-distance runners, you might discover that this niche group places emphasis on building endurance, perfecting their stride, and staying hydrated during long runs. This niche market might be interested in group training events, hand-held water bottles, or even subscriptions to inspirational content. Messaging could appeal to this niche market’s drive to “cross the finish line” or “break personal records.”

Telemedicine physicians  

Think of telemedicine physicians as a smaller segment of health care workers (a group that’s itself a smaller segment of remote workers). Telephysicians may share characteristics with health care workers in general, in terms of their commitment to patient care. They may share characteristics with remote workers in terms of their comfort with technology and need for flexible schedules.  

In researching the unique characteristics of telephysicians, you might discover that this niche market is interested in furniture or decor to make their home offices conducive for telemedicine, or even resources on how to exhibit “bedside manner” across a screen. Messaging could appeal to telephysicians’ compassion and mission to heal others. 

How to reach a niche market

In this section, you will learn seven strategies for reaching your niche market. While you may already have ideas about the product or service you want to offer, you’ll want to prioritize getting to know your niche: how they behave, what they want and challenges they face. That way you can develop offers in response to potential customers’ unique characteristics and eventually market these offers with greater success.

1. Start niching down from broader categories.

If you know the broad market categories of customers you’d like to serve, the next thing to do is “niche down” to discover subsets of consumer groups according to their unique qualities. For example, you could start narrowing down a broad market such as “university students” to “biology majors at major universities,” “international graduate students,” or “students who need on-campus childcare.” 

Ask yourself these questions to explore potential niche markets:

 

  • What might you (and potentially other consumers) need that currently isn’t available for purchase?  

  • What specific problems do you want to solve?

  • What could you offer to consumers, based on your strengths?

  • What kinds of consumers would share your own values, passions, and experiences?

  • What basic demographic and psychographic details do you imagine these kinds of consumers share? 

2. Identify niche market keywords.

Another way to define a niche market is to learn what consumers type into Google or other search engines when they want to find solutions to problems or answers to their questions. Start typing a few Google inquiries and note the keywords and phrases that Google automatically suggests, based on what’s trending. 

For example, if you want to learn more about green consumers, type “non-toxic” into a Google search, and you may find that Google suggests, “non-toxic cookware” or “non-toxic cleaning supplies.” Typing these keywords into SEO research sites like Semrush and Ahrefs can reveal important metrics such as the search volume for a particular keyword and the difficulty of ranking high in a search result. These can offer clues as to what’s important to your niche market. 

3. Research interest groups on social media.

You can discover quite a bit about niche markets by searching interest groups on social media or community platforms, where people engage with and post content related to their passions, interests, professions, age groups, and other demographic and psychographic information. 

For example, if you’re targeting developers, research them on GitHub, a platform that millions of developers and organizations use to create software and collaborate. Click around to discover the kinds of projects developers are working on, the skills developers are learning, and the connections GitHub users are making with each other.

If you’re targeting avid readers, research them on Goodreads, a platform where millions of readers post about and discover more books, join reading challenges, and track their reading activity. Click around to find out which genres, topics, new releases, and classes are trending, as well as how readers connect with each other through a shared love of books. 

To learn more about different social media platforms as sources of niche market insights, watch this lecture from the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate

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Use social media to connect with smaller groups of people around a common interest.

4. Examine competitors. 

As you gather insights from keyword research and social media, you’ll want to find out who your competitors are and what they are offering consumers in your niche. For example, if you want to serve long-distance runners, what are the top brands runners currently follow on social media or buy from? What gaps do you notice?

With this information, you can devise a plan to compete effectively. This might include niching down even further, differentiating your products and services to fill gaps, and refining the messaging you use to promote them. 

5. Explore fast-growing occupations. 

As industries grow, you may find untapped niche markets among business owners, employees, and consumers within an industry you’re interested in. Explore fast-growing occupations through the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other statistical sites to gain insights.  

For example, BLS’s most recent employment projections for the United States show that between 2020 and 2030, nurse practitioner jobs will grow by 52 percent, while information security analyst jobs will grow by 33 percent [1]. 

As you gather information of this kind, ask yourself these questions:

  • What products and services could enhance the experiences of people in these growing career fields? 

  • What’s the best way to learn more about people in these career fields?

  • What niche markets can you identify, based on companies hiring for these positions? 

  • What kinds of marketing strategies would reach these niches most effectively?

6. Gather statistical data.

Statistical data about or relevant to your niche market can help you estimate its size, income level, and other purchase metrics. From there, you could use this information to determine your next niche marketing step. 

Here are two industry-specific examples: 

  • A search for “telemedicine physician” on Indeed yields 73,995 job listings in the US, as of February 2022, with salary estimates ranging from $110,000 to $260,000, suggesting that these professionals are in demand and will be high earners [2].

  • In October 2021, the Association of American Publishers found that the publishing industry generated $25.71 billion in revenue in 2020, only a slight decrease from $25.77 billion in 2019, suggesting that readers’ demand for print material remained somewhat steady, even through COVID-19 [3].

Niche marketing tip: Bear in mind that becoming a known brand within a niche can eventually attract competitors who want to share your success. You may be able to mitigate this by niching down even further, refining your products and services, and adjusting your messaging.

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Reach your niche market with Coursera

Taking a course can be a great way to learn effective business practices, including how to find your niche market and attract niche customers to your products and services. 

Reach new audiences on social media with the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate. Learn how to use marketing data, cultivate a brand voice that gets your audience’s attention, and optimize paid ad campaigns for your niche.  

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Related articles 

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment Projections, https://www.bls.gov/emp/.” Accessed February 8, 2022. 

2. Indeed. “Telemedicine Physicians, https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=telemedicine%20physician&l&vjk=202dec12d5902f2f.” Accessed February 14, 2022. 

3. Association of American Publishers. “Book Publishing Revenues Flat at $27.51 Billion For the Year, https://publishers.org/news/book-publishing-revenues-flat-at-25-71-billion-for-the-year/.” Accessed February 14, 2022.

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