I Niched Down To Grow Big

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John Murphy
May 5, 2022

I launched my ecommerce business in mid 2017 and quickly realized I wasn’t the only person that thought that niche was a good niche to get into.  By 2018 there were hundreds of stores all offering the same products, at the same prices, with the same descriptions and same stock product photos.

Competing for traffic was pretty hard and after Google and Facebook banned me from running ads and was at a real disadvantage. After the reading a book called The Blue Ocean Strategy I decided, instead of trying to compete with everyone, I needed to niche down and find a demographic that I could serve instead of trying to market to everyone and their mother.

I decided I wanted to help hunters. As it turns out the products can make hunting easier and a more enjoyable experience.  I found that hunters identify as hunters as part of their being and it’s not just a hobby.  It’s part of their identity and when that grueling 10 mile hike carrying gear gets too much, these men and women lose that part of their identity.  By focusing on just hunters I was more targeted with the messaging and the ‘voice’ and in I was able to help a lot of people in the process.

While all my competitors were expanding to add new categories and even branching out to other niches and listing products very different from their original niche, I was dropping suppliers that didn’t fit the new vision I had. It was scary reducing the number of products when I wasn’t exactly crushing it back then.

Having only one demographic to communicate to is so much easier to get heard. Instead of being vanilla to everyone I was being very targeted. It made content like blog posts and even product descriptions so much easier to write, now knowing who I was writing them for.

Email marketing could be so much more personal now. By communicating the issues hunters face and the benefits these products would bring to their next hunt.  It spoke to them directly.

Hunting is a polarizing topic and that helps too.  When you know who you want to serve, you can be laser-focused and speak directly to your people.

It was scary competing with other stores with 30 brands listed and 500 products for sale when I was pruning the brands list, but it was probably the most important decision I ever made in business. Still to this day I only have approx. 50 core products listed.  

Being so polarizing also helps my credibility and getting accepted when engaging in hunting forums and talking with hunters in general. I know their pain points and needs more, and so can help them better than someone selling hundreds of similar products but catering to every age group and demographic.

The narrower you focus, the deeper you can penetrate.  Also, when you are talking to one person or demographic, things like marketing, copywriting and branding is so much easier because you are not trying to be everything to everyone.  You can become an expert in one specific area of the industry and help those people a lot better.

Going narrow in the niche has been pivotal to my survival and I highly recommend it.

Niching down can be gradual.  It doesn’t have to be an overnight rebranding.  You can start by creating more content to help the part of the community you want to help.  As they start arriving you can change some of the imagery that appeals to those people and what will start happening is, the people you try to help will feel heard and spoken to.  So they will start arriving.  

Then as you pivot the brand, former customers will potentially start to unsubscribe from your newsletter since your message is no longer for them.  But that’s ok, when you find your tribe and genuinely try to help, they will flock to you.

So niche down to grow.