How To Find An Audience
What is a Niche?
Niche is a word that you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot, but might not understand what it means. The actual definition of niche is “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.” One of the best ways to make money on print-on-demand is finding a niche and catering to the passionate people within that niche.
Anything can become your niche market – hobbies, groups, events, and more:
• Social movements
You want to hit the sweet spot. If your niche is too broad, you won’t be able to target it effectively. Too small, and you won’t have enough buyers. Always ask yourself whether you can earn a profit with a specific niche.
Bottom line: you need to know who you sell to.
Choose a niche large enough to make money, easy to reach on social media, that has existing competition to prove market demand.
The best place to start is to think about what people identify with and what they will want to buy, use and wear. Identifying a niche should be one of the first things you do, even before coming up with a design. You need to know exactly who you’re going to sell to, why they’d buy it, and from there you can start thinking about a product that is designed just for them and their interests.
Need help choosing a niche? Here’s a list of 2500 different categories within our marketplace.
Start With Something You Know
What I always tell people is to start with something you know. Something personal, but that also has the potential for others to relate within their own experiences. What are you passionate about? The goal should be not only coming up with design ideas but how can we make them matter and evoke some type of emotion.
So what would make someone laugh out loud while wearing your shirt in public? What would they want to wear around so everyone knows who they are? That’s what sells; being able to express oneself through your designs.
Here are a few prompts to help you determine what your interests and passions are:
- How do you like to spend your free time? What do you look forward to doing when you aren’t doing it?
- What magazines do you subscribe to? What topics do you like to learn about most?
- What clubs or organizations do you belong to?
Researching Your Niche
After you have a good idea of what niche you want to target, you need to do some research.
Ask yourself these quesitons:
- What are these people like – their gender, age, location, etc.?
- What kind of interests do these people have?
- What are they talking about?
- What kind of communities would they be a part of online?
- What social media groups would they frequent?
- Are people buying t-shirts in that niche already?
- Are people spending money in your niche?
- How many people are within that niche?
You can use the following online tools to help answer these questions.
- Google: Google is a good place to start your research. When you search your niche you’ll see common or related keywords that you can use as segmented audiences for your designs.
- Twitter: Search those keyword hashtags and phrases to see what type of content appears. What kind of people are discussing these topics? What type of content are they sharing or are interested in?
- Reddit: Gain further insight from Reddit—type your general interest or audience into the search field to find the most popular subreddits, i.e. forums where specific content is posted and voted upon. The content at the top of the page is the most popular content by that specific subreddit audience; this is a good way to see what’s trending for a particular audience or topic.
- Pinterest: On fashion-forward sites like Pinterest, you can easily discover more about your niche’s sense of style and what they like to wear. If you search your niche + tshirts on Pinterest, you will discover popular pins that involve that certain theme. Once you’ve discovered some popular pins, you can click through to the pinners’ profile to get more inspiration on the type of content this buyer persona is interested in.
- Facebook: If you search your niche on Facebook you’ll see community pages with thousands of followers; it’s important to note if followers of these pages are active and engage with content regularly (their level of engagement, likes, comments, shares, can indicate if they’re more likely to be responsive to your ads or similar content you share in your own group).
Know your Competition
Identify your competitors in the space. Identify what’s already happening in the market and you might find that no one else is catering to your audience. You may also find out that there are a lot of other people selling to your audience, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it validates the market is buying.
To compete with the established brands in your niche, you need to figure out your competitive advantage—the thing that makes your product stand out from the rest. What’s unique about your approach? Give people a reason to choose you.
Here are some tools to help you find search volume for your niches keywords:
- KWFinder will give you the ability to see the search volume on Google for a specific keyword.
- Ubersuggest allows you to get insight into the strategies that are working for others in your market so you can adopt them, improve them, and gain an edge.
- SEMrush will unveil your competitors’ marketing strategies and tactics.
If the search volume is high, it means that there’s a lot of interest in this niche. A lot of interest also means a lot of potential—and a lot of competition. Ideally, you should target keywords with the search volume of 1,000 and higher.
If the search volume is very low, it doesn’t necessarily mean the niche doesn’t exist or it isn’t profitable. Low search volume may indicate that you’re about to be a pioneer in the niche. And if the product doesn’t exist, people don’t know to search for it. Use this to your advantage as your business continues to scale—the search volume will increase with the popularity of your niche.
Segmenting Your Niche
By using layering techniques like adding specific interests or passions into the message we will be able to segment our audience based on what they really care about.
Say, for example, people who love dogs. Sure, millions of people have dogs, but not everyone would buy an “I love dogs” shirt. You need to figure out a way to segment that larger niche into smaller audiences and hit an emotional trigger for them. For example, think about the different breeds of dogs.
Finding sub niches is the best way to segment your audience. Let’s take Mother’s Day as an example:
Here’s what I mean by sub-niches:
Step Moms – “I have a daughter who happened to be born before I met her”
Adoptive Moms – “Biological, Adoptive, Foster, MOM.”
Mothers-In-Law – “Behind every man stands a surprise “mother-in-law”
First Time Mom – “First Mother’s Day Est. 2021”
Moms with multiple kids – “Mom of boys #outnumbered”
Dog moms – “All I need is my kids and my dachshund”
See what we’re doing here? We’re taking the larger mom niche and breaking it into smaller pieces. This will help you with triggering those emotions when coming up with designs.
Layering messages is also a great way to scale successful designs or tweak them to appeal to new audiences.
Layer 1 (career): All men are created equal, but only a few become scientists!
Layer 2 (career & family): Some people call me a scientist, the most important people call me dad.
Layer 3 (career, family, hobbies): This scientist lives by 3 rules; don’t touch my notes, my beer & my wife!
Types of Niches
Keep in mind there are several types of niches to choose from. You can also adapt your existing evergreen niches to become seasonal or trend too—for example, you’ve got a specific family niche (evergreen) you sell to and create holiday designs (seasonal) to sell to them.
- Evergreen niches: for example, ‘dad’ themed designs that are not impacted by seasonality.
- Seasonal niches: for example, a ‘father’s day’ shirt which will likely sell better during April and May as opposed to year round.
- Trend niches: for example, the term ‘girl dad’ trended for several weeks on social media following the passing of Kobe Bryant.
Timing is everything. This is the one little secret nugget I want to share with you that makes the most money in the shortest amount of time. If you hit the right one correctly, it can be huge.
Keep an eye out for anything on social media that is going viral. When you see an opportunity you need to be ready. Think about how you can create a design related to your niche or capitalize on the virality to ride the wave.
Probably the best example recently would be how Jake Paul stole Floyd Mayweathers hat and then went on to create “gotcha hat” merch a day later. There have been so many examples of this in the past that you could easily create designs for and hit a target audience quickly for big bucks.
Picking a Niche
Now that you’ve done your competitor research and keyword research, it’s time to narrow your niche. Your list of 10 should now be only 2 or 3. Your final choice should be based on all of the research you’ve done to this point. If you apply all of these questions and do the research for the niche that you’ve chosen, then you’re well on the way to a successful campaign! The more you understand the niche, the more successful you will be. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t over time, so don’t overthink it!
The next step is to start coming up with design ideas that will work for your new niche and make a start creating designs. Remember, it’s best to pick a niche and stick with it.