I was watching an interview with marketing guru, Seth Godin. The interviewer was asking about the topics of his latest book, This Is Marketing. In doing so he discusses the concept of the smallest viable audience.

 

To backtrack for a bit, the interviewer was expounding on the success of his online university, altMBA. He asked Godin with that success why doesn’t he expand? Seth’s response was twofold. He mentioned he’s happy with the success it brings and what it generates is enough for him.

 

 

 

 

The smallest viable audience

By not expanding, he stays true to himself and the characteristics of the smallest viable audience. In essence, what’s the smallest group you can provide a product or service to that will continually feed you? In our current economic situation, it is critical to niche down.

 

With a niche, will I lose business?

Let me first address the underlying concern everyone has with niching down and that is losing business you can actually fulfill. This hits those in the creative industry the most because our skills overlap target audiences. Let’s say you specialize in designing logos for sports teams and you’re just starting out. Positioning yourself as that will naturally turn away small business owners which could be a good income for you.

 

Naturally, you’re going to start worrying since it takes time for specialization to stick. However, people intrinsically want the best and seek specialist for that. This is when your niche positioning pays off because the sports teams with deep pockets only want the specialist and will seek you out. Yes, it’s a small audience but it’s one that will fund your career for years to come.

 

Cast the pole then the net

Just like the cover image [shown above] you start on the left, catching one or two of that audience. Deliver in an amazing way causes word-of-mouth to spread, brand loyalty grows, perceptions are cemented, and you end with the image on the right.

 

Don’t believe me? We all have subdivision Facebook groups or NextDoor. When we need a specific service what do we do? Ask for group recommendations and then go with the name we hear the most since we perceive them as the most reputable. That professional has essentially created the smallest viable audience for himself since he could continually service one subdivision as people move in and out and invariably go to the boards seeking the same service.

 

Applying it to yourself

If you haven’t specialized in your business to find the smallest viable audience now is certainly the time. When I say specialize, I mean be super specific. If I said “Trekkie” or “Potterhead” you know exactly who I’m talking about. That’s how specific your target audience needs to be. It makes everything you do from there on out so much easier.

 

Small equals big

It’s daunting to intentionally turn away revenue you could do. Yet, trying to serve everyone will turn into serving no one. Niche down and find the smallest audience that will sing your praises. Until next time I wish you much success transforming your business into an amazing brand.

 

 

George Paul III

 

George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.

 

 

 

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