Your audience is a group of people in your niche that you want to market products and services to. Rather than trying to identify potential customers out of a random pool of people, it’s easier to find them by letting them identify themselves. My audience was people interested in magic who were willing to spend money on books and tricks. This is the same demographic that buys magic magazines. By flipping through those magazines I could get an idea of what people were buying and how much they were willing to pay for those items. By looking at the circulation of the top magic magazines I was able to get an idea of my potential market size. This is a very important number to know. I’ve known many first time authors try to approach a niche and expect sales twice the size of the number of people in it.

As a rule, the more specialized your niche, the smaller the audience. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. What Color is Your Parachute? used this to tremendous advantage. My first book sold for $40 because it targeted a hungry niche. People who were interested in that topic were willing to pay that much because it was the only book that dealt with that specific subject. That’s the power of approaching a specific niche. Although the audience is smaller, it’s easier to target them and they’re willing to pay more for your product or service.

An audience can generally be broken down into seven levels of interest. Your focus should be people at one of these levels:

Every person has the potential for being interested in a product or niche. Beginner books and videos are marketed to a wide audience with the hope of attracting people who may have thought about learning more, but never bothered. Even though everyone might be interested in what you are offering, it’s better to be a little more specific in your demographic. Movies, television and fast food restaurants try to develop products for specific groups within the population and not the population as a whole.

People with potential
A person with potential is someone who has many of the same qualities of the people in your niche. If the average person who plays computer football games is male, between the ages of 18-25, goes to college and likes to go to sports news web sites, there’s potential for developing a product or service that involves all of those descriptions. You also have several ways to single them out from the general population.

Interested party
If you’ve ever bought a book on poker, gambled online or saw a movie because it involved poker, you’ve singled yourself out as someone with an interest in poker. You may not play all the time, but you’ve expressed a willingness to spend some money on your interest, if not on a regular basis.

A hobbyist is anyone who spends time being active in a niche on a regular basis. Someone who buys and plays video games on a regular basis would be a hobbyist. A person that subscribes to movie magazines and occasionally buys books on screenwriting probably considers screenwriting as a hobby. These people easily spend a hundred dollars on their hobby a year. Some hobbies require that you spend more, but I try to identify people who’ll spend at least $100 on their interest.

Otaku is a Japanese expression for people who are so into something that they spend all of their time in the basement obsessing over it. People this involved in a niche are clearly identifiable. They’re always online offering their opinion. They go to an event related to it. They spend every available dollar on their obsession. The upside to this audience is that if they like what you offer, they’ll buy everything. The downside is that you have to be nuts to be this obsessed. When they finally get medicated for their mental illness they might decide to leave the basement and pursue something else.

Professionally interested
Someone interested in your niche on a professional level is someone that is considering a profession in some aspect of that niche. This could describe many people at a given point in time. At the risk of stereotyping, probably half of all young men have thought about what it would be like to be a professional athlete. Half of all women have probably thought about what it would be like to be a wedding planner.

If your niche is martial arts, there’s a good chance that your average martial artists has thought about what it would be like to go pro or to open their own martial arts school. This level of professional interest is a natural progression for someone who has spent a lot of time in a certain field. They begin to ask themselves the important question; Can I make money at this? Creating content or services that answer that question are in big demand.

Professionally/personally involved
If you work at an amusement park you’re professionally involved in the amusement industry. If you work in a comic book shop you’re involved in the comic book business. People who are involved at this level have specific interests within that area. Their interests are highly specialized, but very intense.

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