Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a challenge with your business and wondering,

“How did I get here…again?!

Nothing feels worse than the suspicion that you’ve been spinning your wheels for the past month. (Or quarter. Or year.) The last thing we want is to get caught in a downward spiral, where we never get to overcome our struggles and rise past a certain level.

But what if that spiral was actually going up, not down?

I spoke with Nathalie Lussier, world-class digital strategist and email building expert, about this problem that confronts all of us: how to understand the recurring patterns in our business.

Not only does she give some sage advice on how to deal with these patterns, but she shows how embracing them can actually help you build your business by narrowing your niche.

We usually think of business strategy as being a line between Point A and Point B…and measure our success by how straight that line is.

But in real life, Nathalie says, the path is more like a spiral staircase. As we make our way up to the next level, we revisit the same issues, challenges and themes over and over again. 

When you come up against circumstances that make you think “How did I get here again?”, flip the way you’re looking at them. Even if it’s the same issue, you’re in a different place with it than you were six months (or even six weeks) ago.

What’s more, each time you revisit that same situation, you learn something a new and deeper lesson about it, which you can then pass on to your target audience. They’re all climbing spiral staircases of their own, and they need your story to help them keep going.


Click Here to Get Nathalie's "Spiral Staircase Exercise"


Three Things that Define Your Niche

Whether you say “nitch,” or pronounce it “neesh” like Nathalie (who is French),  you already know that digging deep into your niche is a cornerstone of your business’ success.

According to Nathalie, your niche is the sum of three things:

  • Your topic
  • Your story
  • Your audience

Each time you make another look on the spiral staircase, you go deeper into each aspect of your niche. Here’s how:

  • Your topic - Each “spiral” builds new expertise that narrows the focus of your business. It takes you from a broad category (“I help people achieve better health”) into a very specific component of that category (“I offer natural healing methods that cure migraines in ten seconds or less”).

  • Your story - Each “spiral” is a new chapter in your story, which creates new opportunities for connection with your audience.

  • Your audience - Each “spiral” lets you understand more about your own challenges and develops new strengths to overcome those challenges. As a result, you have renewed insight into who needs you the most.

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Build Your Audience

It’s easy to assume that it’s better to go bigger in the beginning stages of your business, to collect as many people in your audience as possible, and then narrow your niche once you’ve got a solid email list going.

In fact, Nathalie recommends just the opposite: Go narrow in the beginning. Establish yourself as an authority in one very specific area, build a small but mighty email list, then unfold into new products and new ideas when you’ve built the relationship with those clients.

“[When] people already know you as an expert in one thing, it’s easier to add expertise in other topics."

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Say “No”

Narrowing your niche also helps you save a lot of time (and headache) by giving you opportunities to say “no.”

When all you want is to build, network and grow, it can be terrifying to turn down opportunities. The problem is that every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you have a little less energy to invest in all the other opportunities you’ve agreed to.

You have to decide ahead of time what the smart "yes-es" are, and then stick to your guns. Nathalie carries around an index card with her five goals for the quarter listed on it. When an opportunity comes up, she compares it against these five goals. If the opportunity actively promotes one of those goals, she gives it a yes. If it doesn’t promote those goals, no matter how great it sounds, she says no for right now.

It may be hard at first, especially if you’re someone who has a hard time turning people down.

But saying “no” in one place is what will give you time and energy to say “Yes!” down the road to unexpected windfalls. As Nathalie puts it,

“Saying no leaves margin for magic.”

Narrowing Your Niche Helps You Ask for What You Want

Think about some of your mini-goals for this quarter. Maybe you want to get published in a prominent magazine or website. Maybe you want to speak at someone’s live event, or host an event of your own. Maybe you want to join forces with another business.

These kinds of opportunities don’t usually come knocking—you have to ask for them. Chances are, you’re one of several people asking.

But when you have a clearly defined, highly specific niche, you’re bringing something to the table that will stand out. 

Your niche gives you leverage to show why what you have to say matters, who is going to listen, and how success in that opportunity can be measured. Those are win-wins for you and the person you’re asking.


Click Here to Get Nathalie's "Spiral Staircase Exercise"


Narrowing Your Niche Reconnects You with the Deeper Meaning of Your Business

Take a minute to really search your soul. What are you really passionate about changing in the world? Whom do you feel the most empathy for? Whose troubles do you burn to solve?

Your compassion is a powerful indicator of where your niche really lies. Identify the people whose struggles motivate you the most, and let them become co-creators of your business by defining your work around their needs.

“A lot of times, we get caught up in the logistics and the analytics, what’s the conversation rate, what’s the opt-in rate… Just remember that there’s a human being on the other side of that screen who has their own heartbeat, hopes, dreams and goals. When I’m sending an email, I’m not sending an email to my list—I’m sending an email to all these incredible human beings.”

Next time you find yourself in an all-too-familiar position in your business, don’t lose heart. Look for the opportunities it offers—opportunities that you’d never have seen last time you were in this place. There’s nothing wrong with a spiral if it’s leading you upward.

Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode-67.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm PDT