Why you need a freelance niche today! + how it will help you find more quality clients

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I know what a lot of you who haven’t yet found your niche or who are undecided if you even want a niche were thinking when I recently blogged about finding mine:

“I’m not sure finding a niche is a good idea. Won’t that reduce my potential client pool even further?”

I know, it sounds like an oxymoron, but narrowing your area of expertise can actually improve your design business and help you find more clients and more highqualityclients.

How? Keep reading…

You become the expert

By finding your niche (See “Should Freelancers Branch Out or Niche In?”), you’re able to focus on one specific area of expertise.

You get to dig into the meat of it and go beyond the surface information everybody else provides about it.

You become the expert, explaining seldom-discussed nuances of your craft.

For example, my niche is information presentation.

By specializing, I tailor my marketing and blog topics to the importance of presenting information that engages your target audience. I get to delve into this niche and focus on more interesting, and more useful, specifics that few others discuss.

You target relevant clients

Think about others who have found their niches: McDonald’s sells fast, cheap hamburgers & fries while Rolex sells high-end watches.

Each company knows who they’re targeting and tailors their message to that audience.

They don’t waste time trying to persuade customers who aren’t interested in their product to change their minds.

When you find your niche, you get to do the same thing. By specifically focusing on clients who are potentially interesting in your services (this is your target audience) you automatically weed out all of the potential clients that aren’t a good fit for you.

You hear ‘yes’ more and ‘no’ less, and I think every freelancer can agree – less rejection is better.

Your message becomes more clear and memorable

Once you hone in on your area of expertise, you’ll be able to focus on how to market yourself through your niche.

You’ll stop using vague terminology in favor of specific verbiage that describes your specialty.

You’ll shape your blog and web presence to reflect your niche and you’ll stick to. And people will start to remember you for it.

Case in point: When I first started marketing Greer Genius (before I found my niche), I used the pitch “increase your exposure and improve your sales with brilliant design by Greer Genius.”

Pretty vague and a mouthful, I know.

Niche in hand, I now use “Specializing in information presentation and engaging content.”

Not only is it much more descriptive and less used-car salesman, but also it’s a great conversation starter because it’s something concrete and useful to potential clients.

Share your story with me…

How did your marketing plan/blog/website/pitch improve when you found your niche?

Leave a comment on this post and let us know!

Remember, your niche doesn’t have to be a design type, such as web design (but there’s nothing wrong with that). It can be a design style (art deco illustration), design for a particular audience (children’s design), affordability (or luxury), or a new niche you create based on your own unique skill set.

Do you agree? Does a more specific niche mean more quality clients?

 

 

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About April Greer

April is a go-to freelance designer with a rare combination of creative expertise and technical savvy. She is available for subcontracting and speaking engagements – visit Greer Genius for more information.

Comments

  1. I rather enjoy the challenge of catering to different businesses. I get to meet a wider variety of people/professions and my projects are creative and varied. If I wanted to choose a niche, I would go back working for my last full time employment which bored me to death. Money and professionalism does not necessarily come with choosing a niche.

    • Choosing a niche doesn’t mean you’re doing the same work every day. My niche – information presentation – allows me to work on website design, infographics, annual reports, presentations…all types of information, for all types of clients.

      This morning I met with the outreach director for my local humane society and this afternoon I’m speaking with a start-up software company in California that caters to graduate school programs.

      Certainly, money and professionalism don’t come just by finding your niche, but finding your niche allows you to explore a specific topic more thoroughly. Like a flashlight…you can adjust the beam such that you get a high-intensity beam or a low-intensity arc, or anywhere in between.

      Thanks for your input!

  2. Hi April and thanks so much for your great blog. I really enjoy and get lots out of it! And your timing is impeccable! I have been running a web design business for a few years and find I have picked up more clients in one particular industry than any other so recently I decided to specialise. I am currently grappling with whether or not to create an entirely new entity and keep my existing one going (to pick up any clients outside this industry) or morph my existing business, keeping the same branding that has been around for a few years and maybe changing the slogan and of course amending the website to suite this industry. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Karen,

      Remember, just because you choose a niche doesn’t mean you are excluding clients outside that niche. It just means you’re a bit more focused than “any web design.” It allows you to offer more value to your industry because you are familiar with the best tools for that particular industry (i.e. real estate plugins, e-commerce music stores, whatever your niche).

      For me, I don’t specify my niche in my logo/tagline, but it’s all over my marketing materials. You may want to do the same thing, or, if you can, slightly modify your branding to reflect your niche. I’d definitely make your niche obvious on your website, though. If your customers are used to your current branding, you may want to stick with it for consistency and recognition.

      Good luck, and congratulations on finding your niche!

      • Great information here. I’ve been getting into niche markets in my graphic design business which is incorporated in my web design and photography business. Being able to offer my clients the whole range of products form graphic design, web design and construction and photography has opened plenty of doors. for me. Recently I branched out into horse photography too.

  3. I believe at least in the beginning niching is probably better than doing it all (unless you have a network of designers and artists that can assist you) it’s probably more realistic to be excellent at one thing and be known for it because your clients have confidence in what you do and will likely consider you were they have different needs, such as web design that you have experience in. Or simply put “jack of all trades and master of none”.

    • Victor,

      I agree that as a beginner you should start with what you’re best at or have the most experience doing, but sometimes without a decent body of work behind you it’s hard to determine what your niche should be.

      I’m definitely with you that you need to be realistic about what projects you can handle or you’ll risk disappointing a client (or worse). No need to burn bridges!

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. I totally agree it’s all about finding a niche. It took me a long time but I am now specialising in equine photography. Although not a graphic designer the principles are exactly the same. I get to know my subject in a far deeper way and this both makes my job easier, whilst producing better work.

    • Mark,

      You just know all the little details to make the process so much smoother, don’t you? How to get the horses to stand still. What are the best settings to use for motion shots. What lighting works well for different colors…etc. etc. etc. A non-specialized photographer might spend another hour or two on the job working to get simply decent shots, where you can do the work quickly and effectively and achieve stunning photos.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. First of all, I’m in love w/GDB and am thoroughly impressed with the information that is presented on this website. As a graphics professional for 18 years, I finally discovered my niche of Photoshop centered ‘car/auto show’ work about 6 years ago. Granted, this type of work is not full time for me year round yet, but it’s getting better every year. I have been telling those in this profession for many years to not only discover your niche, but have your market focused toward those who have a little more $$$ because THAT is what will set your financial success apart from everyone else and if you’re lucky, you’ll end up cornering that market and for me, that’s exactly what we all want as designers. Good luck!

    • Jonathan,

      Glad to hear you’re such a fan…it’s always great to know our knowledge has made a positive impact on your career. :)

      Great job finding a niche that you’re passionate about and that is a fairly untouched market. (Now you need a website…)

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. This article was very enlightening and right on time! I’ve been pursuing my graphic design passion for years in Memphis, and Im just starting to receive recognition and gaining new clients. I mostly do print designs, logos, and websites. The bulk of my jobs come from print designs( flyers, business cards, etc.); however, Im not sure that’s my niche. Also, my highest paying projects come from developing websites. Im about to put out 5000 flyers and have 5000 business cards printed to market my business. The problem is that Im not sure what my niche is. Do I market what people know me for or should I market what will get me $$. What would you suggest April?

    • Cren,

      You have a good problem to have! And I’m really impressed with how much thought you’re putting into your business. Great job!

      What do you enjoy doing most? Where does your passion lie? What types of clients do you generally do work for? Remember, your niche doesn’t have to be print design or web design. It can be a niche that encompasses BOTH types of design – such as professional design, design for music, restaurant design, etc.

      Case in point: my niche is information presentation. I’m really great at (and really enjoy) making otherwise “boring” stats, data, etc (any information really) interesting and engaging to your audience. This doesn’t pigeon-hole me into print design or web design…it allows me to do both!

      It sounds like your niche needs to be able to encompass both as well. Your niche gives you a target to aim at instead of shooting blindly into the marketing world. If you find that you’re struggling to fit everything you want to do on your target, perhaps you need to redefine that target. :)

      Thanks for sharing, Cren. Does this help?

  7. I’ve decided to choose websites for medical and beauty clinics. First step was creating couple websites for local clinics, then one big service for medical tourism, then blog about clinic’s websites and there’s also book on the way ;) I hope this will lift me up as an expert in my niche ;]

    • Matt,

      It sounds like you’re well on your way to becoming an expert. Knowing which plugins are most useful and what the industry standard is goes a long way toward creating beautiful, functional sites at a fair price.

      Well done!

  8. Thanks for the great post April. It really encouraged me to focus on design for small business and cater my website and overall online presence to that niche market.

  9. My niche has been combining the polar opposite ends of the marketing spectrum, digital and print. I found very few companies that could deal with both, so I have stepped in and am having some luck with it. For example, a recent client introduced a new product line and I was able to create not only the brochure and 17 distinct rack cards, but the social media campaign to promote the products as well.

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  1. […] Why you need a freelance niche today! – Graphic Design BlenderBy April GreerFreelance design blog for designers who want to start freelancing, run their own business, and become a successful designer.Graphic Design Blender […]

  2. […] specific client you’re looking to work with, but a specific type of work you’re looking to do. Find your niche – research those that would be in need of your services and again introduce […]

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