The Internet has spoken:
Going niche is the only way to be successful.
To be clear, I don’t think that is true. There are lots of generalist web designers who make a great living. Still, the rallying cries to “go niche” should be ignored at your own peril.
Because unless you’re well connected in a locality or have a degree of influence with a large following already, standing out in a saturated industry like web design is an uphill battle only a few are willing to fight.
There’s one fear web designers have when it comes to going niche that I hear most often: What happens if that doesn’t work? Doesn’t it paint me into a corner?
The answer is: It could. But it doesn’t have to.
If you’re feeling like it’s time for a “switch of the niche,” give these four ideas a try:
1. STOP Everything and Just Create a New Landing Page
Sales funnels and landing pages have revolutionized the game for web entrepreneurs.
And yet, I see very few web designers learning how to utilize these tools in their own businesses.
If you want to switch the niche for your web design business, why not consider just opening up a new niche, first? In fact, I wouldn’t even touch your current home and information pages…
The very first thing I’d do is create a new landing page and start driving traffic to it.
Why? Because at this time, you may not even know whether or not this new niche is going to work out for you.
Do you really want to spend the time necessary to redo your entire website? Probably not.
Bonus tip: Make your website generalist then use landing pages and separate domains as your “Niching Mechanism.”
It’s a mistake to think you have to redo your entire website when you want to serve a new audience.
What if there are 3 or 4 different types of clients you’re passionate and proficient in serving, and that work is also profitable?!
You shouldn’t “pick one” just because some dude with nice hair on the Internet says to.
Create landing pages for each of those with a strong headline, a great video, some powerful sales copy, and an application form, and you’re off to the races!
2. Small Adjustments Often Beat Seismic Shifts
I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy, typically…
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in this game is that even small changes and adjustments to what you’re doing could unlock the floodgates of new business.
For example, are you going to try the landing page strategy I mentioned above? You should.
Let’s say you do.
What if it doesn’t work? Are you going to burn it down and rebuild the landing page entirely, in a different niche?
NO! You mustn’t. You don’t have enough information yet. It hasn’t failed enough times, yet.
Why not just change a headline and run that same amount of traffic through it again? Did you know that could radically alter your conversion rate?
Did you know that JUST changing the colors of a button could do the same thing as well?
Did you know that—seriously—switching from sharp to rounded corners could do the same thing?
It seems silly, but very small, minute details you might have never considered can dramatically affect how people take action with you.
Now, I’m not suggesting you test into oblivion. Try a few things, and if it doesn’t work, then reevaluate. But you could be 2-3 different words away from changing your life—it’s that close.
3. Beware of Money Pits: Passion vs. Paychecks
When reconsidering your niche, you might be tempted to double down on the thing you are passionate about.
By the way, I think this is completely fine. I am definitely in the corner of your being very passionate about the work you’re doing.
Let me caution you, though, to be objective.
Not all passion centers are profit centers.
And in business, you need to make a profit, or you’ll be out of business. It’s really that simple.
If the niche you’re passionate about can sustain profitability as well, SWEET! Go for it, head first. Don’t look back.
Does an honest assessment tell you that’s not feasible? Then be real, and keep looking.
BTW: Need help deciding which niche to go into? This podcast episode will walk you through a very practical process to make your decision.
4. Try Your Hand at Niche Thought Leadership
Finally, you should consider—whether in your current niche or the one you’re considering a switch to—becoming a thought leader.
And I don’t mean in the sense of, writing blog posts on your web design site that gets into the technical weeds of how businesses in your niche can be successful.
That’s not necessarily bad to have; it’s just not what I’m after, here.
I’m suggesting that you, independently of the work you do, become a thought leader in your space who just happens to work with a lot of people in your space!
Start an online blog, podcast, or YouTube channel solely dedicated to your niche. Interview others. Share lessons and experiences you’ve learned. Tie those back into the work you do as a web designer and/or marketer.
If people see knowledge, influence, and passion in you, as a person, they will be more interested to work with you once they find out how you can help.
You only need three things to make this work:
Profitable Niche. This will take some time, so don’t bother trying this in a niche you know is starving for money.
Unique Angle. Any profitable space usually has lots of thought leaders already. You’ll need to stand out. For example, if you help life coaches, you could start a blog or podcast called “Failure to Launch: Successful Life Coaches and Their Stories of Failure” – I haven’t looked it up, but maybe even that has already been done. The point: You need an original perspective/angle on your content.
Social Distribution. This needs to happen in public to make sense! Blogging? Start on a platform like Substack. Podcast? Start on a platform like Anchor. Video? Do YouTube. You need to be in a place where there are built-in discoverability and distribution tools.
By implementing these unconventional tips, you can either stay or switch to a niche and make it profitable for your business.
Don’t give up! Niching works, you just have to be smart about it.