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The “Going Broad” vs “Niche Yourself” Paradox

I’ve never read this anywhere, but I think there’s a cognitive bias for “going broad.”

I’m talking about when you’ve got a product you’re launching and you think to yourself:

“Man, everybody would want this!”

I think it’s our human nature to think this way.

Of course, the inverse of this is to tightly niche yourself, to focus on one small market.

It’s paradoxical, but the majority of the time, when you niche yourself online, you’ll do multiple times better.

Why? Because your message can be more targeted to your market.

Let me give you a fascinating example.

A few years ago, I wrote the copy and helped build out a funnel for Ian Hart.

Ian is a fitness genius and nutritionist extraordinaire.

But his real claim to fame is that he’s a real life Back Pain Coach.

Ian has helped thousands overcome crippling back pain without drugs or surgery using just 6 simple what he calls “movements.”

Sounds like magic and it is. He’s got hundreds, maybe thousands of verifiable success stories.

When we soft launched his funnel on Facebook, we targeted an audience consisting of pretty much everybody who had raised their hand about back pain.

As you can imagine, that’s a huge audience.

Unfortunately, after weeks of trying, we only broke even and at times, lost a little money on the ad spend.

That made us scratch our head.

Then we decided to focus on specific professions. People who sit on their butt a lot.

Again, we just broke even.

Then we focused on the trades. Carpenters. Plumbers. Masons.

We STILL came up short.

Now at this point, candidly, I’m getting rather mad at myself.

Is our presell not strong enough? Is the audience not targeted enough?

God forbid, did I write a dud?

I mean we niched ourselves down to specific trades and even sports and exercise modalities prone to back injury, like golf.

These are great examples of “niching” yourself. Unfortunately, none of the audiences responded well to our offer.

It was just plain weird that a market with such a huge need, would turn up their noses at our offer.

So next, we decided to try niching down to the actual back pain diagnosis.

Our presell landers were articles dedicated to specific back pain symptoms.

For instance, sciatica. Lots of people with sciatica out there.

And what do you know?

We hit major paydirt.

Here’s what we deduced:

People rarely say to themselves they have “back pain”.

Instead, they often say things like “my sciatica is acting up again.”

So we niched down and went after all types of back pain.

It was pretty amazing to watch it all unfold.

Of course, the big takeaway is to niche yourself.

But the other just as important takeaway is to niche yourself by how the market PERCEIVES itself.

In this case, the back pain market sorts itself by how doctors describe/diagnose the problem.

The last, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is…

Don’t give up.

Nil Obstat (“Let nothing stand in your way”),


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