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Getting Apps Done

To Niche or To Niche

October 10, 2019

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Another episode of our marketing 101 for devs! Today, Joshua screws up and forgets to hit record. Then talks about niching down!

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  • 00:00 Joshua

    Hey folks, welcome to Getting Apps Done, a mostly non-technical podcast about building software. I am Joshua, and today I have a confession to make. Kel and I recorded a really great episode, or at least I think it was really great about niching or niching down. And we discovered that actually either way is absolutely correct to say so before anybody worries too much about how you say it. As it turns out, Kel and I both say it completely different ways because we were raised in very different parts of the country, but both are absolutely correct.

  • 00:39 Joshua

    Now, unfortunately, while we recorded this really great episode, what really happened was I didn't hit the record button. Kel did. I didn't. So I have to apologize and I'm fully admitting to really bombing on this one. We've talked about failure in the past. I've talked about it a few times. Everybody fails, it happens. Sorry folks.

  • 01:00 Joshua

    So today I am madly trying to catch up and rerecord the episode. Unfortunately without Kel this time! Hopefully I will do it justice.

  • 01:10 Joshua

    Now, you may or may not have heard of the concept of niching down, but, effectively, what it means is to select one group of ideal customers and to keep that group pretty small. And this is a scary concept. When I was first introduced to the concept, I immediately didn't like it. I dismissed it entirely because I didn't want to dismiss a whole bunch of potential customers.

  • 01:34 Joshua

    As a software developer, obviously I can build software for a lot of different customers. I'm probably not going to be writing missile guidance systems, but almost anything else I could write. I could write accounting software, I could write software for dentists, I could write software for hairdressers, I can write software for gardeners or just about anybody.

  • 01:51 Joshua

    But the problem with that is, and I didn't realize it early on, and I've learned since when you pitch to a general audience, you're pitching to a very big group of people. And that sounds great at first ,until you realize actually you were kind of a small fish in a really, really big ocean. There's a lot of companies out there and unless you happen to be a big brand name, it's very hard to communicate with that audience. Definitely not effectively.

  • 02:15 Joshua

    So what ends up happening is while you are pitching to a lot more people, you are actually being heard by a lot fewer. Now what niching down does is you kind of artificially limit yourself to a much smaller group. So we will say that you decide that you are only going to work with accountants or dentists. And by doing so you unlock a couple of magical things....

  • 02:37 Joshua

    Now in the last episode I was saying that I think marketing really is about building healthy, reciprocal relationships and there are a couple of really important things about relationships and one of the first ones is that you know how to understand each other. Every industry has its own lingo. There are various terms and phrases and acronyms and all sorts of things that are used in every industry. Software development is absolutely jam packed with them. We have so many acronyms and different names for things and vague terms that we usually sometimes almost understand, but people outside of our industry have no clue what we're talking about and it's just gibberish to them and every industry has the same, if you're talking to a solicitor or a lawyer, they will have their own set of vocabulary. They know what they're talking about, but you probably don't.

  • 03:22 Joshua

    In fact, we even have a name for that one. Then we call it legalese because nobody else can understand it. It's completely different language and that's a really important thing because nobody else understanding it is key in your ability to stand out.

  • 03:34 Joshua

    So when you decide that you are going to talk to accountants and you start to understand their language, you start to talk to them and you know what they say and you know how to describe your value to them in their own terms. That gives you a lot of authority and that's really important. Particularly when you are trying to build this sort of relationship with them.

  • 03:52 Joshua

    It's, it's very important to be able to talk. That's a basic requirement of being social in general is, but to be able to communicate with other people. So that's a huge benefit that you get by focusing on one group. Beause if you're going generalist, again, you will use maybe general language but it's not going to be specific to any of them. It may not resonate as well. It might not fit exactly what they're looking for as well.

  • 04:14 Joshua

    Another key thing about relationships is just having something to talk about and again, if you're going generalist, there's not a lot that everybody's actually that interested in. You might be able to hit a couple things, but if you do, chances are you're niching down anyway. If you're talking about... I quite often talking about family because family is important to me, but by doing that, I'm actually kind of focusing on a specific group of people, people who are parents, who are grandparents, who have similar views and interests as I do..

  • 04:43 Joshua

    And that's probably an important side note here. A niche does not necessarily have to be a particular industry. It doesn't necessarily have to be dentists or doctors or accountants. It could be parents across multiple industries. It is all about focusing on a particular group of people. It's about being able to talk to them, to communicate with them and relate to them in some way.

  • 05:03 Joshua

    And that starts to help you see some of these things that we're actually looking for. Because if you know a lot about this group of people, you know where to go find them at. Dentist isn't going to be at a technical conference, most likely they might be, there might be technical dentists, I don't know. Uh, but chances are you're going to find them at orthodontics sorts of conferences. I don't know anything about dentistry, so I really can't say one way or the other where they're going to be, and that is again the key.

  • 05:29 Joshua

    I don't know anything about dentistry. So if you do, you are a much better candidate to talk to dentists than I am. You are going to be much more able to go pitch your concepts to them. And this applies whether you are trying to sell a product that you built while you're trying to get gigs as a freelancer or if you're trying to find a full time job. I don't know many dentists office that need a full time developer, but the concept is the same.

  • 05:52 Joshua

    Kel and I started in the industrial area. We were very able to get jobs with other industrial groups because we already knew how to deal with things on the shop floor. How, what was important about these things and how ISO 9,000 and 10,000 and 364,283,632 worked. Uh, that gave us the ability to speak that language. We knew what they were talking about when they said what they needed.

  • 06:20 Joshua

    And obviously we have shifted over time and that is a key thing here. And that was another thing that I was terrified about when somebody first told me to niche down into select one group of people. I thought, you know, if I select doctors, then I'm stuck talking to doctors for the rest of my life. Doctors are great people. I'm very happy that it around, but I don't know that I want to talk to them for the rest of my life and only sell to doctors. But the key is to focus on them first. So you have somebody to target somebody very specific to target. You are not excluding accountants or anybody else. In fact, if an accountant shows up at your door because the doctor referred them to you, you can absolutely pick that up, there's nothing wrong with that, but even more importantly, once you have become the big fish in a small pond with doctors and you are the go to person for doctors who need software development done, you can branch out and you can start to then do exactly the same thing again with accountants and become the go to person for accountants.

  • 07:13 Joshua

    There's nothing saying you can't have multiple niches, but the key is when you're doing a marketing campaign, you focus on one group of people because it is much, much more effective to be that big fish in a small pond. People will understand what you're talking about. They will respond very well to it and you will know how to get that message to them because you know so much about them and that's really important. It's again, it's all about building relationships and being able to communicate and that's really what I think marketing is. It's really about this ability to get in touch with people and let them know how you can be valuable to them because that's what they're looking for. They want you to solve their problems and my doing all these things, by niching down, by understanding them and their problems, you are much more valuable to them and explaining that value is much easier.

  • 07:58 Joshua

    So hopefully I have done almost as well as, and I did. I really doubt it. I think we probably had a much, much better conversation, but it's going to have to do for now. I do apologize once again. As I have said before, sometimes people screw up. It happens.

  • 08:13 Joshua

    I will put some transcripts up at Please be sure to check out my website at and Kel's website at

  • 08:20 Joshua

    If you have some experience with marketing or you want some advice on how to pick a niche or anything else about harkening and niching and selecting industries and how to target them and anything else, we would love to have a chat with you. I can't say we're experts, but we're getting better at it. You can join us at and we would really love to chat with you about that and share with our community.

  • 08:46 Joshua

    We post every Thursday, so we will be back next week with some more marketing advice. Hopefully... maybe I'll actually manage to hit record this time. I'm now checking just to make sure that I actually have hit record at this time because I'm nervous now. Anyway, until next time, thanks for listening.