Finding your animation niche is not an easy task. If you’re just starting out your animation career or looking to get as many animation clients as you possibly can, finding your niche can be even more difficult.
However, carving out a place for yourself in the industry is the best way to not only make a good living, but to get your unique voice out into the world. If you haven’t found your animation niche yet, don’t worry. It takes some people years to find theirs.
In this article, we explain what a niche is and the seven questions you can ask yourself to start finding your animation niche.
What Is a Niche?
A niche, in the career sense, is a place or activity for which a person is best fitted. It’s where someone feels they truly belong and excel.
If you’re working within your niche, you’re doing a job that you are good at and enjoy doing for your clients. This job will be well-aligned with your skills, knowledge, lifestyle, and personality. Having a niche will help you stay in a career that keeps you motivated and full of energy and ideas.
As an animator, finding your animation niche will bring in more clients from a specific industry and help you develop your animation skills in the animation video styles you make best.
Below are some questions to ask yourself to help you find your animation niche:
1) What Kinds of Videos Am I Good at Making?
If you don’t know what kind of animated videos you’re great at making, you won’t be able to find your niche. This is why it’s a good idea to make videos for different kinds of industries for a few years so that you can see where you truly shine and what you enjoy.
By working for companies that have different business lines and animation styles, you’ll discover what you animate best. For example, some animators are good at presenting numerical data while others are great at character animation.
Look back at the videos you created and evaluate your animation strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of your top videos and take note of what kinds of business the videos you created are from as well as the animation styles you used.
You can also seek opinions from your colleagues, mentors, and even existing clients about what videos they think you’re good at making.
2) What Kinds of Videos Am I Interested In and Passionate About?
The animation niche that you will choose should be related to something you’re passionate about. This will be the thing that you will keep making videos about for years or even your whole animating career, so think carefully!
3) Is There an Animation Niche That Fits In With My Personal Lifestyle?
Your lifestyle can become one of the things that you can consider when choosing your animation niche. Your hobbies and interests reflect who you are as a person.
If you are already interested in a specific industry, you will probably have fun making videos for companies within that industry. You are also more likely to have connections in that industry, which will help you more easily become known as a design expert industry.
For example, if you are into singing and making music, then you can make animated videos for rappers, singers, events, and businesses within the music industry.
Aside from your hobbies, your background or environment while growing up can help you choose your animation niche. If you live in a busy city, you probably see many buildings and modern products and services. Use your familiarity with city life into your animation niche by making animated videos for buildings, cars, etc.
4) What Business Industries Do I Have the Most and Least Competition In?
To really get ahead, you’ll need to learn about your competitive landscape. A competitive landscape is a method businesses use to study their competitors’ mission, vision, values, target market, weaknesses, and strengths. This is something you can apply in your freelance animation career.
Studying your competitive landscape will help you understand which businesses are in the most and least demand for animators.
If many are already making videos for companies in the food and beverage industry, even if you think you create good videos of food and beverages, it might be hard for you to gain animation clients from that industry because of high competition.
Take note that there might be times when you will find niches with low competition. However, this doesn’t automatically equate to a lot of clients and a steady source of income for you. If companies in a specific industry don’t see the need to have videos for the businesses, they won’t find much need for your services, either.
Competitive landscapes are about finding the sweet spot. The perfect niche has many companies looking for animators to create videos for them but not too much competition but with
5) What Kinds of Businesses Use Videos In Their Sales and Marketing Strategy?
Aside from studying your competitors, you should also research the market. Read books and articles, observe online and offline advertisements you encounter, and ask yourself these questions:
- What kinds of companies need video marketing these days?
- Are they small-sized, medium-sized, or big-sized companies?
- What products or services do they offer? Do they offer clothing, beauty products, cars, etc.?
- What kinds of animated videos do they have? Do they use 2D animation, 3D animation, whiteboard animation, motion graphics, etc?
- How do they use their videos? Do they put them on their websites, social media, YouTube ads, Google ads, etc?
6) Who Will My Target Audience Be?
Once you have made an evaluation of your strengths and did a thorough research about the market, it’s time for you to identify your target audience.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will my target audience be professional individuals, agencies, studios, businesses, etc?
- How can I reach my target audience? Will it be online, in-person, etc.?
- What problems or concerns does my target animation audience have that I can help them solve?
While it may be tempting to market to everyone, all the time, that’s simply not how you will find success as an animator. Not to mention, that’s a ton of pressure and work for you! Finding the perfect target audience will make your life, and career, much easier and more profitable.
7) Will Staying In This Animation Niche Be Efficient?
After seeking and working for animation clients in your chosen niche, you have to evaluate once again. Observe and test if your niche is helping you reach your goals and bring in animation clients.
You should also do some research and check if animators working within your niche are having success in their animation careers.
If you’ve worked within your chosen niche for several months, but you don’t seem to be getting a good number of clients and projects, then it might be best for you to try looking for another animation niche.
It’s not that often that animators will immediately land the perfect animation niche after just one attempt of evaluation and research.
You may have to make several attempts to find the animation niche that will help you become a well-known and skilled animator.
What Do I Do After Finding My Animation Niche?
If you successfully found your niche and are getting a good amount of animation projects, congratulations!
After you’re settled into your niche, start developing your personal brand as an animator. Revamp your website, portfolio, and showreel that will best show your strength as an animator within your chosen niche.
Design business cards and upload social media posts around your chosen niche. Continue growing in your niche by seeking helpful advice from an animation mentor and attending conferences and webinars.
Finding your animation niche isn’t easy and is a trial-and-error process. There are almost endless niches to choose from, and not all of them will be for you -- and that’s okay! If you put in the work, are honest with yourself, and persist, you will find exactly where you need to be in the world of animation.
To start your niche-finding journey, simply ask yourself questions we mentioned in this article and take the necessary steps to find your own niche.
Your animation niche will be clearer to you once you have a better understanding of your strengths, passion, competition, market, and target audience.
Working in the right niche gives you more animation clients who appreciate your animation style, allows you to work on animation projects that you enjoy doing, and helps develop the animation styles that you are already good at.