When companies produce products and services that appeal to a certain subset of the market, they are targeting a niche audience. As every good marketer will tell you, promoting something among a certain segment of customers requires a particular strategy.
Why target a niche audience in the first place? If you are a small business starting out with limited resources, then a niche can help you to gain a toehold in the marketplace. Starting small means that there is less chance of your business being swallowed by more established and better-resourced competitors before you have had a chance to establish yourself.
Essential niche marketing tactics include:
Know your market: You might be targeting a small segment of the marketplace, but you cannot afford to be lazy in researching who is in your target market. Knowing the basic attributes of your customer – age, gender, income bracket, and so on – is insufficient. You need to drill down further and figure out exactly who your customer is.
Solve a problem: The appeal of every product or service is that it proposes to solve a problem that the customer has. The appeal of a niche product is that it proposes to solve a problem that nothing else on the market can. A niche market by definition is smaller and more competitive than other markets, so your unique selling proposition needs to be backed by a promise of excellence and an emphasis on the customer first.
Listen carefully: Putting the customer first means really listening to what it is that they have to say. As such, communication channels need to run both ways. Put in place mechanisms for customer feedback, and if a customer has a query or problem, respond as quickly as you can.
When it comes to reaching customers, essential niche marketing methods include:
Social media: As consumers of all types have gravitated online, social media has become the place to reach potential customers. There are very few niches that cannot be reached using a particular social media network or a combination of them. If it is to be specific, a social media marketing strategy needs to incorporate pay-per-click, whereby you essentially buy visits to your site. A social media campaign also needs to be tailored to mobile, where most audiences increasingly are when they go online. Knowing your audience is critical online and on social media because potential customers will respond to and will search with particular keywords.
Word of mouth: Some audiences are averse to particularly overt marketing techniques but are open to being persuaded by word of mouth. The emphasis needs to be on subtle and low-key messaging. Word-of-mouth marketing has to be actively encouraged by the promoter. It is not something that is merely left to chance.
Influencer marketing: Sometimes, a niche market is hard to reach, but they may be open to a positive message from an influencer. This is someone that potential customers trust to deliver a credible and sincere message pointing them in the direction of a product and service that will benefit them.
Content marketing: Content can be tailored to suit particular audiences, which makes it an essential tool in niche marketing. To be relevant, content needs to be updated continuously. User-generated content, particularly by way of social media platforms, is becoming an increasingly important selling tool.
The digital marketing message needs to be concise and it needs to be clear because in the crowded online and social media marketplace, the impact of a sales pitch needs to be immediate. An example of a company that has enjoyed success in reaching a different audience online is New Easy, which sells under the banner “New things that make life easy.” Using this sales pitch, New Easy is able to market a whole range of household items online under a single, powerful message that appeals to those customers looking for an easy solution to a household task. The simplicity of such a message is critical in an online environment in which a niche business might have only seconds to capture the attention of a potential customer before they click elsewhere.
If marketing is the communicating and delivery of offerings of potential value, then by definition it involves a relationship between the provider and customer – and as we all know, relationships evolve and change. A marketing strategy is something that is not fixed, and you need to be constantly evolving your message if you are going to stay ahead of the competition in a focused, intensely competitive marketplace.