The power of niche marketing

By targeting specific market niches, your small business will stand out in a crowded marketplace.

By Henry Brown

The majority of small business owners and solopreneurs have heard the wonders of niche marketing being shouted from the rooftops. But perhaps, due to the fear of limiting the size of your market you have opted to play it safe with more generalist positioning to ensure you don’t exclude key market segments. This article explores the power of niche marketing for small business and solopreneurs as an alternative to being a generalist provider.

What is a niche?

A niche is a focused subset of a particular market group. If you were to think about pet food, for example, we could chunk that down to cat food and dog food – but this is still a very broad market. If, however, we were to look at gourmet pet food this could be considered a niche market. Even more effective would be to take this one step further and look at organic gourmet pet food. If you’re just starting out and want some inspiration here’s a great article on how to find a profitable niche.

Why having a niche is important

In broader markets (e.g. pet food) you are up against competitors with massive marketing budgets and global brands. As a small business owner, one of the core challenges you face is that of people finding out about you.

Often, the broad markets are very crowded and well established. If we were to think of this from a marketing-spend perspective you want to get the greatest return on investment possible, and in spending money on digital marketing the cost per click for an ad relating to something broad like “dog food” is going to be much higher than something more niche such as “organic dog food” because the search term is less competitive.

It also means that the person clicking on your ad is a more relevant customer looking for your particular solution. Realistically, you don’t want thousands of people clicking on your adverts – you only want qualified prospects – and the more niche focused your marketing is, the better the conversion rate will be meaning the higher the return on your investment.

This is particularly relevant in terms of search engine optimization; as you can see from this SEO case study from Guest Post Tracker, it is entirely possible for a small business to be featured on the front page of Google with a little ingenuity and crafty marketing strategies… but what makes this even more possible is for you to have a specific cluster of niche keywords that you become known for by the search engines.

Why you won’t lose customers

It can feel counter-intuitive to limit your market, by focusing on one specific group, particularly if you’re offering something that has broad market appeal.

However, think of specialists within the medical profession. You have general doctors, then you have specialist who focus on a particular niche and charge much more for their time. In focusing on a particular niche (e.g. a certain type of cancer) they create massive pull toward their offering to the people who are specifically seeking out a solution to the problem they face.

In doing so, you position yourself as the go-to-expert and align so strongly with that particular audience they are magnetically attracted to your ‘specialist area’ of expertise. Remember, people have problems and they seek solutions – if you can position your service as offering a more relevant solution than a more broad spectrum competitor, they will choose you.

In marketing, relevancy is everything and one of the best ways to make yourself stand out as a relevant service provider is to use niche marketing to your advantage.

Tailor your marketing to every market segment

Even if you offer a broad service such as “personal training” it is wise to focus on a particular group of customers (e.g. new moms) and market to those specific needs.

Think of it this way, if you were a new mom, looking to shed the baby weight you had gained, what would you search into Google?

There’s a chance you might search for “personal trainer in X location” or it might be something more specific such as “personal trainer for new moms.”  In reality, the person isn’t searching for a personal trainer; she is searching for someone to help her lose the weight she gained during pregnancy.

She will scroll through the listings looking for someone that can help her with this goal – therefore, she may be more attracted to a listing for a female personal trainer or a postnatal specialist. At this point, it’s still reasonably broad, but if she were to find someone who is positioned to solve her particular problem (i.e. helping new mom’s lose baby fat) her interest will peak and she will likely pay a premium to access this specialist advice; furthermore, she is way more likely to recommend you to her other “new mom” friends because you are positioned as a specialist in this particular area.

If you were to market yourself as a generic personal trainer, you might as well leave leaflets on a train in terms of how broad your marketing will be; whereas as a niche personal trainer that helps, as an example, new mothers to lose baby fat you have a variety of relevant outlets to target such as baby clothes shops, nursery’s, doctor’s surgeries and so on.

Similarly, if you offer a broad professional service with several audiences (e.g. presentation training) it would be much more effective to package your offering differently to each niche as, for example, law firms have very different training requirements to universities or hospitals).  What you’re really looking to do is connect with your audience on their level and in a way that is benefit driven to their unique requirements.

In summary, niche marketing makes you more relevant to your target audience, which means people will start being drawn toward you as the go-to expert rather than you having to chase after people, clambering to demonstrate your value through generic marketing. The power of positioning yourself within a niche is just as effective for offline marketing as it is online, so give it a go, and see how much more effective your marketing becomes.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

 

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