When a business engages in niche marketing, they are making a strategic decision to target their product or service to help a specific consumer type, whether that be a certain demographic, a price point, a unique need, the quality of the product, or some other differentiator. It allows the business to laser focus marketing efforts and position the business as the go-to brand for that product or service in their market.
Small business owners often start out casting a wide net of products and services to generate immediate income, gain experience, and see what and who will be the best fit for their business. Over time, businesses start to move away from these mass marketing techniques as they develop their value proposition and learn more about how they can focus on their customers desires and needs.
In order to effectively niche marke,t you first need to hone in on two things:
The value you provide.
Your customer avatar (also known as a buyer persona, target audience or marketing persona).
It's imperative you understand the value your business brings to the market. This is greater than the products you sell or services you provide, it's about the solutions you provide to your customers.
The focus of your marketing is to explain to prospects how your business gets them from Point A (i.e. overwhelmed, confused and out of shape) to Point B (i.e. happy, focused and more active). Tell how your product or service has changed your customer and what it allowed him/her to experience.
Before you can effectively market to a prospect who needs your product or service, you need to be able to clearly define their characteristics so you know who to attract and from where. You're about to create a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Don't worry, you can have multiple avatars, but you will need to make your customer avatar more specific than you may initially feel comfortable doing. Deep breath, grab a piece of paper and let's get started.
For each customer avatar, write out:
Demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, religion, income, profession, education, location, children, pets, marital status and political preference.
Goals and Values: what is s/he trying to achieve, what are his/her values, lifestyle, dreams and goals.
Challenges: how are they feeling without your products or service, what challenges are they facing, what is holding them back from overcoming these challenges.
Where is S/He? Does your customer avatar read magazines, books or blogs? Does s/he get their news online or on TV? Who does s/he follow? Does s/he use social media and if so, what platforms?
What are his/her objections? What reasons would your avatar give for not buying your products or services?
Create Your Niche
There are many ways your can create your business niche. You can be the leader in your area on:
Price - top of the line, or the cheapest
Quality - one of a kind, handcrafted, most durable
Geographical - certain cities, in home, mobile businesses
Industry - serve a particular industry
Demographic - age, gender, marital status, home ownership status
Psychological traits - eco-friendly, vegan, pet owners, gamers
Using your value and customer avatar, you can identify, define and focus your marketing efforts on the niche your business serves best.
Photography By Clare started her business photographing a little of everything: families, business owners, weddings, newborns, babies, maternity clients, commercial products and events. After a few years, she realizes the majority of her business is coming from photographing weddings, and most of those weddings take place on the beach.
Clare decides to narrow down her services to primarily beach weddings and outsources the services she doesn't derive a lot of business from. The first thing Clare does is ask her past beach wedding clients why they chose her as their wedding photographer and she discovers many photographers did not cover beach weddings and the ones that did took 6 weeks to deliver their images. From experience, Clare knows that photographing on the beach has a lot of challenges (wind, water, bright light to name a few) and understands that most photographers need extra time to edit their images or would feel uncomfortable about shooting a wedding in these unpredictable conditions. Because she has spent time figuring out solutions to these problems, Clare feels confident in her ability to photograph beach weddings and deliver the images to her clients much sooner than 6 weeks.
Clare has also researched there is a high demand for beach weddings in her city, there is a large number of destination weddings every year and there are many venues on the beach that advertise weddings.
Clare begins to outline her value, defines her target client and begins focusing her marketing on beach weddings. Her advertising specifies beach and destination weddings in her city which improves her number of inquiries and because she has a complete value proposition, she increased her chances of converting those leads into customers. She also focuses on building relationships with the venues and local wedding planners.
Having niche marketing will not preclude Clare from photographing weddings that are not held on the beach (or other types of photography for that matter), but because her focus and promotion is on beach weddings, she will gain more of what she wants and now has all the beach weddings she can handle!
How can you niche your business and where can it take you?