Niche marketing is the practice of targeting a narrow audience with specific wants, needs and personalities. However, intuition frequently leads new marketers to take a broad, general approach; they want to cast the widest net possible, claiming to have expertise in an entire industry or speaking to all consumers, rather than one segment. But in today’s marketing climate, niche marketing reigns; it’s become a practical necessity for all new businesses.
So why is niche marketing increasingly important as a strategic element for new businesses? And what can you do to ensure your targeting is specific enough?
The Driving Factors
Let’s start by examining the factors that make niche marketing more valuable than a general or industry-wide approach:
- Sheer competition. For starters, there’s a ton of competition out there. Depending on your industry, there are likely thousands of businesses just like yours competing for space; targeting a narrower niche immediately alleviates you of some of that competition. Take SEO as an example here; there aa re millions of businesses competing for the top spot in search results for general terms like “marketing firm,” but far fewer going after specific phrases like “marketing firms for personal injury lawyers.”
- Visibility opportunities. The internet has opened up worlds of possibility for marketers; there are more visibility opportunities than ever before. This allows you to utilize highly targeted channels, appealing only to a specific demographic segment. These possibilities weren’t as plentiful or as accessible a few decades ago.
- Data availability. Marketers also have access to far more consumer data than ever before, thanks to the big data revolution. With more information on demographic trends, preferences, and habits, marketers can more effectively target a narrow segment of the population and craft more relevant messaging for them.
- Authenticity and relevance. Consumer trust for brands and major corporations is near an all-time low. People don’t trust advertising messages or PR from brands because they know there’s an ulterior motive in play; brands want to make money. But targeting a specific niche and speaking directly to them allows you to create content that comes across as more relevant, and therefore more sincere and authentic.
Bigger, more established companies don’t face as much pressure; they have more resources to draw on and more of a brand reputation to back their efforts, so they can afford to target a wider audience. But as a small business, these pressures should lead you to get more specific.
How to Reshape Your Niche Marketing Strategy
If you’re interested in taking a stronger position in niche marketing, these tips can help you become more successful:
- Study your competition. Part of your motivation for pursuing niche marketing is to target a segment that your competitors aren’t going after (or at least one they aren’t targeting properly). If you want to make the right selection, you need to study your competition carefully. Who are the big players in your industry targeting? What about some of the smaller players—what niches are they trying to develop?
- Narrow your focus. If you’re struggling to find the right audience, or the right subsection of expertise to develop, start with a general concept and narrow it down from there. Use brainstorming tactics, like charting related ideas in an interconnected web, and start dabbling in market research, so you know what you’re getting into.
- Get to know your audience. Once you’ve settled on a niche, spend as much time as you can getting to know your target audience. The success of your niche marketing strategy depends on your understanding of them, and your ability to communicate effectively to them. Rely on third-party sources of information as well as your own research to fuel the development of your content.
- Choose the right strategies. Almost any marketing strategy can be modified with niche targeting, but not all of them will be equally effective for your audience. In general, it’s better to choose one or two highly effective channels than to broadcast across dozens of potentially less effective ones; learn which channels your audience prefers, and prioritize them.
Targeting a niche is a broad strategic objective that affords you plenty of flexibility to accomplish your other marketing goals. It even allows for the gradual expansion of your targeting to a more general, further-reaching audience (once you’ve established yourself). If you want your marketing and advertising to be competitive, you need to get specific and focus on just one niche to start.