Niche marketing is a very common term these days, but very few people know how to properly wield its power. While mass marketing has disappeared for all but the largest retail giants, the real power of niche marketing is in more than just making topical sales.
It is critical to understand how to very narrowly define your base to leverage marketing into sales. The more specific your base the more likely you are to have customers find you. The trick is not to go so narrow that you can’t generate relevant and consistent content to drive revenue or so broad that you’re no longer a niche.
What is a niche market?
A niche market is a targeted and very specific marketing focus towards a group of specific people. It takes a broad niche, like fitness or health and beauty, and narrows it down until a very small group of people is looking at a very small group of competitors when making purchasing decisions.
How it works
Niche marketing is a pretty simple concept. Let’s say that you sell toys. Your large market is kids. Now, let’s narrow this down and say that your toy is rated for certain ages. This narrows your market segment from all kids to kids within that age group. We’ll say ages 8-10.
Now, let’s take a look at the type of toy you have. Perhaps you have a board game. Now, we’ve narrowed down your group from all kids to kids ages 8-10 that like board games. Let’s say that the board game teaches programming concepts or mathematics. Suddenly, instead of marketing your toy to all parents everywhere, you’re being found by parents searching for STEM board games. That is a much, much smaller segment of competitors to deal with.
Niche marketing is meant to help you connect with your target easier. If you can find a very narrow group of people to focus on that are underrepresented in the larger market and looking for exactly what you sell, you can drastically increase the likelihood that you will find each other in searches.
Your advertising budget will have much deeper penetration than it otherwise would and shoppers that are super frustrated at not being able to find what they want will love that you pop right up when they hunt for their needs. It’s a win-win!
What are niche groups?
Niche markets can be any group of like-minded consumers, really. There’s no real answer to this as long as your target is specific.
Potential Niche Categories
- Location: Location based niche markets are exploding lately. If you’re in a specific area, then consider creating local landing pages targeted to small towns rather than just general larger metropolitan area site.
- Career: Career segments can easily be narrowed into niche markets. For professional chefs, there are some broad markets – like knives and tools – and some niche markets. Consider marketing to specific types of chefs; there are so many niche cuisine areas that could all benefit from different specialized tools. This example can be carried over to any profession. Remember, even if your product can be used for broader categories, narrowing down your marketing focus makes it easier for you to break into specific segments. Just market to several niches.
- Hobbies and Lifestyles: There are tons of niche markets to be found. In health and beauty, you can go into contouring, market to specific skin tones and ethnicities, focus on a specific type of makeup – like eyes or lips – and more. Diets are a huge niche market; the vegan lifestyle started as a very small niche market and has exploded into mainstream culture. Specific sporting teams also make great niches.
- Special Occasions: Holidays, events, and special occasions make great niches. For example, if you’re a great DJ then try niche marketing. Don’t just paper the town with DJ flyers. Let’s say you know a lot about different cultures. Market yourself to local wedding planners and venues as the best Jewish Wedding and Bar Mitzvah DJ in town! There aren’t as many of those types of weddings, but you’re also going to be the only one on that short list for Jewish families!
What’s your niche?
It can feel overwhelming to find your niche, but there is a process that makes it easier. Start thinking about what you do best, and look for smaller target segments to market your product to.
Write It Out
Have some paper handy for this process and any time multiple niche options pop into your head give each one its own piece of paper. Doing this will help you find different niches to spend your time focusing on and marketing to.
Think about what you’re good at. This can be career centric or in your hobby and life. For some people, this may be crafting, singing, comedy, board games, vegan dietary needs, cooking, cocktails, Disney…
Professional traits also work well. Are you good at organization, writing, languages, cooking, administration, finance, etc? These are all potential niches that you have an authoritative voice in and can help with.
Psychological and interpersonal skills also work. Having fortitude and patience are traits tons of people want more of and would subscribe to a blog to learn more about, and you can market meditative tools and workbooks to help with that. Networking is a massive skill, especially in online marketing.
Once you’ve written down some of your best qualities, pick your 3 to 5 best strengths and put a star near them. Find your favorite qualities and put a checkmark. Any skills that have both a star and a check mark will be the building blocks of a great niche for you.
Passions are the things that drive your heart and speak to your soul. What makes you smile? What topic can you go on and on about for hours on end if someone will let you? What excites you and lights your fire?
These may be social justice. Things like human trafficking, veterans’ affairs, the homeless crisis, and more. Perhaps in today’s world they’re political. Maybe you just like helping people. You love a specific brand, like Marvel or Disney or Harry Potter.
Compare your strengths with these passions and find out if any of them match up. For example, if you’ve got a talent for writing and a passion for Disney, you could start a Disney blog.
Narrow your Focus
The ext step is finding a need. How can your talent and passion fit into what is needed in the world? For example, if your passion is people and your skill is networking and finance, then maybe starting a non-profit in an underserved niche would be a great option for you. Hunt for the niche!
What can you sell?
Now, you’ve got a problem and a solution. The last piece of the puzzle is finding the profit. Who will buy the solution you’re selling? Those people are your niche.
If the goal of your niche market is to start a profitable business, then you do need to consider what you can sell. Talent for singing or acting mixed with an opening in the local theatre may be a great hobby for you but it isn’t going to be a living. Consider instead the option of starting a local theater blog with your niche being people in your town who love live shows. Then, you can attend and review these shows and make a profit through affiliate ticket sales.
What’s your specialty?
Become an expert in a very narrow field. Remember the DJ example? In an area where there are a lot of wedding and party DJs, all of whom could easily handle specialized events, a single DJ can get 100% of the bookings for a specific group of people simply by marketing himself as an expert within that niche.
What if I know what I’m selling already?
If you already have a product, work backwards based on your skill set.
Let’s say that you have a board game to sell. Two people are both trying to sell this game in niche markets. The example will show how two people leveraged their unique individual strengths to sell to specific niches instead of competing with one another.
One of those people is a great entertainer who is skilled with video production. Another is a very talented technical writer. The first person can easily sell the game through game play videos, like TableTop. Their niche can be marketing to game groups who are looking for fun games to play with people. He can further specialize it by location, with different landing pages for tabletop gamers in Ithaca, Buffalo, and Rochester, NY.
The second user can’t do video production, but he can do very in depth game reviews. That person can create a niche market in the board game reviews niche market. He can further narrow his niche by making himself the expert at co-op game reviews, or resource management game reviews.
Finding your niche is the key to a great online marketing strategy. It sets you apart from your competition and makes it much easier for your customers to find you instead of the other way around.