The riches are in the niches, as the saying goes, and there’s a lot of truth in that. For example, a conventional real estate agent may have a huge potential client base, but they also face a ton of competition. On the other hand, a flat fee MLS service may only appeal to a narrow demographic, but it can absolutely dominate that niche market, since there’s little competition.
Businesses catering to a niche audience have unique challenges and advantages that set them apart from businesses targeting a broader market. Niche audiences are more discerning, more fickle, and more sensitive to things like authenticity, small shifts in brand identity, and product quality. So how do you put together an effective market strategy to help you corner a niche market? Here are our 12 best tips.
Know Your Market
It may sound like stating the obvious, but you should learn as much about your market as possible. Analyze your niche market going back five to 10 years, paying particular attention to trends, which are the best natural mechanism for spreading product awareness. If you can get a grasp on trends and where they’re going, that will give you a leg up in terms of growth and scalability.
Equally as important as knowing your market is knowing who you are, as a brand. Defining your brand is always important, but it’s exponentially more important in a niche market. You’ll want to have a unified brand vision and strategy that encompasses everything from your messaging to your visual aesthetic. After all, you can’t sell your product to the market until you define what that product is.
Follow Your Intuition
That being said, don’t let trends completely determine your marketing strategy. As we will touch on later, authenticity is of paramount importance in a niche market, so you’ll want to rely on your instincts here. Don’t betray your authentic creative vision just for a passing buzz!
Follow the Data
There’s so much valuable consumer data available today, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t take full advantage. If there’s a downside to the data revolution, it’s that there’s almost too much consumer data out there now — to the point that you may have to consult with an expert just to contextualize and decipher it all.
Make sure you conduct copious market research, sales prospecting, and that you comb through all the relevant consumer data and trends to figure out how, exactly, you’re going to target your niche audience.
Don’t Overlook the Competition
Your competitors are, yes, the competition — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to teach you. Analyzing how your competitors engage the market can tell you a lot about what does — and could — work in terms of marketing strategy. Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel when you can glean valuable intelligence from your rivals!
Don’t Launch With a Product That’s Still in Beta
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” and that’s especially true when it comes to a niche market. In a comparatively smaller market, launching a buggy, unrefined product can permanently sour your image with your entire target audience. It can be tempting to rush to market when the clock is ticking and you’re running on small business loans, but this early refinement pays off down the line. Take the time to really drill down into what makes your product special, and make sure it’s polished and presented in as user-friendly a manner as possible — before you launch.
Always Be Fine-Tuning
Continually evaluate your marketing strategy and business plan. If your latest attempts aren’t landing properly, tweak them immediately. Always monitor your metrics, and don’t be afraid to make necessary changes, even if they’re small. Entire multimillion-dollar companies have been built on offering slightly lower-than-average real estate commissions.
Social Media and Influencers Are Key
One advantage of catering to a niche audience is that it’s small and easily definable. That means that the niche market’s influencers will have an outsized, well, influence in that market. A key early endorsement could make or break your business. A huge plank of your marketing strategy, then, is going to be determining who the major, authentic influencers are in that niche market, and partnering with them.
Quality Beats Quantity in a Niche Market
Resist the temptation to scale up as quickly as possible. In a niche market, consumers are extremely sensitive to quality, and any quality sacrifices you make in order to ramp up growth will be felt by your target market.
Focus on refining your product to relentlessly meet the needs and preferences of your target consumer, and when you do embark on a growth phase, never endanger your reputation with a dropoff in quality.
Know Your Market Intimately
A niche market is small, so it can be tough to figure out, at first, how exactly you want to differentiate yourself from the competition. The good news, however, is that your target market will tell you what they need. You just have to know how to listen.
Spend quality time in the niche market and its communities (online and in real life), and listen to what they want. Sometimes, the biggest innovations are built on the most basic ideas: For example, multibillion-dollar online brokerage Redfin was built on the very simple insight that people want to pay less in closing costs — something that anyone could have learned if they’d just listened to home buyers.
Don’t Lose Your Authenticity
Businesses that appeal to a broad, general audience can afford to have a more bland presence, but a niche brand has to be memorable, well-defined and, above all, authentic. Your brand’s authenticity might be the biggest single factor in its eventual success or failure. Instead of envisioning your brand’s interaction with your niche audience as a two-way exchange, think of your brand as a part of the culture that your niche audience identifies with. When you think of it that way, the importance of authenticity becomes clear.
Take Big Swings
Once you’ve done your market research, spent time in your niche communities, talked to your target market about what they want and need, and put together a rock-solid business plan and market strategy, it’s time to make big, bold moves. If you’ve put in the work, don’t be afraid to take big swings, and unleash your passion — you may turn a profit a lot faster than you projected.