January 3, 2019
For many SMEs, appealing to the largest possible audience makes sense: it reduces fear of missing out on potential clients and customers. But marketing with broad brushstrokes isn’t always the best approach, and can result in a diluted, inefficient marketing strategy.
Hone your marketing
It’s pretty obvious when a business is spreading itself too thin. We’ve all seen it a million times: bland advertisements, boring content and brand messaging that doesn’t say much of anything. Marketing campaigns with broad appeal are seen by more people, but unfortunately, there isn’t much to see.
Hone your marketing to a fine point by delivering better solutions to specific customer wants and needs. This way, you become the market leader in a specialized offering that has a small amount of competition surrounding it.
Enter niche marketing
Niche marketing is a way to attract engaged and qualified customers. It’s also effective in building industry engagement and trust in B2B operations. It comes down to one main thing: targeting a market segment that’s unique. This doesn’t necessarily mean a small market segment — it’s simply a segment that hasn’t been addressed by other businesses.
Some examples of niche markets could be:
- In health: hospitals looking for large-scale-care specific products like privacy curtains, hospital-grade cleaning products, or medical tools
- In tech: consumers/businesses looking for speciality products like mechanical keyboards, computer parts, or niche software solutions
- In hospitality: commercial-grade kitchen appliances, OSHA-approved chef wear, or high-quality tools such as knives and other utensils
These segments aren’t small, but they are highly specialized. Targeting one gives SMEs a legitimate opportunity to compete against larger enterprises that already have a strong grasp on the mainstream market.
Own your segment
Businesses that hone in on unique, niche markets enjoy stronger relationships with their customers. This is because often, these businesses are in a market segment that has few options available to prospective buyers.
This isn’t to say it’s easy for SMEs in niche markets. Businesses that go down this path need to produce good products that fit market needs, and furthermore communicate with leads and customers who are highly educated in their given specialty.
With an audience that’s more perceptive than usual, SMEs in niche markets need to:
- Produce content that’s accurate, relevant and informed. Anything else will result in crucifixion-by-facts
- Put emphasis on lead nurturing. Nurturing is extra-effective in niche markets where leads are already immersed in the field: try it out with this template
- Be honest with pricing. Businesses who price-gouge their customers in niche markets aren’t just dishonest — they open themselves up to be undercut by competitors
- Score every lead. This is highly-recommended in niche markets where a purchasing decisions are highly-considered. Automatically score your leads and pass them onto your sales team with this marketing template.
Ideas to find your niche market
It can be difficult to come up with original ideas for unique customer segments. This list of ideas should help you brainstorm and position your product in a niche market. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should help springboard your thinking.
When looking for a niche market, consider:
- Behavior: customer behaviors that are not being addressed. E.g. high-data phone plans for customers who are heavy mobile users
- Benefits: benefits that are in demand, but not currently available. E.g. specific insurance options on a credit card
- Demographics: products aimed towards specific demographics. E.g. sun hats designed specifically for tradesmen over 30
- Enthusiasts: a product that appeals to passionate customers. E.g. lightweight, durable shoes for hiking enthusiasts
- Features: features that most people don’t need, but are very important to a small group. E.g. a browser extension that enables developer friendly tools and keyboard shortcuts
- Lifestyle: positioning of a product to fit a specific lifestyle need. E.g. breathable, quick-drying “active” wear for sportspeople/athletes
- Occasions: basing a product or service around a specific occasion or holiday. E.g a cake shop that specializes in bespoke requests for birthdays, weddings or any other special day
- Price sensitivity: using price point is a distinguishing factor. E.g. an online education service that provides access to affordable tutorials for students that can’t afford university
- Risk tolerance: positioning a product through consideration of the risk a customer would be willing to take. E.g. A scenic sleigh ride for customers at a ski resort that don’t enjoy the danger of skiing
Seedsheet: a cleverly positioned product
Seedsheet are a growing business who deliver ready-to-go gardening kits to their customers’ doorsteps. Their unique seed pods can be planted and grown by anyone. They’re an interesting example of how a business can thrive by fitting specific customer needs.
While Seedsheet aren’t reinventing the wheel with the concept of growing food at home, they are__ filling a niche market. And this isn’t so much in the product itself (anyone can buy seeds), it’s in the experience.**
The startup’s customers order garden kits online, which come delivered as a complete set. Seedsheet then stay in contact with their customers with interactive text messages, ensuring the at-home gardening experience is complete.
Customers are nurtured the whole way: from planting the unique seed pods to trimming and harvesting their herbs and vegetables. By giving people access to easily-grown herbs and plants, Seedsheet are targeting a niche, yet large market of customers who wish to grow their own herbs and vegetables at home. This is made possible by:
- Giving customers control of their own food
- Lowering the barrier to entry for home gardening
- Reducing the cost of eating fresh food regularly
- Teaching customers about gardening basics
To date, the startup has sold over $1.5 million in products and achieved a compound annual growth rate of 250%. They’re set to set to sell 200,000 gardening kits in 2019. In short, Seedsheet have found their specialty niche, and they’re owning it.
Part of this success involves:
- Personalizing communications with their customers
- Segmenting their customers using contact lists
- Communicating with smart SMS marketing that gives customers an interactive, step-by-step tutorial for growing their in-home garden
- Using Autopilot to focus on the customer journey