Learn the benefits of a marketing strategy for niche audiences and how to do it.

Companies from Amazon to Whole Foods have used the same winning strategy to grow into major brands, according to Harvard Business Review. Each started by focusing on a niche, became an expert on its target market, used lessons learned to expand and then grew into new markets.

Sound simple? It’s not. Marketing to a niche audience with specific and specialized needs can be complicated. You have to:

  • identify the right strategy for your business;
  • understand the behaviours and preferences of your audience so you can connect with them where they are; and
  • provide tailored, personalized communication.

Fast fact: The internet has put modern buyers in control of the buying journey. According to AdScale, 97 per cent of consumers research products online. Building awareness and gaining attention is more challenging than ever for marketers. Focusing on a niche market is an important and effective way to stand out.

What is a niche market?

A niche market is a narrow subset of a bigger market. It has unique characteristics, identity, needs and wants that the marketer must identify. Niche does not mean small. It does mean providing a specialized product or service to meet the specific needs of a distinct market.

Marketing to a niche audience requires directing all efforts and tactics at this group. Getting it right will help establish your business as a leader.

The benefits of going niche

  • Deep knowledge of your customer. To effectively determine and target a niche market requires significant research. It will give you a clear picture of your ideal customers, their pain points, opportunities, preferences and behaviours.

Tip: There are free online resources that can help you pull together what you need to know to market to a niche audience. Three sites worth a visit are MarketResearch.com, Profound and The Freedonia Group.

  • Fewer competitors. You can focus on needs others aren’t meeting. This opens the door for you to set yourself apart by serving a distinct audience within a market better than competitors focused on the larger market.
  • Strong brand perception. With access to volumes of information, consumers want relevant content that will help them. Marketers can connect in a meaningful way with a niche audience by using the right strategy. This starts by understanding the target audience’s behaviours, the digital channels they turn to and the content they will find valuable.

Tip: Use search engine optimization (SEO) to determine the keywords that will drive search results. Seek product feedback using free survey tools such as Google Forms, Survey Monkey and ProProfs Survey Maker.

Four steps in developing a marketing strategy to a niche audience

1. Know your niche

It’s a mistake to think your ideal customers are obvious because your target market is narrow and your product is specialized. Do the work to understand who will benefit from using your product. This goes beyond knowing their age, income and location. It includes understanding their values, behaviours, interests, needs and wants. Use this information to further segment your customers. The more niche your target audience, the better you need to know them.

This comes down to understanding how your product or service can help them address a challenge or make the most of an opportunity. Knowing what sets your business apart will help you define your unique selling propositions. What can you do for your customers that others can’t?

Tip: Use Google Search, Keyword Tool or Answer the Public to help identify the niche audience for your product.

2. Focus on ROI

Look at each of the marketing channels you’re using and assess their effectiveness for your product or business. What is the return on investment (ROI) of social media? Is paid search a more cost-effective way to reach your niche audience?

Are you using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? If not, why not? This online marketing tool is useful for niche marketing campaigns. Investing in PPC advertising allows you to strategically place ads that will help drive traffic to your website. You only pay when people click on them.

Tip: Optimize your niche marketing campaigns for mobile and by using high commercial intent keywords — ones that indicate the person typing them wants to buy.

3. Look at how your competitors are doing

Know the niche digital marketing strategies your competitors are using and how they’re working. These insights can help you plan your marketing strategies for maximum impact. For example, which ad formats and networks will give you the best ROI?

Tip: Competitive intelligence tools such as Adbeat, MixRank and WhatRunsWhere can provide a window to what competitors are doing.

4. Evolve with your customers

The best way to do this is to listen to what customers are saying in real time. Use social media to engage with customers, monitor what they’re saying about you and respond to feedback — especially when it is negative. Customer service always matters.

Knowing how to market to a niche audience can be a game changer for businesses and a good way to set yourself apart. But it’s not easy. Even with all the tools available in today’s digital world, you will waste money running ineffective campaigns unless you know how to advertise to a niche market. Turning to experts who know how to reach your audience and get qualified leads can make all the difference.