The other day, I spoke with a professor whose research focus is the United States economy and the various ways it's changing. He's particularly interested in what's called "indie capitalism" in some quarters. It's the idea that an economy can be sustained by small businesses. The professor noted that small businesses need not have to compete with corporate conglomerates, simply because they have an "in" that big companies don't—they can appeal to small niches of consumer interest. As a small business owner, you may be wondering how you can find that niche, that sweet spot of demand that only a few have. Here are a few things to consider:
- Find your niche community on the web.
The rise of niche markets has been solely made possible because of the Internet. Of course, groups of people always have had niche interests, but because their desired products and services are so specific, they couldn't ever really congregate in the same place to share and purchase. If you are interested in reaching a niche audience, you'll have to do your market research on the web, since it's unlikely that there's a large enough local audience in your physical community to attract.
This simply goes without saying. Niche consumers aren't passive consumers. They know what they like and they know it well. If you are going to be a serious about marketing to a specific niche you need to know it inside and out. You need to immerse yourself in the culture, since niche markets are often not just a community of people enjoying a specific product or service, they're a community surrounded by a particular lifestyle and culture.
- Simplistic marketing doesn't work for niche markets.
As noted, niche audiences are not passive consumers, so traditional marketing and advertising will not appeal to them. They are very invested in their niche, so your marketing strategy cannot afford to be condescending or in any way blasé. Take their interests seriously, and appeal to their sense of style, humor, and general outlook on life. Whatever you do, don't pigeonhole the niche consumer.
Of course, your specific marketing strategy is going to vary wildly based on which niche audience you are trying to reach. Ideally, you should be interested in your niche audience not simply because you wish to market to them, but because you have a genuine interest in their specific passions. Good luck!
A guest post from Nadia Jones who is a full-time education blogger based in Houston, Texas. Interested in all things academia, Nadia seeks to be an online college guide for those interested in the realm of online education. For questions and comments reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.