What does a vegan bakery, a clothing store for transgender women, and an unfinished wood furniture retailer have in common? No, they’re not all Smart Foundations’ clients (although two of them have been) and, no, it’s not a set up for a bad joke. They’re all successful niche businesses.
If your business is in a highly specialized niche, it’s easy to assume that it is difficult to be heard. And in today’s crowded marketplace, it can be without the right approach. A niche business requires a niche approach to marketing.
Figure out where your clients go. What do your customers look like? In order to effectively market your niche business, you need to truly understand your clients. Every business owner needs to understand his target market but a niche business owner needs to have an even deeper understanding of their market. What do your customers read? Where do they live? Where do they like to shop? If your niche business depends on foot traffic, for example, the physical location you choose to open up shop also matters — you want to know that your target market will walk by your storefront every day. Also, find out if there are trade shows specific to your niche business because they attract your target market.
Play up your niche. Rather than hiding your true self, make your uniqueness known. You are not in the business of being everything to everyone, you are in the business of being an expert at one specific area. Flaunt that. Promote your niche whenever you can and make sure that all of your marketing material reflects your position and your niche in the marketplace. You want to be seen as an expert and you want your business to be seen as the place to go when a client is looking to fill that specific need.
Know what your niche customers want. There’s a big difference between knowing what your niche is and knowing what your niche customers want. Talk to your customers — all of them — and ask what it is they want to purchase. Ask them what’s important to them and what they are looking for that they are currently not getting from anybody else in the marketplace. That’s how you’ll stand out in your niche — by offering a product or service than no one else in your niche has. (And, if it turns out that it’s something you’re already throwing in for free, maybe it is something you should be charging for.)
Speaking of everyone else, even though you have a niche business, you will still have competition. Which leads us to our final point…
Embrace your competition. It’s common for business owners to worry about what their competition is doing. Don’t. Instead become a part of the community. Doing so helps you better understand how each of you differ from the other.
And in case you’re wondering, we successfully created and executed a marketing strategy for the transgender clothing store and the wooden furniture manufacturer.
If your business offers seasonal products or services, there’s no need to shut down for the off-season. Instead find a complementary product or service to sell. And, such an offering may not quite be what you expect. Find out more in our next blog.