How to Tap into a Niche Market
Do you want to start your own business? Perhaps you’ve already got an existing business and you want to attract more clients? Whatever stage of growth your business is in, you have the perfect opportunity to sell more products by targeting niche markets that have been overlooked by the bigger players.
Define Your Niche Market
How do you define a niche market? A niche market is a small, but specific segment of the population where businesses can concentrate on selling their products and services to.
Levi Strauss, the founder of Levi Strauss & Co, is the epitome of how a small business can become successful by tapping into a specific market niche. Levi was a German Jewish migrant, who turned a pair of work pants that was sold to gold miners during the 1870 California Gold Rush, into one of history’s most popular and sort after fashion item – Levi Jeans.
Levi’s doesn't try to compete with the high-end fashion labels, instead they focus on marketing to a specific audience. Levi's 501, shrink-to-fit jeans is still it’s best selling product, which historically has always been marketed to appeal to different audiences. Another successful brand from Levi’s is Dockers, a type of khaki garment, which it markets to young urban professionals. There are also pre-washed and purposely faded jeans that focus on capturing the teen market.
From it’s origins as work pants for miners and cowboys, to their popularity among hippies and teen rebels, Levi Strauss & Co isn’t successful because it creates hundreds of designs. It’s success is in the fact that it knows how to market to it’s niche audience.
Focus on your Niche Market, Even if you Have an Existing Business
There are two specific benefits why niche marketing can work in your favour, even if you already have an existing business. Marketing to a niche audience can help to streamline your business, and it can enhance your credibility.
1. Streamline your Business Process
Many business owners make the mistake of trying to provide a service that will appeal to the masses. This is like a shotgun approach, it’s expensive, it’s difficult to quantify and it’s hard to establish credibility within your industry. Instead, if you know your audience, you can make the best use of your time, passion and expertise.
Firstly, let’s look at how you source your products. If you sell a specific product, you will soon have very good knowledge of the products that come into the market, you’ll know what products sells well and you’ll also know the best source of supplies. When I started my website design business, I decided to only use Joomla, a popular website system among many businesses. I also decided to get all of my themes and plugins from a particular web development company. Over time, I became very familiar with Joomla, with coding, and with the themes and plugins from this particular company. As a result, my knowledge, skills and business processes has significantly improved. For example, when I first started designing and developing websites, it would take me a full day to put up a draft website – now I can do it in less than an hour!
When you decide to specialize in a certain niche, make sure that you work hard at becoming an expert in your field. Besides running your business, make it a priority to devote as much time as possible to reading, and to learning all that you can about your product. Go to your local library or visit Amazon.com and learn about the history of your product. Join social clubs like meetup.com, and meet like-minded people. Get to know the companies, the manufacturers and their distribution network.
2. Establish your Credibility
The other benefit of knowing your niche market is that you increase your credibility, and people who know you will start referring to you as an authority in your field. People are always looking for other people who are experts in their field to help solve their problems.
My friend, Phil Symonds, a real estate salesman, from Richardson & Wrench Campbelltown, knows the importance of differentiating himself from his competitors in an otherwise saturated industry. People know and prefer to buy their homes from Phil because of his knowledge of the Macarthur-Campbelltown real estate market. Phil is also known for his integrity – he builds confidence with buyers and sellers alike, which ultimately leads to repeat businesses. Everyone knows that when they put their house on the market, Phil will often sell it for tens of thousands of dollars more than the market rate. He also gets a lot of questions from home buyers and people wanting to sell their property on a daily basis. As an expert in what he does, Phil can answer those questions accurately and in detail, giving buyers the reassurance they need to put in a bid or to buy with confidence.
Once you know the needs of your niche market, you can create a strong message aimed at targeting your audience and making your presence felt. Think about the message that you are sending through your business cards, your website or your flyers. Communicating to your niche market isn’t rocket science, but you do need to make sure that your audience understands what you do, and how they can benefit from using your product or services.