When you first start your business, you will likely have to start off small. And many small businesses have realized that selling niche products is a smart business move. Big box stores and Amazon have cornered the one-stop-shop market but hand-crafted, local, quality, specific goods suited to a distinct target market can be featured in an e-commerce shop elegantly and effectively. Think of shops like Need Supply, Harry’s Razors, Casper Mattresses, Warby Parker, etc. These niche businesses all have one thing in common: strong identities, a sharp selection of products and positive brand recognition. This is because they have fine-tuned strategies and offerings.
Marketing a niche shop - and to a niche target market - comes with a specific set of considerations. We’ve pulled together five tips to help you create a successful niche business.
BE sure your EFFORTS ARE well defined
One problem that can easily bog down a business is over extending yourself. Think about what you want your business to be and put it in your business plan. Get super concrete and determine what you want to sell and why. Then, start small and expand in areas that are striking a chord with customers. Your efforts must be strategic, specific and well-defined but also able to shift and scale as your grow.
Know your target audience inside and out
Since you are selling to a niche market, you need to know all aspects of your target market - what they like, how they entertain themselves, what social networks they use, where they shop, where they work, etc. You may also want to consider if the niche you are fitting into has a large business presence already (i.e. study your competition). If it does, consider how you can stand out. Highlighting your uniqueness and tapping into an unaddressed need of your ideal audience will make your ability to sell to your target market that much easier.
REALLY Listen to your Customers
You may need to change little things in your business to keep your customers coming back again and again. Listen to their opinions. Set up a strong support team and make it easy to contact you. Ask them to fill out surveys in exchange for discounts. Respond to their concerns as well as their cheers on social media. Make changes they've asked for when possible and then show them you are making adjustments by announcing changes in email blasts, on your social platforms and directly.
Be ready to prepared to weather some storms
Hopefully you can avoid any major problems by being aware of customer concerns, values and the activities of your competition. But still, the market may fluctuate, your customer base might shrink and you need to be ready to adjust your business. A drastic shift will turn off your current customers but be aware of what is happening in the marketplace and be prepared to add or remove products that are no longer relevant, update your branding and embrace shifts in technology.
Market to your target audience
When you are a niche seller you need to reach your target audience in novel ways. The smaller the niche, the more specific you need to target your marketing. For instance, if you are a niche business that specializes in elegant leather dog leashes, you will want to find the most relevant podcasts, blogs, social networks, etc. for dog owners. You may want to target dog-loving influencers and send them your products. You will want to speak like them and to them about the most compelling aspects of your business model and your product. Use your research about your target audience to really resonate with your target market. This may change over time and so should your marketing strategy.
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