If you’re running a small business or are looking to jump in and start your own venture, understanding how and why you need to attract your niche market will help make your business a success. Sure there are lots of moving parts to a successful small business, but without a clear picture of your potential client and how your product or service will help them, you’ll find it hard to make many sales. Today we’re covering the 5 top ways to attract your niche market and why it’s so important to do so.
First, lets talk about what a niche market actually is. A niche market is a subset or smaller group of a market with it’s own particular needs or preferences. You can define your niche in many ways but doing so makes the marketing process far easier and much more effective because you’re tactics should should speak to the needs and wants of your market and help them solve a problem. Here’s an example:
Lets say that you’ve got a great idea for a window cleaning business. Because your business is fairly new and you’re working on building your clientele, you’re willing to clean anybody’s windows, but that’s a huge market. So lets break it down based on the types of windows you might be willing to clean – residential, office buildings (this can be broken down into 2 categories or more – skyscrapers downtown, smaller office complexes, or even strip malls, etc.), restaurants, interior windows like in a mall or larger office complex, and so on. To break it down further, you might also want to define a geographical area – your small business is based in your hometown, so picking up a client that wants their windows cleaned in the neighboring state or even 3 states over isn’t your ideal audience, at least at first. Once you’ve narrowed down your niche, you’ll be able to figure out their needs, wants, and problems to be solved and can then market and cater your services and products to them, here’s how:
Pick a Unique Group
There are plenty of niche markets out there for everyone, but you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting one that doesn’t already have too many players offering your product or service. For example, you may have a dream to open up your own snow cone shack. It’s a great idea and could be rather profitable, but take a look around first. If you reside in a hotter climate or a beach town you may already have quite a few snow cone shacks in the market. That’s not really a problem, just look to see how else you can define your niche – maybe it’s by looking at the geography of it all and finding the one spot in town that needs a snow cones but doesn’t have them, or maybe your product quality is something that differs – you offer umbrellas, fancy straws, color changing spoons, and a variety of creams toppings with your snow cones.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re not just jumping into the “me too” niche because if there are too many players already the odds of being successful aren’t as high.
Address a Problem
It seems like defining a niche should be enough when it comes to marketing, but streamlining your message is going to help in growing your sales as well. Once you’ve defined the group you’re hoping to sell to, it’s time to look at how your product or service can help solve a problem that group has. You may not have a huge budget (or any budget at all!) for market research to start. Don’t worry, figuring out the needs, wants or problems to be solved for niche groups isn’t as bad as it sounds. If you can find a couple of people that fit your niche to talk to you’re off to a great start. But even sitting down and brainstorming for a few minutes on possible needs will do the trick. You can start by asking yourself questions like these:
- what type of problems do people in my niche market have? (We’ll use the window cleaning example – they may have limited budget, need their windows cleaned after business hours, have hard to reach windows, or have a security system that previous window cleaners have set off)
- how will/can my product or service help? ( You offer a 3 month package or monthly deal for a lower price, your hours are extended and you work on weekends, you have equipment that allows you to reach high places, your window cleaners are trained on how to clean without setting off alarms, etc.)
- which of the problems to be solved seem to be the most common? (you’ll want to choose these because they’ll speak to the largest group within your niche and attract the most clients)
Communicate Through Established Channels
This one seems to go without saying, but we’ve found that often times small businesses are so excited about marketing their products they don’t stop to think about finding out which channels or mediums for communication are best. Before you start getting your product or service out there, you’ll want to find out how those within your niche communicate or consume information. There’s no reason to pay for a TV spot if your niche market isn’t watching much TV. For the window cleaning business – a TV spot might be the right choice if you’re looking to really drill down and attract home owners, but dropping off a flyer at the local chamber of commerce, attending the next meeting of local business owners, or even stopping by local businesses might be the better choice if you’re looking to clean windows for local businesses and office complexes.
If you’re not sure what channels your niche market is using, do a little market research. It might be as simple as searching the internet or it may require that you find a few people that fit your niche and ask them for ideas.
Ask Questions, Listen & Generate New Ideas
Once you’ve got your business up and running and attracting clients from your niche market it’s time to start asking questions. You’ve done quite a bit of work already to understand your niche market, but asking questions and listening to the answers will help you generate new ideas for products and services or even come up with a way to better your existing offerings and attract more clients within your niche. Not sure how to start? Here are a few ideas on how to start asking questions of your clients:
- offer a bonus for existing clients or a coupon for discounted services if they’re willing to answer a few questions
- make giving feedback easy – follow up calls after a job, an email with a link to a survey, a website link at the bottom of your invoice where they can go and make comments and suggestions
- periodically poll a handful of clients – tell them you’re looking to improve your service, offer new products, or expand and then tell them you value their advice and their business – you might be surprised at all the good info you get
Once you’ve gotten your feedback, make sure you sort through it and start brainstorming. You may even want to give those that provided you feedback a chance to try out the service first or a special discount for helping you.
Help Them Grow or Provide Them With Education
This seems like a stretch but we know that it’s a great way to attract your niche because we’ve used it ourselves. In our own business, we write a blog where we offer accounting advice and even explain quite a bit about what we do so that others can DIY their small business taxes and bookkeeping. That might seem like we’re giving it away for free, but we’ve found that it usually builds a relationship with potential customers before they even buy, which makes working with them even easier. We’ve also found that providing information and education our niche markets establishes us as an expert – those that give it a try and DIY it on their own have learned some new skills and they come back for more and might even buy later on. More often than not, we find that many of our niche market clients consume our blog posts and then decide to buy even if it does seem to stretch their budget a little. But lets say that a blog doesn’t work for your business or service, who’s ever heard or read of a window washing blog (we’ll use our own example), right? You could:
- leave a flier or send an email about how to extend what you’ve just provided them with – for the window washer, we’d suggest a flier that gives a few ways they can keep their windows cleaner for longer, etc.)
- teach a class – this can be online or even on a special day
- sell your products – it might seem like you’re giving up a job but if you offered special microfiber clothes and your cleaner that helps repel dust for clients to use between visits you’d be making more cash with selling your products and still be keeping the job to do the deep cleaning
- ask your clients what they’d like to learn or how you can help
- create a social media account that offers helpful tips and let your clients know
What other ways are you attracting clients? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.