A business starts with an idea, a goal or a purpose, your aim is to satisfy an unsatisfied need. Therefore you need to find a group of people that need your services or products.
Niche marketing means concentrating all your marketing efforts on a small well defined segment of the population, you have to understand that you create your own niche market.
So how do you create a niche market?
To create a niche market you need to focus on the following areas
- Identifiable customers: ask yourself; is there anyone willing to purchase your products or service? You can’t run a business without customers, this makes identifying your customers a very important aspect of niche marketing
- Neglected market: most people think alike so they will create businesses that are similar to others, to create a niche you need to find a neglected or underserved area of business. If you find an area that offers poor customer service you should offer the best services around.
- Growth: before you start a business you must consider its ability to grow, if the business remains stagnant then there is a lot of room for failure.
Understand what you are offering
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself, do I really need this? Once you have a clear understanding of what you are selling then you will probably know who to target. For example, let’s say you develop a new toy, you know that your biggest market will be kids. Therefore your marketing should be child friendly. You will have to create something very different from the rest of the existing toys.
The idea here is concentrate on who you want to sell to, don’t try to mix things up, if you are focusing on kids maintain your focus avoid the jack of all trades mentality.
Test your market
When you are creating a niche market, jumping in without a market is a recipe for disaster. You will need to do a SWOT analysis, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once you know your strengths you know what to capitalize on, the weaknesses will show you the potentials for failure, opportunities will help you find new ideas to satisfy existing problems and threats will show you what to avoid. Overall a SWOT analysis is designed to tell you whether or not you should continue with your idea. Building a simple website on a platform like Weebly and driving paid traffic to it is a good way to test your market.
Finding customers can be both easy and difficult, as a business your income comes from customers and finding them is your responsibility. You should create a marketing plan that works for your budget.
The easiest way to find customers is to be creative and unique, set your business apart from the rest. A niche market is created when you have a deep understanding of your customers needs and values, so focus on what the customers want, most niche businesses focus on the rich such as jewelry, clothing etc, neglecting the needs the needs of the majority. If you can find a way to balance the needs of both divides then you can curve out a niche market for your large or small business.
I know you are asking yourself, what’s the point of building an email list; I already have Facebook, right? On the surface building an email list doesn’t look that beneficial. But if you take a closer look you will discover that there are a lot of benefits of having an email list.
Look at it this way, at this time and age almost everyone on the planet has an email address, in fact the number of people who have email addresses far surpasses the number of people on social media sites such as Facebook and twitter. This means that if you focus on social media alone you are missing out on a huge untapped market of people with email.
Let’s face it, social media mostly attracts people in their teens, twenties and thirties, most people above that gap only have email addresses. So how can you build an email list?
Let’s start from scratch
Let’s assume that you already have a business website, if not build one now, on your business website you should add a sign up form that’s easy to fill and easy to spot (include email address). That’s the easy part; the difficult part is giving your visitors a reason to sign up to your website. To do this you must have unique helpful, entertaining or educational articles or content that will keep the reader wanting more.
Consider using pop-ups, first thing you should understand is that pop-ups can be annoying so use carefully, give the user a chance to cancel the pop-up. The idea is to let the visitor feel that he or she is in control, if not most will just turnoff the site altogether, but if played right people will want to sign up.
Encourage email subscriptions
There are a number of ways you can use to get email addresses, for example you can host online contests that requires participant to subscribe, or you can offer special incentives such as coupons and discounts after subscribing, additionally you can get emails manually from people by handing out business cards or getting them in seminars.
You can also offer giveaways in exchange for email addresses.
Don’t purchase email lists
Don’t you just hate spam messages? When you buy an email address the message you send to the owner will be seen as spam for one reason, the reason is, the owner of the address never subscribed to your business, so you are sending him/her irrelevant information that they don’t need thus making it spam. To avoid this make sure that the emails you get were given out of free will not from a third party.
When someone sends you their email address, they expect discretion. Imagine if someone posts your email address online without your permission, you will probably reconsider working with the person,
What you should do is assure the user that their personal details are safe with you, and inform them of the amount of emails you’ll send them on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis, because no one wants to receive a hundred useless emails in one day or week. If you ensure someone of his or her privacy then they will probably hand you their address.
Before you send something ensure that it’s worth reading, you need to be very creative here don’t just send large amounts of information that no one wants to see. The content you send can earn you more emails or can cause mass un-subscriptions, so be careful with the contents i.e. send them something that they can share and forward not something that will head straight for the trash folder.
Use social media
The best way to use social media websites like Tumblr is to direct traffic to your website; on your website ensure that you easily accessible link for subscriptions and sign up.
Imagine walking down a street where all businesses share the same name and look, it can look like a scene straight out of the twilight zone. Branding is a process designed to avoid this scenario, it involves creating a unique image and name for your business.
Look at it this way, what do you think of when you think about apple? You probably think of the apple logo. To most small business owners, branding seems like something best suited for big corporations, but the truth is branding is not that hard, you can even do it yourself.
The question is how can you make your business stand out from the rest?
Treat your customers like royalty and exploit the generosity
A simple thank you or a little gift here and there will probably not hurt your businesses finances, what it will do is keep people coming back. For example let’s assume that you own a restaurant and your target market is kids, you may decide give out small toys when they buy a meal or snack as a way to build loyalty, if the toys don’t have your business logo or name on them, then the toys won’t be very effective in building a brand name, you want others to know where the toys came from and why they should come to your restaurant, this makes it very important to build a positive relationship between you and your customers.
Most business owners don’t understand the power of a brand, the simplest thing you should understand about a brand is the stronger your brand is the more customers you will get. And how do you build your brand, through your customers of course. If you focus on your customers the end the result is customer loyalty and loyalty creates continuity (they will keep coming back).
Stand out from the rest
Most businesses are victims of habit; you just copy what others are doing and hope for the best. To set yourself apart from the rest, you must understand your competition and do something unique, do some research understand your weaknesses and strengths and find opportunities to exploit.
To distinguish your business you can come up with a standout professional logo that your business can be identified with, look at android for instance, each time you see that android logo you know exactly what it is. If you run a small business let’s say a coffee shop you can get your logo on your cups, on the building and on anything related to the business.
The logo has to be accompanied by a business slogan. Coming up with a business logo and a slogan may not be that easy for one person, what you can do is get help from friends, professionals or family, just brainstorm until you find something good.
Get yourself online
Going online is easy all you need is a professionally designed website that has memorable logos, a website that’s easy to use and easily recognizable. Create a website that’s up to date and link it to your businesses social media pages.
The aim of the website and social media pages is to improve communications with your customers, to show them what you are all about and build trust and credibility. Most people will tell you to build great business cards, but the truth is most people never use these card, it is advisable but in my opinion going online will do more than a business card and plus its much cheaper. Setting up Facebook page is an inexpensive way to stay top of mind of your prospects.
The idea of branding is to make something unique, easy to remember and easily recognizable. Try to give your customers the best experience possible, when they are in your business premises, on your website, through mail and through calls.
The internet a global system of interconnected computer networks that use TCP/IP to link billions of devices such as computers, tablets smart phones, cameras, cars and any other thing that can be hooked up to it.
Location planet earth, a planet estimated to currently host more than 7.2 billion people 40% of whom use the internet. Do the math, you will find a huge number of people online each hour of the day, and what are they looking for, entertainment, business, leisure, jobs and any other thing imaginable.
In the past advertiser relied on television, radio, billboards and newspapers all of which are expensive but largely ineffective. Nowadays the best way to market your business is through the internet and how do you do this?
Exploit Google, Yahoo and any other popular search engine
Before you do anything take some time to answer these three questions
- What is your target market?
- What do you aim to achieve?
- How much will your campaign cost?
Google is currently the most popular search engine; one way of using Google to your advantage is by looking for what people are mostly searching for. The Google keyword planner on Google ad words is a tool that you can use to achieve this, once you find a keyword that most people use, you can optimize the articles on your website to match these keywords. What this does is bring your website up each time a person searches for the keywords.
If you have working knowledge of how a search engine works be it yahoo or Google, then you are in a better position to advertise your business. Another way to reach your target market is through social media websites like Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Monitor and learn from your competition
And by monitoring I don’t mean an NSA styled spy program, what you have to do is look at what they are doing better than you, look at their websites, social media profiles, blogs and any other online services offered. If you find something good try to do it better than them, if you are copying do it in a unique fashion.
Monitoring your competition will give you an idea of what they are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
How to use social media to find customers
To find customers on social media you have to be a detective not a stalker: if you have a Gmail account then you probably have to delete spam messages each day. Understand that social media pages are usually linked to the user’s email address so spamming is an annoyance that will be overlooked and you will be ‘un-friended’, this means you have a task to find people who need what you have, what you can do is link your website to your social media profiles, on your website you can offer the visitors a chance to subscribe to your businesses newsletters or promotions, give them a reason to want the updates.
If you are looking for customers on social media, you will have to be active online. Creating a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media profile is just the first step of things, you will need ‘friends’ and links and a business blog.
A blog is very important because blogs tend to attract new customers faster; you also need a company website. Remember when things get tough you can always use online companies to help you.
Do you like heist movies? The thing about heist movies is that a huge part of the movie is about the planning process before the actual heist. Marketing is just like a heist movie, without a well thought out plan you risk failure. Most people just dive into marketing without ever taking time to plan and strategize, unlike movies market planning is easy and doesn’t take much time. The first thing you have to do is carry out a situational analysis.
Reasons for carrying out a situational analysis
A situational analysis looks at now and the future I.e. where you are and where you want to be, you will need to identify your businesses short term and long term policies are they working or not. If you are starting a new business you need a marketing plan to identify customers, you should clearly define who you are targeting. This will keep your business in the direction you intend it to go. Take caution don’t just make up plans the plans must be realistic in order to work, work within your budget and resources.
Generally you will have to carry out:
- A competitor analysis
- Customer analysis
- Business analysis
Segment the market
Segmenting the market will give you the advantage of knowing what to sell to whom at what price. Customers have different needs and understanding their needs is very important. Segmenting your market will give benefits such as higher profits, customer retention, better communication and an ability to match your customer’s needs.
Come up with a marketing strategy
A marketing strategy is there to coordinate your marketing activities, the strategy gives your business a sense of direction and focus, and it also gives you an edge over your competition. A marketing strategy helps you build your brand and once your strategy is up and running your business will start earning profits.
Your strategy is made up of four things, place, promotion, price and product, take deep interest in these four p’s.
Communication is also very important in marketing ensure that everything is in order and in good working condition.
Look at your budget
Before you start your campaign it is important to have knowledge of how much it will cost and whether or not you can afford it. You should also look at the expected amounts of profit you will get during and after the campaign. One of the keys to success is having an effective marketing campaign. If you cannot afford to market your business will fail. However, there are many free online places to market your business. You could build a WordPress.com blog like The BC Getaway did. You can use this to drive traffic back to your main website.
Planning is always a good idea, planning helps you predict potential outcomes and gives you an understanding of risk and how to deal with the risks, so plan your way to success.
Only one thing can explain one’s inability to understand the power of social media ‘living under a rock’. If you have been living under a rock then you probably don’t understand what social media can do for you and business. The question is what is social media? And what can it do for your business?
The simplest way to define social media is an application or website that enables the user to create and share content. Social media marketing therefore is creating marketable content on these apps or websites, But don’t kid yourself social media marketing is not as easy as it sounds, it requires planning and commitment.
Why should you use social media marketing?
The biggest reason for using social media marketing is to build your brand and increase customer loyalty. Social media makes it easy to communicate with your business directly; this builds a one on one relationship between your business and your customers.
The first thing you should do when starting a social media marketing campaign is:
Come up with a social media marketing plan
When coming up with a plan you will have to choose the sites and apps to use, test your strategy and then implement it if it works, if it doesn’t chose another strategy. That’s the beauty of social media; it’s so easy to make adjustments to your strategy.
Before you start making plans, it is important to know what you want from the campaign, identify your goals and come up with a suitable marketing strategy. Ask yourself these questions
- What do I aim to achieve?
- Who am I targeting?
- On what social media platform will I find my audience?
Understand your platform
Note that there are tones of social media websites on the internet, meaning that you can’t use all of them; instead you should focus on websites and apps with the most traffic. Examples are
Twitter is one of the most popular social media site, a simple 140 character tweet can contain a lot of information such as links to your business site, photographs plus commentary and videos.
All that information in 140 characters makes it very easy for someone on the go to understand, unlike sites like face book where a status can be an entire article. To advertise on Twitter you must consider all angles of your profile, the background image and the profile picture should be related to your business.
Here’s an example of a good Twitter page: https://twitter.com/TheGetawayBC
To some extent you can say that face book started all this social media hype, it is the largest social media site with millions of users worldwide. Marketing on Facebook is not that complicated. Complete profile requirements such details, business contacts profile, pictures and the rest.
Facebook allows you to use pictures, links and videos to keep your audience engaged. But boring content gets zero likes and zero customers, this means that you have to post regularly. You can also use Facebook tools such as
- Facebook FBX
- Facebook open graph
- Sponsor you stories on Facebook
- Promoted posts
You tube is currently the leading video streaming site followed closely by vimeo, viral marketing is a new concept where a product Is marketed by the customers, they pass and share the viral video or picture across multiple platforms and in the process market your product. To make a viral video it has to be unique and YouTube is the best place to start.
You can also use you tube to make tutorial videos for your customers; this will show them that your products work and how to use them.
Other popular sites that you can use effectively based on traffic rankings include
- Linked in
- Google plus
To survive on social media you must be active, don’t expect someone to market for you, you have to do it yourself, post unique updates and contents as much as you can.