You’ve most likely heard of the term niche market before. Often business owners are asked specifically what theirs is by business advisors, accountants, financiers and other owners. What we’ve found though, is that there is a reasonable amount of owners who still haven’t identified their own, or have little understanding of what the term means.
Let’s give you an example. Jess runs her own business selling handmade baby clothing. From merino baby coats through to cloth nappies and baby bibs, it is certain she is working within the baby clothing market However, this is a wide market with many variables, and what she should be focusing on is one specific aspect of that niche market. This will narrow her focus within the baby market, but allow her to specifically tailor her marketing, manufacturing and messages specifically to her target audience.
To help you find and dominate within your niche market, we’ve put together this handy article.
What is a Niche Market?
A niche market is a small specific part of a larger market. It is a gap in the competition, something that no one else is targeting or can target as you can. Your USP or unique selling point targets a highly refined customer audience, and this forms a big part of how you find your niche market. For instance, your target audience will need to have either a large potential for growth as well as a significant amount of market potential.
Like most businesses, the chosen niche tends to be a passion of the owner of the business. They often have an interest in a specific industry or experience within it. For instance, a person has always enjoyed gardening. A sudden redundancy has allowed them the opportunity to start up their own business and they’ve chosen to focus upon the plant industry. They are tending to lean towards the growing of plants from seeds rather than opening up a nursery, on-selling to retailers and not the general public.
How to Find Your Niche Market
You’ll already have identified the broad market you want to target, be it women’s shoes or gift baskets. What you need to do is narrow this down further using five key points:
- Price – will the product be low or high priced? Does it need to be regularly discounted?
- Quality – will it be a handmade product, mass-produced, premium or economical?
- Location – will the product be marketed in a certain country or city?
- Demographics – what is the age, income level, education and gender of the target market?
- Values – what morals, values, attitudes and interests does the target audience have?
In the case of Jess and her handmade baby clothing, she used the five key considerations above and further narrowed down her niche to merino baby booties. She will now have the clarification she needs regarding her niche to be successful:
- Price – mid to high priced booties, no discounts.
- Quality – handmade in small batches.
- Location – New Zealand wide, mainly in large cities
- Demographics – tertiary educated, double-income families, female
- Values – like artisan products, limited editions and one of a kind products
From here, Jess can take this information to adapt the content on her website, where she advertises, the social media platforms she targets, as well as the manufacturing and pricing of her products.
Then next comes the creation of a business niche or niche strategy to help your business take over the world or your specific target market that is. As well as identifying your target market and the unique selling proposition you can provide, you’ll need to research and understand your target audience intimately, create a business plan and start marketing to them. This moves us on to the world, or rather niche domination.
How to Be Successful Within Your Niche Market
Having identified your niche market, then now is the time to put all of your hard work into play. Of course, if you have not been thorough enough, now is also the time you’ll find out and may need to head back to the niche identification stage.
Assuming everything is all good with your work though, you’ll be able to start marketing within your identified niche. You’ll already have an advantage that the big players don’t have, and that is a highly targeted audience. It is to them that you will consider when making every decision you now come to. This means you’ll need to:
- Identify the best ways to communicate with your market. Do they want face to face contact, or would they prefer using social media or emails?
- Instigate a solid communication strategy with your target audience. Trial and error, surveys, questions and asking for feedback will help you identify what works best. Then once you’ve nailed it, it is important to set a regular schedule for communication with them and let them know what it is.
- Offer products which you know your target market will want. Remember you want to be highly specific here. You can’t provide the enormous selection the big players can, but you can be very narrow in your offerings to your great advantage. Customers who want exactly what it is you are selling will want to deal with you because they can get what they want when they want it.
- Keep growing and seeking advice. No business is an island onto itself. Asking for support from a business advisor can help keep you on the right path, solve issues as they arise or help hold you accountable for following your business plan.
- Be a real person. This means making a personal connection with your audience, moving away from being a faceless name and instead be someone they can relate to.
- Be accessible. Provide exceptional customer service, tailoring the ways you do things to meet the needs of your audience. Take the time to ask for and respond to feedback, as well as utilising the optimal communication channels.
- Market your business. Having an excellent understanding of your target market, you’ll be able to run the most effective advertisements in the right locations for best uptake. Make sure you can keep an ROI for all marketing promotions you undertake, as these will ensure your money is always well spent.
Finally, being successful within your niche means sticking to it! It can be tempting to add another product or advertise to a different audience because of hearsay or a special offer being promoted. That’s why it is vital you have an in-depth business plan in place which clearly identifies what you are selling, who you are targeting and where you will be selling.