The awesome thing about online marketing? Reach. And in niche markets, this matters more than anything. With the ability to serve consumers regionally, nationally and worldwide, niche businesses are able to find much larger markets online for specialized products and services.
As great as access to this expanded market truly is, it can also pose some challenges. With the PPC pricing model, you don’t want to waste clicks on users who are just researching your product and don’t have what we call “high buying intent”. But at the same time, getting your name out there is just as important as it is with every industry.
When it comes to niche marketing, an interdisciplinary strategy is your best bet. Some considerations:
1. Know your audience & where to find them.
Primary in every marketing strategy, getting to know your target audience is even more important when you are serving a niche. For one thing, people might not know they need your product. And if they do, they might not know that your company even exists.
What types of people would buy your product or service? Who has the need as well as the budget? You’re going to want to know who you’re speaking to and where they would go to look for your product or service, as well as where they go online — think various social media platforms, news sites, other websites and brands they might love, organizations, and whether email marketing would be viable.
2. Invest in design work.
Before you can begin marketing, you need an identity — a website, a logo, and a personality. Take a look at competitors’ websites to get an idea of their offerings, and then check out some websites that you like that aren’t related to your industry for design ideas. With your target audience in mind, try to come up with something fresh, professional, and unique.
I use the word “invest” because good design work isn’t cheap. It’s time-consuming and requires a fair amount of training to get quality results. But good design work is what helps build trust between your company and the consumers — people want to work with a company who represents themselves well, especially if all they have access to is your website. If you work with a designer, he or she will be able to help you make important decisions and ensure that the work is executed properly.
3. Spend some time building your brand.
In a niche industry, getting in front of your audience before they actively search for your product or service is essential. If they frequent Facebook and Twitter, then create some sort of a presence there. If they might be researching your industry online, run an ad on a related website. Just use typical branding tactics — but remember that you’re probably not going to see an immediate return on these advertising dollars. The goal is to create brand awareness that lasts longer and is more powerful than just one sale.
4. Get in the press.
Depending on how unique your product or service is, you may be able to get some press attention if you simply make yourself known or get involved in something altruistic. Even if you are advertising to a national audience, getting featured in your local paper or sponsoring a benefit can bring you the visibility and credibility that makes people remember you. And don’t forget about the backlinks — getting mentioned on a high-authority website can really help your SEO.
5. Offer resources & expertise.
You’re the expert — and if you’re not, it’s time to become one. If you are able to offer some informational value, consumer trust might shortly follow. To do this, I would start by adding a blog and/or research tab to your website. Make sure that the resources you offer are credible by combining your knowledge and experience with industry research from other authorities.
For more PR, you can also disseminate your knowledge to the media in the form of guest blog posts, articles, interviews, research, case studies, and white papers.
6. Use social and paid social.
As mentioned above, social media is an obvious place to do some branding, but you need to be strategic. Make sure you are directing your attention to the the platforms where your target audience spends time. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — all are good places to start developing a presence.
Social media can be time-consuming, with little immediate ROI. Use it with the intention of adding personality and dimension to your company, making sure to use enough calls to action and interrogative techniques that your audience interacts with you and even makes it back to your website to buy.
Finally, don’t be afraid to incorporate paid social into your strategy — a boosted post can go a long way!
7. Develop an SEO strategy.
Strong rankings on Yahoo!, Bing, and of course, Google via the organic listings will be essential for building credibility. Your goal should be to take up as much real estate on the search engine results pages (SERPs) under your important keywords and brand name as possible. Especially if you sell products on Amazon or some other conglomerate — you want to try and get them to your website where you profit margin is higher.
This should be a no-brainer at this point! SEO is top priority if you do business online.
8. Consider PPC to reinforce branding & drive sales.
…And last but not least, you can’t talk about online sales without talking about PPC advertising! How can you make sure your ads are getting in front of potential customers whenever they search for your product? How can you quickly get your ads on the front page of the SERPs? What brings you visibility, as well as qualified traffic?
Say it with me now… PPC! 🙂