Ever heard the saying: jack of all trades, master of none? That saying has never been more true than when it comes to marketing your small business.
It’s easy to look at big old businesses like Tesco, and think the secret of their success is that they are everything to everyone.
Your small business can’t do that. Not shouldn’t – it simply can’t. The likes of Tesco and Amazon are the very rare exception to the rule that a business will be more successful by focusing on a niche market, than by trying to serve everyone.
Why operating in a niche market is good for small businesses
The reason niche marketing works is simple: people want to work with experts. By focusing on the needs of a small market and super serving it, you become a specialist and can learn how to give that market everything it needs. Your customers will trust you and stick with you, and be suspicious of generalists operating in the same market.
A niche is a descriptive term for a small market, typically a small segment of a bigger market. If you take the market for dog accessories, a niche market within that is dog leads. And another niche market within that is dog leads just for poodles.
The trick to finding the right niche is to go as small as you can where there is still demand and profit. Dog leads for poodles is probably too small a market, but by focusing on dog leads you are giving your business a chance to take on pet retail generalists.
The internet makes it easier to reach niche markets
Twenty years ago serving a niche market was tough. You either needed a shop in a location that people would travel to, or lots of cash to run a mail order outfit. Now, the internet and accurate search engines make it easy to find a niche and make money from it. By using pay-per-click advertising, you can quite easily and cost-effectively reach customers in your chosen niche.
And there’s a lot of money out there when you go looking for it. Who would have thought you could make a living helping people find bricks to match their house, or supplying accessories for a single model of car?
The most obvious niches have gone. Speed is important in business, and someone else has beaten you to it! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of niches left for you to find.
How to find a profitable niche market
Here’s how to find a profitable niche for your business to dominate.
- What have you been searching for that you just couldn’t find? Why not see how many other people are looking for it
- What do you have an interest in that doesn’t seem to be served very well? Do you visit a discussion room for your hobby each day, that no-one is specialising in selling to?
- What can you do that’s smaller and more specialised? If you’re a photography fan, is there merit in selling just lenses, or only cameras made by one kind of manufacturer?
- Consider combining two products or services to create a new niche. If you are good at making sandwiches but there are too many sandwich shops, could your niche be that workers email their order through and you deliver handmade sandwiches by 12noon, guaranteed or they are free?
Finally, if you’re reading this worrying that you’ll throw yourself into a niche that doesn’t have a future, relax. It’s an impossible thing to predict. Some niches will never grow beyond being a tiny market, although if you have 80% of that market, is that a problem?
Just ensure that you are getting into a niche and not a fad. Something which appears overnight will probably disappear just as quickly.
More help on ByteStart
For more ideas on how you can promote your small business and get noticed, try these other ByteStart guides;
- How to get your business noticed – Self-marketing for start-ups
- How to create business cards that make a big impression
- Making your small business a BIG hit online – A Digital marketing guide for small business owners
- 10 Top tips for small businesses starting out with social media
- How to use Facebook to grow your small business
- 7 clever copywriting secrets for business owners
ByteStart also brings you help and tips on all aspects of starting your own business. Check out some of our most popular guides;
- Top 10 business planning tips for start-ups
- 5 things you must do when you go self employed
- 10 advantages running your business as a limited company has over being a sole trader
- How peer-to-peer lending offers start-ups and small businesses a new funding option
- How to choose the best online accounting software for your business
- Which types of insurance must your business have?