Hitting the target with niche marketing
[Editor's note: The concept of niche marketing is a simple one, but one that eludes most marketers. That is partly due to the fact that most marketing types don't really understand the idea of market segments or niches. The following primer will help set this right by defining niche marketing, and then discussing how to market to a niche, and then test your marketing efforts for effectiveness. Let me know what you think? Is niche marketing working for you? Feel free to share your experiences. ~Scott]
By Stuart Pearce
One of the best ways to increase sales is by targeting specific audiences that are interested in the products you have to offer. This form of marketing is called niche marketing. In order to target specific groups, you will need to evaluate the types of people who will most likely buy from your site, where to find these groups, and how to market to them.
Evaluating niche groups
You can evaluate niche groups by first deciding who you want to cater your business towards. Knowing your products or the affiliate program‘s products should tell you plenty. If you have created an email list, sending a short survey to your customers asking them a little about themselves (average age, income level, purchase preferences, family, and hobbies) is a great way to learn more about the types of people who are buying from your site.
Niche groups can be determined in many ways. Customers may be found in multiple groups, which can make choosing a niche group more difficult. The best way to cater to these groups is to choose two or three at a time, market to them, and see what happens.
Finding niche groups
The great thing about niche groups is that they are everywhere! Niche groups include hobbyists, political groups, gender groups, career groups, artists, writers, and others. Niche groups are usually attracted to similar web sites, blogs, and open forums. For example, soccer enthusiasts usually shop on similar sports web sites and sports news sites.
When looking for niche groups, visit forums that cater to these groups and ask questions. You will be surprised by all the responses. People enjoy talking about their hobbies, careers, and lives.
Visit web sites that are offer products that are similar to yours and see if other businesses have posted ads. Chances are, these businesses are frequented by the same niche groups.
Marketing to niche groups
Marketing to niche groups is slightly different from marketing to everyone else who finds your ad online. You will have to be more specific about what you’re selling and where you place ads. If you write articles that are going to be read by a specific group, you need to write on a topic they are interested in. The same goes for blogs and posting comments on forums.
Try marketing to several niche groups in order to get an idea of which ones are the most interested in what you are selling. Tracking where visitors are coming from is very important when marketing to certain groups.
Testing niche groups is the only way to see if they are the right ones for your business. You will have to allow some time for your marketing efforts to pay off, however. When marketing to specific groups, give it your all and try to boost sales as much as possible.
If, after a month, you do not see an increase in sales from a particular niche group, then focus your energies elsewhere. Focus on other groups until you find a few that show interest in your web site. Market more aggressively and enjoy the increase in sales.