It’s a tough life operating in a small niche. It’s pretty hard to reach your customers and when you finally do, there’s not even that many of them.
Well, don’t throw in the towel! There are ways you can generate new business in a small niche.
In this article, I’ll cover three practical tips or strategies you can use to drum up new business without targeting a whole new market. Let’s get started!
Turn Early Adopters Into Brand Advocates
All businesses start off small with a committed band of early adopters. Think of the first iPod users or the first landlords who listed their properties on Airbnb.
To transform your small startup into a successful business, you need to leverage those early adopters and turn them into brand advocates. You want them out on the streets shouting about how great you are. You want them posting glowing reviews on social media. You want them attracting new customers.
So, how do you do that?
There’s a whole bunch of ways but my two favorite tactics are engagement and incentivization.
First, engage like hell. Be a constant presence on social media and get back to every single message your customers leave. Make them feel like this is an exclusive club. It’s you, them and the other early adopters. It’s us and the rest.
Once you’ve cultivated that sense of community and belonging, it’s time to turn those customers into salespeople by incentivizing them. Make it easy for them to spread the word and provide incentives (vouchers, products, cash, etc) for every new customer they refer to you.
With a little light encouragement, you’ll be amazed at how enthusiastic people can be!
Partner with Businesses in Complementary Verticals or Horizontals
While it might seem like your niche is separate from all other markets, it almost certainly isn’t. All niches, no matter how small and specialized will have neighboring verticals.
A quick recap in case you’re not up to speed with verticals.
A vertical market is a market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry, trade, profession, or other group of customers with specialized needs.
As I was saying, virtually all businesses will have neighboring verticals, which are basically just similar or related industries.
While you might not be able to sell directly to customers in that vertical, that doesn’t mean it’s valueless.
One of the most effective referral tactics is to find a business in a complementary vertical and agree to a reciprocal referral scheme. You send customers to their business and they send customers to yours.
Often, you find that customers who are referred to you won’t have thought about your service before and would probably have never used it.
Advertise on Highly Granular Networks
Advertising at a large market is easy. You wanna sell coffee? Whack up some billboards, run some TV ads and watch the sales roll in.
Annoyingly, reaching niche customers is a little harder. When your audience is tiny, all a scatter-gun approach will do is waste your marketing budget. If you want to run a profitable advertising campaign in a small niche, you have to choose a highly granular platform or network.
What does that mean?
It means you have to choose a platform where you can say, “I want to show my advert to women aged over 45 years who live in Suffolk and work as managing directors.”
Some — Facebook and LinkedIn — give you that level of granular targeting. Others — print, television and radio — are nowhere near the level you require.
Once you’ve found a platform that lets you focus all your attention on your chosen niche, you can ramp up your ad spend and reach as many potential customers as possible.
About the Author
Stephen Hart was the CFO of Worldpay before leaving to found the UK’s first merchant services comparison site Cardswitcher.