How many times have you heard statements like "everybody is on youtube", "everybody is selling hair" or here's another one "everyone is a graphic designer now". Statements like this can discourage someone from venturing into a market that is deemed "oversaturated", "overdone" or "crowded". The reality of it is, everyone is selling everything and everybody is doing something however everybody is buying everything.
In reality you can sell anything you want there will be someone who wants to buy it, it's all really in the marketing. It doesn't matter who else is selling it, however the key is finding your niche, your unique selling point and defining your customer. You want to narrow your target market down to a specific group of people, the smaller your target market is, the less competition there will be for the same audience. The smaller your audience is the easier it is to connect with them. A common misconception is in order to be successful you have to cater to as many groups as possible, not necessarily. In a crowded market it can be even more difficult to connect with customers because they are constantly bombarded with the same things.
I once read a tweet by blogger the slumflower that said something like "imagine if Rihanna had not started Fenty Beauty because everyone has a makeup line". The beauty industry is one of the most oversaturated markets in the world and with new celebrities starting makeup lines what seems like every other day it was a risky move for Rihanna to have made. However she identified a niche and a gap in the market. Fenty Beauty's marketing strategy was anything short of genius, they showed diversity, inclusivity and challenged beauty ideals yet still being young, fresh and with completely instagrammable branding. Fenty Beauty shows us niche marketing is all about providing an audience—especially one that might feel ignored or undervalued—with a sense of identity and belonging.
When I started my lingerie brand, I targeted millennial women of colour, who had differing body shapes to what is usually portrayed in the media. I did my research and realised VS was the market leader and thought let me do the complete opposite of what their doing and target this lingerie to women of colour who have curvier builds. That is essentially what finding your niche is all about, thinking of a way you can cater to a demographic within a market that is being ignored. The key to finding your niche is to be specific and you do this by following these 3 easy steps.
1. Research Your Market
2. Define Your Customer Profile
3. Determine Your USP
How to Find Your Niche:
1. Research your market - if you read the free ebook 'Research the Basics' you will remember how we spoke about the importance of researching the market. This helps you determine a better understanding of your competitors and it also helps you find some gaps, shortcomings and oversights that you can fill. This is essentially finding problems you can solve. Like in the example of Fenty Beauty; the clearly identified that women of colour were feeling overlooked and they solved that problem.
2. Define Your Customer Profile - you need to have a great understanding of who your customer is. You need to be able to communicate with your customer in their ‘language’, understanding your customer will help you with your brand identity, choose the right products and market in the best way. When doing this you need to be specific the more you understand your customer the more you will be able to paint a picture of what your perfect customer looks and how to target them.
Age – How old is your typical customer?
Income – How much disposable income do your customers have? Is what you’re selling to them a necessity or a luxury? Are they teens with pocket money, struggling students, affluent young professionals, or those on low income looking to maximise value?
Media – What newspapers, magazines and TV shows do they watch? What kind of music do they like? Who are their favourite celebrities? What websites do they regularly visit? Are they fans of TED Talks thinkpieces, regular watchers of Real Housewives, big Kim K fans or glued on instagram?
Interests – Think about what your customers like to do in their spare time. Do they prefer video games to getting outside? What do they like to eat, what relaxes them, what makes them happy?
Location –Where do they live? Is it urban, suburban, in the middle of nowhere – and how does this impact their buying decisions?
Lifestyle – Think about their daily routine. What do they do for a living, and what sort of hours do they work? Who do they live with – children, spouse, housemates, alone? Where do they like to go on holiday? Where do they shop?
Once you’ve researched the media they consume and how they spend their time, you can use this information to decide how you are going to market your product to them. For example a product aimed at pensioners would not be best marketed on social media, you would have to consider advertising in print or handing out flyers, however a product aimed at tech savy teenagers maybe better marketed through social media campaigns. A good customer profile will also help you define your brand values which we will talk about a bit more later in this chapter.
3. Determine Your USP
With all the research you’ve done so far, the next step is to determine what makes you different from everybody else, why should your customer shop with you instead of your competitor. What makes your brand unique and different from what is already out there.
- List the features that are unique to your business
- Customer Service?
- Decide what problem you are solving and what emotional need is your business meeting
This is from the customer’s perspective, maybe you are creating an affordable womenswear clothing brand that caters to women from Sizes UK4-UK24, the problem you are solving is that you are creating a brand that is inclusive of all women despite their dress size.
- What is it about your brand that other brands can not imitate?
Is it the level of quality? Is it your bond and communication with your customers or maybe you offer same day delivery?
Don’t be afraid to compete in a crowded market if a market is crowded, it indicates that there’s a lot of demand for creativity, innovation and an excellent customer service. This is where you step in and fill those gaps.
You can compete and win if you follow the instructions laid out in this article.
What are your thoughts on niche marketing?
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