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Finding A Niche For Your Products or Services

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 by Kathleen Hawkins

 I think that all business owners can agree that marketing and advertising are especially important in today’s economy–as well as networking with other professionals. We know that spreading the word about our great products and services is essential to bringing in new business. And new business is critical in a market where existing customers may not have as many dollars to spend as in the past.

Before you spend any of your hard earned money on marketing and advertising, you should strive to create a niche for your product that distinguishes you from other businesses. We tend to think of a niche as a place where we are comfortable, but I’d like it to be the place where we are comfortable–and wildly successful!

To use my business as an example of niche marketing, my husband and I, who own a photography studio, decided to create art instead of just photographs, thus increasing our client’s perceived value of our product and services.

However, the niche concept can relate to any product, for example, a chocolate store can offer higher quality chocolate than its competition, and may carve out a reputation for assorted candy apples or custom baskets delivered nationally.

You can find your niche as well. Look at your product or service and evaluate what it offers to potential customers. Then, think about what types of customers you would like to attract. You may need to do some research to determine what it will take to bring those people into your business.

Keep in mind that your product and service need to be consistent. For example, if you package your candy apples in a gold bag with a ribbon, then they should always be put into a gold bag with a ribbon, and you may want to put your other candy in ribbon festooned bags as well. This becomes your brand and it’s something your customers know they can count on when they purchase products from your store. Sometimes, it’s all about the packaging.

Once you have determined what your product or service is, you can begin identifying who will buy it. Is your customer young or old, male or female, married or single? Do they fall within a specific income level or educational status? Where do they live, work, eat and shop? Do they belong to organizations, clubs, and churches?

Without a true understanding of who these people are, you are simply gambling with your marketing dollars. Take the time to identify the common characteristics of your market. If you do a good job of identifying your potential customers, then you can use the strategies employed by the nation’s leading businesses to attract them.

Remember: stay within your niche. Do not try to be everything to everyone because you will never appeal to any one group and your marketing budget will never be adequate…or effective! If you want to appeal to more than one market, it’s important to make sure that you change your product and marketing approach for each type of customer.

What it all comes down to, I think, is deciding whom you want to do business with and developing the right products to attract those people. Because work is always more fun when we like the people we do business with, isn’t it?