It’s easy when you’re trying to grow a business to be open to the idea of trying anything and everything. We’ll grasp for just about anything that might work. Often times, people approach the marketplace with their product or service and they want to throw out a huge fishing net, assuming that it’ll have the greatest draw. What they learn quickly (or at least I truly hope they learn this sooner than later) is that reaching the masses doesn’t always equate to sales. If the likes, comments, emails and follows aren’t converting, they’re not doing you much good.
Many of us have a scarcity mindset in the beginning. We are seeking the first dollar to offset all of the investment we’ve already put in to launch or scale the business, and want to reach the masses to pull in the quickest sales we can. What often happens is the person stands back wondering why on earth they’re reaching a huge audience but not translating it to sales.
As a business coach, it’s sometimes more appropriate to talk to my clients about niche marketing and narrowing our focus to a specific target market. The knee-jerk reaction to this is typically business owners that are terrified at the idea of narrowing in on a smaller, more specific selection of customers.
You want me to cut out how many people when I advertise?!
The idea of niche marketing may feel like a risk, but it’s effectiveness far surpasses mass marketing for many types of businesses. Niche marketing is laser-focused on your ideal customer: the demographics, shopping habits, and so forth.
If you’re niche target is Millennial females, for example, it is safe to assume you would not reach them through mass marketing postcards sent in the mail to advertise your new business. Why not? How many Millennial’s read snail mail? Not many. They’re stopping by their mailbox only out of obligation once a week to carry mail from the box to the recycle bin. Trust me. They pay their bills online, they read news and emails from their phones, and are proficient with using an app to organize almost every aspect of their lives. A targeted campaign on social media would be incredibly more effective in a case like this. Niche marketing to this same group of Millennial females may even zoom in even further. Your marketing may take into consideration whether they live in the suburbs or the city, their pay scale and discretionary spending, or their lifestyle (married, single, kids/no kids, etc.).
Does this mean mass marketing is always a bad idea? Absolutely not. Mass marketing can be a great idea for commodities and general services that most of us need: grocery or department stores, plumbers, and appliance companies, for example. Spending a large amount of money to reach thousands of people via commercial, newspaper ads, or on billboards can be highly effective for those types of companies. A far reach is incredibly effective for them since their target audience isn’t narrowed in. Males and females, 18 year olds and 80 year olds, city and suburbs… we all need those types of services at some point.
Often times, a business with launch with niche marketing and then as the brand grows, they may use a mass marketing type of campaign as brand awareness – and their marketing budget – both grow.
Stearns Lending CEO, Glenn Stearns, has advice that I just love. He suggests that you find your BUYER before you develop the entire product or service. Narrow in on the buyer and then plan the details of your product or service to suit that buyer. Build your company with that specific buyer in mind.
Who is your buyer?
What are some of the habits of your buyer? Do they shop brick & mortar or online?
What is their discretionary spending- does your price point fit this?
What is your buyer’s pain point? This is my favorite. What are you solving or doing to make life easier for your buyer?
What differentiates you from your competition?
If you can answer, in as much detail as possible, these questions then you are likely going to hone in on the type of marketing you should be doing. Perhaps your marketing is incredibly effective right now, which means you’ve worked through this process already, whether you realized it or not.
I was given advice years ago that really resonated with me. I was told to talk (or write) to my preferred client. I envision her and I write specifically to her. Initially, this worried me because I was cutting out SO MANY people that followed me on FB, that might read my blogs, or be in the audience at a speaking event. Here’s the thing though: I resonated that much more with the target audience when I was able to talk in a way that impacted them, or discuss pain points that I knew they had. Funny enough, even some of the male audience still loved reading and hearing me speak and referred their wives or colleagues to me! The more authentic you are, the further your reach can go. I may not say something applicable to a 45 year old male, but he knows his wife inside-and-out and whether or not she needs to hear my message. Do you see the difference? Don’t be afraid to narrow your audience. Instead, fear that your audience is out there and that your message isn’t resonating because you’re playing it too safe.
Keep in mind that a product or service that we might consider to be a commodity may still benefit from identifying and targeting a specific audience.
We all need clothing, yet we tend to either shop boutiques, shop exclusively online, or shop in department stores. Nowadays, you can have a stylist ship you outfits, you pick what you want and you ship back the rest. Hallelujah. That was easy. Those are all very different marketing plans even though they’re all selling clothing.
We all need groceries, yet we tend to shop at farmer’s markets, large grocery chains, or specialized stores. Again, they’re all selling food but they market to certain types of customers.
Set aside 10 minutes to run through the questions from earlier, and test out some adjustments on your marketing or branding.
What other topics do YOU want to hear? What struggle has you treading water? Where do you need to improve, and you just can’t quite find the resource? Send me a message or find me on social (links below) and I would LOVE to incorporate that topic into a future blog (and don’t worry, I’ll reply to you personally even sooner to keep you moving forward in the meantime!).