You can’t please everyone. It may sound like an overused trope – but in their haste to grow, many business owners and marketers overlook this widely-held consumer truth. It stands to reason that if you target as many customers as you can, you are more likely to succeed, right?
Well… nope. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in our economy of choice, where consumers now have an abundance of options available to them at the click of a button. In fact, today’s consumers are seeking out specialists rather than generalists.
Gaming hardware business Razer won legions of fans through being hyper-focused on what the gaming community wants. CEO Tan Min Liang has declared that the company doesn’t just design gaming products – it designs products for gamers. By meeting the hyper-specific needs of their audience, Razer was able to win their cult-like loyalty to the brand. The same formula worked for Secretlab, the makers of premium customisable leather chairs that has gained cult status amongst gamers.
The same trend is playing out in the beauty industry, with niche beauty brands like Glossier sweeping up awards and being named “top beauty brand”, ahead of traditional beauty industry juggernauts. Glossier was born from founder Emily Weiss’ beauty blog, “Into The Gloss”. After growing a strong community on the platform and understanding their needs, Weiss created a brand with a narrow product range that focused on celebrating her customers’ natural beauty. Glossier’s success is built upon a deep understanding of who their customers are and what they really want.
Go niche to grow
Going niche may sound like a risky move – but it’s necessary especially if you’re a small business with limited resources. Instead of pitting yourself against the biggest players in the industry who have their fingers in every pie, think carefully about playing to your strengths. Finding your niche crowd is in fact a shrewd business strategy to stand out and create a stronger, more human brand. Marketing for a specific crowd instead of the mainstream will help you attract consumers that share similar ideals and philosophies. These people are likely to become your brand advocates and loyal repeat customers.
On the other hand, trying to appeal to the masses may cause you to lose focus on your core business. In times of slow growth, it can be tempting to add to your company’s product line to jumpstart fresh sales. The risk is when new innovations share little affinity with your core business – it may confuse and alienate your customers.
Be comfortable with exclusion
It can be tricky figuring out who to exclude from your marketing efforts. The way to narrow it down is to first figure out who your current audience is. This can be done by analysing existing data, doing research on what’s trending in your industry or simply speaking to your sales team. Learn how to define your target audience here.
Other than product type, niches can also be defined by locality, demographic groups and even price point. When you’ve articulated your business niche, you’ll have a much clearer picture of who you can sell to. This template is useful in defining who exactly your target audience is.
When carrying out your online marketing efforts, don’t be afraid to utilise exclusion tools available on social media and search engines. If you’re targeting new customers, for instance, it would make sense to exclude customers who have already made purchases. If you’re selling only to those within a particular locality, location-based exclusions would be crucial. With Facebook, you can also create custom audiences to exclude from your campaigns. This will lower your cost-per-click or cost-per-action, by targeting only those who are motivated to purchase.
Being specific about what you sell can also improve your search results – and translate to better online visibility. “We sell men’s clothing” is far less specific than “We sell tailored men’s shirts made of sustainable fabric”. Going for lower-volume search phrases might seem unappealing at first, but can actually result in better sales. That’s because those searching for your product have specific interests and are almost ready to purchase.
Adapt to your customers' needs
If you occupy the mindshare within a niche community, there’s an opportunity there to “own” it. By narrowly defining your audience, you can develop messaging that reaches and connects with individuals by addressing specific problems they’re experiencing. The more granular the issues you can address, the better. As you grow closer to your community of advocates, you will also be the first to anticipate new trends, demands and areas of dissatisfaction. This will keep your business nimble and allow you to pivot to changing consumer needs.
Identifying who and what to exclude from your business focus isn’t about alienating people – it’s about knowing what your brand stands for and who you will appeal to. You’ve probably personally experienced at some point that trying to please everybody leaves you emotionally exhausted and over-stretched. For a business, the implications are far worse; you may simply disappear into sea of options available in the crowded marketplace. Taking a leaf from some of the success stories in recent years, give your true advocates the attention and laser-focus that will grow your business.
If you’d like to speak to us about articulating your business niche, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Miranda Yeo