By definition, niche products do not appeal to the mass market. That’s not to say that there isn’t demand for them, just that they appeal to a small and particular demographic. Niche products are unlikely to be ‘impulse purchases’ and so it’s pointless spending thousands of dollars on an online advertising campaign that will present the niche product to any old Joe.
When marketing niche products it is more important than ever to identify and target a specific type of customer. Here we look at how to create a successful online marketing campaign for niche products and services.
- Understand your customer. If you’ve been selling your niche products for some time you’ll probably have a pretty good understanding of what kind of people your customers are, what they are interested in and what drives them. If you are launching a new range, then take some time to research your potential customers. By approaching your products from the point of view of the customer you’ll be able to move on to step two – Brand Creation.
- Create a brand. Niche products will only appeal to a relatively small group of consumers but the members of that group are highly likely to purchase your product once it is presented to them in an online ad. However, niche customers are also amongst the most discerning so the brand needs to be strong and attention grabbing.
- Get the product out there. By running giveaways, sending freebies to clubs and so on you can start to get your product into the hands of those that will want it. Niche customers will quickly spread the word through social media and other forums that will boost sales. For niche products to succeed they need to be ‘accepted’ by the community of potential users before they will fly.
- Use this user-generated advertising. Re-tweet positive comments, add testimonials to your website, run Facebook pages and share your customers’ Instagram content.
- Concentrate on your landing page. If you sell a range of products, then you’ll want a separate page dedicated to each product to serve specific requests from your customers. For example, if you’re selling paint and paint brushes to model enthusiasts, make sure that the landing page for people that have searched for ‘model brushes’ takes them to a page selling brushes and not just your home page. Once the brushes are in the customer’s basket, then they can start to browse your site for other, related items. You can also ‘cross sell’ to those customers by showing them your range of paints during check out. Or you can try to ‘up sell’ to them by offering them a pack of 10 brushes rather than a pack of three and so on.
For example, skiphop.com sells baby gear but they have added their own twist to many of the traditional products that similar sites sell. Improving existing products is their USP. They run a very successful online marketing campaign and each of their products has its own dedicated web page with high-quality images and copy that quickly explains what the product is and why it is better than its rivals.
- Focus your advertising. If using Google AdWords, then use very specific keywords in order to present your ad to exactly the right sort of people. If using Facebook, make full use of the ability to specify the gender, location, shopping preferences, income and interests of your audience.
- Understand how your products fit in. Why does this relatively small number of people want to buy your product? How does it complement their previous purchases? What did they do before they had your product? By understanding how your own product improves or replaces other existing products you can ‘piggy back’ on the advertising and branding of those products.
- Go off line. If you’re advertising on an online specialist magazine web site, then why not run the ad in the physical magazine as well? Similarly, attend trade shows and conventions and hand out plenty of brochures and maybe even discount coupons. Your target audience is small so ‘word of mouth’ advertising will spread like wildfire and soon, every potential customer will have heard of your new, exciting product.
Online advertising is an extremely effective way to sell your products but it can also be a ‘money pit’. Before you launch your campaign think about each of the above tips and do your research. Set a budget and keep an eye on how much each sale is costing. By constantly adjusting your campaign you will be able to lower the cost of each sale which will maximize profitability. Good luck!