Niche vs General Marketing: What’s the Difference?
December 19, 2016 | Jessica Mehring
Let me ask you a serious question.
Do you want to compete with Walmart?
My guess is no.
Not many businesses try to compete with Walmart.
Walmart stores have everything under the sun, for every kind of person … at the lowest possible prices.
Successful businesses – especially successful small businesses – usually don’t compete with the Walmarts of the world. Instead, they zero in on a target buyer, create offerings for that specific type of person, and market and sell those offerings in a very targeted and strategic way.
These businesses serve a particular subset of customers (think scrapbooking aficionados or Dungeons & Dragons enthusiasts) using the power of niche marketing.
The Difference Between Niche Marketing and General Marketing
Niche marketers are masters of positioning. They make it crystal clear who they serve and how.
General marketers use more of a shotgun approach, spraying marketing efforts at a wide audience and hoping to hit one or two interested buyers.
Here’s a simple breakdown to get your gears turning:
I already gave you the example of Walmart as a company who uses general marketing practices. Here’s an example of a company that uses niche marketing …
Arianne Foulks and her team at Aeolidia specialize in designing online shops for creative e-commerce brands using the Shopify platform.
Should YOU Be Using Niche Marketing?
For general marketers, brand recognition is everything. Think Target, Subway, and Tylenol. These companies spend millions of dollars each year to get their brands in as many places as possible.
If you’re a smaller business, or you simply serve a narrower audience than these generalist brands, you need a different approach. Niche marketing can help.
Niche marketing works well for companies with smaller budgets. Simply put, marketing to a smaller, more targeted audience takes you out of the arena of competing with generalist giants who have massive advertising budgets. Niche marketers focus their resources on customers they know best, and are able to serve those customers better because of it.
Niche marketing also works better for SEO purposes. When people search online for a product or service to solve their problem, they search for specific terms. Having specific market terms in your content will serve up that content faster in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Finally, niche marketing drives more email opt-ins because a niche audience is more passionate about what you’re selling. No one gets excited about t-shirts … but there’s a slew of people who would opt-in for content about using t-shirts to promote their brands.
If this all sounds good to you, then you might want to consider using a niche marketing approach.
Ready to Use Niche Marketing? Start With These Strategies
In niche marketing, success stems less from how much budget you spend and more from having a customer-focused approach.
Tailor your content to your audience. Use targeted, “insider” terms for keywords in your marketing messaging, content, and social media. Think of words and phrases that your target customers would use while they searched for a solution like yours. This is one of the few times I will tell you that a bit of jargon can work wonders. Use words your customers would use – and use them correctly – to connect with your audience. This strategically placed jargon might even earn you a little “street cred.”
Encourage your audience to share, repost, retweet, and invite friends to join your mailing list. Niche customers love to share their passion with the people they know – so use this as an opportunity to grow your audience with social proof.
If your product lines lean toward the broad or all-purpose, break them down further into niche offerings. Then create targeted marketing campaigns for each of the niched-down products and services.
Build customer loyalty by creating a VIP mailing list. Send exclusive deals, sales, events, and inside info to your fans and customers. Look at how Under Armour – a company that began by offering moisture-wicking compression shirts to active people – does it on their website with a pop-up welcome mat offering free shipping in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
The “Trick” to Niche Marketing Is Focusing on Your Audience
All successful niche marketing campaigns have one thing in common: They connect with and engage a very specific audience.
Are you a smaller business with a tight marketing budget? Can you zero in your marketing efforts on a narrow cross-section of buyers? Do you know your target buyers intimately (can you speak their language? do you know where they hang out online?)?
If you answered “yes” to those questions, you are in a prime position to use niche marketing.