WHAT IS NICHE MARKETING?
A niche is a well-defined subject that is typically part of a larger subject matter.
Wikipedia states that, “Niche marketing is the process of finding and serving profitable market segments and designing custom-made products or services for them. For big companies those market segments are often too small in order to serve them profitably as these market segments often lack economies of scale. Niche marketers are often reliant on the loyalty business model to maintain a profitable volume of sales.”
WELL-DEFINED AREAS OF INTEREST
Niche marketing is the selling or buying of a product or service that targets a special area of demand. Niche marketing targets smaller groups of customers with specialized needs, desires, and established interests. Niches fill customer needs that have been ignored, overlooked, or neglected by others; however, it is the target market that indicates what is lacking in the overall product. Dominating this type of market is your competitive edge in the more generalized product arena. People with special needs and desires tend to spend more to get specialized services.
A SUBSET OF A LARGER AREA OF INTEREST
The niche is a subset of a larger population that shares a particular interest. The subset has a special core interest to which others are not adequately catering; and, it is underserved by the existing market.
Marketing to “niches” involves targeting smaller groups of people who are searching for solutions to specific problems or who are seeking information about well-defined subjects and products. It is the difference between marketing to those searching for pet food (the general market and product) or for rabbit food (the niche product market) and those searching for low calorie, protein rich rabbit food used for breeding rabbits (the micro niche market and product).
If you were to research who wants rabbit food, you would find a rather large market in comparison to those seeking a more specific type of rabbit food (which is the targeted and segmented market; and, the product you offer is the niche product). This distinction will become more important later on when you advertise based upon keyword searches and when you optimize your website.
There definitely exist target markets consisting of those who want their special needs catered to by your specialized niches. The niche marketer presents the product as a way to meet the unique needs of the limited audience, and to a certain extent, those who need the product the most. The primary focus shifts from developing the product to focusing on customer needs. Niche solutions arise from paying careful attention to customer complaints, suggestions, problems, and desires. Then, the return is to continue to create better niche specific products based upon customer input.
NICHE MARKETING AS A MARKETING TECHNIQUE
Again, it seems to indicate that the customer – his wants, desires, and needs – is what is first analyzed and then products are developed to cater to these issues. That is the creation of the niche product.
For affiliate and Internet marketers, however, niche marketing more aptly describes a marketing technique. It strongly refers to the creation of websites that target smaller segments of larger markets. The website is narrow in focus – really promoting one main item or idea – and then introducing related items that enhance the main item.
The marketer can create a niche themed website about that product. Niche marketing is more about product promotion than customer search and interest.
It becomes important to narrow your niche when starting. In that manner you can come to position yourself as an expert in promoting the product. The niche themed website is used to promote the marketer as an authoritative expert regarding the product. It is now easier for the marketer to create a themed website of products that specifically relate to a main issue. It is also now easier to write the sales copy targeted to solve the needs of a small group of customers for whom the product provides benefits and solutions. The same goes for its related group of products.
Now which comes first – the product or the customer? In my opinion, this is best determined by the person spending time on the business. Is it easier for you to become a specialist regarding some hobby or special product interest that you already devote yourself to? Do you have an established passion or expertise about something that can be profitably sold – enough so that you can become self-sufficient?
Or, are you competent at researching target markets? Do you know how to locate potential customers, to spot what they want to purchase and how much they want to spend? Can you identify hot trends in both the purchase of products and in the economy as a whole? Can you spot potential product markets by being aware of the needs and desires of markets presented by social networks, media coverage, geographical differences, et cetera?
For me, it comes down to whether you want to follow customer needs or product developments. Still, there must be a desire and demand for the product or service; and generally, one that solves a problem or produces a significant improvement in some area. Either way, the next step is how to research the market – especially the niche market.
When first starting your online business it will help to narrow your topic and focus as much as possible. Success might require learning more about your product, pricing and marketing techniques, analytical tools, online business development issues, website development and practices, and more.
Look for categories of items and see if they can be further sub-categorized into micro-niches. Learn to identify niches within niches (micro-niches) and how to focus on hot, lucrative micro-niches. Gain ideas for the development of your own niches.
Consider visiting various online forums as these are places where people discuss problems and desires. Research, visit, and join forums using a search engine query.
The Internet is a super source of an enormous amount of information. Learn how to perform search engine queries and follow relevant search result links. Offline methods include going to libraries, book stores, and reading magazines. Read about marketing, product development, customer service, the economy, and hot trends.
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