In a previous post on B2B marketing in a niche market I covered the major factors that limit sales. In this post I will suggest some ways to address the first of those issues, the relatively small number of potential customers and prospects.
The definition of a niche is a clearly defined segment of the market. It is about satisfying a specific customer need that is, in general, not covered by any major competitors. A niche must be quantifiable and measurable, accessible and, probably most important, both of sufficient size to be viable and growing at a fast enough rate to sustain sales growth.
In some cases there may be less than 200 customers in a niche which means many standard marketing techniques simply will not work. Delivering a general message to many in the hope the few percent that respond will be sufficient to sustain business is not a viable way forward. Instead it is important to precisely define the niche, the specific offer the business provides and why (exactly) it satisfies customer needs.
Identify Prospects In The Niche Market
Armed with this information on the benefits the business can offer and a precise profile of existing customers it should be possible to identify all potential customers in the niche in whatever the defined geographical area may be. The challenge then is to deliver the message on what benefits the business may offer to as many of these potential customers as practical.
A two pronged attack based part on reaching out to potential customers and part on pulling them in to the business is often the best way forward.
Pull Prospects Into The Business
It is highly likely prospects in the niche will be searching for information on the product or service offered by the business. As a niche product is not mainstream it is probable those searches will be specific and either carried out online (in most cases) or by reviewing specialist publications. As the product or service will be different in some way from that generally available then the volume of searches will tend to be higher than for mainstream product.
A web presence focussed on delivering information to any prospect typing in a specific search term is essential. The priority should be to deliver, to anyone landing on the website, the information they require to make an informed purchasing decision. If, as in most cases, the process is not commodity based (find, quick check of specification, buy) the first priority is to supply the required information, build credibility and start an ongoing communication process (Email opt in)
Every effort should be made to secure press coverage in the form of press releases and feature stories in relevant publications to push the message to the proportion of the market either not online or who still trust the printed word more than what they find online. In one respect it can be difficult to obtain coverage in a market dominated by major brands but on the other a story about something outside the mainstream is often of interest to journalists.
It is not practical to reach all potential prospects by promotional activity alone which means a process is required to actively reach out to prospects on the list. Outbound activities such as telemarketing, direct mail and Email marketing can all be effective if the message is not sales based but is based entirely on seeking permission to continue to communicate (perhaps via newsletter). A professional telemarketing campaign can be particularly useful as it is a measurable activity
The most effective way to increase niche market sales is to specifically identify all potential customers in the niche in a given geographic area then to combine the best of inbound and outbound marketing techniques to reach out to those customers and communicate with them on an ongoing basis. In a growing niche it is also important to track potential new prospects entering the market.
- How To Select The Best New Product Ideas - July 20, 2015
- A B2B Market Analysis Template - June 4, 2015
- Can A Content Marketing Mentor Add Value - May 5, 2015
- How To Create B2B Case Studies That Generate Results - April 1, 2015
- An Integrated B2B Marketing Campaign Vs The Ad Hoc Approach - March 17, 2015