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One of the biggest problems that SMBs encounter when attempting to compete online is finding a way to cut through all of the noise to reach their target market. In an eCommerce environment stacked with multi-billion dollar players like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, it’s easy to understand why. Overcoming the disadvantages of scale and reach that are inherent in such an environment requires small businesses to take a different approach than their larger competitors, and instead play to their own strengths.
One of the best ways for SMBs to do so is to identify a niche market that they can cater to, which will help to narrow their marketing efforts and enhance results. Reducing the need to compete on multiple fronts allows for the business to establish a solid sales base and a core audience that they can then exploit to grow their brand. Here’s why small businesses should make niche marketing a centerpiece of their plans in today’s crowded eCommerce space.
Identify an Underserved Market
Although it may sound difficult, it is possible to find markets that are still underserved in the world of eCommerce. In fact, the sheer size of the major eCommerce players almost guarantees this to be the case. Amazon, for one, removes products all the time that it believes can’t turn a profit when their shipping costs (which they absorb the bulk of) are factored in. It doesn’t mean that the items aren’t selling well; just that Amazon doesn’t feel like they’ll make enough money to justify the warehouse space the product will occupy.
That means that there are always opportunities for smaller businesses that are willing to take on the challenge of selling products that larger companies like Amazon don’t want to bother with. Ideally, whichever product or service the business chooses should be as specific as possible (think narrow wheelchairs, not general mobility solutions), and not commonly available elsewhere.
Targeting Specific Keywords
One of the best parts of marketing a niche product is that there will be far less competition for associated keywords when approaching SEO tasks and advertising. That means it will take far less time, effort, and marketing spend to rise to the top of SERP pages related to the chosen niche, and less chance that the marketing message will be drowned out by larger competitors.
Niche marketers also have the best chance of identifying long-tail keywords specific to their product that will drive traffic to their web properties because their audience is already in search of a very precise item or service.
Another major benefit of niche marketing is that businesses that engage in it will have a much easier time establishing themselves as an authority, particularly when dealing with a product that’s already difficult to find elsewhere. For example, a business that’s specializing in medieval cosplay outfits can offer detailed information on the origins of the items they’re offering, complete with historical perspective and usage suggestions.
Doing so takes advantage of the audience’s interest in the topic, and makes the business a go-to source for knowledge among the target market, which will serve to increase site traffic, conversion rates, and brand loyalty.
Once a business has solidified a loyal audience in a niche market, they don’t have to stop there. They can take advantage of their position to offer related products and services that appeal to their customers. Even if those items are available elsewhere (and even when available at lower prices), customers will often make additional purchases out of convenience. In fact, that’s the real secret to the success of companies like Amazon, not just the breadth of their product offerings.
That’s also what makes niche marketing such a valuable strategy for small businesses because it allows them to build a following that can be expanded without much additional effort. In short, it’s not about casting a wide net; it’s about making the most out of every existing customer by catering to their specific needs. In a market dominated by big players, it’s the surest route to success for the little guy.