marketing Archives - TAB Corporate

A Guide to Marketing Your Specialized Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialized businesses have their own marketing opportunities and challenges. Also known as niche marketing, the focus is on connecting with a specific, targeted audience and communicating the features and benefits of their products or services.

Unlike marketing efforts that seek to appeal to the broadest possible range of prospective customers, niche marketing generally crafts marketing messages aimed at prospects of a particular age, gender or income bracket—as well as those with a distinctive interest in their specialized product or service.

Obviously, the challenges involved are different than for businesses with a wider appeal to different demographics. At the same time, specialized marketing can capitalize on key benefits, such as:

  • A uniquely knowledgeable customer base
  • A smaller pool of competitors
  • The chance to build extensive brand awareness
  • Potential appeal to high-end, “elite” customers

Building on these benefits should be at the core of any niche marketing effort. Here are other tips for marketing your specialized business:

Know your customer persona. Businesses large and small are increasingly focused on what’s called a “customer (or buyer) persona.” This is vital for niche marketing campaigns, not least because the potential customer pool is much smaller.

Assembling a comprehensive customer profile takes time and effort, but the potential payoff is well worth it. Steps include:

  • Gather customer data from a variety of sources, but most particularly from customers themselves. Find out why they choose your product or service over the competition, and how your offerings improve their businesses and/or lives.
  • Analyze purchasing data to determine current and upcoming buying trends. Evaluate prior marketing campaigns to see how successful they were in appealing to customer needs and challenges. Refine your message to fully reflect the process by which customers decide to purchase your products.
  • Create the “perfect” customer experience. Based on all of this data, offer content that informs every stage of the marketing process, up to and including product packaging and advertising. Assess every customer touchstone, so you’re confident you can provide a seamless, easy-to-navigate online purchasing experience—each and every time.

If you don’t know your niche customers inside and out, you won’t know how to communicate with them.

Leverage the power of user-generated content (UCG). All marketing efforts rely to some extent on word-of-mouth and customer testimonials. But niche marketing takes this to the next level. Customers in specialized markets almost always check out reviews of a business well before making any purchasing decision. If their research turns up an array of enthusiastic customer reviews, much of your marketing work will be done for you.

For this reason, it’s critical to establish a strong relationship with your customer base. Invite them to review and comment on your products or services. Ask permission to share these reviews on your social media platforms, in company blogs, etc. Where possible, encourage them to take a short video of your product in use or a description of how it benefited the customer. Posting these videos online can lead to a dramatic uptake in prospective customer interest. If your budget permits, offer to shoot a “case study” video yourself, detailing the customer’s problem or need and how buying your product dramatically changed their situation.

Share your expertise, free of charge. Almost by definition, a niche business implies the owner and his or her team are experts in a particular field. Sharing this expertise without asking for something in return is another compelling marketing approach.

Look for opportunities to share insights with social media influencers—or become one yourself—but also volunteer to speak at tradeshows or industry conferences, leading webinars, writing newsletters and so on. As word of your expertise grows, so will awareness of your brand and greater interest in your product.

If you’re looking to boost your niche marketing efforts, TAB offers a variety of resources to help. Learn more about generating content that gets people talking about your business. For a big-picture look at strategic marketing and management, click here.

We also invite you to learn more about how becoming a TAB member can increase sales and grow profits.

 

 

Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

According to the Small Business Association, “All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.” Of course, no business wants to spur feelings of disgust or anger with their customers, but as the SBA adds, “creating strong emotions—either positive or negative—can help build a bond between your customers and your business,” which is definitely a goal all businesses share.

If you’re looking for a stronger connection with your target audience, here are tips on emotional marketing that might resonate with your target audience:

Identify their pain points.

Many businesses offer products or services that address problems or challenges their customers face or, in more simple terms, cause them pain. Your marketing efforts can identify these pain points, without coming across in unduly negative terms, and emphasize the solutions your business provides.

Describe how their lives will improve.

Similar to pain points, but with a somewhat more positive slant, your marketing can speak to how your offerings will make your customers’ lives (or businesses) significantly better. The end-result is a greater feeling of happiness, fulfillment and gratification—immensely positive emotions that can lead to greater customer loyalty.

Offer a feeling of belonging.

Just about everyone, consumers and otherwise, wants to feel part of a larger group. That’s why “social proof” is a powerful component of any emotional marketing campaign. Social proof is a term for “people’s reliance on the feedback and actions of others to determine what is right and what is wrong in a given situation,” notes Hootsuite. In our era of social media, the significance of social proof is greater than ever “because feedback from real people is more easily accessible than ever before.”

Here’s where customers’ first-hand experiences come into play. Look for opportunities to highlight upbeat customer testimonials, case studies and videos in your marketing efforts. Prospective customers are more likely to be swayed by watching or listening to people “just like them” who enthusiastically endorse your product or service.

The views of customers on social media platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor and others play into the social proof phenomenon. As part of your marketing efforts, encourage loyal customers to post favorable online reviews of your company on these and other sites. Such reviews give your brand a kind of independent legitimacy paid advertising simply can’t achieve.

Tell a story about your business.

Storytelling evokes emotions, particularly because this activity is “hardwired” into almost everyone’s childhood experience. How can you tell a compelling story about your business—its origins, its challenges and how they were overcome—that illustrate how your product or service has helped changed a customer’s life?

Using storytelling elements has the potential of connecting with people on an emotional level—something far more effective than just telling people you have the “best product around.” Look for loyal customers who are open to talk about your business in a short video, where they describe how your product or service transformed a nagging issue into a beneficial outcome. Their “emotional journey” may be the best way to connect with prospective customers.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t dismiss the idea of emotional marketing just because your product or service doesn’t appear to lend itself to the process. Marketing strategies for everything from microchips to air filters for a car have the potential to forge an emotional connection with prospects. It’s all in how you approach the topic and imaginatively frame your ultimate message.

Want some more great information about marketing? Check out these free resources …

  1. Referral marketing whitepaper http://info.thealternativeboard.com/referral-marketing-ideas
  2. Marketing on a Small Business Budget http://info.thealternativeboard.com/small-business-marketing-advice
  3. How to Create Content that Will Generate Buzz http://info.thealternativeboard.com/how-to-create-content-that-will-generate-buzz
  4. How to Generate PR for your business http://info.thealternativeboard.com/pr-for-small-business
  5. How to Use email to drive more business http://info.thealternativeboard.com/how-to-use-email-marketing-to-drive-more-business
  6. Achieve Strategic Marketing & Management Excellence http://info.thealternativeboard.com/strategic-marketing-and-management