How to Develop a Niche Marketing Strategy that Drives Growth

How to Develop a Niche Marketing Strategy that Drives Growth

As of March 2020, over 804,390 businesses in the U.S. were less than one year old. Combine that with the 31.7 million small businesses vying for customers, and the competition seems even more fierce. So how can you possibly create a marketing strategy that stands out? Diving into a specific niche is the way to set your business apart.

Let’s look at how a handful of businesses use niche marketing to their advantage, before walking through the steps to create your own growth-generating strategy.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template

5 Examples of a Niche Marketing Strategy

1. Flylow Gear

With 9.2 million skiers and snowboarders in the U.S, the pool of potential customers seems wide enough for all to share. But popular brands like Patagonia and The North Face can be found in almost every sports shop, making it hard to convince customers to seek out smaller brands with fewer offerings.

Flylow Gear figured out how to fight through the noise. Instead of targeting all customers interested in winter gear, their niche marketing strategy focuses on backcountry skiers looking for no-nonsense, quality gear. Their products are featured in all the right places — like Powder magazine — to reach their ideal buyers. Even their confirmation emails share that they’re a small, mountain-based crew of dedicated skiers.

flylow gear example of niche marketing

Image source

2. Octavia Elizabeth Jewelry

For ethically-minded consumers searching for jewelry, the most important factor is knowing about raw materials sourcing and product creation. That’s because this $300 billion dollar industry has come under fire for using child labor and causing extensive environmental harm.

Octavia Elizabeth understands the need for responsible jewelry. The company’s commitment to fair working conditions, legitimate living wages, and ethical production are clearly stated on its website.

Not only has Octavia Elizabeth honed in on customers looking for sustainably-sourced, handmade jewelry who are willing to pay a higher price, the brand has also elevated its niche offering by associating itself with celebrity clientele.

Octavia Elizabeth niche marketing

Image source

3. Natural Dog Company

Research estimates Americans will spend $99 billion on their pets in 2020 alone. So how can a pet-focused business stand out amongst the thousands of memory foam beds, custom carry-on bags, and dog-friendly ice creams saturating the market?

Natural Dog Company caters to a very specific kind of pet owner: the eco-conscious consumer who pampers their pooch. By giving their organic and all-natural skin care products names like PAWdicure Pack and offering discount codes for free dog treats, they put pups first — which is exactly what their customers do.

natural dog company niche marketing

Image source

4. Pimsleur

Learning a new language can be a struggle, and the options for doing so are definitely overwhelming. Will you really be speaking like a Parisian after spending $1,000 on a program?

Rather than making promises of perfect grammar and flawless accents, Pimsleur focuses on learners who need to improve their speaking and listening skills. The program includes a 30-minute audio lesson every day, with each conversation building off the previous ones. While not the most innovative language-learning app, its audio-first approach is great for customers looking to improve their conversational skills.

Pimsleur niche marketing

Image source

5. Photographers Without Borders

It’s one thing to entice people to buy a product, but it’s another thing entirely to attract donors for a nonprofit. While this type of organization may not seem like the right fit for a niche marketing strategy, it’s essential for bringing in donations and volunteers.

Photographers Without Borders has partnered with major organizations like Adobe, Sony, and Patagonia by honing in on a particular marketing technique: storytelling.

By prioritizing ethical storytelling, whether in a social media post, email newsletter, or online webinar, the organization has built a reputation for producing high-quality work that address the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and UNDRIP. Plus, their Code of Ethics makes it clear what type of community members and partners they’re aiming to attract.

Photographers without borders niche marketing strategy

Image source

Developing a Niche Marketing Strategy

Now that you have a better grasp on how brands from all types of industries create strategies that drive growth, it’s time to shape your own.

Step 1: Know your competition.

Developing a niche marketing strategy is impossible without scoping out your competition. That’s because it’s crucial to understand your unique selling proposition — what you do differently that makes customers choose your company over another.

Maybe you design ceramic dishware that can’t be found anywhere else, or maybe you’ve developed a tool that makes it easier for marketers to send emails. Whatever is it, find your speciality and craft a story around it.

Step 2: Narrow down your niche market.

Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky is famous for having said, “Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.” Put simply, it’s better to reach a small group of people who sing praises about your company, rather than a large group who thinks it’s just okay.

You can do this by honing in on the right niche market for your business. While this takes time and thought, it’s worth the effort to find loyal customers who will gladly choose you over competitors.

For instance, Thirdlove is the first underwear company to offer bras in half-size cups. Through their inclusive sizing options and emphasis on body diversity, they’ve built a loyal community of over 327,000 Instagram followers.

Step 3: Go where your buyers are.

If your ideal customer spends all of their time scrolling on Facebook, it wouldn’t make sense to develop a niche marketing strategy around email campaigns. Enter market research.

You already know who your buyers are, but research helps you go deeper to find out where they shop, how they find products, and what influences their purchase decisions. Once you have that information, you’ll get the most return for your marketing dollars.

Step 4: Listen to the word on the street.

Everyone has problems that need solutions. If you listen to people’s thoughts about a certain product or service, you can find opportunities to fill in the gaps.

David Barnett did just that when he engineered a solution for constantly tangled headphones. What started out as two buttons glued to the back of a phone case quickly turned into Popsockets, a company that brought in $169 million in revenue just seven years after its founding.

Step 5: Create a unique brand.

Once you’ve defined your unique selling point, outlined your buyer persona, found out where to reach them, and listened to their problems — all that’s left is to build a brand identity. A well-defined brand will help you develop a niche marketing strategy that’s authentic to you and attracts ideal customers.

For instance, Etsy’s position as the marketplace for independent artists has attracted more than 138 million buyers. In a 2020 TV commercial, the brand touched on the pandemic and used emotional marketing tactics to encourage support for small businesses that sell through the platform.

Creating a niche marketing strategy that drives growth for your business is more than creating a social media ad or sending a weekly email promotion. If you take the time to learn about your customers and differentiate your brand, you can develop a strategy that attracts the right buyers and helps you hit your growth goals.

Marketing Plan Template

How Brands Can Nurture and Develop Emotional Intelligence (and Why It Matters)

How Brands Can Nurture and Develop Emotional Intelligence (and Why It Matters)

Emotional intelligence has long been discussed as a critical component of leadership.

The ability to regulate your own emotions — as well as the emotions of others’ — has proven invaluable on an individual level.

Consider, for instance, the supreme importance of having a boss who doesn’t cry or yell every time a meeting doesn’t go her way.

Alternatively, think about how important it is to have a leader who encourages positive, effective conflict resolution between teams when misalignment or miscommunication occurs.

All of which is to say: emotional intelligence matters.

But Kristin Harper, CEO of Driven to Succeed and author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career, takes it one step further, arguing that emotional intelligence can (and should) be fostered by brands, not just individuals.

Here, let’s dive into how you can nurture and develop emotional intelligence for your brand as a whole — and why it matters in the first place.

[Note: the italic headings are the questions we asked Harper. The subsequent text is Harper’s direct quotes.]

→ Download Now: Free Brand Building Guide

1. How can brands nurture and develop emotional intelligence?

Let’s start first with the definition of emotional intelligence for individuals, which is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

EI is a combination of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

For brands, I define EI using four pillars:

  • Brand Consciousness: Defining the brand identity including its attributes, values, heritage, tone of voice, and personality in a way that resonates with your target audience and distinguishes itself from key competitors
  • Brand Management: Providing relevant, predictable brand assets and experiences that delight the target audience, address their unmet needs, and build loyalty
  • Customer Intimacy: Taking a genuine interest in the challenges, concerns, feelings, perspectives, and unmet needs of its customers and stakeholders to build an emotional connection
  • Customer Engagement: Activating marketing campaigns while engaging in thoughtful, intentional, two-way dialogues with customers

Whether people or brands, the most effective way to develop emotional intelligence is through unbiased curiosity. Spend time learning, observing, asking questions, and discussing what’s on people’s hearts and minds. Doing so in a non-judgmental way will increase empathy, emotional intelligence, and naturally lead to more relevant products, services, and advertising.

2. How can a brand learn to measure its emotional intelligence? Are there any quantitative or qualitative opportunities to measure EI in companies?

It’s not uncommon for mature brands to measure brand consciousness through equity studies.

In addition to awareness, performance attributes, brand imagery, and purchase behavior, these quantitative studies can also measure customers’ feelings and attachment towards a brand and how it changes over time.

However, in a competitive marketplace where consumers are evolving, the pace of business is accelerating, and there is more data than people know what to do with, it’s important for brand teams to complement their brain power with heart and intuition on a regular basis.

This is best done through lively, meaningful conversations with your customers or target audience. At Driven to Succeed, we offer online Community Dialogues, where we uncover deep insights around brand perceptions and opportunities for growth.

3. Which brands stand out to you as examples of ones with high emotional intelligence?

The insurance industry’s response to the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 is a prime example of brands demonstrating high emotional intelligence.

From Allstate to Nationwide and beyond, multiple insurance brands have adapted to these unprecedented times by issuing premium refunds, deferring payments, and communicating with customers with an on-time message and an empathetic tone of voice.

Image Source

4. How can emotional intelligence impact a business’ bottom line? In other words, why does it matter for brands to try to develop and demonstrate emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence leads to empathy, action, and increased market share for brands.

When a brand is in-tune with their customers, they can develop and charge a premium for innovative products and services, deliver more relevant advertising, and engage with customers in a way that is distinct and preferred versus their competitors.

Ultimately, demonstrating emotional intelligence builds loyalty, increases market share and helps to drive top and bottom-line growth.

Kristin Harper is CEO of Driven to Succeed, LLC which provides market research, brand strategy consulting, and keynote speaking on leadership and emotional intelligence. She is also author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career.


New Call-to-action

How to develop a strong social media linking strategy? – [Case Study]

Since the first Facebook post, Tweet and Instagram upload, social media has brought about something of a technological and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18013662 social revolution. Social media is a part of most people’s everyday lives as we share information, pictures ad stories online with friends, family and wider audiences. Whilst social media might provide entertainment and help us keep in touch with people, for businesses it is a highly competitive environment where thousands of businesses of all sizes are competing for the attention of potential customers.

Social media is important because it builds trust in a brand, allows people to share reviews online and gives businesses an opportunity to develop more meaningful relationships with its customers. Because there is so much competition and so many businesses all wanting to talk to targeted groups of potential customers, effective use of social media is about more than just posting some interesting content.

Developing a linking strategy which helps to promote your brand is an essential part of any digital marketing activity, but every social media platform that you use needs a different approach which reflects and recognises the particular nuances of each platform. This activity also needs to consider the users for each platform and the reason that you are using that platform in the first place. It’s also important to have a method for monitoring impact and engagement with social media.

Done well a linking strategy will; help to optimise links, increase website traffic, improve brand awareness and enhance visibility on search engine results pages.

On Twitter

The recent pilot to increase Tweets from 140 to 280 characters has delivered an increase in the number of tweets but has seen no real difference in the length of tweets! Twitter works really well for linking content. Over 90% of all Twitter content is focussed around clickable links. To make the most of this opportunity, here are some tips:

  • Make sure tweets are brief and succinct
  • Make sure links are clear, and that your bio also features links to your website
  • Twitter offers a ‘pretty links’ PlugIn – make sure you’re using it to help make your tweets more noticeable
  • Use a tool such as Hootsuite to schedule Tweets – you might be busy during the daytime when your customers might be looking at Twitter, so use a solution that keeps your business engaged when it matters to your customers

On Facebook:

Facebook offers a number of promotional opportunities from creating a page through to PPC advertising targeted at specific demographics. Increasingly Facebook has repositioned itself as a platform for sharing between friends and has downplayed the commercial aspects of the site. This means that linking is even more important. So, when you’re putting content of Facebook always make sure:

  • Links are visible so people can see them – this is known to deliver increased click-throughs
  • People have limited attention spans, especially when scrolling through their updates, so keep descriptions brief
  • Images and videos are always going to capture people’s interest (and Facebook likes this sort of content as well)!
  • At least occasionally that you offer information and content for free
  • And don’t forget to promote competitions and freebies to get people through to your site

On Instagram

Although less focussed on linking content, Instagram is proven to help with business engagement – and business that use the platform well benefit form much higher engagement rates than Facebook! Remember that Instagram won’t allow you to put links on your posts, so there are other ways to maximise your use of Instagram:

  • Adding a pretty link to a biography is really helpful to encourage engagement
  • Adding a deep link to your website to take people into a specific part of the site is often more effective on Instagram than simply linking to your home page
  • As Instagram is an image led platform, high quality images are absolutely essential. Creating a photo library of high quality imagery will help maximise the impact of Instagram.

So remember, Facebook and Twitter are great for links, but effective linking on Instagram is likely to have a far more impactful result when it comes to customer engagement!