Niche products are ones that appeal only to specific customers and only satisfy ones with particular tastes or preferences. They can include products aimed at people with particular hobbies and lifestyles, such as raw vegan diets or medieval battle reenactment. They can also include ones for people with particular requirements, such as clothing for disabled adults or tools for left-handed people.
There are also many niche products that accompany specific technologies, such as replacement parts for discontinued cars or accessories for civilian drones.
Opportunities for niche products have really opened up thanks to the internet, and they continue to open up as global markets continue to grow and evolve.
Health, beauty and baby products remain strong growth areas in markets such as China and as more Indians start to shop online for the first time, it’s likely niches could emerge and grow in this market too. Because niche markets have small audiences, it’s well worth vendor’s time to seek out customers in new markets.
There’s one other reason why niches are so attractive for vendors: when consumers are passionate about that type of product, they become less price sensitive. That’s why Lolita outfits are so expensive, and why there’s a market for handmade chainmail clothing. Passion lowers price sensitivity and means customers will pay more for the exact item they want.
Despite the highly specific nature of these kinds of product, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier to understand your buyer. Luckily niche audiences often generate their own content to explore topics of interest to them.
This might take the form of online discussion in subject-specific chat forums or more general ones such as Reddit or Quora. Check what the chatter is in social media, on platforms such as Twitter and comments on YouTube. This will help reveal what your audience are exploring and the problems they are trying to solve.
You can also engage with your audience directly. Many niche audiences can be reached at live events and they may also interact with you directly in online forums.
This is a great way to gain a better understanding of your audience and what they want. Segmentation is critical to making the most of your niche product and understanding your audience is critical to this.
Understanding your niche product is all about understanding what your unique value proposition is and how to convey this to your audience. Just because a market is a niche one, doesn’t mean there isn’t competition. In fact, in a tight product space competition can be even more intense because of the small pool of buyers in that niche.
Refining your search activities can really help reach your niche audience. Because it’s likely to be a very small search volume you need to really get your search strategy right so that you appear for as many related queries as possible.
Do some keyword research to identify what your competitors are doing to reach the same niche audience. This is as simple as performing your own web searches for a range of relevant keywords and checking competitor domains in SEMrush, Moz, Raven or Ahrefs to see what keywords they are ranking for.
People that care enough about niche products to search them out online are likely to be resigned to buying from smaller retailers and from outside their home market. This doesn’t mean however that they are going to drop their guard completely.
It’s still important that they trust you and your platform and feel confident about the buying process. They are still likely to strongly favour information in their own language and want to have things like product size in a format they can relate to.
Localise your offer
Although niche products may share a small audience across many markets, your audience doesn’t necessarily bring the same values and expectations to bear across all markets. Take the audience for men’s drag fashion and makeup.
Although the UK and US both have thriving drag scenes, the approach is different in each market. The US approach is more polished than the UK’s drag tradition and there’s more emphasis on pageantry.
The UK scene is snarkier and more satirical and more influenced by pantomime. The same marketing approach won’t necessarily work in both markets, although they share commonalities.
Niche marketing isn’t like marketing commodities that have a wider audience. It requires you to take a different approach to spread the word about your product. You need to choose your channels carefully because a scattergun approach just doesn’t work for a niche audience.
Facebook Custom Audiences allows you to target ads to people based on identifiers such as the age of their children or their interests (meditation, pet ownership). Or you can enter communities of interest and participate in discussions via takeovers, AMAs or sponsored content.
The most important part of marketing to niche audiences is to listen to them. Although it’s true in any type of marketing, niche audiences tend to be the ones with the greatest passion and the strongest opinions about your product and brand. The answers to your marketing conundra lie with them, the real experts in your field.