How To Go Niche Without Alienating Your Existing Market
Written by Peta Shulman.
If I had to distill everything I’ve learnt into one tidy takeaway, it’s this – specialising is the key to building a sustainable and scalable business.
The most memorable brands do one thing – or a handful of things – really well. They don’t try to do it all. Going niche has endless benefits. It narrows down the competition and makes it easier to connect with your audience. By doing that, it helps your company to build a loyal consumer base – and a solid brand identity. It’s also more affordable.
When I came up with the idea for GoodnessMe Box, I knew niche was the only option. In 2014, subscription boxes were fairly new to the market, especially in Australia – and there were none offering healthy food. I spotted a specific gap, and I wanted to fill it.
A niche is three things – identifiable, unique and scalable. With that in mind, here are my tips for thriving in a niche market without alienating future or potential markets.
Hammer out your unique selling proposition
Your unique selling point (USP) defines your brand and guides everything you do, from product development to marketing campaigns. Try to look beyond the quality of your products to come up with a USP that combines a few aspects of the consumer experience. GoodnessMe Box delivers a box of food to your door each month – but every single product has been researched, tested and approved by a team of health practitioners to meet our stringent standards. What’s more, we only work with companies that have ethical manufacturing and trading practices. Together, those factors make up the USP.
Concentrate on the value of your product
Niche marketing works when you can prove that you’re the best at something that people value. What can you offer to your customers that no-one else can? How does your product make their lives easier, better or more interesting? How does it tackle their pain points? GoodnessMe Box sifts through hundreds of products on the market so that our customers don’t have to.
Tell a story
You’re selling a lifestyle. In your campaigns, explain how your product will genuinely help your customers to live the lifestyle they aspire to. It shouldn’t be that hard as your USP is the answer.
Find your evangelists
As a business selling a specialised product, I’ve found it’s worth focusing on your brand advocates: those people who are going to sample, review and most importantly, promote your product. Passionate customers are the best kind of customers, and they’ll end up doing the bulk of marketing for your business. Our products get over 1 million views on social media each month purely from organic sharing. You can’t put a price on that!
Pour your resources into them
When you’ve found your loyal, lifelong followers, dedicate most of your time and resources to them, rather than trying to please the masses. Give them that sense of belonging, listen to them when they are asking for something, and it will pay off in sales. We released our Kids Box because our most loyal customers kept asking us for it because finding healthy food for their children was a pain point.
Engage, engage, engage
The most successful companies with niche markets are all about community. Foster that sense of community by engaging with your customers from the get-go and offering added value. For us, that means interacting on social media, responding to customer comments on email and the blog, and offline events.
Communicate in ways your community cares about
We launched with an online model, so social media, EDMs and loyalty programs have served us well. How does your audience communicate? Make sure you are speaking to them via the right channels.
Be guided by your principles as you grow
When we branched out to beauty boxes, we didn’t change our principles. Our philosophy of “integrity” still applies, and that increases our credibility with customers.
Peta Schulman is the founder and Director GoodnessMe Box, packaged health foods delivered in a monthly box, Peta was spoke at Naturally Good 2019’s seminar program and Business Summit. Peta also wrote about how to get on board with a much bigger brand, read her tips here.