If you’re doing well in a niche business you should be flat out because customers need what you do or supply. But what if they don’t know about you? That’s when you need to hit the market with some clever marketing. If you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to marketing, get ready to blow a lot of cash for limited results.
In the world of marketing, your options seem endless. From print to digital, and then from your website, email, and social media, you’ve got your pick of platforms to use. Then you need to consider content type; such as long-form written content like white papers to shorter articles, blogs, videos, and infographics. Don’t forget your paid boost options, like Google Ads, sponsored social posts and remarketing.
Making your head spin? That’s why marketing these days is a specialist field, and marketing for niche businesses even more so. (And I haven’t even mentioned defining your audience and key messages before you start!)
The big mistakes (What NOT to do)
If you want to have a crack at your own marketing, these tips will save you some money. They should also serve as warning signs if you’re dealing with a marketing agency that is pushing any of these things. Not all marketing agencies know how to get the best results for businesses in niche industries.
Don’t feel too bad if you’re guilty of these mistakes in your own business marketing. They’re really common, but avoiding them is the way to go.
Mistake #1: “Dumbing down” content for the sake of Google
It’s true that easier to read content, among a host of other factors, can improve your search results. But remember, the Google Bots aren’t the ones buying your goods and services, your customers are not robots. If you’re in a niche and technical field, part of your edge against competitors will be to show you’re an expert, so include big words and technical language if needed to get your message across.
Mistake #2: Becoming obsessed with vanity metrics
Whether it be hits on your website, names on your newsletter list or engagement with your social posts, numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. In a niche industry, you need your marketing to reach the right people, not just a large number of people.
You won’t just be wasting actual advertising spend if you’re pushing your ads to the wrong people, but potentially wasting the time of your sales team answering calls from mistargeted consumers. Let’s say your business deals with large water piping contracts, you don’t want your phones tied up with people asking for help with their leaking bathroom because you bid on the term “burst water pipe”.
And while thousands of hits on a video on Facebook or LinkedIn might make you feel good, if the people viewing it are located outside your service area or don’t need your services, again you’re wasting your cash. A hundred genuine potential customers will always be more valuable than a thousand random people.
Mistake 3: Purchasing email lists
Nothing makes me want to scream “That’s a terrible idea!” quite as much as hearing someone talk about buying email lists for their marketing. It’s sort of understandable in niche businesses trying to buy a target list of potential customers. Unscrupulous dealers pick up a few keywords from your website and tell you they can give you details of people in a specific industry. That’s usually untrue.
There are so many reasons why buying email lists is a bad idea, but the two biggest ones are that these contacts don’t want to buy from you, and adding them to your current list will hurt your future marketing efforts. Let me explain.
Firstly, if these purchased contacts are even real, they have not opted-in to hear from you, so even if your email gets delivered, you’re just rudely interrupting their day. The chance of them hitting delete, unsubscribe or report as spam are sky-high. They’re not warm, they’re not interested, they’re not genuine prospects.
The second issue, and potentially one more damaging to your business, is that purchased email addresses taint your contact list and dirty your sending reputation.
Let’s say you had a list of 100 genuinely interested people who had opted-in to receive your marketing emails, and you add 1000 purchased email addresses to your list.
You hit send on your next email, optimistically expecting huge results. Your now tainted email list has a high number of bounces, unsubscribes and unopened emails. Guess what. You’re now probably blacklisted by email servers and future emails get delivered straight to the junk inbox of your contacts. Those 100 genuinely interested contacts you initially had now don’t even get your emails.
Let me say it again; don’t purchase email lists!
Mistake #4: Hitting “publish” on your website and then sitting back
These days attention is everywhere, so if you want your customers to get your message you need to make it as easy as possible, and display it on multiple platforms in multiple ways.
That means you need to have a great website, with lots of relevant information. Include articles tips that will help your customers (and not just a list of the benefits of your products and services). This will help you on the search side of things — and yes, I’ve made that sound a lot easier than it actually is!
You also need to be seen beyond your own website, so take time to learn other digital platforms and get your content out there.
Make sure the content you share is the most engaging it can be for the platform on which it will appear. Your informative white paper might do well when seen by already interested people, but pushing it out to people relaxing on Facebook on a weekend might be taking things a bit far.
An infographic and some short text on LinkedIn might get someone’s attention and draw them to more in-depth content on your website.
A short video might help explain a concept to someone who doesn’t have time to read an article… but if that video doesn’t include captions or text, it may be worthless to someone who is watching on the train with the sound off.
The summary of this point is that your message needs to be able to be found wherever people are looking, and people are lazy when they look so make it easy for them to find you.
As easy as that?
I don’t want to break your heart, but getting marketing right is as difficult as it seems. You need the right content, in the right place, with the right tone targeting the right people.
Niche industries have the added difficulty of complex themes, a limited market size, and business operators who are usually too busy running their business to give their marketing the effort it deserves.
Breaking into a niche industry requires a lot of marketing work. Even if you’re busy now, successful marketing takes time, so it’s worth putting in some effort now to ensure your business’ good fortune continues.