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Niching: Thinking Small Is the New Big Idea

Want to grow your business bigger? Start by thinking small. Niche marketing, or focusing your business on a very small, specific market, is the new “big idea” when it comes to starting, marketing and growing your business.

Niche marketing makes a lot of sense for small business owners and startups. After all, you can’t compete with giants like Wal-Mart on prices and selection, but you can compete in a smaller market by offering very specialized products or services for very specialized audiences.

Niche marketing can work for both startup entrepreneurs and owners of existing businesses. Here’s how.

Narrow your target market down. Honing in on a target market is essential for any business startup, but in niche marketing, you really narrow it down. Instead of pet owners or even dog owners, for example, you could narrow it down to owners of English Bulldogs. (I’m choosing this example because I own one.) Within that market, you can niche even further by researching what the needs, wants and pain points of English Bulldog owners are. For example:

  • Because of the dogs’ large chests and necks, they don’t fit into most standard dog costumes or dog clothing. (Yes, a surprising amount of English Bulldog owners love to dress their dogs in clothes.)
  • Many English Bulldogs have special dietary needs due to skin allergies and other medical issues.
  • English Bulldogs are prone to overheating, so their owners buy cooling collars, vests and other devices to keep them cool.

A new niche business could focus on selling clothing and accessories for English Bulldogs.

If you already have a business, you can begin using niche marketing by studying your existing customers. Which ones are the most profitable for you, and what niche are they in? Are there more products and services you could develop to serve this niche while slowly lessening focus on less profitable customers?

Choosing a niche makes your marketing easier because you will be doing niche marketing. In the earlier example, instead of trying to attract every dog owner in the world, you’re just trying to attract English Bulldog owners. Do so by:

  • Buying pay-per-click ads with keywords related to English Bulldogs. It’s a lot more affordable than more general dog-related keywords, because there is less demand for these keywords.
  • Using English Bulldog-related keywords in your website SEO to attract the exact type of customer you’re seeking.
  • Find specialized interest groups on social media devoted to English Bulldogs, then use social media advertising to target your message specifically to these niche groups. You can even segment who sees your posts by geographic location, interests and more.
  • Create an email marketing campaign targeted to your niche. For example, the English Bulldog clothing business could do a monthly newsletter with tips on caring for, dressing and having fun with English Bulldogs.

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Author information

Karen Axelton

Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at