How to make your profits skyrocket with niche marketing
Let’s face it, marketing and advertising can be a costly business, especially when you are trying to appeal to everyone across the board. There are more than 250 million vehicles registered in the U.S. and tire customers are as diverse as the cars they drive. So here’s how marketing to a niche can help you attract and keep groups of loyal customers for a fraction of the cost of a big campaign.
What is niche marketing?
Instead of driving a big advertising campaign that targets everybody, niche marketing is selecting a group of people and marketing specifically to them. This segment of customers could be defined by their age, gender, ethnic background, occupation, interests and other factors.
This is a focused, targetable market that is individual and has a specific customer profile. You don’t have to offer a specialized product or service, but rather cater to the niche market’s specific needs and address their concerns in ways that other businesses aren’t doing.
What sorts of niches are out there?
There are dozens of niches you can target, from broad demographics like women, seniors, LGBT and ethnic groups like Hispanics, to smaller ones like local sporting or church groups. What matters is that you identify your niche and learn more about them, how you can help them and how you can fulfill their needs better than anyone else.
Women spend more than $300 million a year on auto repair (and buy 65 percent of all cars), — which is why Pep Boys refitted many of their locations as part of a rebranding initiative aimed at making stores more accessible and service-oriented. More than 70 of Pep Boys’ 800 locations were fitted with smart waiting areas with leather chairs and free Wi-Fi and ensured each repair was explained in full before it showed up on the bill. In short, Pep Boys went the extra mile to make female customers feel comfortable (more on how you can do that, too, below).
The “green” market is growing: nearly four in 10 Americans say they are dedicated to buying green products and services, which equates to about 93 million Americans.
So if you’ve got an environmentally friendly tire to sell, you should be telling this blossoming market segment about your green credentials and why they should choose you over your competitor in their effort to live more sustainable lives.
In 2016 the multicultural consumer segment will contribute $14 billion to the auto industry — it’s a huge market. The companies that win these markets will be those that understand diverse consumers’ beliefs, practices, intentions, consumption patterns and spending capabilities; market to them successfully; and gain their trust.
How do I reach my niche?
It’s all about connecting with your niche market and letting them know you are genuinely interested in them as a group of people and as customers. Do your research: find out what is important to them, what magazines or blogs they read, and what challenges they might face in engaging with the auto and tire industry. Niche markets very often have their own dedicated media, magazines, online forums and clubs and there are many specialist media and advertising sites that cater to them. Gay Pink Spots, for example, is an LGBT-friendly and focused online directory which features thousands of company listings, while Ask Patty is an online automotive website that provides advice for women and lists “certified female-friendly” locations.
Why does it work?
Treat your niche market well, show them you understand them and value them as customers and they will keep coming back. Consumers in niche markets talk to each other. Communication by word of mouth and through social media helps many people make purchasing decisions. Niche segments are renowned for spreading the word within their social and online media networks, so once you’ve built up trust and credibility and shown them great customer service that is tailored to them, they will do the work for you.
You’ll benefit from referrals, it becomes easier to identify and market to potential customers, your reputation will grow and you’ll have less competition within the segment.
How to get it right
Getting to know your market is crucial. Cater to your market’s needs and expectations. If you’re marketing to women, don’t make jokes about female drivers. Instead, think about how you can make the customer experience better for them. Can you offer free or affordable classes on simple auto repairs for women in college? Or provide a small play area where children can be entertained while their mothers wait for new tires to be installed? These are the things people in a niche market will talk about to each other and make recommendations on.
If your target niche market is Hispanics, remember Spanish is likely their first language. For example, Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ successful automotive training and education service, Garage Gurus, offers its training, product demonstrations and other services, and website in both English and Spanish.
Done well, niche marketing can have an enormous impact on your profits and your reputation. By taking the time to identify individual segments of customers and showing them you are the company that can best cater to their needs, you will win a loyal following, gain new customers and see the cash come in without spending big bucks.