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If you are like most new product decorators, you likely spend much of your time running from one customer to the next, accepting any order you can get. While this is not a bad approach when you’re just starting your business, it rarely leads to long-term growth. You need a more methodical strategy to develop a steady customer base that keeps money flowing through your doors.
They key to success here is really getting to know your customers. Unfortunately, gaining this knowledge can be very tedious and time consuming if you simply research on a client-by-client basis.
However, if you concentrate on a whole market - as opposed to a single company or customer - you can put all of your energy into developing a single strategy that can be applied to multiple clients.
Targeting these niche markets enables you to develop a sensible marketing strategy that focuses on creating and delivering a saleable product to those who want to buy. By putting your energies into a targeted market, you are better able to understand:
In general, a niche market is simply a focused group of similar people or organizations that share common bonds. Niche markets can be business, civic or leisure oriented. Some niche markets include: real estate agents, firefighters, hunters, car dealers, cheerleaders, florists, pilots, art lovers, tourists, etc.
Niche markets are all around you and can be big or small. Size doesn’t matter as much as the quality and strength of the market. An ideal niche is untapped, which means there is plenty of growth potential for your business. However, it’s more likely that you’ll face at least some competition in any given niche, but there will also be realistic opportunities to offer a unique product or service to the market.
Though tapping into niche markets is not a guaranteed profit booster, doing so does have a number of advantages, including:
Familiarity is one of the most important traits of a good niche market. Knowing the subjects or organizations involved with that market enables you to understand the needs of potential customers and communicate on a personal level. It also makes it much easier to create unique products and services that have instant appeal to the market, and position yourself as an exclusive provider.
For example, I have a love of boats, water sports and fishing. I wanted to own a marina, but starting a product decorating business was more in line with my budget. I focused my sales and marketing efforts within these niches, spending almost every day working with businesses within markets I was comfortable within and were very appealing to me.
Initially, I catered to boating and fishing businesses, offering them products that featured their logo. As I got to know this market better, I saw special opportunities for which I could use my resources as a product decorator. One of these was personalized products for boaters, who would pay top dollar for products, if they were unique enough.
One such product was personalized floor mats. The blank substrate cost about $6.00, and I would spend about $1.00 worth of ink decorating it for a customer, who would pay $35.00 retail for the finished product. It was a nice markup for a useful product that people loved. The mats offered non-slip rubber backing (perfect for the wet environment on a boat) and washability without fading the design. These mats became very popular in my target market, and enabled me to develop an entire line of products targeted to a wide variety of boat owners
While I initially targeted this niche market, you can also create niches based on a certain product that can be marketed to multiple markets. Our custom floor mats are a good example of this. They not only appeal to boaters, but also to RV owners, business owners, home owners, etc.
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about niche markets, you’re ready to get started finding and developing a unique niches for your business. Start by downloading our Making Money Guide – Niche Markets. You can also get more in-depth with this month's free webinars:
Over the coming year we will be targeting several niche markets and niche applications in our newsletter. Make sure you're subscribed, and stay tuned for more!
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