Back to basics: How to grow your business with digital marketing

Every product is a niche product. Even when it has mass appeal, it usually falls into at least one niche. A niche can help you specialize and own your space in the market.

When you specialize, you can more easily focus on how your product benefits targeted users. Once you know this, you’re in a much better position to get noticed with targeted-marketing efforts.

SherWeb is a great example of a company that has carved out a unique space as a software and support provider. It has used this niche to inform how it targets customers—through content and also its business approach. SherWeb takes a high-touch approach to partnership, which is exactly what its target audience wants in a provider.

How businesses use their niche to develop marketing and spark consumer interest will vary from business to business, but these are the common key components:

1) Establish a value proposition.This is the quickest and most effective way to differentiate a brand from its competition. It begins with your product or service framed in a way that highlights clearly what makes it better than alternatives in the marketplace.

Consider what problem you’re solving and if your solution is unique or compelling in any way. Does it save people time? Does it provide convenience? If there’s more than one answer, list them in priority order to better focus your brand’s value.

2) Understand your buyer. Learn all you can about your target audience. Think about what they want and verify your assumptions. Then, determine how your solution fits into their lives. Better yet, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Would you buy your solution?

Also, think about your offerings in a marketplace context—in other words, against your competition. Get to know your competitors. Identify strengths and weaknesses. Determine whether your brand offers something the competition doesn’t. And of course, note how they connect with consumers.

Ultimately, you need an in-depth understanding of your prospects so you can tailor marketing content specifically for them.

3) Build a social-media presence. Consumers spend roughly 24 hours a week online. So a social-media presence is simply an essential component of standing out in the marketplace. Building an online presence calls for a give-and-take between the consumer and the brand.

Give consumers content they want. Share your expertise—not in a “salesy” way, but in a thoughtful, strategic manner with relevant, shareable content. Post content on your blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., making sure to reveal a glimpse of your brand personality.

Take feedback from followers. Use comments as springboards to spur conversations with your audience, always keeping in mind that you’re more than a brand. Your company’s human qualities should shine through in all its content and audience interactions.

4) Stay active online. You can’t stop after building a site and creating social-media accounts. You must stay active if you want to keep getting found. On top of continually updating your website with new content, encourage employees to get on social channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn groups, etc.

Once there, your brand can follow conversations, query search terms, and monitor what’s trending. Rather than “selling” to your audience, you can use the information to be of real service. Give people free guidance and advice. Engage in conversations to show what your organization has to offer. Once you establish relationships, selling becomes much easier.

People who use social media are 21 percent more likely to have stronger relationships with vendors. If your employees stay active on social, they will better understand customer challenges and can use the insights to position your brand as the best option, especially when they’ve nurtured and built connections.