There is no doubt that 2017 was a divisive year in America. We don’t yet know what 2018 holds, but I’d take a guess that reunifying and healing the wounds on all sides may still be a long way off.
Because we live in such a time of tension, you may feel tempted to sit back and stay silent on issues that matter to you. After all, you don’t want to offend people or push potential clients away.
And it seems like everyone is offended by something these days. How can you possibly stand for something and create a strong, persuasive brand when you feel like you need to walk on eggshells with what you put out there?
But here’s the thing: if you’re doing modern marketing right, there will be people standing around, hands on hips, thinking you are not “for them.”
They’d be correct to assume that if you’re marketing to a niche and not the mainstream, a highly effective—both in terms of costs and results—way to grow your reach and your business.
Why You Don’t Need to Appeal to the Masses
If you attempt to produce something for everyone, you have to make something that is massively popular, like a blockbuster movie. While that’s possible, it’s incredibly hard to do.
Most movies that attempt to reach blockbuster status are usually mediocre at best. They follow a set formula for blockbuster movies because they must appeal to the masses. Being too quirky, too scary, too serious, too silly—all these risk the goal of winning over the majority.
Very few films perfectly execute the formula for massive success and broad appeal. Even so, that was the way things were done when the cost of getting a movie that didn’t have broad appeal to the specific audience who would appreciate it was high.
Today, we have the Internet—and Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and countless other (and cheaper) distribution channels for unique movies that appeal to a niche audience.
As Chris Anderson writes in The Long Tail, the falling cost of distribution allowed for niche markets to proliferate. He also notes that while we would expect to see demand fall as supply increases, that’s not the case.
Anderson cites market after market in which consumers have access to endless choice they seem to meet it with endless demand. As long as distribution channels exist that allow consumers to find exactly what meets their wants or needs, almost everything available in that market will eventually sell.
In other words, if you create something specific designed for a particular subset of people, you will almost always find a buyer.
You Have Access to Virtually Free Distribution, Thanks to the Internet
In front of its specific audience, the unique movie aimed at a specific taste does extremely well.
The same movie might have bombed at the box office (or never made it there at all), today doesn’t need to worry about that. It was cheaper and easier for the filmmakers to reach their niche audience and give that group something they’d love.
Who cares if every other audience didn’t like or appreciate the movie? It wasn’t for them.
You don’t need to worry about “bombing” a popularity contest either, because you can also benefit from the falling cost of distribution to niche markets. This is one of the beauties of content marketing: it can be almost free to do.
A website with hosting might cost you a few hundred bucks to set up and then about $100 per year to maintain. It doesn’t cost extra to set up a blog and start creating content on that site.
Nor does it cost anything to start producing videos for a YouTube channel—and I guarantee you already have most of the equipment you need on hand. What’s that in your pocket or in your purse? A smartphone? Boom. You’re ready to record some video.
It doesn’t cost anything to set up social media accounts. It doesn’t cost a dime to create something for a specific group of people who can benefit from what you have to offer.
Focus on Somebody, Not Everybody
It is much, much easier to produce something for a specific group of people that share common characteristics, preferences, habits, or needs and wants, than to appeal to society at large.
Your target market is far more likely to work with you because you offer a service tailored to them and their needs. You offer a solution that perfectly addresses their problems or pain points.
And if you craft a service that is perfectly suited to a specific niche, you give that group something to point at and say, “Hey! This is for me. People like me hire professionals like this.”
Of course, there’s a flip side—you will also have people standing around saying, “this is not for me.”
In his book, Anderson also notes that the natural result of providing a specific, niche service is that there will be people you exclude from your target market.
Right. That’s the point. And it’s okay.
Being for someone—instead of everyone—will make your message more precise. That, in turn, will make your marketing more compelling. As a result, you can more easily persuade someone to take an action, like picking up the phone and talking with you to see about becoming a client.