Setting up an online store is now more popular than ever. You can work from home, putting in as many hours as you like while you run the business. Thanks to social media, it is relatively easy to market your products to people living halfway around the world. So are there any differences between marketing an online fashion store and a niche custom button company?
Passion Equals Success
The most successful niche online stores are those run by people who are passionate about what they sell. When you operate within a small niche, you are the expert. You love these products, so you can talk and write confidently about them, which is great for inspiring customers and persuading them of the virtues of buying from your store. You are also more likely to know what sells – and what doesn’t – which is useful from a stock management perspective.
Marketing a niche online store will take longer than average. Fewer people are aware of the products and fewer still will be interested. This is not to say you can’t be successful, but it will take longer to grow a profitable business. You need a lot of grit and determination to succeed if you decide to open an online store selling niche products.
Remember when Ned Flanders opened his Leftorium in The Simpsons? The idea was great, but Ned didn’t have the benefit of the internet. If Ned had begun with an online store, he might have enjoyed far greater success. Sadly, despite Ned’s hard work, his store nearly closed down because not enough people knew it existed. It did eventually recover, but without access to a global audience, Ned’s customer base was limited.
The internet is the key to marketing a niche online store. Because there will always be a limited number of people interested in buying your products, you have to work a lot harder to reach them.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth is often the key when promoting a niche business. It is essential that you are active in places where your customers hang out. Social media is the most obvious place, since like-minded people love to chat about the same things on Facebook and other social networks. Since your niche is likely to be something you are passionate about, talk about your shop online and work hard to generate a buzz amongst people who share your passion. Become active on niche forums where people with similar interests gather.
Keyword research is important. People search with keywords to find things they want online. Use very specific keywords to help people find your products. The more general your keywords are, the harder it will be to compete against larger businesses.
If you have a great niche idea, but are not sure whether it has legs, do some brainstorming. Go online to see whether anyone else is selling the same products. If they are, can you do it differently? Remember to keep your margins profitable, as there is no point in working hard for zero return.