Why targeting a niche market is better than growing a large audience

There seems to be a clamour to “be everywhere, all the time” on the internet. This is particularly prevalent among startups and small businesses.

However, like base jumping, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

Everything isn’t for everyone.

There is an increasing amount of content that is being uploaded each day across all major (and minor) social media platforms. It’s getting harder and harder to be “heard” amongst the ever-increasing level of noise.

In response to this, it’s tempting as a business owner to adopt the mentality of “If I throw more stuff at the wall than you, it will be more likely to stick”

This is a dangerous game to play if you don’t have a very generous billionaire backing you.

Of course, it’s always good business practice to look at new opportunities for growth and adapt to changes in consumer behaviour.

However, you should focus on having a few (or even one) well chosen presences where your customers/prospects are or where you think they may be in the near-to-medium future. 

For example, if your customers/prospects are not on Telegram then it’s likely that you don’t need to be on Telegram at the moment.

Don’t suddenly jump on a new platform for the sake of jumping on a new platform. 

Don’t be that person/business that does it just “to be cool” That’s not cool.

It’s all well and good having a presence on every single social media platform that pops up, however, there has to be a sound method to the madness.

Don’t succumb to what we call “shiny coin syndrome”, where you see a new shiny coin (a new social media channel for example) and think “Ooh, I want that, that looks cool”

Critically observe the shiny coin, think about whether or not you really need that coin. Is it worth something to you? Or is it just shiny and will wear off soon revealing worthless metal underneath?

This is not an indictment of anyone that does that by the way. We’ve suffered with it too, it’s tough to deal with, especially in the beginning when businesses are still figuring everything out.

We’re trying to show you how to avoid the mistakes we made.

Unless your small business or startup is a unicorn/ miracle/suspiciously good at marketing you’re highly unlikely to convert directly from every social media channel that is available to you.

So don’t expect it.

Conversions are no longer linear. Activity on one channel can lead to conversion on another on another day or even months down the line.

The core decision making process for most consumers looks something like this:

Problem Recognition – They’ve admitted they have a problem.

aka ‘I need help doing marketing for my business’. 

• Information Search – Customer searches for “business marketing help”

They ask around for recommendations, they search forums and subject specific groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and Slack.  This is where they are just looking at the options of what is available. 

Evaluate Alternatives – Do I really need help with marketing? This is where the doubt comes in (for most people). The buyer looks at alternatives that could help them avoid making the purchase. There is a lot of bouncing back and forth between this and the information search stage before a purchase is, or isn’t made. 

Purchase -The stage all businesses want all their prospects to get to – aka kerching!! 

Post Purchase Evaluation – This is where customers evaluate what they’ve bought. Hopefully you don’t get too many cases of buyers’ remorse at this stage.

A social media channel won’t always start or end this process. Your social media channel may be visible to the customer at the information search stage, they may have a look around, do something else and do an additional search about your products. But the Evaluate Alternatives section is the crucial stage where your closed Facebook group or broadcast email that they sign up to via your company website is the channel that tips the odds permanently in your favour leading to the customer making a purchase that they’re happy with.

For example, so far all of BuzzRamp’s customers have come from email marketing and networking. 100%. We’ve had no direct conversions (so far) from any of our social media channels. We hope that will change of course.   

Despite having no conversions from social media we do have a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

We have a presence on these channels because we feel there is value to having a public presence on these platforms in the name of brand recognition.

We always hope that people will convert from this (would make life a lot easier for us)

But alas, this doesn’t happen, and our whole existence is to make a part of life easier for our customers 🙂

We sometimes take a day to craft a 300-word email (Yep, not a typo) but one hour to schedule all our social media posts for the week.

At first glance that seems counter-intuitive, surely it’s better to spend more time creating content that will have a bigger reach?

Well, no, not necessarily. It depends on who you’re reaching out to, and in what context.

Here are our stats that back up our beliefs:

Our current email list stands at over 650 people, whilst our combined Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn audience is over 2290.

Our email list is by far the most effective channel with engagement rates higher than on all of our other channels combined.

Email stats for date range Jan 3rd – Mar 26th

• Average click rate for all broadcast emails for this date range is 1.8%

• Total number of clicks over 9 emails sent out in 2018 is 113

• An average of 12.5 clicks per email.  

Twitter Analytics January 3rd – March 26th

• 0.3% engagement rate

• 10 link clicks, an average of 0 per day. 

• Total number of Tweets – 201


So as you can see, we’ve tweeted far more times than we have sent out emails. But we’ve got almost 10 times as many clicks to our website from email than Twitter.

This is the reason we now spend more time crafting emails than tweeting.

The audience on our email list though smaller, is clearly more receptive (or maybe our emails are more enticing than our tweets)

Either way what we do on email works. We will always try to improve and adapt our tactics on Twitter, however we’re aware that email, and more intimate channels are more likely to lead to conversions.

The quality of an audience is always more important than the quantity (in relation to your business objectives)

Imagine you’re a jazz musician (we all have dreams) at a concert in a stadium in front of 40,000 people. Which seems great until you realise that 39,500 of them are hardcore hip-hop fans who aren’t listening to a note you play.

Wouldn’t it be better to just play to those 500 jazz fans who you can truly engage with in a smaller, more intimate environment?

It can be nice (and sometimes lucrative) to introduce your music to a new audience. But it’s unlikely most of the audience would end up streaming or buying your music and/or merchandise.

It’s similar in a business context. You can get involved with all sorts of platforms that potentially have a huge reach. But don’t get too excited about the big numbers. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, why they’re listening to you and what they want to hear, you will not make an impact. Not only that but this perceived failure will probably make you frustrated and give up trying all together. It’s much better to start small, where you can get feedback and discussions going with enthusiastic supporters and followers who are on your side, and gradually build your way up. This will make you feel valued and help to keep you motivated on the long trek that is successfully marketing your business.

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