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A peculiar marketing problem and some solutions

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I’ve worked with a few companies that had a particular, specific marketing challenge: there were no online searches for the solution they offer. This tends to affect businesses with a new, possibly revolutionary offer or companies trading in a specialist market niche. If there is little or no relevant internet traffic the usual digital marketing methods won’t work. A website and a blog won’t bring business even if you have optimised them.

Companies in this situation are generally smaller firms with limited funds and resources. This may rule out trade shows which are inefficient for niche markets because although visitor numbers are large they are not well targeted, and the costs of space, stand building and staffing mount up. However, there are other ways to build awareness and generate sales when the market knows nothing about you.

Several low-cost ways to reach niche markets

A company might be able to promote its services with social media. This just takes the time and effort to build a network of contacts and post items on LinkedIn.

They could consider a PPC campaign that reaches the customers through other, related searches that they are making and try to catch their eye with a good offer. This might work but is somewhat speculative and may need refining before it brings results.

If they can buy lists of contacts from a list broker, email marketing will be an option, and telemarketing can work well because it allows a two-way interaction. The conversations are valuable because they are a chance to gather information about companies and the market.

Other possibilities are to network and to speak at smaller conferences and events. Partnering with another business that sells to the same customers can also be a good move.

I would recommend placing PR stories in the trade publications that the target customer reads. This is number one on the FSB’s list of popular marketing options for smaller businesses, and media coverage is a huge enabler for small businesses and start-ups. There are journals and newsletters for every market sector and segment and editors are always looking for stories that are new and different. It may seem like an item from “Have I got news for you”, but I placed a story in Parking News for a client targeting the commercial parking sector and this brought his next contract and enough work for a year or so.