Niche items are interesting. They are something that the majority of the population sees and think “why would I want to buy this?!” On the other hand a minority see’s it and says “I WANT IT NOW!”
Ok, that might be little bit extreme but that seems to what happens. I have had the pleasure of getting to know several niche sellers and read blogs on niche sellers and they say the same thing. They created an item for which they know there is a market but the problem is getting plugged into that market.
If someone is selling knitted hats all they need is good hats and winter to sell them. If someone is selling metal bras or converted typewriter keyboards they might need more than just a season to sell them. In addition niche sellers are going to need more than just an Art Fire, Etsy, Folksy or Smashing Darling Shop to sell their items. So what do niche sellers need to sell items? Two major tactics can help; first attract the needed niche to you and second go to the niche.
Fishing for a Niche
When selling niche items the seller is going to have to attract possible buyers directly. All sellers need to do attract buyers, but niche sellers have to do it in a certain way. If someone is selling hand painted punk rock heels these sellers’ need to attract girls who are into punk rock heels. A good way to start is to write a blog plugged into the general community.
For punk rock heels I would create a blog focused on two topics. The first topic would be on punk rock footwear and the second topic would be on hand painted shoes in general. As the writer of this blog creates new posts she should carefully use the right keywords related to punk rock shoes and hand painted shoes. This won’t result in sales right away, but in the long term it will help. Then link examples of your shoes back to your online shop.
Most of the time a niche belongs to a sub-culture. The example of punk rock is obvious but if someone is selling medieval style clothing, renaissance fairs are the niche that person will want to plug into. Creating blogs, tweeting and just learning about that subculture in general, if not already a member, is key to fishing for these potential customers.
Going to a Niche
Although fishing for a niche might work to a degree it will be much more successful if a seller goes to their niche. An example is selling handmade silver jewelry in some spheres would be considered a niche market. Every time I sell at a handmade market I am going to my niche. With the example of hand painted punk rock shoes this person will need to go to the punk rock scene, which might include going to concerts, punk rock stores and coffee shops wearing these shoes.
A problem with going to a niche is that it helps if seller belong to that niche, not just be an expert in it. If someone sells hand painted punk rock shoes and is not into punk rock, that seller might have a more difficult time selling. I encounter this problem all the time; I sell silver jewelry for women and I am a man. At the same time I try to compensate by hitting my niche of male friends that need to buy Valentine’s Day, Christmas and anniversary presents for their partners.
Remember niches are usually larger then you think, in the words of brooksbot75 “I thought… maybe there might be as many as 40 or 50 people in all the US that would buy one (a metal bra).” Well now selling and making metal bra’s is his fulltime job. I know many niche sellers that have a great business because they finally got plugged into it. As with brooksbot75, he has been part of the rock concert scene for years and that helped him sell metal bras before word of mouth made him a success.
Getting plugged into a niche takes time and hard work. It evolves becoming an expert in that niche. If a seller gets plugged into a niche and makes good work the sky is the limit. Niche work has the benefit, once it is on a roll it almost sells itself.
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