Niche Marketing: How To Find Your Natural Health Fan Club

by Sarah on September 8, 2011


Crazy costumes.  Green body paint on shaved heads.  Wild cheering, waves and mascots.

If you looked around the stadium you could have sworn you were at some sporting event.

But this high energy, fan fever was not generated by people throwing balls.

This frenzy was generated by ball-throwing robots. And not even good ball-throwing robots at that . . .

This was event was in a whole other league – the NH regional FIRST Robotics competition, created by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

Forty-seven high school teams – including a few from Canada and one from Australia – were putting months of team sweat on the line as they tested their robot models against each other.

I’ll confess, the action wasn’t that riveting.  Quite a few robots spent much of the time stuck in a corner or upside down with wheels spinning. And a 5-year-old could beat most of the robots in a pitching competition.

But to the crowd gathered there, it was like watching a playoffs game between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat.

That excitement got even me cheering as a robot managed to get 8 balls in the designated spot.

And here’s what this taught me as a marketer and copywriter.  The key to selling is finding your fan club, capturing their attention and turning that excitement onto overdrive.

Now you may have heard this before.  Seth Godin talks about tribes, SEO experts talk about niche marketing – it’s all over the place.

In this article on niche marketing, I’m going to talk about . . .
·    Using fans specifically in the realm of health marketing;
·    Two specific ways you can identify your fans;
·    Some specific ways to locate them and talk to them.

Using Fans In Natural Health Marketing

It’s one thing to talk an energy drink on the world stage and try to sell it.  It’s another thing to offer it to a mom who has a tearful toddler by one hand and is trying to make it through the supermarket before her 2-year-old time bomb goes off.

Yes, everyone wants energy.  But you’re not going to capture everyone’s attention the same way.  When you develop a headline and lead, you’re not trying to sell to everyone, or even everyone who wants an energy drink.

You’ve got to sell it to the mom who’s desperate to make it through the evening tasks . . .
A nurse who’s working the night shift and doesn’t like the caffeine jitters . . .
A rock climber who wants something that keeps him going but doesn’t undermine the careful work he’s done to build up his body’s abilities . . .

You’re trying to sell it to someone who will sit up and poke the person next to them and say, “Hey, they’re talking to me!”

Clayton Makepeace, one of the most successful copywriters puts it in dire terms.  He explains that you’re looking for the people who are desperately looking for what you’re selling.  The people for whom to buy or not to buy is almost a life or death decision.

Marketing guru, Mark Joyner, describes it as finding the people who are red hot for your product. He advises, don’t waste time marketing to the people who are so so on it.

As both masters point out, sure it lowers the size of your market, but the size of your market is not as important as your market’s burning desire for the solution you’re selling.

In one scenario, you may spend a lot of time and money to get in front of millions of people but only a few thousands will buy it.  You may think – hey, let’s go for the biggest market with this product that has the broadest appeal.

Having a huge list is not necessarily what will bring you the most revenue.  Having a responsive list is what will.

Two Kinds Of Fan Bases

Instead, build your fan base in two ways:

1.    Focus on your products that are really special. Your big sellers, the ones that distinguish you, the ones your customers say they wouldn’t go anywhere else for it.

Or simply choose a product for which there is less competition. It may be potentially a smaller market.  But a market that is desperate for a solution that you offer.

And then

2.    Sell your products to the specific fan base you’re trying to cultivate. Eventually you may add more niche markets to your list. But start off with a really clear specific prospect.

For example, sell your energy drink to nurses. Or focus your new skin cream on avid outdoorswomen in their 40’s and older.

You may only get the attention of a few tens of thousands. But not only will they pay anything for your product, they’ll talk about it to their friends and keep buying it from you . . . as well as anything else you have to sell them.

And then, better yet, you can sell your products that don’t have groupies (like your good ole Vitamin D) to all these excited niche markets after they’re hooked on the solution you offer they can’t find anywhere else.

How To Find And Talk To Your Fans

Here are a few ideas for helping you find your tribe and market to them:

Look at your web analytics
·    Are there keywords you’re doing well on that you never really focused on?
·    Are you getting traffic for articles or product pages you didn’t expect?
·    Extend this by doing additional keyword research and look for keywords that fit within your market that have low competition but relatively high search volume.
·    I use Market Samurai’s keyword research tool to help me with this

Go to ezines to advertise.
·    Ezines tend to be even more niched than offline publications since their publishers can use the reach of the internet. Many of them have great followings who open, hang on the publisher’s recommendations and click through.
·    Better yet – many ezines have very affordable advertising rates.
·    Just make sure you do a little sleuthing to get a sense of how active the subscribers are.
·    One of my favorite resources for hunting down ezines is The Directory of Ezines.
·    Oh yeah, and blogs work for this as well.

Develop a targeted Twitter following by seeking out specific influencers.
·    Use or
·    Identify people who might have fans like the fans you’re looking for
·    Then see how you can start to connect with these fans by connecting with them through social media.

I know this is somewhat rudimentary but often overlooked – look at your sales figures.
·    What product is really one of your best sellers?
·    Which product really garners lots of love letter testimonials.

Survey your customers and prospects on your house lists.
·    Ask them what they like about you, what products they like, which ones they’d recommend without hesitation.
·    Find out more about them too so you can look for similar folks through list rentals or other means.

These are just a few of many ways to identify and nurture your tribe.

Remember, there are people out there who are looking for your specific solution. When they discover you they will feel like their life has changed.

They’ve been looking for help and couldn’t find it anywhere. You came to the rescue.

Become their hero. Become their partner in problem solving.

Now isn’t that an exciting way to sell?

What are your strategies for building a fan club – and what have been the rewards? Please share!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie Skarbek-Borowska September 9, 2011 at 5:27 AM

Thanks for the post Sarah! These ideas apply to all good copy, but they are much harder to put into practice than people think. Finding your desperate buyers is half the battle, but putting yourself in their place is a really fine art.

I tend to use SEOMoz a lot for comparing competitors’ keyword rankings, and – though they sound boring – discussion boards and forums for making your name known in the ‘community’.

admin September 9, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Sophie, Thanks for commenting. I agree it’s hard to put this into practice. But I’ve learned from experience how using a broad brush can make copy go flat.

Yes, discussion boards and forums are not only a great part of the mix but a great place to eavesdrop and get a better sense of what people really feel and worry about!

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