As the competitive landscape of WordPress is maturing and thousands of budding developers enter the WordPress economy, how does your new product stand apart from the noise? Do you focus on being “loud,” pushing your product to the WordPress masses? Or do you instead dive down into a specific audience and knock it out of the park? In this article, we’ll take a look at defining your product’s target market and deciding whether to go mass market or go niche.
As one of the most important decisions product developers must make, a decision to either go mass market or target a niche can easily make or break a product’s success.
Let’s get started.
Differences Between Niche and Mass Marketing
A niche is a subset audience of a market on which a product is wholeheartedly focused on.
Unlike mass marketing, niche marketing focuses on an audience with easily identifiable preferences, wants and needs. On the flipside, mass marketing is a strategy to market across a multitude of demographics, which at times can seem aimless.
As a real-world example in the WordPress space, JetPack is seen as a WordPress plugin that deploys a mass marketing strategy to reach new users. Their goal is to get on as many websites as possible, with relatively low concern over who’s installing the plugin. This is their branded banner image:
JetPack is a WordPress plugin that deploys a mass marketing strategy with a goal of onboarding as many websites as possible, with relatively low concern over who’s installing the plugin.Tweet
On the other hand, Advanced Custom Fields targets a subset of the WordPress market, by aiming towards professionals and developers, thus, choosing a bit more “technical” banner image for the WordPress.org repository:
Both marketing methods have their merits, so let’s take a look at each strategy’s advantages and disadvantages.
Deploying a Mass Marketing Strategy
In mass marketing, your key objective is to reach the maximum number of folks possible. More potential customers likely lead to more sales, right? True; however, it’s likely going to require a massive investment in both time and capital.
And let’s not forget to consider the state of the market when your product launches. Back in 2010, a developer could release a mass market WordPress theme or plugin and amass thousands of sales within a few months. In today’s market, that sort of success is becoming exceedingly rare.
Much of a mass marketing play is determined by the state of the market, being first to market with a revolutionary product, and overall execution. Without a solid front on all accords, a mass marketing approach will likely fail.
Much of a mass marketing play is determined by the state of the market, being first to market with a revolutionary product, and overall execution. Without a solid front on all accords, a mass marketing approach will likely fail.Tweet
But when the stars align, you could hit a home run.
Just last year, Sucuri, a leading provider of WordPress security products and services, was acquired by GoDaddy. A mass-market approach helped garner the attention of the folks at GoDaddy, making Sucuri become a clear and actionable acquisition.
Advantages of a Niche Marketing Strategy
Product developers often fear to define a niche, as they tend to think the strategy about narrowing potential market reach is effectively cutting into sales. The truth is, discovering a niche for your product can have quite the opposite effect: the strategy may very well grow your business.
By establishing a niche, you have a chance at becoming the leading product or service in that industry. Your goal is to position your WordPress shop as the first stop when folks are looking for a product in your niche.
That’s so much harder to accomplish by going after a wide market with a standard “we do it all” business model.
Another key advantage of going niche is that your product is instantly more communicative, therefore the audience is likely more receptive. You’re able to directly reach your audience through the marketing noise, instead of being drowned out among the other products competing in your space.
I always tell folks to do what you do best and be the best while you’re at it. Find a niche that serves an audience that you already know — or one you are willing to dive into and learn, inside and out.
Competitive Advantages of Going Niche
Over the last couple of years, the WordPress product economy has begun to show signs of maturity, while also becoming highly saturated.
Setting yourself apart from the competition is challenging. Competition is very real in the WordPress economy and it’s growing at an enormous rate. Just a few years ago, there weren’t half the number of WordPress shops aiming for a piece of the market.
Your ability to identify and exploit what makes your product or service better than any alternatives will provide you with a competitive edge that sets your shop apart from the masses.
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Defining a niche, and serving that market directly, can give your team the competitive advantage it needs to establish itself in the economy.
Take a good strategic look at how your shop fits into the WordPress economy, and figure out how you can position yourself to stand out. Ask yourself:
- Who is the competition?
- What makes you better than them?
- Who is your audience?
- How can you convince your audience that you have more to offer?
Going Niche in the WordPress Theme Economy
Let’s take a look at the current state of the saturated WordPress theme market. A few years ago, multipurpose WordPress themes started their rise to fame. As a WordPress theme developer myself, I had a choice to dive into the foray and start building alike monstrosities or to go niche and focus my efforts on the creative professional.
So what did I do? I went niche.
I didn’t want to play ball with the teams of tens and twenties. I wanted to build beautifully simple and well-executed themes specifically for creative professionals looking to kick up a personal blog or portfolio within a couple of minutes. That meant I needed to focus on that audience, deliver what they needed, and hone in on serving just creative professionals.
Now, my WordPress shop is doing quite well, and my particular audience knows that if they want the best WordPress theme made specifically for creative folk — they’ll get it at ThemeBeans.
Niche Case Study: AudioTheme
The folks at AudioTheme have built a successful WordPress shop selling themes and plugins built specifically for “people who make music”. By narrowing their offering, AudioTheme has absolutely positioned itself as the leading WordPress theme and plugin shop for bands, musicians, and record labels.
If they were offering a single a multipurpose theme, AudioTheme would have nowhere near the success they have today. And much of that success is directly attributed to their content marketing strategy.
So let’s compare Google AdWords keywords for a niche market, such as AudioTheme, versus a mass-market approach:
There are much more searches for generic WordPress related keywords, but the field is much more competitive. Comparatively, in the screenshot below, you’ll see that a more specific niche keyword have much less competition. Those folks also have more potential to complete a purchase, as they’re searching exactly for what AudioTheme is offering.
A large part of AudioTheme’s keyword strategy is that they’re consistently publishing content tailored specifically for musicians. By hyper-focusing on marketing to their specific audience, they’re able to jump ahead of any competition that is marketing to a much wider field.
Going niche has provided them a competitive advantage to become the best in their industry — and they’re crushing it.
The Future of WordPress Products
I personally see a future of most WordPress products leaning towards serving niche markets. As WordPress now powers 42.9% of the web, there are so many subsets of folks to identify with and serve on a whole different level that mass-marketed products simply cannot compete with.
As WordPress now powers 42.9% of the web, there are so many subsets of folks to identify with and serve on a whole different level that mass-marketed products simply cannot compete with.Tweet
People want quality WordPress goods that feel and perform like they are built specifically for their needs, and that’s where the future lies.