Anyone involved in direct marketing knows quality is better than quantity when it comes to data lists. A well-segmented data file of 2,000 addresses can drive significantly higher response rates than a random selection of 200,000 prospects.

We all know Facebook, Google, and Twitter have mass audiences. But the real appeal of these platforms for marketers is their ability to micro-target very specific groups of highly engaged people.

Niche publications offer a personally tailored advantage for advertisers.
Niche publications offer a personally tailored advantage for advertisers.

The more narrowly you can define your target market, the better. This is known as creating a niche and is key to success for even the biggest companies.

Last year, the Toronto Star launched several niche publications that delivered a very targeted audience to our advertisers. When you think about it, newspapers are quite skilled at producing niche content. Almost every month we produce some form of special section, which is essentially a niche publication within the newspaper.

Our Ontario Field Trip Guide; Your Money Matters 2.0 financial literacy section; Understanding Media resource; My World, My Change social justice resource; and the Insider’s Guide to Colleges and Universities are all publications that provided custom content specifically created for educators and teens.

This year, we are focused on expanding the reach and advertising revenue for all these publications, as well as launching new content to further serve this audience and our advertisers’ desire to reach them.

How do we build on this success?

The best place to start is being focused on the needs and wants of both our readers and advertisers. If that is our main focus, ideas for other niche ventures will start to take shape.

In an article for Entrepreneur, Lynda Falkenstein, author of Nichecraft: Using Your Specialness to Focus Your Business, Corner Your Market and Make Customers Seek You Out, says “good niches don’t just fall into your lap; they must be carefully crafted.” She goes on to say “smaller is bigger in business, and smaller is not all over the map; it’s highly focused.”

Falkenstein states a good niche has five qualities:

  1. It takes you where you want to go — in other words, it conforms to your long-term vision.
  2. Somebody else wants it — namely customers.
  3. It’s carefully planned.
  4. It’s one-of-a-kind, the “only game in town.”
  5. It evolves, allowing you to develop different profit centers and still retain the core business, thus ensuring long-term success.

Delivering a large audience to our clients is great, but being able to connect our advertisers with our readers in a more intimate, targeted way is priceless.