Niche Marketing Channels

Before reaching this chapter, we’ve covered 15 different methods of non-viral marketing, and seen how they can be merged with viral marketing to make overall growth more rapid. By carefully evaluating how you can use each to promote your product, you’ll be in a very good position to win the user acquisition game. This includes data crunching the:
  • Cost attributed to using that method
  • Estimated number of users you expect to reach with that method
  • Likelihood that the channel in question actually works for you
However, the 15 previous channels we covered are not the ONLY forms of non-viral marketing out there. In fact, many of the channels we’ve covered didn’t even exist just a few short years ago. So there are new channels that will likely exist 5 years from now that I can’t even imagine at this moment. What’s more, there are SOME additional forms of non-viral marketing that are very viable, but only in a select few cases based on your product or the dynamics of your organization. We call these niche marketing channels.

A Few Examples of Niche Marketing

  Say you have a more technical product that is available online. Open-sourcing part (or all) of your product can be a viable way to speed up the rate at which it spreads. Open-sourcing is basically providing your product, along with the creation method and any improvement of it, to the public. More often than not open-source software is free to use. As such, developers all over the world can work on it simultaneously on a volunteer basis. In a case such as this, it’s important to have a business model that can withstand the lack of profit from your open-source product. You’ll probably want a lower-than-average list of expenses. That way you can make sure quality stays high while you tinker with a high-volume, lower-revenue model that is relatively common.
  • WordPress was exclusively an open-source project early on. In fact, is still an open source project today. Its sister site,, is no longer open source. Instead it is a hosted solution serving as one of the sources of revenue for its parent company, Automattic.
  • Wikipedia runs on an open-source platform constantly being approved by developers everywhere. Its content has also been open-sourced, and can be accessed and re-used anywhere, by anyone. Much to the glee of college students everywhere.
These are just two of the more popular forms of niche marketing. If you don’t have an online technical product they more than likely wouldn’t be a viable marketing channel. And even then, it requires a special kind of business to keep them running.

How Facebook Used Niche Marketing to Turn Threats Into Assets

  Another form of niche marketing is to use acquisitions as a source of instantaneous growth. I’m not specifically referring to user acquisition. Rather, I’m referring to your company purchasing another company that is either a competitor with many of the same users, or a complimentary service you can cross-market to. For example, in 2012, Facebook saw that it was quickly losing market share to Instagram – an up and coming photo sharing application that doubled as its own social network. Instead of competing against them head to head, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. Overnight, Instagram’s rapid growth became an asset to Facebook rather than a threat. Facebook pulled a similar move in 2014 when it decided to invest more time and resources into its increasingly-popular Facebook Messenger product. At that time, Whatsapp was the market leader in instant messaging apps, and owned a dominant share of the international market. So Facebook opted to purchase Whatsapp for $16 billion. Today, Whatsapp is still the dominant messaging platform with 1 billion users. However, Facebook Messenger now has 900 million users as well. As both are owned by Facebook, both are a huge win for the company. You can see why Facebook’s attempts to buy the entire world would be a special case that isn’t worth covering as its own section. While incredibly viable, the vast majority of companies aren’t in a position to start acquiring other companies for this reason.

Niche Marketing Channels: Some You Can Use, Some You Can’t

  To assess what niche marketing channels you can use that others can’t (if any), the first question you need to ask yourself is:
  • Where do I really stand out?
What is it about your product or company that is dynamically different from 99% of other cases? Is it your technical prowess? Your access to capital? Your creativity? Something else? Answering all this will reveal a LOT about the future of your non-viral marketing, and ultimately show where your brand can really shine.

What’s Next

  And there you have it! We’ve now successfully covered the 16 different non-viral marketing sources you can use to feed your viral engine. Nice job. I suspect you’re viral machine is really roaring now. Or at least it will be once you put these methods into action. Since we’ve covered a lot of ground, let’s tie it all together in the last chapter of this section with an epic recap. Consider this your own personal clip show.  

Which Non-Viral Marketing Channel Will You Choose?

Non-viral marketing will undoubtedly become a big part of your company’s viral marketing strategy. The key is knowing which channel best fits your needs. To help, I’ve compiled a cheat sheet for your viewing pleasure. Tune in with our next chapter.

Travis Steffen
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