Holy Cow! How to Succeed at Selling to a Niche Market

By Carolyn Edlund


Kathy Swift is a full-time mom, part-time cattle veterinarian and a jewelry artist – with a popular retail website specializing in cow art. She is a busy lady, which is why catching her for an interview means having a phone conversation with her while she is driving around in her truck (to the next farm, I believe.)

 

Brothers

 

How did she get involved in all of these seemingly unrelated activities? She’s lived on farms all her life and loves the lifestyle and the people involved in “Ag” whom she describes as the best people on earth. At a friend’s barbecue, she met an artist and got into a conversation which intrigued her enough to start classes in jewelry making, which she fell in love with.

 

Kathy Swift

 

It seemed natural to make what she loved, which means cow-related jewelry for the most part. Her website Cow Art and More features the work of about 25 artists who also produce art and giftware for the bovine-inclined of the world. About half of those artists live on farms or ranches, so they have a direct connection with the theme.

 

Milk bottle charm

 

Cow art is definitely a niche – and we love niche marketing! Kathy has great tips on how artists can grab more market share for their work by using some smart strategies to reach their targeted audience. Her opinion is that all artists have a niche, even though they may not realize it. Is your niche a theme, a medium, or a process? Then you have fans out there who are crazy about what you do. Your job is to find ways to reach out to them and promote your work.

 

Cattle's Cadence

 

Kathy recommends:

 

  1. Start with who you know. If you create work in a niche that you know and love well (like those cow artists who are living on farms and ranches), you are in a community of like-minded people. This is your first network. Let friends, relatives and neighbors know what you are doing, and reach out to them with your art, to help spread the word. And word-of-mouth is about the best recommendation you can get!
  2. Cross-promote with other artists. Yes, your niche has other people in it who create art and other wonderful things. Get to know them and create a strategic alliance where you can each refer business to the other. That’s one of the ideas behind Cow Art and More. Kathy’s frequent newsletters to her fans celebrate the gallery openings, awards and other news of her artists. They in turn direct traffic to her fun website which has everything a cow lover could ever want.
  3. Network like you’re trying to infiltrate the mob. Yes, that’s a quote. Kathy’s plan is to approach a group or organization within your niche in an authentic way. Show them that you are truly interested in what they care about. Build rapport and start relationships with those who respond to you. Eventually you can share your art with them, and since you are right up their alley, you will most likely get a very warm response. Which means you’ve successfully infiltrated!
  4. Give and you shall receive. She shared a story of how she spread the word about partnering with organizations which promote the future of farming. A big industry publication picked up on it and contacted her for an interview. Thousands of dollars in sales later, she is still raving about the tremendous boost in publicity and revenue that came due to her support of good causes.

Cow Art and More is currently seeking more work from artists in the US, Canada and the UK who are interested in joining her in offering a barn full of wonderful cow products to raving cow fans everywhere.

 

Comments

  1. Thanks Carolyn for including me on your blog. I hope others find the article helpful in connecting with their niche!

  2. I’ve been reading a lot lately about picking a niche to sell in and I think I’ve found the right one for me. My question though is: what do you do with ALL those other prints, that still are good pieces (in my opinion) and have sold in the past, but don’t fit in this new niche?

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