Advertising your computer repair business can be a bit overwhelming. 68.7% of American homes have internet access, and the number rises sharply in more densely populated areas. That means you have over half of your community, town, city, or county as possible customers.
You could take a generalist approach and randomly advertise to as many people as possible and hope you appeal to some of those people. That works for well-established companies with large advertising budgets. But there is a much cheaper and more effective method of advertising that involves targeting a small niche of your potential customer base.
In the Finding a Niche series of blog posts I will profile different possible customer niches that you can target for your computer consulting business.
Today we will focus on low-income neighborhoods. It may be natural to think this is not a good area to target your advertising. Many assume that low-income customers will be less likely to pay or to become return customers. However, in my experience, this is usually not the case. Low income neighborhoods can be great with referrals. There are a lot of opportunities in serving these areas to bring in more loyal customers to your business. Because they are so undeserved, the need for computer repair in low-income neighborhoods is higher than normal.
Age: All ages
Location: Low income neighborhoods in urban areas, government assisted housing, mobile home parks
Need: Basic computer repair and training
Technician Work -load: Low to Moderate
Low income families are usually undeserved by service professionals. This can be for many reasons such as a perception that low-income individuals cannot afford their services, that they do not have technology in their homes, or presumed safety concerns. However, many of these assumptions are less than accurate in most cases.
While it’s true that many lower-income families cannot afford to pay hundreds of dollars for hours of support work, they are usually willing to pay for light to moderate repair work if it means avoiding purchasing a new computer. You may choose to ask for money upfront to avoid payment issues.
Computer systems and portable electronics are finding their way into the homes of every income level. Low income families may tend to have older computer systems, but that means they need more maintenance from time to time to keep them running.
Safety can be a real concern in some neighborhoods. Make sure you’re familiar with the area or have done some research into the area before travelling there. You may elect to meet the customer in a better part of town or in a public place to hand over their computer. Remote support is also a good option for servicing individuals who may reside in less than ideal surroundings.
It is important that these individuals have access to the quality services you offer. Better access means better quality of life and a better community as a whole.
Finding This Customer
Many times, you’ll know where the low-income neighborhoods are in your area. If not, many times they are located in neglected, overcrowded, urban areas. Other places may include trailer parks and government subsidized housing. The demographic profile of this customer changes depending on where you live, so you really need to look around your own community to find these customers.
Services to Offer
Some ideas of services to offer for this niche include:
- System Tune-ups
- Virus Removal
- Hardware Installation and Troubleshooting
- OS Troubleshooting
While you may be tempted to immediately focus on low prices when marketing to low-income neighborhoods, I would recommend not doing so. I’ve found that these communities are so under-serviced that they will respond to any advertisement at all for computer repair services because they normally don’t see any. Instead, focus on the benefits of your services. Focus on how computer maintenance helps computers last longer. Focus on the importance of staying connected to family and friends. Keep the messages simple and emotional.
Try things like fliers in-car windshields, door hangers, and posters on bulletin boards. These direct advertising techniques work well in low-income neighborhoods where people tend to spend more time walking and congregating outside.
A great way to get a foothold into these communities while also bolstering your brand reputation is to volunteer to teach classes in the area or by donating old electronics and used computers to families in need.
As always, make sure to leave behind plenty of goodies and business cards for these customers. Their communities are often tight-knit and they will spread the word about you and your business if you make a good impression.
Have you had success with this niche? What niches have worked best for your business?