What’s better: to focus on a “niche” market or view the world as your oyster and be all things to all people?
Susan Freidman, author of Riches in Niches: How to Make It BIG in a Small Market, is a firm believer that becoming well-known in your niche is the way to go for several reasons, including:
- People pay more for services from perceived “experts” than generalists.
- Credibility occurs when you're visible in your “niche” industry, community or geographic region.
- Marketing is less complicated and expensive when you target niche markets or client profiles.
Likewise, Stacey Alcorn, a partner in P3 Coaching and Training, runs a company that offers realtors and mortgage brokers the tools and systems to build a one-of-a-kind culture for their businesses.
Here are eight lessons Alcorn offers for marketing to niche buyers and how to expand your niche.
1. Educate others. The best part of catering to a very specific industry is that it's easy to get in front of them. For example, P3 booked themselves to speak in front of large real estate organizations across the U.S. and Canada. They offered sales meeting PowerPoint presentations, recruiting and retention emails, and real estate agent training classes for the brokerages to share with their teams. In addition, they offered to train broker owners and managers on how to build and run a great business. Many of those owners are still customers today because they saw how their products complemented the growth of their business.
2. Use Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. Anytime you're in a business with a specific customer niche, pay per click advertising is a must. With Facebook PPC ads or Google Adwords, you can tailor your ads so only potential clients see them. Each click represents an interested candidate for your tools. If you don't work with niche buyers, PPC can get very expensive, whereas the opposite is true if you're trying to attract a tailored list of people to your ads.
3. Write a blog. This goes hand in hand with educating your market. A great blog educates your potential consumer and shares how your tools can help the customer. Your blog should share testimonials of those using your product with success, as well as case studies highlighting before-and-after results of using your services. Make sure you update your blog regularly. A blog that hasn't been updated in months sends an immediate negative impression, regardless of how much good content you have to offer. It takes consistent effort, but over time, you'll see search engine results based on the content of your blog, and more consumers will fall upon your site because they are looking for the same tools you're writing about.
RELATED: Learn more about how to build a blog following.
4. Offer freebies. “Our firm would not have grown as quickly as it did without offering lots of freebies for our services,” Alcorn says. For example, they offer a free 30-day trial for most of their programs.
5. Expand your niche. As you grow your business by catering to a niche, you may eventually ask yourself, "Why limit the customer base?" But as you expand, think about what made you successful to begin with. Your success was probably due to your ability to market to a niche, which is, in many ways, much easier to market to than a huge consumer base.
6. Start a new niche. Don't expand your product offering to everyone. Pick a new niche that allows for an easy transition. “Our original Broker Monthly offering for real estate office broker owners eventually spun off into our MOB - Mortgage Originator Blueprint platform that caters to bank managers and large mortgage companies,” Alcorn says. Alcorn believes the success of her relatively young firm is from not catering to the masses, but focusing on a few small niches.
RELATED: Read more about how to navigate a niche market.
7. Pick a complementary niche. When considering an expansion of your niche, choose a client base that complements what you're already doing. For example, P3 Coaching and Training started with real estate, then moved to mortgages, and is now introducing products for CPA and insurance firms. This means that the programs offered by P3 don't have to be reinvented, just re-tailored.
8. Leverage Past Performance: As you expand your business into new niches, Alcorn believes it's essential that you leverage the success of your previous endeavors to open new doors for the next. This means you must demonstrate to your new niche your past successes with other niches, while reconciling how the two niches are similar. According to Alcorn, too many businesses, when launching into a new niche, hide their success stories from previous niches for fear their new customers will not see them as an expert in their specific field. This is often a big mistake. Instead, showcase your past successes and carefully define how your past and present niches are exceptionally similar at their core.
For more marketing tips check out these sales and marketing articles.
Nancy Michaels is a veteran marketing and sales strategist whose expertise has helped grow businesses—from Fortune 500 companies to individual entrepreneurs. To learn more, go to www.nancymichaels.com