To niche or not to niche – that is the question.Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer Not knowing what to focus onOr to take up arms against the sea of competitors.And by opposing end them?What about Shakespeare – did very little marketing, but still thought of (almost 400 years after his death) as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. How? Emotions – anger, jealousy and love – that’s marketing! And you can build that strong connection more easily by focusing on a niche. And you don’t have to write like Shakespeare!
A niche is simply a narrow market that serves a well-defined customer. The key to growing your business is to serve a few of these defined target markets. This allows you to target your marketing messages.Don’t confuse well-defined with "small." You may have a niche that is quite large. The value of a niche is not its size, but the fact that it is focused on a set of customers with very similar needs and wants.When you focus on your niche, marketing is less expensive and much more effective. Concentrating on a narrow target doesn’t mean you don’t do business with anyone outside your target. Rather, you develop a strategy and a comprehensive plan to focus your marketing efforts on your desired niche. Niche marketing makes it easier to market, helps them to focus their resources, enables them to become experts in an industry and ultimately will be more profitable for them. Most people are afraid to niche because they think it will limit the profitability. I have heard people say that they don't do a lot of proactive marketing because they don't know what to say or who to say it to. Or I hear them say their target market is everyone; that's just too broad and it’s not true. You have to narrow it down and become very clear who to market to and what to say.
Attended Business Journal’s Business Growth Expo yesterday – how many of you were there? (Hands) Did anyone attend the panel discussion on Selling in the “Reset” Economy? What was the resounding uniform message: Selling is hard! Any discussion of marketing usually focuses on these topics – websites, social media, collateral, etc.And I’m sure you’ve tried many of these tools – and some of these have no doubt been successful for you – but if you looked more closely at your efforts you might discover that your message was focused on a clearly defined target.Today we are looking at…..
Do you have a niche that you serve? What is it? How do you communicate that?Remember the value of a niche is not its size, but the fact that it is focused on a set of customers with very similar needs and wants.Have you narrowly defined your target market? Do see the value in being known in your market? Perhaps you see the advantage but aren't sure how to do it. Focusing on a niche market doesn’t need to take a lot of time to build your expertise because – you already have it. You aren’t making stuff up; you’ve already developed it.Why isn’t everyone doing this? Most people are afraid to niche because they think it will limit profitability. Actually the reverse is true. You will command higher fees and higher profile clients with a clear niche.
I could tell you it’s the right thing to do – but not sure that’s enough for you! 10 reasons to limit yourself to one niche or one type of ideal client:You’ll learn and master the communications that attract your targetYou’ll develop a simple, cohesive marketing plan with articles, newsletters, blogs and compelling direct marketing campaignsYou’ll be more confident speaking in front of your prospects.It’s easier to create new products for your clients/ new revenue streams You’ll network more strategically.You save money and convert more clients when you laser-focus your marketing.Your ideal clients associate with others who are like them (generates ideal referrals).You’ll be happier working with people who value what you’re offering.You’ll become known as an expert. And the bottom line is:Your business will be more successful and you’ll be paid more. Are you sold yet?
These are the three dogs of Three Dog Marketing – Black Lab Merlin, Chocolate Lab Murphy (who is frequently immortalized on Facebook) and Jack Russell Terrorist Starbuck.Each of them have a very distinctive pedigree, traits not present in each other.How do you stand out in your marketplace? You need to develop your UVP – Unique Value Pedigree – what is it you do that your customers cannot get anywhere else?When developing your niche, ask yourself –1. Do these customers have a problem that my product or service solves?2. Am I able to differentiate my products and services in order to provide value to this group?3. Will this group be willing to pay full price for my products and/or services?If you answer "no" to any of these questions, move on. In the long run, it won't be a profitable niche.How do you discover your UVP?
Remember your Unique Value Pedigree represents what is unique and valuable about your organization. In our experience clients find it difficult to determine what is unique about their business or they may state it very generically (customer service, pricing, human capital). But any firm can say that about their business therefore it is not unique. We recommend that you ask your clients, previous clients, and even employees what they feel is different and unique about your firm:• Why did you choose to work with us the first time?• Why do you continue to work with us?• What has been the greatest result you’ve experienced working with us?• How has our relationship changed over time?• What needs do you have that we fill? Once you’ve asked for feedback, review it to ensure that the information is in alignment with your company goals and objectives. This feedback may give you the opportunity to review your sales strategies and open up new markets for your firm. And finally, your Unique Value Pedigree gives prospective clients a compelling reason (value) to do business with you, possibly making them insensitive to price increases. Your UVP enables the creation of a long-term strategy for greater business success. We work with our clients to create their UVP – we are offering a drawing for a strategy session which may enable you to develop your pedigree.
To turn your niche into revenue and position your expertise, you need to clearly identify the role of your business in your life’s vision.What were you so passionate about that you were driven to start your business? Example: Why I started Three Dog Marketing – wanted to help businesses - 1.) Value relationships2.) Creative 3.) Marketing and sales can be easy!4.) Empower business owners
What are your goals?Setting sales goals should be based in real life numbers that support your vision.Why is this important? In marketing – Your niche, goals and passion determines which activities and marketing platforms are most effective for you to hit your revenue objectives.So, what are your goals – you don’t have to share them out loud but write them down!Are you hitting your goal for 2011?How many clients do you need to hit that goals?What resources do you have to create and expand your niche? What marketing tools do you enjoy using:Website SEO BlogPersonal contact Networking Meetings Telephone callsRelationship Send articles Blog Social MediaSocialize Events Trade shows OrganizationsSocial causes Volunteer Follow upNotice I didn’t say “sell” and “close.“ Because this is about focusing your marketing on developing a niche. By doing this, you’ll build stronger relationships, create value and attract those people to you who have value for your service – without feeling like you’re selling or closing.
For example – you might decide to approach your niche in this manner – determining what is most effective may require time and researchYou might attend a networking event and meet someone in your target niche.You send them a personalized (customized) connection message for LinkedIn or Facebook.They agree to receive your newsletter.You offer an assessment or an evaluation.You follow up. How often? What do I say?How many times to you follow up with your target client? That’s your choice – I follow up with some people for months….in fact, we just got our largest client to date – signed on October 3rd and I met them on October 25 – 2010!!Not sure what these messages should include – you may want to speak with an expert – can help you with:Graphic design that appeals to your targetSales script that is engaging and builds value for taking the next stepCall to action messages on your websiteRelationship building Social Network Marketing™
For example – you might decide to approach your niche in this manner – determining what is most effective may require time and researchAnother example –You sponsor or exhibit at a trade show – say Susan Ratliff’s Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot CampYou send everyone you met a “nice to meet you, please connect with us… email”You call everyone to schedule an appointment.You meet with a number of prospects.You continue to follow up with newsletters, social media connections, etc.How often? What do I say?How many times to you follow up with your target client? That’s your choice – We were able to build new relationships with million dollar plus firms and generate $10,000s of dollars in revenue. We are still working with clients almost one year later. I follow up with some people for months…Not sure what these messages should include – you may want to speak with an expert – can help you with:Create a personalized friendly connection messageDesign an attractive newsletter with pertinent content.Write an appointment-getting telephone script that….gets you appointments. Relationship building Social Network Marketing™2% of sales are made on the 1st call. 3% of all ... 10% of all sales are made on the 4th call. 80% of all sales are made after the 5th call - Most sales are made after 6-7 contacts and yet most of us quit after the first one. It’s all in the follow-up.
I know what you are thinking – of course she can do this – she owns a marketing firm. But I haven’t always! You can start where you are at but you need to start - Take action in support of goals Sales/Marketing/Social Media Strategy - Understand your value and target demographicWhen you are clear about your goals and you take action toward those goals - clear and strategic - you ensure focus. So what are you doing tomorrow?For example – what is the purpose of your website? Your social media program? Why do you call people – what’s in it for them?? What value are you holding back on because you are not marketing every day? What can you do to follow up? Events Phone calls Notes EmailsNewsletters Sales letters Ezines FacebookLinkedIn Twitter Networking events What else??
Examples of goals – your objectives determine your platform#1 increase traffic to website – sales/business development – serves as funnel to get people to website (usually website isn’t effective.An effective website converts visitors to clients or gathers data (which is used to turn visitors into clients).Ask clients how they heard about you..
This is general strategy we recommend for most business to establish a basic “Presence” in your niche
A bit of review – * Establish and communicate your UVP….Get re-connected with your passion and mission.Establish objectivesTake action – daily!!Be accountableOnce you are an effective marketer and it does NOT take much effort – you have a sustainable, scale-able business. Until you get good at building relationships and creating value, you struggle to grow revenue.Remember Shakespeare’s words: To niche or not to niche – that is the question.Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer Not knowing what to focus onOr to take up arms against the sea of competitors.And by opposing end them? …… Let’s do that!
SAMPLE ACTIVITIES Create a Google Alert Review your website – brand, message, calls to action, conversion rates Create clear UVP and a UVP Profile – Unique Value Pedigree Install Google Analytics on website Create Facebook profile/Facebook page Create a LinkedIn marketing campaign Create a Twitter campaign