Last week I met a business coach at a networking event. As we started chatting, I immediately called up my mental rolodex, ready to start the search for a good match. “What’s your specialty? Do you coach businesses or individuals?” I asked.
Him: “I coach everyone.”
Me: “Really? Any type of business? You don’t have a specialty?”
Him: “Yes. Any type.”
Me: “Any issue or goal?”
Him: “Yep. Anything. I coach everyone.”
And that’s when the lid snapped shut on my mental rolodex.
No one likes a generalist. Think about it: do you want a generalist performing that quadruple bypass on you, or would you hold out for one of the country’s leading surgeons?
If you want to stand out in your industry, you’ve got to narrow your focus. Develop marketing niches to target. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with clients outside the your selected niches, but it does mean that you concentrate your marketing efforts on a particular service, client type, issue or result. You give up the undefined, scattershot approach.
Business leaders frequently shun naming specific niches or specialties, fearing that it will drive away prospects who don’t fit the targeted niche, but reality is counter intuitive: when an organization or an individual becomes known as the best in class for a particular niche, it creates higher level of interest and desire among non-target profile prospects as well.
What niche marketing can do for you:
Sharpens your focus.
By concentrating your marketing resources on specific niches, you can spend less money reaching the specific prospects who need your services. You’ll devote your marketing time and dollars to the activities, events, and organizations that fit your niche.
Increases your effectiveness.
By trying to reach a narrowly defined target client, with a service or specialty just for them, your message will break through the clutter and speak directly to that person. When you target the masses as your client base, you have a hard time differentiating yourself from others in your field. When you’re considered an expert or thought leader in a particular niche, you have stronger recognition and more credibility. Clients will seek you out.
Increase your revenue.
People pay more for specialized information. Being considered a “specialist” in a particular client type or industry allows an individual or organization to command higher fees for the greater perceived value. Experts are sought after, they get paid more, attract more media attention and get better results for clients (which generates more referrals, too.)
Best of all, you can expand your niche strategy as your business grows. Start out targeting one or two niches that you wish to dominate, and as you achieve authority status in those, you can add new and complimentary niches.
Here’s an exercise to get your brain flowing on possible niches:
On a piece of paper, make three columns. In the first column, list your services. (If your organization is large, list a subset of services. For example, an IT consulting firm may start with IT strategic planning.) In the middle column, think hard about your clients and prospects. What consistent problems or challenges are lots of people having that you know how to solve. In the third column, you’ll develop your special twist: what trends or new developments are emerging that affect these services or clients?
Once you’ve developed these three lists, spend some time thinking about ways that those three items – services, problems or challenges, and trends – intersect. What niches do you see?
In a future post, I’ll give you tips on developing authority in your chosen niches so that you can become Famous in Your Field.