In previous blogs, we have discussed the importance of referrals. Having clients and friends recommend you by name will lead to the best jobs and clients. In this process, being found for your name and business name is the best use of your marketing time and money. However, there are many cases where referrals is not enough to give you the e-ttraction you need. You may have moved to a new country, be just out of university or changing industries. In these cases your name and company won't be enough, you will need prospects to find you for your service. Being found for what you do is a whole different marketing approach. This blog will help you identify your niche and give you some strategies of how to be found for it.
If you are running your own small business, the methodology is the same. Think about what problem are you solving for the customer, and what value can you create for them. This isn’t the product you sell, but the solution. An old marketing adage is people don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole. If you really understand your customers pain, it is a lot easier to create a product that solves his problem and marketing that will grab their attention.
The niche solution you provide needs to be super specific. To ensure you have it clear in your mind, follow this simple process. Start by write a description of your target client. Picture them as a single person and detail their habits, behaviours, demographics, lifestyle and problems. In a job situation, this is the person hiring you. For a business it’s your preferred client. Then write the way you can solve their problem with the skills you have and also why they would get you to solve that problem.
Let’s take an example of a real estate agency. You open in a new area and need to stand out amongst the many other competitors in the area. It is an affluent area and so you define the target client as Mary the mum. She is educated, 42, with 2 children at private school, works part time in a corporate role and very savvy. In this household she makes the decisions and demands quality service. Mary is weary of salespeople and doesn’t trust agents easily. You decide your niche will be providing advice and education to Mary and her friends to acheive word of mouth marketing. Your business runs monthly sessions in their homes to educate them on property investing and portfolio management. Over time you establish trust with Mary and her friends and receive many referrals for house listings because of this relationship.
The first step is to establish what exactly is your niche. If you are reading this to boost your career, a niche is the specific job you are looking to do. It is the service you are providing to the company who is employing you to solve their problem. It is important to realise that the value you provide to the business isn’t in your job title or even your skills, it is based upon what value you can provide to their customers which they can turn into revenue. When you begin to change your mindset to the employees problems you can solve with your skills, rather than your own, you begin to open up a whole range of new career opportunities, some of which you might not have even thought of. These are the sort of roles that are created around you, rather than you apply with 1,000 other people.
Let’s use an example to clarify this process. Jim has been working in mining all his life and at 60 is looking for a final senior role for a few years in a large manufacturing or mining company reporting to the CEO. Jim would create a buyer persona for the CEO he most wants to work for. ‘Chris the CEO of X Mining, is a 45 year old first time CEO who has been an executive in a similar company for 10 years. He is a bit nervous taking on such responsibilities at his relatively young age, but has confidence in his abilities and know’s his MBA will help him navigate the role. His problem is he is new to this industry and hasn’t had any hands on experience so understanding the nuances of the business is tricky so he is advertising for a COO with industry experience.’ Jim knows that his hands on experience and personal contacts in this specific industry will be of huge benefit to Chris. Now Jim just needs to look for changes in his industry where the CEO requires a more experienced mentor.
Marketing your niche
Once you have clearly identified your niche, you need to market it in the same ways that you market your personal brand and your business brand. On your social media and website you need to talk to your target person in the language you use. Highlighting the problem you solve, your solutions and your strengths. Then you need to take action. Connect to your target market in LinkedIn, write content that is useful to them on your blog, share articles that would interest them and answer their questions. Help them solve their problem and they will reciprocate with referrals for your niche.
Google will also look after you if you have a clearly defined niche. In the real estate example, if you were writing about your specific workshops for mums in a particular suburb a search for that would easily find your website. Google is looking for the best match to a search query and a lot of searches are very specific. You can be found for your generic service ‘Real Estate Agent Kew’ with the other competitors or try the niche process and be found for ‘Free Property investment seminars for mums in Kew’, and be the only result.
P.S. If you are looking to boost your career or business in 2017, download our “10 Personal Marketing Tips ebook here!