The Entrepreneurs Rollercoaster

niche marketing strategyDo you love rollercoaster rides? Building a thriving business, with its ups and downs, can feel like one. Especially in the early stages before momentum develops. Adding a niche marketing strategy to everything else on your plate often causes overwhelm.

Most training programs don’t offer marketing or sales in their course offerings. So when you decide to go out on your own, rather than remain employed, you’re left to figure this out. You then wonder where to start – pricing, demographics, budget, time, competition or something else. Can you be sure that your efforts won’t go to waste?

That is one reason why you want to narrow your focus on a market niche.

The transition to a niche appears complicated. Doubtful thoughts start to surface as you dwell on the transition and all its steps. Concerns about limiting your reach, and in turn, limiting your clientele flare up.

Don’t Wait for Confidence

The primary underlying fear is “what if it doesn’t work out in the end?” The thought of failure stops you in your tracks. If you’re concerned about others judging you, then that adds another layer of complexity to the decision.

Your decision to develop a niche market requires courage. I believe courage matters more than confidence. The confidence appears later.

Right now choosing a niche seems like a permanent commitment – until forever do you part. Fortunately, that’s a choice. Just like you’ve grown so much since you first started this journey, your niche market transforms over time. As your business grows, your niche market becomes more defined.

Fear keeps you stuck, unable to make a decision. I’d like to reduce some of your concerns. Let’s empower you with the steps to develop a solid niche marketing strategy.

1. Define the Niche You Don’t Want

The first step in building a niche marketing strategy is to clearly define your people. This gradually develops over several years.

Defining a non-ideal client occurs first. I quickly realized negative people who don’t desire change as well as entrepreneurs who care more about making money than helping their clients aren’t my ideal clients.

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The accounting industry affectionately calls troublesome clients PITA (pain in the ass) clients. You know who they are. They never follow through, they’re unresponsive, make a ton of excuses or blame you rather than take personal responsibility.

After I started to define my non-ideal client, then I subtracted the specific business models which weren’t an ideal fit for my services. This was pretty easy. The list included all businesses that were not service based.

niche marketing strategy2. Find Your Patterns

I find patterns fascinating. Your work resolves a specific set of challenges. Like habits that you unknowingly develop, some patterns remain hidden. Over time obvious patterns emerge; although, you may not be aware of them.

Some patterns I’ve noticed with my clients include:

  • Mindset qualities, like over-thinking, perfectionism and avoiding risk, interfere with work flow.
  • Unsure how to raise rates and charge for value rather than time.
  • Too much time spent working takes a personal toll.

This insight is like hidden gold. As you deal with a specific set of concerns over and over again, you unknowingly develop a system. It’s true with all of my clients.

We first define your system. Your system then influences your niche marketing strategy. This rich information gets re-purposed in a variety of ways.

3. Develop Your Niche Marketing Strategy

Expect to receive referrals as your niche develops. They’re great for your business and they validate your work.

Many businesses rely solely on referrals. But, that’s like placing your business growth in someone else’s hands. Sometimes your source suddenly dries up. Then what?

  1. Diversity. Develop your game plan. Some marketing efforts achieve quick results while others lead to long term results. Then there’s the wild card. These efforts deliver different results than you expected.
  2. Test. How does your ideal client find you? Often it seems like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. A strategic marketing plan actually involves a lot of testing. Expect some trial and error.
  3. Three legged stool. Some entrepreneurs appear everywhere. However, they didn’t start out that way.

Think of a three legged stool. Decide how you want to market. Is it in-person, media or virtual? Once you find the most effective channels, then consider adding another one. Aim for three strong channels, these are your legs. The legs support the seat, which is your business.

Marketing is a long-term strategy. So, avoid spreading your resources too thin. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Your niche marketing strategy is a long-term strategy. So, avoid spreading your resources too thin.

4. What do you talk about?

Focus on the few, rather than attempt to cover everything.  Once again, stay in your lane. We previously discussed patterns. Did you identify some patterns with your clients?

If so, then start there.

Start to ask yourself:

  • Which common concerns do your ideal clients share?
  • What do you do for almost all of your ideal clients?
  • What exact results do they receive?

Yes, I want you to stick with a few select topics. But, you want your strategy to include variety, that’s because people respond to information differently. You may find case studies get your attention. Some of your ideal clients prefer facts. Whereas others hunger for the “how to” tactical steps.

5. Develop a Funnel

niche marketing strategyThe next step is to build your sales funnel – a series of steps – which transforms visitors into clients. Your funnel is a long term strategy. Some clients; however, quickly move through your funnel to your highest level service.

Simply because someone learned about you and your services, they aren’t all in the same stage of the buying cycle. People in the awareness stage seek different information than ones in the research or action stage.

Your funnel serves two purposes.

  1. You elegantly move people from one stage to the next.
  2. By the time they request a consultation, they’re highly qualified.

For example, an online business sales funnel includes:

  1. Attraction. Attract visitors to your website. Your marketing efforts are free, paid, or some combination of both.
  2. Gather. Collect email information. Typically, you offer a lead magnet, where you give them a resource, in exchange for their email address.
  3. Educate. Start to host webinars, offer assessments and discuss case studies.
  4. Sample. Can people work with you in a variety of different ways? Some people may want a sample of your services before they make a larger, long term commitment. Classes and workshops are a great option for those who like a trial first.
  5. Ask. The right people will be ready to work with you. Provide an opportunity for them to speak with you or someone on your team.

Build your funnel over time. In the beginning only work with clients privately.

When the demand to work with you exceeds your available hours, consider ways to expand your offering. You can add group programs into your business model. They’re highly lucrative since you earn more money in less time.

Then as your business grows, and you systematize your program, train someone else to lead the group.

Clients First

 An effective niche marketing strategy puts your clients first. You attract them with a specific message. Then you nurture the relationship with high quality information. Finally, you extend an invitation for your ideal client to schedule a consultation with you

It continually evolves, changing over time. The key is to pay attention to your client’s needs.

If you are facing overwhelm, schedule a strategy session to discuss your niche marketing strategy.