In the increasingly competitive world of professional services, targeting a specific industry sector or niche audience is among the most effective ways for a firm to differentiate itself from the competition and build its bottom line. By focusing on a small, healthy market segment, your firm can become a market leader within that niche. You’ll be sought after for your skill and expertise in dealing with a specific set of problems and become the “go-to guy” for firms within the targeted industry.
While this type of strategy has become popular as of late, many firms lack the knowledge or commitment to truly connect with their targeted audience. It’s simply not enough to slap “Industry X” on the specialties section of you website or to sit in a booth at the “Industry X Annual Conference” once per year. For one thing, it’s possible that dozens of competing firms occupying dozens of booths at dozens of similar conferences each year, and many of them just may them list this same “Industy X” on their website somewhere (and they might be more actively engaging in this area)! To effectively establish your firm as the leader in your targeted industry/niche, you need to consistently engage your audience with content that your ideal prospect is interested in to showcase the right expertise in their industry. You need to prove you understand their business as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.
To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of 8 effective ways to engage any niche industry in a meaningful way.
- Create an industry blog. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to consistently showcase your firm’s value and expertise by providing helpful information and guidance to a targeted audience. Your industry blog should focus on common challenges, questions, or pain points shared by companies in your targeted niche. The idea is when someone searches this topic on the web, they find your post on your site, thus allowing more qualified leads to find your firm.
- Write for trade publications. Pitching articles and blog posts to major publications within your targeted niche allows you to place your ideas in front of a wider audience of more targeted potential prospects. Best of all, it only costs you a few hours of your time.
- Send an industry newsletter to your clients , prospects, and referral sources. On a consistent basis (perhaps quarterly or bi-monthly), collect some hot industry news stories and package them into a newsletter. This is simple to do via e-newsletter and you simply link back to the original source. it shows you are on the cutting edge with the industry news and trends, and clients/prospects will appreciate you saving the time of looking for news themselves. Be sure to include some of your own content in the newsletter as well (blog posts, press releases, etc.)!
- Form a strategic alliance. If you know and trust a business that targets the same niche but provides different services, form a strategic alliance with them by hosting joint events, referring business back and forth, featuring each other’s content, and sharing ideas.
- Create your own LinkedIn Group. Using LinkedIn’s Groups function, create an online venue for professionals within the targeted industry to share ideas, pose questions, and discuss current trends. Be sure to remain active within the group by sharing thoughts of your own and starting discussions on a regular basis. We recommend contributing a new discussion item at least once per week, and also be sure to weigh in on others’ discussion topics.
- Engage professionals on niche social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are valuable because of their sheer membership numbers and popularity, but don’t forget niche social networks! These are online communities of professionals within the same industry or who share similar interests, and they offer a more targeted approach to social networking. Such networks already exist within many industries. For example, take a look at IShade for Accounting professionals or JDSupra for lawyers.
- Become active in industry associations. Nearly every industry has professional clubs and associations. But don’t just join these groupscapture the attention of fellow association members by making yourself a valuable contributor and resource. You can do so by speaking at association events, hosting association meetings at your office, joining or leading a sub-committee or task force, and/or sponsoring the organization.
- Speak at seminars and conferences. Above, I suggested that merely attending a trade show or conference isn’t necessarily enough to build an effective niche marketing strategy, but presenting at such an event is an extremely valuable opportunity. As a presenter, you are in a position to make a lasting impression and provide value to conference attendees. Developing a panel offers additional opportunity to build relationships with other experts and possible referral sources.
Have any of these ideas caught your attention? Have you had success using one of the tactics on my list? Do you have a favorite technique that didn’t make my list? If so, please share in the comments section below!
Are you interested in building your own niche marketing strategy? Contact Marketri to discuss your ideas and see how we can help you!