How to Carve
Your Niche in the Marketplace
By Michel Fortin
hypercompetitive marketplace, long gone are the days of mere prospecting and
crafty (and often misleading) sales tactics using 1,001 approaches to "close
the deal." Due to the information revolution, prospects are now more
informed, more educated, and incredibly more sophisticated than ever before.
Using a plethora of techniques such as these are no longer effective -- or
in the very least, they are not as effective as they used to be.
Let's face it. People can
no longer be "sold" let alone tricked. With information at their fingertips
(such as with the Internet), they can find out almost anything in a matter
of seconds. However and unfortunately, there are many companies still
training their salespeople to use these outdated approaches. Prospects not
only see them coming but they also consider such techniques to be insulting.
I do say "outdated" because, in our knowledge based economy, more and more
sales tactics are being frowned upon with each passing day.
Like direct mail marketing
(now considered more as "junk mail"), telemarketing and unsolicited
commercial email (also known as "spamming"), more and more prospecting
methods are slowly being added to the list of taboos. Trying to find and
sell clients is sadly becoming an increasingly difficult endeavor.
what is a better, more effective, and certainly more "politically correct"
approach to generate good quality prospects? In essence, a solution to this
dilemma is to generate leads (not clients) that are already pre-qualified
and pre-sold, even before prospects are marketed to.
Find More With Less
The first rule in
pre-qualifying prospects is to specialize. The most common mistake newcomers
to any field of business make is to think that by expanding their portfolio
they will secure more business. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Specializing and narrowing one's focus as much as possible will
paradoxically increase the likelihood of getting more business.
Specialization is in itself
a fundamental marketing process. It's amazingly effective in creating
"top-of-mind" awareness among a specific target market. For instance, an
accountant specializing in car dealerships will get more business than a
general accountant will. An advertising consultant specializing in print
media for home furnishing stores will get more business than a typical
advertising agent will. A photographer specializing in weddings will get
more business than a regular photographer will. And the list goes on and on.
Over the years,
specialization has been referred to as "niche" marketing. As more and more
businesses get started (and the more inundated with marketing messages our
society becomes), the less time, energy, and money people will have to spend
in making choices for those with whom they will choose to do business.
Specialization helps to solve that problem.
Let's say that you're
thinking of referring clients to one of two car salespeople. One of them is
a typical salesperson while the other specializes in first time car buyers
(e.g., students, young drivers, newlyweds, late bloomers, etc). The latter
offers special creative financing methods for those new to credit,
additional car-specific driver training information for new drivers, and
rate comparison charts that suggest insurance companies with the lowest
possible rates for newly licensed drivers. Now, to whom do you think you
will refer more people (and do so in an instant)? This is the power of
narrowing your focus.
Be an Expert
Consumers will choose when
they have a choice presented to them to go to a business that specializes in
a unique area in which they have a need. Think of a laser, which is
basically a beam of highly concentrated light. You want to focus like a
laser on your niche and, when you do, you will as a result burn you, your
business, and your product into your prospects' minds.
Specialization casts an
aura of superiority and exclusivity. When you deal with a specialist, you
will automatically assume that this person has greater expertise, has
greater knowledge about the field, and offers greater service since, by
catering to a unique market, it implies that he or she will have a better
understanding of your situation, needs, and concerns.
marketers generate far more serious prospects than general, curious ones.
Specialization is the wave of the future. And the greater the competition
will become, the greater the need for more specialists. For example, why do
you think there is a trend in specialty stores these days? They are popping
up everywhere! Today, there are stores selling only dry foods in bulk. There
are vitamin and food supplement stores. There are electronics stores. There
are toy stores. There are candle stores. There are even mothers-to-be and
baby clothing stores!
The need to specialize is
obvious. With the media storming you with information and with your very
limited time to be able to shop around for the best product from the best
company at the best price, you will more than likely go the store that pops
into your mind and do so only when the need presents itself. For instance,
you can buy a toaster from a department store, a home furnishings store, a
kitchenware store, an appliance store, a grocery store, and a drugstore --
even a bank! Heck, if there were a store specializing only in toasters,
you'd probably go there first. So ideally, your job is to find your niche
and to narrow it down as much as possible.
Become a Celebrity
You want to be the leader
in your category or in your unique area of expertise. By doing so, free
publicity will flow to you quite easily. Non-traditional mediums will seek
you out. Specialized publications, strategic marketing alliances, and
community television stations are wonderful mediums through which you can
get the word out effectively at little or no cost.
For instance, I once met a
computer consultant who ran his own show for free on cable television --
yes, free! As a programmer specializing in financial institutions, he hosted
a show during which he interviewed guests ranging from bankers and corporate
executives looking to hire computer consultants, to other consultants in
areas similar to his own.
He also took calls on the
show, had his phone number displayed at the bottom of the screen at all
times, and had an question-and-answer format where people watching the show
had the ability to ask questions to which he (or his guests) would answer
directly on the air. The show was not meant to advertise him directly but
meant as a public service gesture.
Publicity is remarkably
different than advertising. It is far more credible and believable. And
there are many ways to get publicity out there, let alone free publicity. In
a hypercompetitive marketplace, specializing causes people, other mediums,
as well as other companies (looking to refer clients or to form strategic
marketing alliances) to seek you out. Your goal is to become known as an
expert in your field. If you have narrowed your focus to a very specific,
highly specialized field, publicity will come easy to you. The media (and
particularly those that are specialized as well) love to hear from people
who are uniquely qualified. I know as I used to work in and with the media.
Get Out and About
Do you write articles for
your local newspaper or in the very least in the op-ed section? Do you send
out news releases to all the TV, newspaper and radio stations in your area?
Do you offer free seminars during fundraisers for non-profit organizations
regarding your area of expertise? Do you offer to speak at luncheons, clubs
and organizations such as the Rotary? Do you offer free services to
charities or sponsor community projects? As you can see, the list goes on.
There exists a multitude of publicity opportunities out there and I
encourage you to vigorously seek them out.
A hair transplant doctor I
know sent out news releases to all the TV stations and offered to perform a
hair transplant live on the air as part of a suggested medical documentary.
With the consent of the patient, cameramen taped a live surgical procedure
where the doctor continually answered questions asked by the reporter. The
doctor's name and his phone number were frequently mentioned, and the piece
aired during that station's regularly televised newscast at dinner time. The
segment only lasted 15 minutes.
Nevertheless, not only did
it cause his practice to get flooded with calls, but the doctor also had a
bright idea to obtain the permission to mass-copy the televised report on
videotapes. He mailed them as part of his information package to potential
patients and referral-sources, and even digitized them so that people may
view the procedure online while visiting his website.
I know of an insurance
agent who decided to specialize in life insurance new families. His company
didn't require it of him but he decided on his own to develop an expertise
in this area. You'll often find him at bridal fairs, home buyers seminars,
home furnishing stores, home shows, banks, mortgage and lending
institutions, car dealerships, toy stores, and so on. Now, for a typical
insurance agent to do this kind of stuff may or may not be a waste of time.
But how much more effective will he be if he promotes himself at those
special events or locations as an agent strictly catering to new couples and
The Write Way
Write articles based on
your unique expertise. Send query letters to publications for an article you
wish to contribute. A query letter is one in which you address the editor
and propose a topic for an interesting article you wish to write. Make sure
that the headline of your query grabs their attention and makes them want to
read it. Make your article somehow related to a free report you have to
offer. Give them a brief outline of your article along with a summary of
your free report as a sort of "tickler."
Send the same query letter
to as many newspapers as you can, especially specialized publications read
by your target market. Of course, don't limit your efforts to newspapers and
magazines. There are also newsletters from other companies, news and
discussion groups, bulletin boards, electronic newsletters from other
organizations, trade associations, trade publications, web sites with online
article archives, news shows, and most important publications from strategic
Don't forget to include in
your query letter that you're not looking for any compensation -- at least,
not for now -- but ask if you can add a byline at the end of your article. A
byline is a small bio or resource box showcasing the author and how he or
she can be reached. It's also a good way to generate leads by offering your
How To Create A Niche - And Grow Rich!
A niche fills an unmet customer need. Niches are at the heart of every successful industry, business, product, or service.
Niche marketing is the opposite of mass (general) marketing. It targets specific people with specialized needs.
Niches are what build industries, businesses, and jobs.
Increase Sales - By Using A "Safety" Niche!
The vital need for more safety is a daily need that never goes away. If you can show others how your product or service can add safety to their life, you’d have a powerful niche.
How to Create Powerful Strategic
How can you reward your network? How can
you do so on a consistent basis? And how can you turn your
network into a networking system? The answer is by developing and
establishing a network of strategic marketing alliances.
Michel Fortin is a master copywriter
and consultant dedicated to turning businesses into powerful magnets. Get a
FREE copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," and
subscribe to his FREE monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill," by visiting