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Developing your Niche

Speaking your Way into Niche Development

If you look at the history of any firm that dominates a niche market, you will often find this domination based on one or two people who have become authorities in that industry. Everyone in the industry knows that when you have certain kinds of problems you reach out to these people first. They are frequently quoted in the press about the industry, asked to speak at industry events and maintain a high profile with the local and national associations. 

A lot of firms are known for certain niches, but very few have gained exclusive recognition —  the household name for agribusiness accounting or the predominant architect for designing public buildings. As more firms work at niche marketing, it is going to get harder to gain that exclusive “rock star” kind of recognition.

Many smart and strategic firms remain at the most basic level of recognition, which is simply to remain visible. Your people show up, meet people, write articles and offer to speak. Your firm sponsors an event and advertises in the niche market newsletter or publication. If you are personally charismatic and connect well with people, this may be enough to gain some measure of recognition and exposure. If you are not, you had better add more marketing strategy and focus to your niche development.

See this media infographic on all the ways to gain niche visibility.

One effective tool to use when expanding a niche marketing strategy is public speaking. When you have a toehold in a niche, speaking is probably the easiest way to both gain the reputation as an expert and develop personal relationships in the niche.

If You Speak It, Own It

Doing a few “pretty good” speeches or being on a panel or two is not going to cut it. The competition is tough and you just have to be better. When Ingenuity helps someone get breakthrough recognition through speaking, we start with strategy and follow up with integrated implementation toward the goals.

You need a purpose. Most of our clients speak in order to develop business for their firms. That’s pretty generic. Decide on the true reason for your speaking — which services do you want to promote and why are you convinced that people need them? The best speakers have a passion for their topic. You need to authentically convey that passion and believe that you make a difference with what you share.

You need a goal. Start with your end clearly in mind or you will be giving away a lot of valuable information for free to people who may not care and may never buy your services. We have heard many CPAs, financial advisors and attorneys give away the store in their public speeches. Because they are trained to be experts, they tend to give away all their knowledge in the PowerPoint, leaving the audience with no appetite for more. Not that you should use a hard sales approach that never works. Instead, use a thoughtful approach to your topics and track your results. The data will show what works pretty quickly.

Create a list of organizations filled with the kinds of people who can buy your services.  Find out when these organizations have conferences, what they are looking for and how their speaking decisions are made. Decide which audiences you will charge a fee to and which you will not, as well as how you will develop leads from speaking. If the organization allows, pass out an evaluation form to qualify leads.  If not, be creative and add a landing page with a survey or information that would be valuable for them to fill out a form and receive more detail.

You need packaging. A great photo, a speaker bio and a list of topics and audiences will help you sell yourself to groups of people who do not know you. You need a great package with compelling topics in order to get in front of the decision makers you want.

A speaking coach can smooth away your nervous tics, train you to take off your nametag and shorten your PowerPoint, and most importantly help you create something dynamic and unique for your audience. If your speaking style is shaky, you might need to invest six months at Toastmasters. Tape your speeches and make yourself watch them for improvement.

You need a platform. Start pitching tidbits of fresh information and ideas from the services you most want to sell and/or are passionate about. This needs to be done regularly as many organizations are staffed by volunteers who may take a while to make decisions. Your topics should touch on key areas of pain the niche audience experiences rather than creating a platform outlining the services of your firm. Address the needs of your audience, provide insight on industry trends and offer a limited sample of recommendations and solutions that tie to your services.

Platforms are the subtle art of public speaking. Your goal is new business, but your platform is about showcasing your knowledge and awareness of audience needs and potential solutions. Through your visibility and credibility as a smart and informed speaker, you’re on your way to developing your niche in a sustainable way.

Get help with your speaking and niche market development.


Gain Recognition for your Niche

10 Ideas to Maximize Your Niche Marketing Strategy

You’ve identified your niche market, now how do you gain more exposure to that audience? Perhaps you have a few thoughts on a marketing strategy, but aren’t quite sure how to implement the plan. Here are 10 ways to become a recognized advisor in your niche market.

  1. Be Visible. Join trade associations, sponsor events and take leadership roles if possible. Learn how to effectively connect with professionals and speak to their pain, interests and desires. A little practice goes a long way.
  2. Speak. Pursue opportunities to participate in round-table discussions and speak at industry events. Proactively take part seminars and panel discussions at industry associations.
  3. Write. Submit articles to industry publications and the general media. Make sure your photo, biography, and contact information are included.
  4. Get Covered. Identify your firm as experts in your niche industry to the media and let them know that you are available for interviews and expert advice on topics within your niche.
  5. Network. Build rapport with vendors and related professionals in your niche. If you are a CPA, meet all the lawyers, bankers, insurance agents and other vendors who work in the niche.

Don’t leave your niche marketing strategy to chance. Align strategies with your brand positioning and the key messages of your firm.

  1. Train. Host training sessions or conferences for clients related to your niche services. Better yet, offer to speak or present if they are in need of your expertise.
  2. Publish. Be seen as an authority by creating niche newsletters or guides that offer tips and advice to clients.
  3. Model. Research what other firms are doing and adopt similar strategies. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but don’t overdo it. Modeling a similar strategy doesn’t mean you can’t infuse your firm’s culture and personality into it.
  4. Read. Stay up to date on industry news to understand client needs and challenges. Share your learning and impart your newfound wisdom to others in the firm through email or connect at lunch.
  5. Perform. Do a great job for current clients so they sing your praises. Take that one step further by obtaining testimonials and case studies about the difference you have made for your clients that you can share in your niche marketing materials.

Three Niche Marketing Hacks to Reach More Leads

A niche marketing strategy can help your professional services firm understand your target client’s pains and desires. In doing so, you will reach a targeted group of leads and bring in more business. In this video, we share three niche marketing hacks to reach more leads. Learn how research, social tools, content and partnership marketing will drive your niche marketing strategy.

How to Succeed at Partnership Marketing

Click here to learn about Ingenuity’s research capabilities.