How to Grow Your Niche Market
As your firm becomes known for a niche industry or service, you rise above the competition and are hired for that knowledge and your connections. The niche becomes part of your brand.
Niches can also attract and retain talented young professionals for the partner track.
For example, one of our accounting clients has built two-thirds of the firm’s practice in government consulting, a deep niche that is attracting non-CPAs with health care backgrounds as well as accountants. Another client focuses exclusively on pharmacies, and now has a national market. Yet another client has success with a large niche in buy here pay here auto dealerships that has contributed to double-digit firm revenue growth.
From these examples, it’s clear that niche development is going deeper than before, requiring a focused niche marketing strategy to stay visible to a narrower audience.
How to Deepen Your Niche Market
Which clients do you already serve in an industry? Can you grow a deeper niche for which you are better known than any competitor? Can the niche expand nationally?
You have to discern if the niche is sustainable as a growth industry, the level of competition and the potential to gain a significant portion of the market without being the lowest cost provider. Market research goes a long way toward defining your true niches.
If you don’t yet have a niche or if your firm is small, you can still develop a narrower niche within an industry. One professional services firm exploring new opportunities in manufacturing started to focus just on software developers because of the number of those firms in its region and the fact that no other comparable firms served them. It had a few clients and knowledgeable staff and was able to grow the niche through referrals and strategic marketing.
Create a Firm Within a Firm
Speaking of your niche team, select someone as the lead or spokesperson who has the respect of other partners and can facilitate niche objectives. Organize the team like a company within a company. Build in administrative and marketing support, job descriptions, a budget, and incentives for participation.
Ideally, you want a mix of established and new staff on the team to fuel ideas and momentum. Without this organization and commitment to growth, team members can be pulled in other directions — lacking time for focused business development and niche client services expansion.
Choose Your Messages
Work with the niche team to identify its value proposition. Why do you service the clients exceptionally well? Why is your experience important to their everyday business? Decide what sets your firm apart in this area and what values and expectations you want people to associate with your team.
Helpful hint: To support niche visibility, your online presence should look like the people and industry that you serve. Update your images and messaging to speak to their pains, interests and desires.
One of our clients recently asked us to develop team member bios that reflect their niche-specific experience. These bios can be used on the website as well as in proposals, presentations and speaking engagements to create more niche visibility and growth. Other firms develop partner-marketing events and send out industry briefs to inform niche clients and potential clients about their knowledge.
Remember that niche market development is not a rapid process. It can take years to establish your expertise. Make sure when identifying a deeper niche that it has internal champions with established industry connections and knowledge, a target market with growth potential, and synergy with your firm’s vision.