Think Small, Grow Big: The 4 undeniable truths behind niche marketing



Think Small to Grow BigBased on what I know about our readers, there’s a 72% chance that you are a self-proclaimed “full-service remodeler.” But what I don’t know is, what are you known for?

Are you the “bathroom guy?” The “kitchen gal?” Or are you “the remodeling dude?”

If it’s the last one, then you might be doing yourself a disservice — especially if you’re looking to grow. The truth is, if you’re looking to grow big you might want to start thinking small.

Going niche can be a powerful marketing strategy, particularly for smaller remodelers forced to compete against the relatively massive marketing budgets that larger competitors afford.

To help you see the power of niche, we’re going to play “Imagine This…”

But before we do, a word of warning: Don’t confuse your niche with your target market . . .

  • Your target market defines who your ideal customer is.
  • Your niche is the specific service you are offering them. Your niche is what you want to be known for.

The fear

Whenever I talk about niche marketing, I get a lot of push back. “I don’t want to lose customers,” they say. Most remodelers want to be everything to everyone. Especially the smaller companies. The thought of turning away perfectly good work is ludicrous to most.

But there is a method to the madness.

Narrowing your focus broadens your appeal.

Here’s what I mean.

Imagine for a moment there’s an accident on one of your projects. After the dust settles OSHA smacks you with an unwarranted citation.

You’re going to fight this to the end! So you take to the internet to find an attorney and these are your top two choices:

 MILES LAW – specializing in OSHA Related issues including: OSHA Citations, OSHA Litigation, OSHA Regulation, OSHA Petitions for Reconsideration, OSHA Appeals, Safety Risk Analysis, Workers’ Compensation Discrimination Claims

THE BIGG GROUP – specializing in construction law including: Collections (Commercial Debts above $75,000), Contracts, Employment Law, Franchise Law, Litigation, Mechanic’s Lien Filing, OSHA Related Legal Problems

Who do you want to hire?

Did you choose Miles? Most people do. It’s “obvious” that they would do a better job, isn’t it?  After all, they only focus on the very thing you need help with.

Which brings us to the first undeniable truth…

Undeniable Truth #1: A niche business is perceived to be able to do it better than a general purpose company

Now, the assumption that the first firm of Miles Law is best is not necessarily true, but that’s how our brain works. And I’m not just talking about our logic: this perception impacts both logic and emotion.

It’s only logical to think that doing one thing makes you better at it. And admit it, it’s comforting to see the exact item you need help with on their specialty list.

Now consider this…

Imagine you call both firms and learn that Miles Law charges $475 per hour and The Bigg Group charges $200 per hour.

What do you think about them now? Who do you think would do a better job of defending your company?

For most, the price difference only strengthens the impression that Miles is the better attorney.

Which brings us to…

Undeniable Truth #2: A niche business can charge a premium for their services because they are “the expert.”

Okay, so, armed with what you now “know” about these two firms who would you choose? Well, that depends, doesn’t it? How much does this mean to you? Is it a slap on the wrist citation or a hefty fine that could cripple your company?

The truth is, whatever is at stake will play a huge role in your decision. Miles Law “obviously” the best, but you don’t always need the best.  In this case, maybe good enough is good enough. So depending on your needs, you may decide to go with The Bigg Group.

Which brings us to …

Undeniable Truth #3: It can help you land better clients.

If executed correctly, niche remodelers have clearly set expectations before the phone even rings. That means niche remodelers will typically have a higher close rate than the “we-do-it all” companies because their leads are pre-qualified. For small companies that don’t have the time to chase bad leads, this is a huge benefit. And for larger companies this is a great way to increase efficiency.

And this brings us to the final undeniable truth…

Undeniable Truth #4: Your marketing dollar goes much further with a niche business

Imagine for a moment you and a competitor both have a $40,000 marketing budget. She spends the entire $40,000 promoting her niche: luxury bathroom remodeling. You, however, have to promote bathrooms, additions, kitchens, finished basements, whole house remodels, roofing, decks, and new home construction. That leaves you $5,000 per category to reach the eight target clients you’re trying to find.

You’ve put yourself at a significant disadvantage. How can your $5,000 compete against her $40,000? Now consider for a moment that there’s also be a kitchen remodeler with a $40k budget; and a deck remodeler, and a new home builder, and a roofer, all with $40k budgets. Your $40k isn’t looking so great right now, is it?

The ability to fine tune your message to a razor sharp focus means you can expect higher returns on your investment.

Conclusion

By no means will the choice to pursue a niche marketing strategy guarantee success. And there are certainly some pitfalls. For example, choosing to be “too niche” can be disastrous. You have to be sure that there’s enough demand for your niche to support a growing company.

So don’t rush into it. Like all business decisions, it requires in-depth analysis and critical assessment. But for some, having a niche can be just the shot-in-the-arm your company needs to grow.

What about you?

Do you currently use the niche marketing strategy? Are you thinking about it? Let’s start the discussion below!

How to Attract High-End Customers

Selling to high-end clients is arguably one of the quickest ways to increase revenue and improve your profitability. In today’s episode of PowerTipsTv, I’ll give you some tips and tactics to attract the strong purchasing power of this coveted market segment.

Special thanks goes out to @LeoLantz for requesting today’s topic!


Have a question you need answered?

Follow Leo’s lead and send your questions to me via Twitter @VictoriaDowning with #PTanswers!

How about you?

Have some cost effective tips I forgot to mention? Please share them in the comments below!


Are your prospects looking for specialists, or are you the perfect fit?

Are you the perfect choice for your customers? I have no doubt that you are. The fact that you are a loyal PowerTips reader proves that you’re committed to being the best at what you do.

But do they know that?

Do your potential clients arrive at your website and say, “This is exactly what I’m looking for.” Odds are the majority do not. And that’s to be expected. After all, here’s the type of content you’ll find on a typical remodelers website:

Our services include additions, kitchens, bathrooms, master suites, interiors, interior design, decks, porches, landscaping, finished basements, in-law suites …

Phew! And therein lies the rub. You offer all these great services and you want the world to know it. But this “we do it all” approach doesn’t necessarily leave your site visitors feeling warm and fuzzy. At least not in the short term.

You have 25 seconds (at most) to convince them that they should not hit the back button and go to the next result in their Google search. So how do you do that? One powerful way is via microsites.

A microsite is a website that is comprised of only a handful of pages and is dedicated to one specific service you provide.

The benefit of running microsites is two-fold: A) your site visitors know the moment they arrive that you specialize in the exact project they need completed. This is comforting and validating. B) You have a tool that helps you own the top position in Google search.

Lets look and both benefits more closely.

Benefit A: I’m Home!

Assume for a moment that you’re in the market for a red baseball bat.

Imagine, if you will, what a visit to the fictional website Anns Sporting Goods.com would look like. You probably envision a navigation bar listing all the sports (football, baseball, hockey, hiking etc.) tons of sub-navigation like Apparel, Equipment, Shoes, and so on.  A clearance items section, images of fit athletes running. Is that about right?

Now imagine visiting Anns Red Baseball Bats.com. How clean is the picture in your mind? You see nothing but red baseball bats, right? Every size, every shape, every age group.

Which website makes you feel like you’ve found what you’re looking for? More importantly, which website are you more likely to buy from?

The same principal applies to remodeling, with a bonus kicker: specialization carries a lot of weight. A dedicated website reeks of specialization. People feel comfortable with specialists.

Benefit B: Own Google results

Without getting into all the specifics of SEO, lets just say this is a strong tool in your quest for top Google rankings. Although there are many, many variables that go into Google’s algorithm, one thing you can count on is that the actual domain URL and the content on that page carries a lot of weight. Think about it, how do you think a website called HartfordKitchenRemodeling.com (not real) would perform when someone in Hartford searches for kitchen remodeling?

Of course there’s more to it than that. But in the end Google’s primary goal is to provide relevant content. It’s difficult to argue that the sample microsites above aren’t relevant to what the people were searching for.

Parting Thoughts

This is a “top of the funnel” web marketing strategy. Use microsites to get people into your world. Get them to submit a form, call or email you. You want them to know you are the best choice for their project. After that your primary site is perfect. In fact, after they submit the contact form, have it redirect them to your main site. Saying in fact,”Look what else we do!”

See, once they know they’ve found the right company, that’s when the “we do it all” approach becomes an asset. It reinforces that they’ve made the right choice because — hey, you do it all!

How about you?

Are you currently using microsites to capture more leads? How is it working? If not, what’s stopping you? I  look forward to reading your comments below!

Define Your Company’s Niche and Stand Out From the Rest

Watching a recent ad by Porsche, I couldn’t help but think that the car company that once carried the cache of exclusivity is in danger of losing its way, speeding off into the pedestrian.

The ad’s tagline, “Engineered for Magic. Everyday” portrays Porsche as a snowmobile with a mother and her toddler driving in the snow; a pickup truck that can stow bags of soil; a getaway car for an executive after work; and even a yellow school bus driven by a mother picking up her son at school.

Too many people try to be everything to everybody, and it just doesn’t work. We recommend that you identify areas of specialization—niches—to work in. Working in a niche offers plenty of advantages:

Limit Your Work

By limiting your work to one niche, you’ll discover that you have less direct competition than you would if you tried to do it all. Just look in the Yellow Pages and count all of the generalists you could be competing against. However, if you specialize in historic homes, you’d find there are dramatically fewer companies sharing your specialty. You may come into contact with new and inexperienced contractors on one or two jobs within your niche, but they frequently limp away whimpering because they don’t have the knowledge or skills to do the job right.

Specified Remodeling

Since you’ll be concentrating your generalized skills on a specific area of remodeling, you’ll quickly become a technique and product knowledge expert in your field. People will pay more for that expertise.

Efficiency

Your crews will learn the best ways to handle the details of one kind of work, making them faster and more efficient. This means you can do the work more quickly and earn more profits on each job. Once you’ve begun to be known in your niche, you’ll gain referrals from within that specialized community.

A niche serves a confined market so it’s not necessary—or desirable—to market to a broad audience. This means you’re able to spend your resources more effectively by targeting just those people who need the services you offer. A company niche can be defined by:

Type of service you offer.

For example, this might be design/build or insurance restoration.

Type of property you like to work on.

Do you enjoy historic renovation or prefer retrofitting retail space?

Type of work that your company does.

Some remodeling companies specialize in creating additions on two-story colonial buildings while others only handle interior work, such as kitchens and baths.

Geographic area.

Some remodelers have customers all over a metropolitan area; some only accept work in specific districts.

Products.

You could specialize in one type of window or siding, or perhaps join a franchise that represents one type of product.

Size of your jobs.

Do you like to do small jobs that can be completed in a week or less, or would you rather do larger, more complex projects?

Clientele you prefer to work for.

Do you like to do work for wealthy clients? It’s not for everyone. Some remodelers prefer working for middle-class, senior, or disabled people.

Locating your business in a rural, less densely populated area may force you to stay more generalized because the market can’t support a specialist.  However, urban areas usually provide enough prospects to successfully support a specialized niche.

Many successful remodelers are characterized by the fact that they have positioned their companies to serve a specialized niche. All of their marketing—image, public relations, advertising, and networking—is targeted to serve that niche. The way you position your company is crucial and far from arbitrary. There are thousands of different platforms your business can stand on for increased value. When you find a niche, stop and think about how to go after more of that specific work. Who buys that work and how can you reach them? Are there publications or conferences that serve this specific market?

Targeting a well-defined niche means you can compete on the basis of value, not price.  To make the most of your potential, you must have a clear idea of what your company’s niche is and then market that specialty. What’s your company’s niche?