Differentiate Or Die…
Today, it is very hard to differentiate yourself according to products and services… because most companies offer the same thing. With today’s technologies, anyone can copy what you create. So the only way to differentiate yourself is how you communicate.– Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, “This Old Marketing” Podcast, Ep. 207
If we believe that’s true, that means marketing must elevate itself in the organization and it becomes part of the broader business model.
So back when I was the marketing manager for a cybersecurity company, I attended a local cybersecurity conference.
I visited the vendor booths and noticed something.
Everyone was using the same language to describe their products and services.
You could switch the logo and branding colors on sites with their competitor and not be able to tell the difference.
A few years ago, the American Institute of CPAs president and CEO Barry Melancon gave a keynote presentation to his peers. He explained the rapid changes in the accounting profession. He said this:
“In a world in which everything is changing, who are we to believe that we won’t have to change as well? The speed of change in our profession—and in our lives—is at an all-time high, and we need to think in a more complex way about change.”– “Melancon: Accountants must commit to change,” Accounting Today, December 6, 2017
The Power of the Niche
Last year, I was invited by one of my clients to speak to his coaching students about the importance of developing a niche.
I flew out to Chicago and spent two days with two different groups of CPAs. For some of them, the idea of focusing on a particular niche was eye-opening.
So what exactly is a niche?
According to the online business dictionary, a niche is:
…a small but specific and well-defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other firms, and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond. Also called micromarketing.
Over the years, we’ve focused on the following niche industries: cybersecurity, HR and executive leadership training, sales training, eCommerce, accountants, financial advisers, and insurance.
All too often, I meet business owners who want to target “everyone” for their product or service. But when you try to reach “everyone,” you rarely catch anyone.
Because your message is too general. It doesn’t speak to a specific need for a specific niche.
What Happens Without a Niche
Here are 3 ways a niche-less business suffers:
- You lose the opportunity to leverage your expertise/knowledge base to serve a more targeted market. As a result, lose profits and the ability to be seen as an expert.
- You’re not able to create custom services that will truly help your niche. Such services could be very lucrative for your practice.
- Technology is commoditizing the generalist. Being a generalist won’t differentiate you. That means a tougher time in getting the rates you want.
Because I have seen this happen countless times to good businesses, I know the importance of identifying a niche. If there is nothing to differentiate them from their competitors, they blend in. It doesn’t bode well for profits.
The Benefits of Developing a Niche
There are some great benefits to having a niche. Although you may feel that you’re excluding those who could use your services, you’re actually doing the opposite.
And you’re including those who can use your specific services for their specific business. Here are some other benefits:
- You’re focused and in control. Knowing who your target market is, allows you to dig deep into their particular problems and challenges. You know exactly how you can help them.
- Get the rates you’ve always wanted. With a niche, you can now create packaged services that truly meet a need. Because your targeted niche realizes they’re getting the “Ultimate Treatment” (and not just a number), they’ll choose your practice for their business.
- You gain the respect of your niche. When you choose a niche, you’re instantly entering an “insider’s club.” You know the lingo, the traditions, behaviors, etc. of your niche. You’ll be seen as an expert.
Now here’s something I’ve talked about with various business owners that can turbo-boost your business…
Productize Your Service
If you are in a service profession, there’s a tendency to offer your service the same way – year in and year out.
Why not instead take “The Apple Approach?”
Apple comes out every year with new, upgraded products. Their fans eagerly anticipate the announcement of the improved versions of their beloved products because…
… people love the idea of getting something “new and improved.”
Whatever you offer— set aside some brainstorming time to think of ways you can also create a “new and improved” version.
Then use it for your niche.
When you focus on a particular niche, it will make it easier to market your service or product.
Why Lead Magnets Will Help You Differentiate Your Business
You need a lead magnet to build your email list.
With a lead magnet, you’re offering a free piece of information to prospects in exchange for their email. What existing content do you have that might become an effective lead magnet?
And the important takeaway is to choose a niche if you don’t already have one. Research the pain points of that niche and figure out how you can solve some of those problems.
When people realize you understand their pain and you have a solution, doors will open.
If you have questions, reach out and ask. I have a knack for identifying good niche markets and would love to help you find them.