Niche Marketing for Professional Service Firms

freedigitalphotos_flag niche Contractor’s Business School (CBS), is a training, consulting and coaching business specializing in working with contractor firms. A few years ago, CBS established a track record for helping contractor business owners transform “owner dependent” firms into successful standalone businesses.

But before CBS founder Jayme Dill Broudy became Slightly Famous among building contractors, she struggled to differentiate her management consulting firm from a sea of competitors. She had no particular target market and worked with a hodge podge of businesses in different industries. Her value proposition was unfocused and her marketing tactics too dispersed to gain momentum over time.

As a Get The Word Out client, we helped Broudy analyze her situation, quickly concluding that she needed a focused target market strategy. Building contractors (plumbers, landscapers, roofers, etc.) emerged as her ideal market niche: she’d worked with many contractors already, had testimonials from past contractor clients and the contractor industry had an ongoing need for her services.

Broudy embraced her new niche completely. She developed a contractor-focused brand for Contractors Business School, redesigned her website to speak directly to contractors and developed new programs aimed squarely at her niche. Her value proposition was simple and compelling: CBS helped overworked contractors “break out of the owner operator trap and build a profitable stand-alone business.”

Why A Market Niche is Better for Business

 As business becomes more competitive, and buyers more discerning, prospects increasingly expect service providers to intimately understand and adapt to their specific situations. Unfortunately, many business owners still believe that selling to the widest possible market is the likeliest path to success, pursuing a wide, unfocused marketing strategy that never builds momentum among prospective clients.

Selecting a profitable niche can insulate your professional service firm fromcompetition through specialization and capitalizing on competitor shortcomings. When you position your firm among ideal clients and the communities they belong to, you can become your target market’s first choice and sell more with less effort.

Tom Williams of WestMark Realtors in Lubbock, Texas, began his career in real estate. Looking for ways to differentiate himself, he soon noticed that the majority of his colleagues gravitated to older, repeat clients who were comfortable with the home-buying process.

Because conventional wisdom says that first-time homebuyers are too much trouble and not worth the small commissions, Williams realized he could have this potentially lucrative market to himself. He threw himself into his newly discovered niche with great success, and his clients found his dedication, advice and upbeat attitude refreshing.

Your Niche: Offering Industry-Specific Specialties

Although many entrepreneurs discover niches by accident, the most rewarding market niches are defined through deliberate effort. For professional services firms, industry-focused market niches offer powerful opportunities.

Alex Fisenko is known in the world of coffee as “the Dean of Beans.” The coffee expert started his first espresso shop in the 1960s. Since then, he’s focused his energies and now sells his expertise on launching a successful coffee business to aspiring entrepreneurs. Alex conducts coffee shop seminars and sells a training course called “Espresso Business Success.”

His website generates thousands of dollars a month in products sales and consulting engagements in the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, and Barbados. “By targeting my best prospects, I make more money through book sales and consultations than when I ran coffee shops,” says Fisenko, whose focus on aspiring coffee shop owners helped him emerge as an industry thought leader, eliminate competitors and attract prospects.

Hidden within every large market are niches that may provide an avenue for market domination and success. It’s vital to determine areas where other firms fall short and capitalize on their weaknesses.

Niche opportunities abound for professional service firms. Are there underserved groups or industries not being adequately served by other professional service firms? If so, you may have the foundation for a successful niche.

The process of identifying a profitable niche begins by looking for what you do best, aiming it at the right people and identifying service areas with unmet needs and bridging gaps left open by competitors.

A Niche Will Help You Get Slightly Famous (tm)

The surest way earn credibility is by establishing yourself as a “recognized” expert with intimate knowledge of your clients, customers and industry. This explains why positioning your business in a market niche is the first step toward building a profitable brand and becoming a relevant, unique industry thought leader.

As the business world grows increasingly louder due to social media and content marketing, your professional service firm can be easily overwhelmed by the noise when you lack a clear target market. Professional firms that embrace a niche more easily position their firms as thought-leaders prospects seek out because they develop benefit rich, niche-centric content that rises above the chatter.

Contractor’s Business School learned how a market niche can quickly a help a new, niche focused brand achieve industry stardom.

After learning that trade media was effective for reaching busy contractors (they read trade magazines on the go), Broudy approached and contributed articles to several relevant contractor trade magazines such as Construction Business Owner and Lawn Care Professional, while also securing speaking opportunities at contractor industry events.

In less than a year, Broudy’s niche focus established CBS as a contractor industry thought leader and positioned Jayme as a go-to person in her niche. CBS became a recognized authority among professional building contractors which generated credibility, speaking opportunities and an industry reputation that attracted leads and new clients with less effort.