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One day you had the brilliant idea to start your agency, kudos! But here’s the thing, you weren’t the first person to have that idea and you certainly won’t be the last. So how do you stick out amongst all the noise? How do you get people to recognize your agency’s awesomeness?
You find a niche, you specialize, and you truly become an expert. This process will naturally separate you from the competition, highlight your unique differences, and break your agency free from all that noise. Offering something that no one else can, and a quality that no one else can match is a great way to fast track your agency’s success.
At first, this may seem intimidating, like you’re limiting yourself and ignoring potential clients and thus potential money. I mean don’t you want to take whoever you can get?
And here’s why.
Clear and Focused Messaging
One of the biggest benefits to finding a niche is really focusing in on a target audience. This allows you to tailor your messaging so that you can effectively communicate with your ideal client. Instead of speaking to everybody and ultimately reaching nobody, you’re speaking to a specific subset of people and really getting your point across effectively. Let me provide an example.
(RELATED: For more information on defining your target audience and in-depth Customer Avatar worksheet check out our Brand Positioning online course.)
If you had no niche or focus whatsoever your messaging may look like this, “I provide marketing services.” So right now you’re probably one in a couple million people that fit this profile, you’ll also be competing against the top dogs that have been established for years.
If you focused in a bit more it may look something like this, “I provide social media marketing services.” Now you’re getting a bit more specific but it’s still a pretty saturated market and you’re still not speaking to individuals directly.
So, let’s focus down even more, “I provide social media marketing services for dental practices.” Okay, now we’re in a niche.
Now, when a dentist or one of their staff members realizes they need to establish a social media presence they’ll find you and know you’re exactly what they need. Why? Because your messaging will position you as an expert in the field, and most importantly it will feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
By constantly working in one specific niche you really will become an expert. You’ll learn the necessary technical jargon, legal terminology, and ins-and-outs of a specific field. You can get published, win awards, and attend events that your target audience has actually heard of. If you focus on doing one thing really well, you're more likely to be successful and build a reputation. High quality work is the best advertising you can get. Think of it like this…
If you focus on doing one thing really well, you're more likely to be successful and build a reputation
If you needed brain surgery, would you go to a specialist or a doc-in-the-box?
A specialist is highly regarded, admired by others, and respected in their field. They come with a higher price tag, but they get the job done right and their happy patients love sending more patients their way.
A-doc-in-the-box is the butt of a joke, the last resort, and truthfully a little sketchy. They’re cheap, but you get what you pay for and the quality normally leaves a lot to be desired.
One is an expert, the other, not so much. So even though trying to please clients by doing it all can seem like a good idea at first, in the long run, it will damage your agency’s ability to specialize and become the best.
(RELATED: Being an expert can help you raise your prices. This article shows you how you can start charging more for the same services.)
If you’re a jack of all trades you’ll be designing graphics for one client and suddenly need to be writing copy for another. It’s not your fault, but your productivity is going to suffer as a result of this constant switching, that’s just how the human brain works.
If you’re writing copy or one client, and need to switch to writing similar copy on a similar topic for a similar client you'll be able to dive in faster. Not only will switching between projects be easier but if you’re an expert in the field you'll know the subject matter much better.
I’ve got a great example from one of my clients, they were trying to do paid advertising for firearms. We learned, after a lot of trial and error, how tricky Google can be with sensitive topics like guns. They will block you so quickly for using one wrong word or one wrong picture. My clients had to spend a lot of time rewriting copy, designing new landing pages, and searching for answers. An expert would already know all of the tips and tricks to get your ad campaign up and running quickly and smoothly, so you wouldn’t need to spend hours trying to figure things out.
The more markets you dabble in the more competitors you’ll have. This means there will be more competition for clients, Google rankings, awards, recognition, social media followers, everything! But if you’re one of the few people who do what you do, there’s less competition.
This also allows you to set up great referral partnerships. If you’re in a niche it will be easier to find people you’re not directly competing with but have the same target audience in mind, a great environment for a partnership to flourish. If you don’t offer a specific service you might know a great guy that does and vice versa.
Now finding a niche raises concerns as well, and rightfully so. A niche could seriously backfire on you without the proper upfront research. The biggest issue agencies encounter with niches and the reason so many fail is because they picked a bad niche.
A bad niche generally means it’s too specific and there just isn’t enough demand to support your business. Or perhaps your target audience needs and wants your services but they don’t have the available funds, either way, its bad news bears for you. All of this can be avoided with proper upfront research, make sure there’s a market and demand for the niche you select.
Then there’s the biggest concern of all, loosing and turning away prospects. If all the messaging on your site is targeted specifically at non-profits, and a for-profit company stumbles upon it, they probably won’t stay long. But here’s the thing you’ve got to understand, that’s okay.
You can't be the solution to everyone's problems. Even if you have a client and don’t offer a service they need, that doesn’t mean you need to bend over backward to please them. There are other answers, enter: those referral partners I mentioned earlier. Now if you have clients constantly asking for a service then it may be time to expand your service offerings, but it’s important that you don’t spread yourself too thin.
So if I ask again, should your digital agency niche out or be a jack of all trades? You should know the answer, find a niche! Contrary to popular belief, it’s not limiting, it actually opens doors you never knew existed! It will accelerate your growth and allow you to grow your agency and it’s brand in ways you never dreamed possible.