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A Niche Can Make You Rich

by Marcia Yudkin

Do you market to just about anybody who might want to buy what you sell? If so, you miss out on a dynamic that multiplies profits when you market only to chiropractors, pet stores, adoptive parents or real-estate office managers.

According to Richard Weylman, author of Endless Prospects: 301 Tactics to Reach Hard-to-Reach People, concentrating your marketing efforts on a specific category of people who interact with each other means that whatever you do to make yourself known to those in that niche has a heightened effect.

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When you focus on one group of people, you'll find it easier to land business with them because you'll come to know their quirks, preferences and lingo backwards and forwards. By concentrating on the publications, conferences and trade shows in just one industry, you can build a reputation quickly, so that prospects come to you instead of you chasing after them. Likewise, word of mouth gets going sooner and more powerfully within a niche than in the world at large.

To select a promising population segment or occupational group, use these criteria:

  • The niche is growing, not shrinking.

  • Members of the niche have the ability to pay what you'd like to charge.

  • Individuals in the niche are relatively easy to reach by phone or e-mail.

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  • The niche communicates amongst itself through publications, associations, conferences and schmoozing.

  • They already understand the need for what you sell.

  • Few of your counterparts have discovered this niche yet.

  • You enjoy interacting with those in this niche as people.

Mike Bayer, a PR specialist in Laguna Beach, California, suggests the following steps to achieve market penetration within your chosen niche:

  • Track industry trends by reading the niche's publications and attending relevant conferences and seminars.

  • Identify the top decision makers and trend setters in the niche and schmooze with them.

  • Research the key editors and reporters in the niche and stay in touch with them on a regular basis.

  • Join and become active in the niche's associations and networking groups.

  • Contribute articles to the niche publications and arrange to speak at the industry powwows.

  • Publish tips booklets or white papers of value to those in the niche and make them available for free.

  • Seek out other opportunities to get your product or service in front of members of the niche repeatedly.

  • Identify and schmooze with professionals in a position to recommend your produce or service to members of the niche.

Bayer, whose niche is public relations for attorneys, says it takes an average of three to five years to penetrate a niche. Patient efforts are essential.

I should add that the advice here falls into the category of "Do as I say, not as I do." Instead of choosing a niche in which to concentrate my efforts, I enjoy working with an attorney in the morning, a software firm in the afternoon, a holistic practitioner another day and a publishing company the next. On the whole, though, niche marketers earn more than generalists. What's your choice?

Copyright 2005 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved. 

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