Monday, August 6, 2007

Niche Marketing

Recently, I've been corresponding with a résumé writer who is interested in targeting specific niches for clients. While I believe niche marketing can be very profitable, it can also be tricky, particularly if you are targeting more than one niche.

When examining whether a particular niche will be profitable, you have to consider a few things:
1. How will people in this niche be able to find me? (do they congregate in certain places -- web sites, chat rooms, read similar periodicals, etc.)
2. How can I find (and reach) people who are in this niche? (are there existing web sites I can link to? Trade journals to advertise in?)
3. Are there enough people in this niche that I can attract the 2-3% that I need to make it profitable for me to seek out this niche? (If you are trying to market to left-handed, one-armed dentists who were born in September, for example, that's a pretty small market.)
4. Who are my competitors? Are there any? (If there aren't, you might ask yourself 'why' -- is it just an unexplored niche, or has someone tried to target this niche and found it unprofitable?)
5. What do I have to offer this group? (Special expertise, credentials, you're already well-known in this group, etc.)

You have to develop a pretty full-fledged mini-business plan in order to answer these questions. As you answer them, you'll also get an idea of how you will market and promote to your niche.

It is certainly possible to target completely different niches at the same time. You can position yourself as an expert résumé writer for multiple, completely non-related niches simultaneously. For example, a former nurse-turned-résumé-writer might specialize in nursing resumes and also pharmaceutical sales resumes (okay, those are somewhat related). She might also specialize in résumés for head athletic coaches because her husband is a head coach. These are completely separate niches that she would not want to necessarily promote on a single web site. That's the advantage of web sites -- they can be completely customized to focus in on a particular specialty.

When developing a niche web site, however, keep your audience in mind. Every single thing on that web site needs to be focused on that single niche. You can always ALSO have a web site devoted to you ( or your business ( which explains more about you and links to your niche-specific sites. But if you're promoting to a specific niche (such as pharmaceutical sales), the audience that will be visiting that web site doesn't care if you also do resumes for left-handed, one-armed dentists born in September. They just want to know how you can help them get a pharmaceutical sales job (and Remember, they want the benefit -- the job, not the "tool" -- the résumé or the process -- landing the interview for the job.)

Every single thing on your niche web site needs to speak to the audience. If it doesn't speak to the audience, it doesn't belong on the site. What does belong on the site? Articles you've written specifically about that niche, research information, links, a few sample resumes and cover letters (no, don't worry about people "stealing" the information -- they need to see your work for you to be credible), and, of course, information about how they can get the benefit of your services. Your graphics and layout should also be exclusively directed towards the audience. A pharmaceutical sales web site would use neutral, muted colors, a classy yet simple font, and photos or graphics that are health-care oriented.

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