Growing a business is simple. You have an offer that makes sense for a specific person, then you get that offer in front of that person. Keep repeating and you’ll grow a business.
Just like how golf is simple. You hit the ball in the fairway, then on the green, then you two-putt and get a par.
Except like in golf, simple doesn’t always mean easy and getting the right offer with the right message in front of the right person is an art form, and many times we end up laying 3 in the sand trap!
Even though it’s not that easy, I find it helpful to go back to the basics and remember the goal truly is getting the correct message in front of the ideal person.
Dominate a Niche to Simplify Growth
Today’s world of digital marketing is anything but simple. Tools, techniques and new ideas swarm around our brain, distracting us and keeping us busy while we make no meaningful progress forward.
In order to simplify things, it’s essential to find a niche. This is not limiting, because once you dominate one niche, you can continue to repeat what you’ve done in many others.
But without a niche, you’ll continue to drown in tactics and ideas. Find your niche, and things will actually get simple.
And when you find a niche and a message within that niche, here’s what happens:
- You speak the same language as your customers
- You seem bigger because you are “everywhere”
- You get consistent leads from referrals
- You deliver a better product or service that’s more scalable
- You get to the top of Google in your niche’s search terms
- Leads show up to your door before you’ve ever talked to them
When you own a niche, you make your life easier. You simplify your world and set yourself up for success.
How to Dominate a Niche
I’m going to walk through some exact steps to getting traction in a niche, but first I want to make three points.
1. This is simple, but not easy
There’s a difference. The last thing I ever want to do is write an article that’s saying, “Do these simple things and make a million dollars!” Punch me if I ever sound that way.
If you do these things, you will get results, but it’s definitely not easy. You’ll have to get uncomfortable, hustle, get rejected and continue to adapt along the way.
2. How we did it
Also I should say that everything I’m about to describe is what we did at Kahuna Accounting to generate a stream of inbound leads in two different niches. Small law firms, and Infusionsoft users. We used these exact steps and have grown to over $1M annual revenue and literally more clients than we can handle.
So what you’ll be reading is not a theory, but based on real results.
3. It’s a team effort
At Kahuna Accounting we have our accounting team and our business development team (now Kahuna Accelerator). Our business development team (originally myself and Andy Peterson) had no particular talent, but a lot of grit.
But one thing that really helped us is we had great faith in our accounting team and we also allowed them to focus on doing what they do (accounting) without having to worry about marketing and sales.
In your business, how can you create teams so that you allow people to focus on their strengths, and preferably build out a team that’s 100% focused on growth? (If you want to know how to build your growth team, check out our training on it here: www.kahunax.com/kx)
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get to Domination!
4 Steps to Domination
1. Interview Your Ideal Client
Everything starts with an assumption. You don’t know if a specific niche is a good one until you dive in. So I’ll skip the part of, “How to define your ideal client.”
Start with your gut. What clues have you received? What assumptions do you have that someone might be in a good potential niche?
Once you have an assumption, your first job in dominating the niche is to validate that assumption. The best way I’ve found to do that is to interview your ideal client.
An interview is a great first step because it’s not intimidating for your prospects and you are not asking much of them.
If you were to cold call your prospects, you’re not getting very far. If you reach out and request 15 minutes of their time to interview them, most people are willing to do this.
This is exactly what we did at Kahuna Accounting. We identified small, entrepreneurial-minded law firms as a good potential niche for our services. I found a list of 50 entrepreneurial law firms in the U.S. and reached out one by one to see if they’d take 15 minutes for a quick interview.
What you are looking for in the interviews:
When you have these conversations it’s very important not to try to sell them. You tell them right up front that the goal is to learn.
Questions to ask in the interview:
- Tell them what your offer is and what your assumption is and ask openly for their initial thoughts
- Ask, “What am I missing?”
- Ask, “What are other (insert niche) looking for in this situation?”
- Ask, How do people typically solve this issue?
You want to get them thinking about what you are doing and get some real feedback. In a perfect world, they will be genuinely interested in what you’re talking about.
If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to make an offer to them. What I have done in those cases is say, “Hey my goal here is definitely not to sell you and I really appreciate you taking the time, but if you are actually interested I would be happy to offer this to you at a serious discount as a thank you for your help.”
Getting to that point is not the goal, but if it happens it’s a great win because now you are getting some real feedback and someone who can start and become a testimonial and advocate later.
Plus that’s the most definitive way to validate that you are on to something if people are literally pulling out their credit card to pay. The goal is to learn, but getting a beta user is a huge bonus.
Having these conversations will help you uncover the messaging needed for your ideal client and also develop some relationships with people who will be great advocates in the future.
2. Interview Thought Leaders in the Niche
The approach here is literally the exact same as #1. You get on the phone, share your assumptions, ask a lot of questions and you try to get their expert advice on what they would do in your shoes.
I think where a lot of marketers miss the mark is they start with answers. Like I have this solution so now let me find a way to fit it onto something. We need to start with questions. Don’t be afraid to be ignorant. Ask questions and listen and you will find your way into the right answers.
The beauty of targeting a niche is that when you find a niche the world becomes small. In the solo and small law firm world, there were about 10-15 sites that all law firms followed and if you could get in on those sites, you’ll be perceived as being everywhere.
These 10-15 sites are the ones we targeted for interviews. They were software companies used by our ideal clients, publications, consultants, etc. They were all people we would have loved to have feature us to their network.
But when you are doing these interviews, the goal is not necessarily to get featured on the site. It’s to make the person aware of what you are doing, and establish the connection.
Then as you validate your assumption you can come back and say, “Hey, you know that idea I was talking to you about? Well it turns out, it’s working pretty well and a lot of people seem to be interested. Would you be interested in having me share a guest post or webinar on how it works?”
Important note: It’s a multi-step process. First, you do the interview with no ask or next step. Then you reach back out and ask to contribute.
This has worked insanely well for us at Kahuna Accounting.
We found the list of thought leaders by using LinkedIn and also by asking our ideal clients during those interviews. We built a spreadsheet of all the key businesses and website in the industry, and interviewed them.
This strategy got us featured by every site that our target market paid attention to!
If you want proof, here is a partial list of sites that featured us:
All those articles and webinars were posted for free in front of the exact audience we wanted to get in front of.
It worked because we had a humble attitude, asked a lot of questions and the proposed an answer based on the feedback we received.
As you can imagine, once those pieces of content went out, things took off in our business.
We had instant credibility in the niche, and we not only got a ton of leads, but we also now get a ton of organic leads, because those high powered links shot us to the top of Google for almost anything related to law firm accounting or bookkeeping.
3. Go to Events
As I said above, growth really boils down to the right message in front of the right people. Once you do #1 and #2, you should have a message that makes sense and a good understanding of the ecosystem surrounding your niche.
The strategy of getting featured on other sites is a great way to get in front of your people, but it’s not the only one.
Almost every niche is going to have their own events. We have had a lot of success by getting to those events.
When you go to the live events in your particular niche, you build deeper connections with the key people in the space. And the more you go to, the more you realize it’s the same people in almost every situation. These connections create more opportunities for cross-promotion, co-marketing and refining your messaging.
You can either go as an exhibitor or simply as an attendee. We have done both. Being an exhibitor is hit or miss and completely depends on the event. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to be a recognizable brand in your space, and build in person connections with key people in your niche.
4. Targeted Advertising
Advertising is a great way to get your message in front of your ideal client. But I think most people just start with advertising right off the bat.
I think it’s best before advertising to do the hard work of having hard conversations and interviews to truly understand what you are saying and who you are saying it to.
Once you’ve done that, now your advertising is going to be powerful because you are more confident in your messaging and you know exactly how to target.
I won’t get into all the specifics here because there are a number of articles out there related to advertising, but I’ll cover a few key points here.
1. Social PPC is great for a niche
We used a lot of Facebook and Twitter advertising to promote Kahuna Accounting to small law firms. This worked very well because in the conversations we had, we knew exactly how to target. For example on Twitter, we created ad campaigns targeting only the followers of 10 different thought leaders’ Twitter accounts.
We could use the targeting to get very specific and make sure only our idea clients were seeing the ads.
2. Targeted Sponsorships
Once you are in a niche, another great strategy is to use your advertising budget to promote with a partner who is established in the space.
For example, there is probably a publication or podcast that is followed by most of your ideal clients. Rather than spend money with Facebook or Google, you can pay them for a sponsorship package and get a message in front of the audience immediately.
This works very well because they give you more credibility and of course the audience is extremely well targeted.
Next Steps: Taking Action!
Everything described above worked in a big way for us at Kahuna Accounting. Dominating our niche provided the following benefits:
- 100% inbound leads
- Inbound leads who already know what they want
- Organic Traffic
- Respect in the industry
- Happier clients because of consistency/speaking the same language
- More referrals
- Simple sales process because we’re talking to the same people
You can do the same thing and dominate a niche. But you can’t sit back and wait for it. You have to take action, meet people, ask questions and keep moving.