How do I customize my offering to attract and win more customers?
Customers today complete, on average, 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier. With so much information at their finger tips, they are frequently more selective.
What does this mean for your business?
This means you need to grow your business by capturing different market segments, or niches. Chris Anderson introduced this idea in his book, The Long Tail.
First Step – Identify Specific Market Niches
You can segment your total market based on the niches within it. A market niche is a portion of a market that you would like to target in a specific way.
One simple idea that quickly gives you significant information about your target segments is keyword research. Google Adwords has a very useful tool that gives a wide range of related keywords. Look for the keyword phrases that have three or four keywords.
For example, if you sell architectural wall panels, look for long tail keywords such as “pre-fabricated wall systems,” “pre-assembled metal wall panels,” or “complex geometry wall panel systems.” These long phrases will tell you a lot about which segments have business potential. Don’t stop with a handful of keywords. You should have a minimum of 50 different keywords – and consider that the more you have, the easier it will be to define the market niche that is best for you, and the higher the possibility of success.
There are many other tools available for research such as Compete, KeywordSpy, and SpyFu.
Conduct a competitive analysis to define the size of the niche market and your opportunity within it. Albeit market niches are small, it is important to understand who is already in each market niche – and confirm you have a good opportunity to be successful. Create a list of your competitors and list their market niches to see which competitors have presence in each niche. Follow up with a more in depth analysis to look at their company size, project types, where they market their services, and how they talk about the market niche. This information will arm you with the knowledge you need to make sound decisions about the market niche you want to capture.
Keyword research and competitive analysis allow you to narrow down the list of niche markets and make an informed decision about where to spend your time and resources.
Second Step – Capture the Niches
Tailor your message for the targeted market niche. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work anymore.
One easy way to quickly fine tune your strategy, learn more about your target audience, and generate leads is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Select niches relevant to you. Generic keywords such as “wall panels” are highly competitive; it is much easier to build your search engine rankings with niche keywords. This will bring traffic to your website, which will help your branding and lead generation.
Again, if you are trying to rank highly for the more competitive term “wall panels,” you might end up competing with major wall panel manufacturers. If you narrow the term down to “pre-assembled wall panels” suddenly competition is a lot less intense.
Use email marketing to establish a direct connection with your audience. Use these emails to develop awareness, and credibility of your capabilities in the market niche selected. Be as specific as possible and portray a message of knowledge and experience.
Image courtesy of CTC (http://creativeteknologies.com/)
Look for user groups and trade shows in the segments of your choice, and see how you can leverage those to your benefit.
Leverage LinkedIn where you can find many groups speaking about the same subject matter. You could also research questions that are posted in LinkedIn that your service, capabilities, and knowledge are ideally suited to answer.
Third Step – Solidify the Niches
Design and adapt your website to cater to a specific market niche.
In the case of wall systems, part of the website may address the needs of geometrically complex wall systems. What do potential customers need to know? What’s special in the geometry of these products, specifically? What would you like potential customers to do? What will make them comfortable enough to take that action?
The page should have detailed information describing how you make your product or services easier for your prospects. In the case of wall systems, show examples of the process, as well as completed projects. You will build credibility in this small market niche and will start to become a thought leader in the industry.
Marketing is measuring. Use web analytics to measure, test, and understand the effectiveness of your different marketing and sales channels. Your website should be part of every plan to build your exposure, cultivate relationships, and close sales deals. And web analytics will help you understand what is working and what can be improved while doing that.
Stay tuned for more on this in our next post in the series.
How do you go about growing market share? A quick recap –
- Identify the market niches using research
- Capture them with targeted marketing campaigns
- Solidify them using your website content and analytics.
When you follow these three simple steps, you will be surprised how quickly you can gain market share – and also learn how to refine your business strategy over time.
- Expand Your Reach – Part I – Who is Eating my Pie?
- Expand Your Reach – Part II – Where is my Target Market?
- Expand Your Reach – Part III – Target Market Niches
- Expand Your Reach – Part IV – Use Your Website
- Expand Your Reach – Part V – Value on the Table?
Questions or Comments?