From the November 2007 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

Specific steps to niche marketing success

Top advisors throughout the country are touting the virtues of niche marketing. They cite the enormity of opportunity and encourage us to find a niche that we can embrace and find quality clients. The promise is increased production, expert insight to a specific client group, referrals and -- of course -- less stress. And they're right. The one major ingredient that these advisors leave out is how to do it.

The first thing is to define what a niche really is. It's usually defined as: 1. A special area of demand for a product or service.
2. Having specific appeal to a group.

The above definitions should be applied to any strategy going forward. Chasing relationships with multiple CPAs and estate planning attorneys is not the way to do it. They represent clients from all walks of life and it's difficult for professional service firms to ethically convince each of their clients that you offer a special appeal. Referrals from CPAs and attorneys areas are spotty and inconsistent. Instead, find a niche. Once you find a niche market and finally get traction (clients) within that niche, referrals will increase and the aforementioned benefits will come. I have included a list of the top 10 niche areas for generating professional income that will get the ball rolling.

1. Surgeons
2. Investment bankers
3. Obstetricians and gynecologist
4. Internist
5. Certified actuaries
6. Anesthesiologist
7. Pediatricians
8. Psychiatrists
9. Family and general practitioners
10. Dentists

Of course, there are niche markets which include professional athletes and the entertainment business, among others. The point is that each of the above groups may overlap, but for the most part they run in the same pack, the talk the same language, they feel the same pain and experience similar successes. Inserting your practice into their world gives you the leg up.

There are three essential steps in building the foundation for the ideal referring niche market:

Step 1 -- Learn the culture. When I first started in this industry, I had a mentor who was big on learning the culture of any group we targeted. For example, I have taught seminars for years at Boeing. Boeing has an internal news paper. After one of my first seminars my mentor handed me the Boeing News and said "read it and learn the culture." That was the best advice I've ever received. For the niche markets I target, I read their trade publications, attend industry trades show and join associations on a regular basis. Understanding the client needs and the dynamics they face significantly raises the bar of trust. More trust, more new clients, more referrals, more production and -- of course -- less stress.

Step 2 -- Find the gurus. Each industry segment is littered with self professed gurus. Gurus come in many forms. Gurus could be consultants, business advisors or top professionals within their area of expertise. What you are looking for are individuals who have a broad influence over the specified niche. Attributes to look for include credibility within the market place, published writers in top trade publications and those that host multiple seminars each year.

Step 3 -- Approach the guru. Do your homework. If you approach an industry expert and are not being prepared you have wasted time, money and opportunity. The idea is to get the meeting, know what you are talking about and build a meaning referral relationship. If you know the market, the industry expert will recognize your abilities and insight and the door will open. Your goals should be direct referrals, piggy backing on marketing correspondence sent to the niche market and participation in seminars (if relevant).

Obviously this is an abbreviate approach to referral marketing. Dig deep and find the market that is most relevant to your interests. Align yourself with the pros -- the gurus of the specified industry. Once you get traction in one specific market you may never need to spend another dollar on marketing. Sound good?

*For further information or to contact this author, please use the forum below.

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