Targeting an industry niche is an effective yet underutilized marketing strategy in the financial services industry. It’s hard to create a reputation for yourself with a shotgun marketing approach. On the other hand, when you target a very specific industry niche, it is fairly easy to elevate yourself to celebrity status.
Let’s start out with a definition. To me, targeting an industry niche means positioning yourself as an expert in a target industry as it relates to financial services, and leveraging that expertise and reputation with appropriate marketing techniques so that people in the target industry will think of you first, and refer you first. I’ve seen financial professionals have great success in the medical, legal, printing, entertainment, sports, restaurant, and franchise industries, to name just a few.
Marketing vs. selling
I’ve seen a million definitions of the difference between marketing and selling. It’s pretty simple, actually. Marketing is the activity that makes the sale possible. Marketing makes people aware of your product or service and puts them in a position to meet you so that the sale becomes possible. Marketing is what gets you to the client’s door in the best possible light. Sales strategy is what you do when you are inside.
The ideas I discuss below fall in the category of marketing. These are things you can do to increase your reputation so it becomes easier to attract people to your business.
The benefits of targeting niche industries
There are at least three compelling reasons for targeting an industry niche:
1. Word of mouth is easier to create because people within industry niches have specific formal and informal ways of communicating with each other — conferences, newsletters, trade publications, industry associations, and study groups, etc. A reputation for quality work can be built rather quickly within a niche.
2. Referrals are easier to obtain. People within industries usually have many friends and colleagues to whom they can refer you. When they know you are concentrating your efforts in their industry, they are usually more willing to help you extend your influence. In my own niche marketing efforts, I have rarely met a client who was concerned about me calling on the competition. In fact, quite often they are on very friendly terms. I’ve received some of my best referrals to my clients’ direct competitors.